This week in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam and Wilson are off to see Baron Zemo and break him out of jail! Wait…what!?
“Power Broker” doesn’t start off with a counterintuitive jailbreak, rather, it begins with an introduction to the Global Repatriation Council. A program designed to help those who were vanished and returned, reintegrate into a society that had adjusted to their loss after five years. Given the rise of the Flag Smashers, I’m guessing this isn’t going as planned.
The GRC isn’t without resources though, and we find the new Captain America and Battlestar in Germany to interrogate the man who gave Kali Morganthau refuge in our previous episode. Walker’s Cap isn’t above a little violence as long as it gets the job done. His partner, Hoskins, doesn’t exactly seem on board with the whole thing. This scene sparks a question I’ve often had about military personnel and operations: If you know you’re going to be dealing with an international scale, why not have more people who are polylingual in your ranks? I mean, yeah, he’s Captain America, but even then, America doesn’t technically have a national language. Being able to speak multiple languages should definitely be something these guys get taught.
Anyway, back in Berlin, Bucky and Sam are on site to see Zemo. Bucky wants to go alone, Sam isn’t thrilled, but Bucky wins out. Their conversation is brief, with Zemo trying to explain himself and Bucky sticking to his reason for being there. In the end, against Sam’s wishes, Bucky decides that the best course of action would be to break Zemo out of jail. It’s a fun little scene, following the usual tenant of a voiceover explanation of the plan as it unfolds before the audience. Pair that with Bucky and Sam’s conversation, and their mutual dismissal of Zemo’s opinion, and it’s a good comedic break. This is an element, WandaVision didn’t get as much of, despite it paying homage to sitcoms.
Zemo gets his full title here too – well, in the subsequent scene. Bucky and Sam are surprised to learn that Zemo’s rich, and royalty no less! He reminds them that before his country got fucked over, he was a Baron. Another funny moment follows a tense one, but I’m more interested in the Baron’s ideas on Super Soldiers. Here’s a point I’ve made myself, though it’s veiled – putting Super Soldiers on a pedestal results in forgetting they are human and have flaws. The exaltation allows them to get away with atrocities most people would be called out for, or imprisoned for. Sound familiar? I’m gonna go ahead and give Marvel more props here because as much as it might not seem like it, they are addressing a very real problem we have in this world – police brutality.
Moving on, Zemo informs Bucky he’ll have to assume his former title again. They’re off to Madripool to see a lady who should know something about the serum. As for Sam? He gets to play a pimp! Ok, so a guy named Smiling Tiger who dresses like a pimp, though Zemo doesn’t see it that way. Really, this episode has so many good funny moments. Though they are tempered with dramatic ones, like Kali going to visit a dying friend (Veronica Falcón), and later lamenting the life she could have lived.
Back in Madripool, Zemo makes full use of his Winter Soldier, winning him an audience with Selby (Imelda Corcoran), the lady who informs them a Dr. Nagel (Olli Haaskivi) is the one making super-soldier serum. Zemo gets this info by selling out Bucky, but no matter because Selby doesn’t live long. The boys are on the run thanks to a call from Sara, and the fact that Sam didn’t just immediately hang up or put the damn phone on silent, still, they get their asses saved by an unlikely face: Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp). She’s been hanging out in Hightown ever since she stole Cap’s shield and Falcon’s wings back in C.A.: Civil War.
We learn through these interactions that someone named the Power Broker is investing in new Super-Soldier serum. We also gather that it’s this person who texted Kali about her stealing the serum. After a party at Sharon’s, we meet Dr. Nagel, who made twenty vials of serum for the boss. As Zemo hates the idea of more Soldiers he kills Dr. Nagel shortly before a bunch of bounty hunters fuck up the lab and all hell breaks loose. Sam is worried Zemo’s used the chaos to escape, but nope. The Baron grabs a sweet, probably already stolen ride and picks Sam and Bucky up after taking out said bounty hunters. Props to Sharon in these moments because she really kicks some heavy ass while the boys are talking to the doc. My only curiosity is if she might be a double agent since she seems to have a pretty cushy life in the underbelly.
Also, we get Kali showing her ruthless side when she not only robs a GRC facility but blows up the place with the guards still inside. Meanwhile, Walker is convinced Sam and Bucky broke Zemo out, but Hoskins isn’t buying it. Once again, new Cap shows he’s all about results over how you get them.
Finally, Zemo brings Sam and Bucky to a building, but Bucky breaks away. The other two don’t ask questions as Bucky follows a trail of little metal balls to be confronted by, Ayo (Florence Kasumba), a member of the Dora Milaje. As Sam mentioned earlier the Wakandans have not forgotten what Zemo did to their king. Uh oh…
Overall this is a great episode. Well-paced, absolutely hilarious at points but not to an overpowering Marvel level, and peppered with wonderful advancements to the looming series plot; not to mention the many questions we get from this. Who is the Power Broker? Is this the person who texted Karli? Is Zemo working towards an alternate agenda? Is Sharon going to fuck them over in favor of the Power Broker? Will we get a mirror situation with the new Cap and the Power Broker? Oooo, and will the Power Broker do for Walker and Hoskins in the show, what he did for them in the comics???