John Walker is not Captain America. Okay, technically he is. Walker wears a mantle, Walker protects with a shield, but he is nothing like the man who wore them first.
Walker’s dignity (or lack thereof) in the shadow of Steve Rogers was already as clear as day from the moment he arrived in Falcon and winter soldier, encountered the immediate disapproval of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. But if there were any doubts about Walker – that he wasn’t that bad, that he should get a chance to prove himself? Those doubts are as dead as …
… good. The end of that sentence spoils episode 4 Falcon and winter soldierIs not it?
With so much in the air after Episode 3 – the return of Sharon Carter, the debut in Dancing Zemo, the presence of Ayo from Wakanda – we should be really careful what we say next. Give yourself a moment to cover everything that happened recently in the Disney + Marvel Cinematic Universe series, and then dive into it, spoilers and everything.
Main spoilers for Falcon and winter soldier Episode 4 forward.
American Captain John Walker collapsed
In Falcon and winter soldier Episode 4, John Walker finally accepts a new piece of Captain America’s legacy: a super-soldier serum. It’s not going well.
Walker and partner Lemar Hoskins, alias Battlestar, follow Sam, Bucky and Zemu in Lithuania and insist on working together to stop Flag-Smasher. When they team up, Walker clearly disagrees with how Sam wants to resolve the conflict. Sam tries to approach a calm approach, achieving a significant shift with Karla Morgenthau. Walker destroys these peace negotiations, escalating the philosophical debate into a physical one.
It is worth repeating: it is not going well.
Walker’s attempt to forcibly engage Flag-Smasher fails spectacularly, even as he achieves one key victory: possession of the last bottle of super-soldier serum, the only dose that Zemo himself doesn’t destroy.
Walker spends time debating whether to use it. After talking to Battlestar (without taking away ownership of the serum), Walker decides it’s best for him to choose “Full Captain America”. He should have listened to the words of another pop culture icon with frightening wisdom: “Walk slowly.” Walker ingests the serum and breaks down, using his newly discovered powers to fight the Flag Breaker in a fragile way.
From here it goes from “not good” to … well, worse.
Falcon and winter soldier kills Battlestar
During the last attack on the Flag Breakers, Walker loses one of the only people who bind him to reality: Battlestar.
Initially, Lemar is taken off the battlefield when he is ambushed by the Flag Breakers, leaving Walker alone, until Sam and Bucky join in time to fight. Lemar is released in time to rejoin the fight – and it turns out that going out on Karla is a fatal move. The leader of the Flag Breakers movement throws Battlestar across the room with such force that it hits a concrete pillar and dies from the impact.
Read all ours Falcon and winter soldier coverage here.
It’s a brutal scene, both in terms of a bone blow and the emotional impact on everyone involved: Carly, horrified by her own actions; Sam and Bucky, left to watch the only good man in Captain America’s new squad die; and Walker, who has now lost his best friend.
In one of his last scenes, Battlestar left Walker with a few important words: “Strength only makes a person more than himself, doesn’t it?” His philosophy echoes Abraham Erskine, the inventor of the super-soldier serum. Battlestar believed in Walker, saw the good in him and tried to bring it out. Dead and missing, he is unable to keep his partner under surveillance – and that is very bad news for everyone involved.
Captain America kills the Flag Breaker
In the last torturous act of the episode, John Walker takes revenge on the Flag Breakers – but not the one who killed Battlestar.
Encouraged by a deadly cocktail of super-military serum and unfiltered rage, Walker erupts from the frame of the Flag-Smasher headquarters and emerges into the light of day. He ran over one of Carly’s closest allies, Smasher, and executed him in a public square.
The scene is disturbing on different levels. Observers watch in horror as a man covered in Steve Rogers ’legacy uses an omnipotent vibrancy shield to kill another person without any mercy. Walker slammed his shield into the Flag Breaker, over and over, until both he and his signature weapon were covered in blood. Sam and Bucky witness the incident, as does Carly, as does the world; the whole thing was filmed on film and one can only imagine the consequences.
Will this be the end of Walker’s race as Captain America? Or will the government put him under a rug that has betrayed its people so many times, letting Walker like Cap wander on with impunity? If nothing else, it is a passage for Sam’s path to returning the name of Captain America, because several times during the episode he shows his ability to possess not only Steve’s shield, but also his legacy. He only has two episodes left, time is running out to regain his shield.
Wakanda, Baron Zemo and other free regions
Behind the walker of everything, Falcon and winter soldier dealt with many other story lines, such as the arrival of Ayo and Dora Milaja.
The episode literally begins in Wakanda, six years earlier. We learn that Ayo and Bucky have a long history together, as she played a key role in reversing the Winter Soldier program, along with Black Panther sister Shuri. Flashback is emotional as we watch Bucky win over his program, not succumbing to the ancient code words that have defined him for so many years.
But luck is short-lived, as Ayo warns Bucky to hand over Baron Zemu in eight hours, otherwise. In the end, Dora Milaja’s full strength descends on the crew, trying to bring Zemo. Instead, they end up in a disruptive battle against Walker and Battlestar, allowing Zem to escape. Dora Milaje was last seen going in pursuit of her enemy, and their collective destinies are unknown.
What’s next for Zemo and Ayo? Given where we are currently on the show, it seems possible to talk about Dora Milaja, and maybe Zemo himself won’t continue here in Falcon and winter soldier, but in the upcoming unnamed Disney + series set in Wakanda. Nonetheless, there is so much more on the table, from facing the growing Walker threat, confronting and stopping Carly and the Flag Breaker, unmasking the Power Broker (the case for Sharon Carter continues to build; who but the supervillain has their own private satellite access?) And Sam’s final ascent to the throne of Captain America – and there are only two episodes left to achieve.
Falcon and winter soldier now airing on Disney +.