TV Series: THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER - EPISODE 2:
The Star-Spangled Man
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Jeanne: At the end of Episode One --- after Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) returns the Captain America shield to the U.S. government --- a new Captain America is announced and it’s John Walker (Wyatt Russell). In this installment we learn more about Walker, who is officially introduced to the public on a “Good Morning America” segment.
He’s an interesting character and he already has a “sidekick”, Lemar Hoskins (Clé Bennett). The two of them are desperate to hook up with Sam and Bucky (Sebastian Stan), who are finally together as the crime-fighting duo implied by the series’ title. A failed attempt to capture the Flag Smashers, a group of eight Super Soldiers led by Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), near Munich, Germany, prompts a re-assessment of their goals.
Bucky wants Sam to reclaim the Captain America mantle, but with Walker now wearing that uniform --- and Sam’s firm refusal --- that seems highly unlikely. He takes Sam to Baltimore, Maryland to meet Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), another Super Soldier whom Bucky fought against during the Korean War in 1951.
Isaiah is Black and after the war, instead of a hero’s welcome, he was imprisoned by the government for 30 years while they used his blood for experiments. He wants no part of Bucky or Sam and demands they leave. Once outside, the Baltimore police show up and surround Sam and Bucky, demanding to see Sam’s identification --- asking Bucky if Sam is bothering him --- until they realize who Sam is.
Disney is attempting here to make some statements regarding racial profiling and the horrific use of Black soldiers in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Let’s hope they keep this up.
“The Star-Spangled Man” is another really good episode. The banter between Sam and Bucky is terrific --- so very entertaining. A “couples” therapy session with Dr. Raynor (Amy Aquino), who was in last week’s installment, is a hoot, with the two macho guys engaging in a staring contest.
The writing is snappy, and the action is awesome --- and there aren’t too many prolonged battles, which David loathes. Sam and Bucky’s first encounter with the Flag Smashers on top of two fast-moving semis is a nail-biter, with Bucky eventually hanging on for dear life under one of the trucks.
And even when the new Captain America and Hoskins show up to help, the four of them still can’t defeat this new group. Rut-roh! They need help --- but from whom? So many questions --- maybe next week’s episode will provide some answers.
Opinion: See It Now!
David: As Sam Wilson AKA The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) figuratively wrestle with their new relationship, THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER Episode 2: The Star-Spangled Man features an exhilarating fight atop two semis barreling down the highway. Veteran composer Henry Jackman (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS) keeps the action thrilling with his original score.
The newly dubbed Captain America AKA John Walker (Wyatt Russell), whom we saw briefly at the end of Episode 1, is introduced to a hero-starved TV audience on “Good Morning America”. The setting is a stadium full of fans at his old high school in Georgia where he was a football hero.
Even when Cap and his sidekick Lemar Hoskins (Clé Bennett) join the fray atop the trucks, the foursome fails in their efforts to subdue members of the rebel group Flag Smashers led by Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman). These people want the world to revert to the way it was before the Blip.
A trip to Baltimore by the pair to see a former Black Super Soldier named Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) ends with Isaiah angrily revealing his bitterness about the way he was treated by the government. Once they leave Isaiah’s house, Sam finds himself victimized by the police in what is clearly racial profiling until the cop sheepishly begs forgiveness when he realizes Sam’s real identity. And when Sam and Bucky bicker about Sam’s decision to yield the shield, it leads to a funny joint therapy session with Bucky’s Dr. Christina Raynor (Amy Aquino).
So, there is a lot going on in this segment of THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER that is largely concurrent with today’s news. What starts out as a rousing battle evolves into a dialogue-driven and humor-filled second episode as the duo struggles to sort out their differences.
Opinion: See It Now!