The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Takes Us To Madripoor To Meet Agent 13
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier just introduced Madripoor into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans of the comics will recognize the fictional country in southeast Asia as a frequent stomping ground for Wolverine. Alas, we don’t get the surprise reveal of the new Logan, but we do get to see Agent 13 again. The path to this rough, tumble, and neon nation is a strange one. This episode marks the end of the halfway point in the series, and this was the first episode that felt a little bit like the show treading water. I personally am not a fan of the term “filler” episode, however a very linear (thus far) story diverged a little. Whereas WandaVision was journey through trauma wrapped in mystery and sitcoms, this show is straightforward.
While there is plenty of action in this episode, very little of it was superhero action. In a way, this episode felt almost like an homage to non-superhero action movies. From the shady environment to the crazy clubs to the slick leather jackets, it would be easy to forget this was Marvel. If this third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has an explicit purpose, it seems like it was to introduce Madripoor. Set images from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier location filming teased the introduction of this setting. We’re glad it came to pass.
This one will be very tough to talk about without getting into spoilers. So, if you’ve not seen the new episode, bookmark this and come back when you do.
Spoilers to follow.
Why the Falcon and the Winter Soldier Go to Madripoor
Image via Marvel Studios
Given that the show is about Captain America’s two sidekicks, it makes sense that his absence looms large over the show. The last episode was all about the new Captain America and his sidekick, Battlestar. However, the main plot engine of the show is tracking down the scientist who perfected a new super-soldier serum. Frankly, the episode could have done a better job of showcasing how Sam and Bucky feel about this. Like their characters, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan turn in performances that seem more about avoiding those feelings than discussing them. Of course, that’s where Daniel Brühl’s Zemo comes in.
It is a little jarring for the second MCU series to actively avoid characters’ emotions when the first was all about them. Frankly, just seeing Bucky and Sam trying to navigate everyday life could have worked as a show. Hopefully, their plans for Zemo are meant to intentionally be confusing and seem like a bad idea. Still, his presence is the best part of the episode, both for performance and how it advances the character.
Not only do they clearly establish that Zemo is, in fact, a Baron, we also get a scene where he dons a comics-accurate mask. Interestingly, his presence provides most of the commentary on the legacy of Captain America. He’s still very much against super-soldiers, thus Bucky’s idea to break him out of prison makes a kind of sense. Yet, neither Sam nor Bucky seem very concerned about the obvious consequences of unleashing Zemo. Case in point, he killed the scientist who cracked the super-soldier serum. Zemo is, of course, going to double-cross Sam and Bucky. Yet, it appears that the Power Broker is the real antagonist of the show. In the comics that character is responsible for USAgent’s and Battlestar’s powers.
Sharon Carter Is Finally Interesting
Image via Marvel Studios
With all due respect to Emily VanCamp, the MCU’s Sharon Carter has never been an interesting character. Her presence is due to her history in the Captain America comics, but it’s clear that Stephen Markus and Christopher McFeely always kept Peggy as the Carter gal Steve actually loved. Her appearance in Madripoor fills us in on what happened to her after she helped Team Cap during Civil War. (And all she had to show for it was an awkward-ass kiss.)
Branded an enemy of the state after her last film, Carter went to Madripoor because they don’t extradite. Despite her bitterness towards Cap’s pals, she does help them. In fact, she faces off against something like two dozen well-armed bounty hunters in what is easily her best action sequence yet. The episode ends with her not joining Falcon and Winter Soldier, but instead staying in Madripoor. In fact, I suspect she may end up being more of an antagonist in future episodes. Hell, Sharon might even be the power broker (or at least in cahoots) with them.
We are also seeing a darker side of John Walker. His search for the super-soldier serum is starting to feel like more than him just being a good Cap. He’s either already enhanced and trying to cover it up, or he wants the serum for himself. Either way, both he and Sharon feel like allies that neither Sam nor Bucky could actually trust. Also, with super-soldier serum in play, I wonder if Sam will be dosed by the end of the series?
Last but not least, in the final moments of the episode another Civil War alum returns. Florence Kasumba reprises her role from the film, as Ayo, one of the Dora Milaje for King T’Challa. The Wakandans have arrived!
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuts Fridays on Disney+.
What do you think? Were you excited to see Madripoor show up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Do you trust Sharon or the new Cap? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via Marvel Studios
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.