Within five episodes, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has provided audiences with various narratives — some of which were expected and others that have been surprises.
Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes reunited, but only after Wilson gave up the shield, leading way to John Walker controversially taking on the “Captain America” mantle. Last seen in “Captain America: Civil War,” Helmut Zemo and Sharon Carter have returned, helping introduce Madripoor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Flag Smashers, albeit led by Super Soldiers, have taken a hit but are still going strong. Even the Dora Milaje have made an appearance.
But with just one episode left in the six-episode run of Marvel’s latest Disney Plus series, there are still many questions left unanswered.
Who Is the Power Broker?
The Power Broker is first mentioned in episode 2, but it isn’t till episode 3 — which is titled “The Power Broker” — that further details of the mysterious character are known. Zemo mentions the Power Broker is “judge, jury and executioner” of Madripoor, revealing the figure’s immense influence. Dr. William Nagel later mentions in the episode that the Power Broker brought him on to recreate the Super Soldier Serum.
There’s belief Sharon Carter might be the Power Broker, as she is different from the dedicated agent she was in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Now, she seems untrusting and has something to hide.
The former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is first seen in the show as a hooded figure at a Madripoor bar before later revealing herself to the trio of Wilson, Barnes and Zemo while out in the streets. She invites them back to her place and promises to help with their Super Soldier Serum search in exchange for a pardon, which is what has been preventing her from coming back home to the U.S.
Most recently, in the penultimate episode, subtitles confirm that Carter is speaking on the phone with a seemingly angry Georges Batroc about an unknown topic. She claims to be the reason he is out of an Algerian prison, mentions that she can “give (him) double this time” and says “I promise you won’t regret saying yes.” When Batroc is shown later on in the episode speaking to Karli Morgenthau, he expresses his desire to kill Falcon. This partnership may support the suspicions that Carter’s loyalties oppose her former allies due to her being the Power Broker.
However, if Carter ends up not being the Power Broker, then what is she up to? Is it possible she is at least working with them?
Will John Walker Become a Full-On Villain?
Episode 4 was aptly named “The World is Watching,” ending with the image of John Walker’s Captain America standing with his bloodied shield, fresh off his public murder of a Flag Smasher he believed to have killed his partner, Lemar Hoskins.
In the following episode, Walker loses the shield to Wilson after a fight, gets stripped of the “Captain America” title by the government and is discharged from the military. A post-credits scene later shows Walker constructing his own shield, implying he isn’t done fighting.
The surprise cameo in episode 5 ended up being Julia Louis Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Her lone scene is with Walker and his wife, Olivia. She acknowledges his serum injection as a smart idea and prompts him to answer her call when it comes. She leaves them with her business card, which is seemingly blank.
Per Marvel’s official site, “Madame Hydra” is just one of several aliases associated with de Fontaine. In the movies, modern-day Hydra is last seen in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and seems to die off with Baron Wolfgang von Strucker’s murder. However, the terrorist organization lived on for longer in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The show addressed Hydra’s work following von Strucker’s death and its origins as a religious cult that worshipped an Inhuman named “Hive.”
According to Comic Book Resources, Kevin Feige revealed in a press event for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” that a Hydra return was possible in the MCU:
Well, again, you can always look at the comics, right? We always take our lead from what has happened before, and those organizations come and go in various forms over the years. So, they always could (return). There are new organizations, like S.W.O.R.D., that you saw in WandaVision, so there’s always an inherent need for above-board or shadowy organizations of some kind in the MCU.
With Madame Hydra seemingly in the MCU, could this lead to Walker taking a full villain turn and becoming associated with the terrorist organization? If so, would he do it within the U.S. Agent role as he did in the comics?
Will Torres Become the Next Falcon?
Joaquin Torres is seen in the first episode, providing Falcon with ground support for his mission. But he has not had a consistent presence. However, the show makes it clear that Torres has been communicating with and supporting Wilson in the pursuit of the Flag Smashers.
In the latest episode, Torres is last seen with the Falcon wings that were recently damaged in the fight between Walker, Wilson and Barnes. Wilson leaves them behind, telling Torres he can keep them. Torres becomes the next Falcon in the comics, so could this gifting lead to him taking on the same moniker in the MCU?
Malcolm Spellman, the show’s head writer, spoke highly of the character and Danny Ramirez, the actor who portrays Torres, in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” hinting at a potential future in the Marvel franchise:
I can’t tell you where it’s gonna go, but obviously, he’s not in there for no reason. He just lights up. If we had had 10 episodes, we had a giant storyline for him built out. But he does have plenty of real estate in these six.
Does Bucky Become ‘the White Wolf’?
Barnes is first referred to as “the White Wolf” in the post-credits scene of “Black Panther.” But it isn’t until episode 2, when Barnes informs Wilson of the name, that it comes up again.
In episode 4, a flashback scene featuring Barnes and Ayo in Wakanda reveals that he has overcome the Hydra brainwashing that turns him into the Winter Soldier. The series, however, has shown that his past still haunts him. After all, Barnes is first seen in the show having a nightmare as he sleeps on the floor of his home. In the nightmare, the Winter Soldier kills an innocent man because he was a witness to his crime.
To get closure, Barnes has been making amends to those he wronged as the Winter Soldier. But, in the latest episode, Wilson insists what Barnes really needs to do is help those he wronged so that they have closure, mentioning there has to be “at least one person” he can help.
During the first episode, the nightmare is confirmed to regard the son of Yori Nakajima, an elderly Japanese man that Barnes had seemed to develop a friendship with. But the implication is that Barnes has been spending time with Nakajima as he works up the courage to confess to his part in his son’s death.
Will Barnes come clean to Nakajima, and will it help him finally move past his Winter Soldier history? If it does, will Bucky then become the White Wolf, and what will that mean? Barnes is not the White Wolf in the comics; it is a different character entirely, so an MCU arc would be its own thing.
What Happened to Steve Rogers?
Steve Rogers was last seen in the MCU at the end of “Avengers: Endgame” as an elderly version of himself, passing down his shield to Wilson so that he could take on the Captain America mantle. Prior to the show’s premiere, there was speculation that Rogers had passed away, providing an opportunity to show his funeral in the series.
With one episode left, Rogers has been mentioned numerous times throughout the series. But no legitimate explanation of his whereabouts has been provided. In the first episode, Torres somewhat jokingly informs Wilson that there’s talk that Rogers is on a secret base on the moon. Wilson denied that claim but didn’t offer clarification.
In episode 5, Wilson specifically says to Barnes “Steve is gone” without context of whether “gone” means Rogers is deceased or elsewhere.
During an interview with BBC Radio 1, Wyatt Russell — who plays Walker — was asked whether he had ever met Chris Evans. Russell’s answer implied the show’s finale would offer an answer to the question: “You just got to wait till the end of the series, and then everybody will be like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Love it, hate it — I don’t know.”