Montage daydream The Falcon and the Winter Soldier “Truth”
Previously: Sam’s sister Sarah still can’t make her fishing boat payments, even though she has twice as many customers now. John Walker injected himself with some stolen super-soldier serum in order to serve more effectively as Captain America, but that backfired after Battlestar got killed in a fight with the Flag-Smashers, and John Walker got roid rage and murdered a guy in broad daylight. Bad Captain America! You’re only supposed to do that to ugly aliens, and people we can’t see die, like in buildings and vehicles you blow up and things of this nature.
Walker runs through a disused train depot, on the run from the prying eye of international law after extra-judicially murdering an unarmed civilian. He enters the warehouse and shouts some manly exhortations of grief and regret to the rats. Bucky and Sam find him here kneeling behind his blood-stained shield.
Sam encourages Walker to turn himself in and wait for a president willing to pardon him. But Walker thinks it’s a ploy for either Bucky or Sam to take the shield for himself, and refuses to give it up. They have a big fight over it.
Bucky’s cybernetic arm gets disabled during the fight. Sam’s wings are ripped off like a bug’s. Walker almost bisects Sam’s head with the shield but is tackled by Bucky. The fight ends with Bucky holding Walker in place while Sam grips the shield and guns his still-functioning rocket boosters while Walker grips his shield’s handles for dear life. This has the effect of gruesomely snapping Walker’s arm and freeing the shield.
They drag Walker back to the church. Lieutenant Torres shows up and fills Sam and Bucky in: people are understandably upset about the whole Captain America murdering somebody thing, and no one can find Karli or Zemo. Bucky stalks off to deal with the latter. Sam resolves to find Karli before she squirrels herself even deeper underground. He leaves his broken wings with Torres and takes off with the shield.
Walker gets into his class-As and attends a hearing formally revoking his status as Captain America. He’s not facing jail or even a court martial over his actions—all he’s getting is an other-than-honorable discharge, leaving him still eligible for VA benefits—but boy, is he sure mad anyway. He tries to dispute the allegations against him by yelling stridently like they do in the movies. He pounds the podium and decries the lack of appreciation they have for his service to his country. They’re condemning him, he says, for simply doing what he was trained to do.
Walker’s being consoled by his wife when a marble floor heralds the arrival of… Julia Louis-Dreyfus? She introduces herself as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who in the comics is a triple-agent spy and love interest of Nick Fury. She tells Walker good-on-you for killing that bad guy, and double-good-on-you for taking that serum, because it’s made Walker’s services very valuable. She promises to call him later for some exciting new job opportunities, leaving him a totally blank business card.
Bucky meets Zemo at the memorial for the country formerly known as Sokovia, smashed to bits at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Zemo encourages him to kill Karli before she can fulfill her mission. Instead, Bucky raises a gun to Zemo’s head. He pulls the trigger, but the gun is empty. Three Dora Milaje warriors come to herd Zemo into one of their spaceships. Ayo tells Bucky he’s not welcome in Wakanda for the forseeable future, but he has one last favor to ask before he’s persona non grata.
Cut to Baltimore. Sam’s decided to pay Isaiah Bradley another visit. He finds him watering his garden. Isaiah sees the circular object in the bag and tells Sam to keep it in there. He says that given America’s history toward blacks who fought for their country, no self-respecting black man should ever want to be Captain America. Sam asks him what he means, and Isaiah brings him inside and tells him the full story.
He was one of several black soldiers shot up with different experimental versions of the super-soldier serum. They were all told they were being treated for tetanus. Some didn’t survive. Others were sent out on missions and got captured. Isaiah got sent to jail because he rescued some of his fellow super-soldiers from a POW camp, which the military brass was otherwise going to carpet-bomb to cover up the evidence of their experiments. Isaiah’s wife was told he was dead, and she died herself sometime during the 30 years he was imprisoned. He only got out by having a sympathetic nurse declare him dead. He’s living under the radar now, and that’s the way he wants it. None of Sam’s appeals to idealism, or insistences that times have changed, can move him.
With nothing else to do until he gets another lead on Karli, Sam goes back to Louisiana. Sarah tells him she’s not selling the boat after all; it’s so beat up no one will buy it. Sam convenes a neighborhood get-together to fix it all up. Even Bucky jumps in! And they have a funk-flavored boat-fixing montage. They even enjoy a few refreshing brand-name beers afterward, even though it’s already been established in Captain America: The First Avenger that alcohol has no effect on super-soldiers.
Walker, meanwhile, is talking with Mr. and Mrs. Battlestar, lying through his teeth that the guy he murdered was Battlestar’s killer. Cut to Madripoor, where the Artist Formerly Known As Agent Sharon Carter is on the phone with Bastroc, the French mercenary that Sam arrested at the beginning of the series. She’s got a mysterious job for him to do, for which she’s willing to pay double her usual rate, and maybe we’d have a better idea of what it was if he’d speak freakin’ English!
Later, the boys are having a toss-around with the Captain America shield out in Sam’s front yard. Bucky apologizes for his lack of racial sensitivity in demanding that Sam become Captain America, and Sam apologizes for his hostility. Bucky admits that the shield means a lot to him because it represents all the good parts of himself, and without it all he has left is the evil Winter Soldier persona. Sam says that if he really wants to get over being the Winter Soldier, he’s got to make real amends to some of the people in that book that’s kind of been left by the wayside ever since the pilot.
With that out of the way, Sam can have a good old-fashioned training montage, learning how to throw the shield back and forth and catch it. And also cartwheel. Because Captain America has to cartwheel a lot, especially right in between throwing his shield and catching it.
Batroc shows up to meet the Flag-Smashers in New York City, with a briefcase containing a submachine gun and some kind of metal spheres. Tonight, the Global Repatriation Council is meeting to vote on whether to move all the world’s Blip-displaced refugees back to their countries of origin. Karli strikes a deal with him: Batroc helps them make sure the vote never happens, and Batroc gets to kill Sam.
The GRC vote is taking place around a Dr. Strangelove-esque conference table, led by some guy credited only as “Government Official”. He’s a very busy boy, having first gone on television to inaugurate the new Captain America, then presided over the committee to discharge Captain America, and now this. Right now, he’s trying to convince everyone not to bother with a vote and just move the damned refugees. A security guard who’s a secret Flag-Smasher speaks a Flag-Smasher code word to another security guard, scans his keycard, and the power goes out.
Up in his hotel room, Sam opens a suitcase Bucky gave him, which of course contains a new suit the Wakandans made that we’re going to have to wait until next episode to see.
Mid-credits: In one last montage before we depart, Walker stares at a picture of himself and Battlestar as he hammers and welds a bunch of scrap metal and his old Medal of Honor into a new Captain America shield. Stay tuned!