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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ season 1 recap – episode 6: ‘One World, One People’

(Courtesy of Chuck Zlotnik)

"One World, One People"

Directed by Kari Skogland

Disney+

April 23

By EJ Panaligan

April 25, 2021 11:56 a.m.

This post was updated April 25 at 6:25 p.m.

Warning: spoilers ahead.

A Black man carrying the stars and stripes is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new reality.

Released Friday, the final episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” dives straight into the heat of the action in New York City as Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) and the Flag Smashers commence their attack on the Global Repatriation Council meeting, with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) hot on their trails at the ground level. The grandiose finale doesn’t let up on the action or plot, providing a highlight moment for each of the show’s prominent characters while neatly tying up its main narrative.

With the shield in hand and propulsion wings on his back, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) makes his triumphant debut as Captain America, donning the Wakandan-made red, white and blue suit teased at the end of “Truth.” He immediately puts his new digs to the test against Batroc the Leaper (Georges St-Pierre), who engages in a fistfight with Sam as a diversion while the Flag Smashers push forward with their hostage plan to round up and kill the kidnapped senators.

[Related: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ season 1 recap – episode 5: ‘Truth’]

Further along in the streets, John Walker (Wyatt Russell) shows up with a makeshift shield to put an end to the Flag Smashers and get revenge for his fallen friend. While they square off, Bucky saves a group of senators from a burning vehicle and, in a positive character moment, finally receives acknowledgment for the good he’s doing on his own accord rather than the terror he inflicted as the Winter Soldier.

Concurrently in the sky, a fleeing hostage-filled helicopter of Flag Smashers leads to a perfect, adrenaline-fueled showcase of Sam’s abilities as Captain America, as he utilizes the airborne capabilities of his suit wings – and his reborn drone companion Redwing – to save the hostages.

Back on the ground, Walker chooses to save a falling van of trapped senators over chasing down Karli for revenge. The momentum of the falling van suddenly stops as a shot of the shield occupies the entire screen, revealing that Sam’s propulsion wings are holding the van from plunging. The moment serves as a figurative reclamation of the shield’s good-natured legacy as surrounding crowds cheer him on and proudly declare him their new Captain America.

Sam, Bucky and Walker then team up to chase the Flag Smashers into the inner workings of a construction site, which comes off as an odd narrative choice when Walker was hellbent on killing the former duo in the opening scene of the previous episode. Elsewhere in the site, a contentious standoff between Batroc, Karli and Sharon – who is revealed to be the mysterious Power Broker – takes place and shots are traded as Sharon kills Batroc.

Sam hears the shots and interjects to talk Karli down, but right as she aims at Sam, Sharon shoots her in a tense but resolving climax to the episode’s elongated action sequence. Before bleeding out, Karli apologizes to Sam for seemingly being far beyond saving from her extremism.

 

After handing over Karli’s body to paramedics, Sam speaks to the senators he helped save and is troubled with their constant labeling of the Flag Smashers as terrorists. He quickly launches into a poignant monologue that likens his everyday struggles as a Black American to the difficulties the senators have faced in readjusting citizens to the post-Blip world, a defining character moment for the nation’s new Captain America as he challenges the senators to do better for the people.

[Related: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ season 1 recap – episode 4: ‘The Whole World Is Watching’]

Tying up the series’ loose ends, Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) gets the last laugh with the help of his butler as he kills off the remaining arrested Flag Smashers in a car explosion, fulfilling his agenda against unchecked Super Soldiers. Meanwhile, Walker dons a new black and red suit in excitement as the cryptic Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) anoints him his new title of U.S. Agent and tells him to stay by his phone, leaving possibilities wide open for his future MCU involvement.

Bucky also finally musters the courage to talk to Yori (Ken Takemoto) and admits that he killed his son as the Winter Soldier – a direct follow-up to Sam’s advice in the previous episode. He then leaves his therapist a parting gift – Steve Rogers’ journal with a crossed-out list of all the individuals he wronged as the Winter Soldier, signaling a newfound peace with his troubled past.

Sam visits Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) and Eli Bradley (Elijah Richardson) one last time in Baltimore, with Isaiah in remarkably better spirits after seeing Sam stand up to the senators on television. And in an ultimate display of Sam’s goodwill, he takes the Bradleys to the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution and shows them a newly established section that honors Isaiah’s legacy that the government sought to erase, bringing Isaiah to tears and giving the tragic character an optimistic ending.

The final shot shows Sam and Bucky walking toward a party crowd in Louisiana as credits wrap up the high-octane miniseries, the title card now displaying “Captain America and the Winter Soldier,” an earned display after Sam’s six-episode journey of reckoning with his trepidations about assuming the mantle.

“One World, One People” wraps up the overall series in a satisfying manner for fans, leaving multiple doors open for future MCU projects. And with news following the episode’s release that showrunner Malcolm Spellman is slated to write the fourth “Captain America” film, fans won’t have to wait long for Mackie’s return as America’s hero.

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EJ Panaligan | Senior staff
Panaligan is a senior staffer for the Arts and Entertainment and Opinion sections. He was previously the Opinion editor in 2020-21, and created the "Columns From Quarantine" Opinion column series. For the Arts and Entertainment section, he regularly contributes features, columns, reviews and Q&As to the Music | Fine Arts beat. He also co-created the "Life and Hip-Hop" Arts column series. He is from Carson, California but unabashedly dreams of a professional life in New York City.
Panaligan is a senior staffer for the Arts and Entertainment and Opinion sections. He was previously the Opinion editor in 2020-21, and created the "Columns From Quarantine" Opinion column series. For the Arts and Entertainment section, he regularly contributes features, columns, reviews and Q&As to the Music | Fine Arts beat. He also co-created the "Life and Hip-Hop" Arts column series. He is from Carson, California but unabashedly dreams of a professional life in New York City.
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