The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 4 features several MCU Easter eggs and Marvel Comics references, as well as some unsettling contrasts between John Walker and Steve Rogers. Four episodes in, Hawk and winter soldier forces Sam Wilson to confront the reality that the post-Blip world is becoming. He comes face to face with Karli Morgenthau, leader of the Flag-Smashers, in an attempt to convince her.
Naturally, it’s not going well, but in large part because of John Walker’s involvement. In the comics, Walker was chosen by the US government to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America, and he quickly proved himself unfit for the role. The MCU is following the same pattern, pushing Walker to the breaking point and beyond, and setting him up as the show’s main villain. Now he has become a twisted mirror image of Steve Rogers, depicting what Captain America would be like if the wrong man had been chosen for the super soldier serum.
All of that means this is an action-packed episode that moves at a fast pace, but still finds time for some deep dives into Marvel lore that helps contrast the two Captain America of the MCU. Not only do they compare Walker to Steve Rogers, but they also show why Sam Wilson is a very different type of hero than anyone else in the MCU.
11. Deprogramming the Winter Soldier in Wakanda
Steve Rogers brought the Winter Soldier to Wakanda to have Hydra’s programming removed. According to the Avengers: Infinity War Prelude Comical, Bucky remained in cryogenic suspension for months while Shuri worked on him. It was a difficult task, because the trigger words had been linked to traumatic memories buried deep in Bucky’s psyche, and Shuri needed to remove their power while making sure not to erase the memories. Hawk and winter soldier Episode 4 reveals that the Wakandans were still working on Bucky just a few months earlier. Avengers: Infinity War, with the flashback scene showing Ayo testing the activation words to see if they still had any power over the Winter Soldier. It is interesting to see Ayo personally involved in this process; She is Dora Milaje’s second-in-command, indicating what degree of potential security threat the Wakandans considered Bucky to be.
Note that the Winter Soldier has yet to be given a new Vibranium cyborg arm. The Wakandans clearly didn’t give him that until the deprogramming was complete; given Bucky’s pride in the White Wolf moniker in previous episodes, he may have earned it. If so, that would make the temporary removal of Ayo’s arm later in this episode even more heartbreaking for Bucky.
10. Key Memories of the Winter Soldiers
As Ayo reads the trigger words at the beginning of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3, Bucky sees flashbacks, memories of key moments in his life. They will be instantly recognizable to many viewers:
- Zemo closing the Winter Soldier codeword book on Captain America: Civil War
- Bucky trying to get out of his cell before Zemo could finish saying all the activation words.
- Multiple shots of the Winter Soldier in the SHIELD Helicarrier from Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- The masked Winter Soldier trying to strangle Steve Rogers
- The Winter Soldier at the Hydra facility in Siberia, previously seen in other flashbacks in Captain America: Civil War
- Multiple shots of the Winter Soldier being brainwashed by Hydra, as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- The murder of Howard and Maria Stark
The images are only seen briefly and are clearly intended to be representative of Bucky’s time as the Winter Soldier; In many takes, Steve Rogers’ face is darkened to make it look like he was simply remembering to attack innocents.
9. King T’Chaka
The Dora Milaje remind Bucky exactly why they want Baron Zemo in Hawk and winter soldier; because he is responsible for the death of King T’Chaka. His death brought special shame to Dora Milaje, because her sacred duty is to protect the King of Wakanda. While they were content to allow Zemo to remain incarcerated, in accordance with T’Challa’s wishes, they will not sit idly by while he goes free.
8. The “Law of Patches”
Moving to the present in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3, Flag-Smashers activities have not achieved their goal; attempts to reestablish national borders are accelerating rather than slowing down. This is apparently in accordance with the Patch Law, which is probably a fun Easter egg given that this series has already introduced Madripoor into the MCU; Patch is the most famous resident of Madripoor, actually Wolverine’s alias.
7. Captain America’s wives
Captain America actually wears handcuffs. This idea is not drawn from the comics, but rather from the fun linked merchandise released in 1979. Kids could buy an official tool belt with a communicator, decoder glasses, a watch, handcuffs, a secret decoder map, a Captain America. identity card and a “secret message.“No one knows why you would wear a wristwatch on a tool belt, but toys don’t always have to make sense.
6. Karli is “just a girl”
Sam Wilson insists on treating Karli Morgenthau like an attacking wounded human being rather than a supervillain, and tells his colleagues “she is just a girl.“The line evokes Steve Rogers’ own dialogue in Captain America: Civil War, where he made the same comment about Scarlet Witch. Of course, the circumstances are different, but the comparison is interesting; Like Steve, Sam is able to look beyond current circumstances and see human struggles. It will be interesting to see if Falcon proves himself worthy of becoming the next Captain America by redeeming the leader of the Flag-Smashers.
5. Zemo Pulls An El Chapo
Baron Zemo escapes from his safe house using a secret tunnel in his bathroom, and Sam describes it as “pulling an El Chapo.“This is a reference to Mexican drug lord Joaquín ” El Chapo ” Guzmán, who escaped from a maximum security prison in 2015 through a 1.5 km long tunnel dug in the showers. This is the kind of movement that Baron Zemo has done since the comics would pull, and he’s wonderfully in character.
4. John Walker becomes a super soldier
John Walker finally becomes a super soldier in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3, albeit in a very different way than the comics, where it was experienced by Power Broker. The problem is that, as Zemo correctly argues, the super-soldier serum amplifies what is already there; good becomes great, as in Steve Rogers, but evil becomes evil. It is immediately clear that all of John Walker’s most violent and reckless impulses have been marked up to the 11th.
3. The shield stuck on the wall
John Walker demonstrates his superhuman strength by throwing Captain America’s shield against a wall, a perfect demonstration that he’s struggling to get used to his newfound strength, because he probably intended to pull off a rebound. Steve Rogers has wedged the shield into a wall before, but he always did it on purpose to give himself a tactical advantage, as in a scene in Captain America: Civil War where he threw the shield against a wall so that an agent crashed headlong into it.
2. The Winter Soldier’s Knife Pull
The spin of the knife has become one of the Winter Soldier’s signature moves, allowing him to catch a weapon and flip it. Hawk and winter soldier Episode 4 interprets it as a character moment, proving that Bucky Barnes is no longer a killer; after flipping the knife over, he quickly discards it, proving once again that Wakanda’s deprogramming worked.
1. Using the shield to kill
The most dramatic and horrible scene in Hawk and winter soldier Episode 4 sees John Walker use the shield to kill, even as everyone watches via smartphones recording the incident. Steve Rogers seemed tempted to similarly use the shield against Tony Stark in his final battle in Captain America: Civil War, but he resisted that temptation and broke Stark’s Arc Reactor instead. This scene serves as a perfect character study, proving that John Walker is the antithesis of Captain America and unworthy of wielding the shield.
There is also a parallel between this and Black Widow’s death in Secret empire # 7, when she was killed by an evil version of Steve Rogers. The repercussions of this dark Captain America lasted for years, with the world struggling to accept the real Steve Rogers because they had been slaves to a doppelganger. Sam may find it just as difficult to trade Captain America’s name after John Walker.
More: Is John Walker Evil In The Comics?
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