The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Our Biggest Take-Aways from the Finale

The second Marvel Cinematic Universe series on Disney+ has come to an end. The finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delivered on many promises the premise originally offered: action, Bucky’s redemption arc, and Sam Wilson taking on the Captain American mantle. It also left many questions and clues about where these characters could go in the future.

Stick with us to talk about the biggest takeaways from the finale—these are the four moments with the biggest punch, the biggest impact.

Bucky Becomes a Hero, Finds Family

At the start of the series, Bucky Barnes was healed physically and deprogrammed. He spent two years in Wakanda, undoing the HYDRA’s brainwashing with the help of Wakandan technology and Ayo of the Dora Milaje.

Six months after the Blip, we see Bucky struggle in his therapy sessions, going through the motions and plagued by his dark past. Throughout six episodes, Bucky does eventually redeem and forgive himself. He becomes Sam Wilson’s right-hand man and not in a “co-worker” way. Like Steve Rogers was family to the Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson is also his family. In the last scene, Bucky attends Sam’s family gathering. He’s as cozy to the Wilson family as an uncle.

But it’s not just Bucky’s relationship that changes. The finale is chock-full of moments where he chooses to be a hero. He saves a burning truck full of GRC members and returns to friend Yori Nakajima, finally ready to admit it was he who murdered his son.

It’s not rainbows and butterfly redemption, but a realistic, bittersweet one we can get behind.

Agent Carter is Pardoned, Unluckily for the U.S. Government

It was Agatha all along. Scratch that. It was Agent Carter all along. The Power Broker that is. Unlike the big bad witch in WandaVision, who seemed to want to power for power’s sake, Sharon Carter has her heart set on vengeance.

The complex character skirts between good and bad, sometimes helping Captain America (both Steve and Sam) and sometimes selling the Super Soldier Serum for a pretty penny as the Power Broker.

Why is that? How did Peggy Carter’s grand-niece get so corrupted? Like so many forgotten people after the Blip, Sharon was never important enough to be granted a pardon (it seems that was only reserved for people who were on the frontlines of the Battle of Earth). And when Karli and the Power Broker come face to face, it becomes clear why Sharon took on the criminal persona: “Because you wanted to control a world that hurt you,” Karli tells Sharon. In other words, to cause havoc in a world that forgot her.

Well, things are not looking good for the world and the U.S. in particular now that Sharon has been pardoned and offered a position in her old division—a position you probably don’t want an international criminal to have.

“Start lining up our buyers. Super Soldiers might be off the menu, but we’re about to have full access to government secrets, prototype weapons, you name it.” Whatever Agent Carter is planning, won’t be good for Captain America.

From Fake Cap to US Agent

Like Sharon, Flag Smasher Karli, and even Bucky himself, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier loved morally “gray” characters, characters that were messy, complex, and had good and bad histories.

Let’s add John Walker to the “gray” list. Originally, everyone thought the Disney+ series would follow the comics and show Walker’s very quick descent into evil Fake Cap, but, while he did murder someone, the series also offers him a way to semi-redeem himself.

Walker goes to the final battle to the avenge Lemar Hoskins, lasering in on Karli. But he doesn’t lose control this time. This time he lets the Flag Smasher kingpin escape and instead helps the innocent. For the U.S. government, it’s enough for redemption.

Or maybe someone else is pulling the strings. Perhaps that person is Val, a.k.a. Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who has an equally murky history. If she is the one truly calling the shots, it seems she may be assembling the Dark Avengers or the Thunderbolts, and U.S. Agent is just the first of her pawns.

The New Captain America

While most characters in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have complicated pasts, have done things that could have very easily sent them to the Raft, there is one key player who has always been good. Of course, we’re talking about the new Captain America, Sam Wilson, who is optimistic and pacifistic (at least as much as he can be in the turbulent MCU).

No longer unsure of his worthiness to don the the red, white, and blue costume, eager fans were finally able to celebrate seeing Sam officially take on the Captain America mantle. And it looks good on him! His hybrid suit combines Falcon and standard Captain America elements. The finale demonstrated new features on the new design: Captain America’s expansive wings can act as a shield and it also includes an upgraded Redwing.

But it wasn’t just Sam’s getup or courage to take on the mantle, it was his desire to do good and help everyone, especially the most forgotten people, that truly cemented his worthiness to be the next Captain America.

For one, Sam never lost his cool with Karli. Like Steve Rogers once championed for a troubled Wanda Maximoff, Sam does the same with the Flag Smasher leader who he wants to spare, believing she is just a confused teenager. Sam also gives a heroic speech to the GRC politicians, advising them choose the right action, not the easiest. “Look, you people have just as much power as an insane God or a misguided teenager. The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘How are you going to use it?'”

Sam doesn’t just talk the talk, he puts his words to action and uses his own power to help his friend Isaiah Bradley, the forgotten soldier long overdue for recognition. Because of Captain America, everyone will know about Isaiah’s truth with a statue in the Captain America Exhibit at the Smithsonian.

Yes, Sam Wilson is very much worthy of the title. Here’s to you, Cap.

What were your favorite moments in the *Captain America* and Winter Soldier finale? Let us know in the comments below.