Falcon and the Winter Solider has been so much better than I thought it would be. Honestly, after the complete mind-fudge that Wandavision was, I couldn’t imagine this series being as remotely surprising, but I was wrong. Where I thought we were going to get a run of the mill spy thriller, Falcon and the Winter Soldier has tacked issues of racism, imposter syndrome, and white supremacy head on with tissue-thin allegory. The result is a series that is a figurative tidal wave of topicality and importance.
With this episode, the question of who should take the super solider serum is front and center. Questions of supremacy are asked. You cannot tell me this show isn’t about racism at its heart.
Consider John Walker (and heavy spoilers are incoming here) and how he unravels in this episode. While I’ve been musing that Walker suffers from PTSD given some of the physical tells he’s been exhibiting, the real downfall of his composer seemed to come when he failed to put Sam in his place and was unequivocally handed his star spangled butt by the Dora Milaje, giving him the humiliation of being beaten by both black people and women.
I know what you’re going to say: But what about Battlestar? What about Lemar? How can Walker be racist if he’s got a black friend?
Well, keep in mind, I’m not saying that Walker is a racist in the sense that he supports segregation or wearing a white hood on the weekends, I’m just saying that he is threatened by strong black people. Lemar, you see, is his friend and partner… but you can also argue that Lemar is literally a prop as well. Walker truly snapped when he wasn’t able to protect his charge, a charge who was inferior to him in his mind. A charge who needed his protection.
Racism, a lot like many things, isn’t a “black or white” issue, there are shades of gray. Even I, who strive every day not to be that way, find that I, unknowingly and unintentionally, am guilty of microaggressions, but I continue to strive to learn and improve.
Walker isn’t capable for one reason or another.
And so, Walker cracks and, if you didn’t see it coming, you were blind. Hand selected, the pressure of living up to an ideal he never really understood, failure after failure… this was coming.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier is such a good series. Gritty and able to face topical issues head on without flinching. It’s such an enjoyable run.