After two episodes of world-building, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s third episode becomes more focused on the spy-thriller/action-adventure aspects of the story.
The new Captain America, Sam, and Bucky are on the hunt for Karli Morgenthau. Neither have any leads. In an act of desperation Bucky helps Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) escape from prison, leading Sam, Bucky, and Zemo to go to the city of Madripoor.
I am a fan of espionage action franchises like James Bond, Bourne, and Mission: Impossible and this episode was right up my alley. The majority of the episode focused on Sam, Bucky and Zemo in Madripoor, watching them go into sleazy clubs and meet dodgy people. These were scenes that could easily have fitted in Bond or Mission: Impossible. Zemo’s escape was clearly influenced by the escape scenes in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Skyfall. The episode had an incredible action scene in a shipyard as one person had to fend off a load of bounty hunters. It was a change of pace for the MCU because the combatants were just highly trained agents and mercenaries, not superpowered beings.
Madripoor was a great location. It was a modern version of Tortuga, a place that’s a safe haven for criminals, pirates, and scoundrels. It was an Asian city and one of the locations the characters go looked like a dodgy nightclub in Bangkok. One of the characters had to drink a shot with a snake heart shot which reminded me of the opening of The Beach.
Whilst most of the episode focused on Sam, Bucky, and Zemo, Jack Walker, and Karli made an appearance in the episode. Jack’s darker side was hinted at again when he threatens a suspect during a raid. It’s certainly not the way Steve Rogers would have done it. Karli was shown in a sympathetic light. She was introduced to playing soccer with some kids in a relocation camp and grieves over a friend. But Karli crosses a line at the end of the episode. The point was to show what would drive people to commit terrorist acts.
In Captain America: Civil War, Zemo was only in the film to serve a purpose: get Captain America and Iron Man to fight each other. In this episode, he felt more like a character and made for a fun addition. Sam and Bucky stop bickering with each other and focus comedic energy against Zemo. Clearly, Zemo intends to try and get Bucky to re-join the dark side.
“Power Broker” worked as a spy story it did have one major issue: the overly expository dialogue. Characters were constantly explaining things to each other and it got annoying. There were moments where characters were explaining things they had already experienced (like the events of Captain America: Civil War and when two characters got injected with the super-soldier serum), but it came off as unnatural. It was done for the benefit of the audience instead of the characters.
“Power Broker” worked as a standalone episode due to the bulk of the story focusing on three main characters and taking place in one city. However, it suffered from some clunky writing and it felt a bit like a filler episode in the middle of six-episode miniseries.