The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has reached its penultimate episode. It’s a case of the calm before the storm as the show resolves some of the storylines before the climax.
“The Truth” picks up where “The Whole World is Watching” left off with the new Captain America snapping and killing a man in public. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have to fight the rage-fuelled super soldier and retrieve the shield from him. With the shield back in their procession, Sam has to consider whether he should become the next Captain America whilst the Flag Smashers prepare for their final move.
One of the biggest criticisms against the show has been its pacing. The later episodes have led to the show slowing to a crawl and “The Truth” was evidence of this. After the initial action scene, the episode focused on Sam’s personal journey. This took Sam to revisit Isaiah and helping his sister repair the family fishing boat. The aim of the episode was to show how Sam comes to a decision to take up the shield after giving it away earlier in the season. It was a shame the episode did it in such an uninteresting way.
The bulk of the episode took place in Sam’s hometown with Sam getting the neighbors to help his sister. The aim of these scenes was meant to show Sam’s normal life as he comes to his decision. But it wasn’t a thrilling way to get there. It wasn’t like Spider-Man 2 where the main character struggled to balance their personal and superhero lives and realize why he needs to take on the superhero mantle. This detour to Louisiana shows that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier didn’t have enough material to justify the six-episode run.
The other aspect of Sam’s choice was what it would mean to African Americans. When Sam visited Isaiah the older man warned that any black man who becomes Captain America would be nothing more than a government stooge. This was due to Isaiah’s experience. But Sam as Captain America could also be seen as an inspiration for young black people. The episode was tapping into real-world issues with racial issues still being topical in the US and Isaiah did have a heart-breaking story because of the abuses he had suffered. But Isaiah stated that Captain America and the shield was a symbol of oppression which doesn’t work so well in the context of the MCU because Steve Rogers stood for real American values of democracy, freedom, and liberty. He rebelled against his own government to make sure those values were upheld.
The aim of the series has been to get Sam to don the shield and show two different versions of Captain America. Jack Walker’s version of Captain America was meant to be a personification of the worst aspect of America by being a government agent who only knows how to use force and had a ‘ends justify the means’ approach. He was more like The Comedian in Watchmen. Whilst Sam was more in the model of Steve Rogers. In the episode Sam does practice with the shield which led to a montage and this reminded me of the ‘Montage’ song from South Park.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did introduce story ideas but some still felt unresolved. Isaiah’s role in the series felt more like a lingering tread than actually servicing the plot and the MCU was leaving open the idea that Bucky could be forced back to the dark side.
This episode introduced Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. She only appeared for one scene, but she was a dominating force for it. It goes to show much more of a screen presence the VEEP star is. It leads to the question what is her role going to be in the MCU? She has the potential to be a wildcard like Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness.
Despite its title, “The Truth” didn’t actually reveal any truth. This episode was a case of killing time before the final showdown.