The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5 “Truth” Review
Last week, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier wrestled with morales and legacy as heroes and villains clashed both physically and ideologically in what was arguably one of the best episodes yet. Between Wakandans sweeping the floor, building relationships with unlikely individuals, and the demise of John Walker, “The Whole World Is Watching” set up a daring high bar for the final two episodes of the latest Marvel series on Disney+. As The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was racing to defy justice, somehow this week the escapades of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes slammed the brakes. While “Truth” does contain plenty of subsistence to feast off, the penultimate fifth entry of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier falls out of line with the rest of its lineup. If it were not for its intriguing lead cast that is constantly developing, episode five would simply fall apart amongst high pressures.
Once again picking up seconds after where the show previously ended, “Truth” is focused on the aftermath of John Walker’s unlawful kill of a Flag-Smasher as the world watched in horror. As Sam and Bucky are forced to confront the unstable Captain America mantle taker who has more than likely destroyed a piece of Steve Rogers’ legacy forever, the two Avengers are finally able to take home a symbol that means everything to them. The result is a string of events that bounces all over the place. Jumping from different story to character, “Truth” is absolutely all over the place as it attempts to begin wrapping up the stories of five heroes and villains while introducing even more. While episode five certainly takes a definitive direction with its story the pacing and construction of what it is attempting to tell is the most disorganized The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has ever been.
While the core focus of episode five does continue to forge a new future for the Captain America legacy, it struggles to keep an actual directive intact. Unlike every other episode of the series thus far that had events constantly connected to one another whether that be in technicality or actuality, “Truth” attempts to juggle multiple storylines that are branching off into more plot lines. A stumbled pacing has made every event in the episode seem unconnected. The entire episode’s storyline feels wrongly stapled together as it makes random cuts and jabs into ideas being explored in different lights. It is a complete wind back from what audiences have expected to witness due to the tone and pacing of the last three episodes. On top of visiting so many locations, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s latest episode is dealing with too many people.
While Sam’s second engagement with the black super-soldier Isaiah Bradley provides some of the most intriguing scenes of the episode from a political and emotional standpoint, Bucky is left with not much to do but confront Zemo and rekindle his relationship with Falcon. The two titular leads take the spotlight for the majority of the episode’s timeline, however, John Walker manages to pull through with some of the most engaging scenes during the hour as he copes with the death of his partner Lemar. Walker is forced to pay for his brutal crimes and what follows is nothing short of brilliant. As he faces the United States and the fact that he is nothing but a tool to the country’s higher-ups, Walker begins to forge his own identity that is completely different from Captain America. He begins to find his own meaning of justice and purpose. For the newcomer that was shoehorned into an incredibly difficult legacy to follow up on Walker is beginning to find his own path in life. Outside of Sam, Bucky, and Walker receiving new developments though, everyone else is practically shuffled into the mix — even the Flag-Smashers who took up a bulk of the last episode.
Meanwhile, Baron Zemo and Sharon Carter — two Civil War veterans who should have arguably had larger roles after their prior appearances — were really given the short end of the stick this episode. While the former is at least granted an emotional moment to connect with his past as he visits a memorial for the fallen souls of the battle for Sokovia, the show does so little with Sharon Carter that it is upsetting. Having the Wakandans show up to take Zemo to the Raft was expected and at very least he is given a proper exit if this is indeed the last time the villain will appear for a while, but with both of these characters, there were a lot of expectations after their killer first appearances. Zemo and Carter had incredible first impressions that seemingly pointed towards both playing larger roles in the series. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier though has not done much when it comes to developing both of them. The series for some reason sidelined Carter to introduce yet another participant in the overarching picture.
Where “Truth” absolutely slips the most though is with its new character introduction of Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus). John Walker’s reconcile with his murder takes several needed steps, but the first appearance of this seemingly important comic book character comes off as awkward here. Louis-Dreyfus’ character was supposedly going to debut in Black Widow, however, with a slew of rumors and constant delays for the film due to the pandemic, it seems as if Marvel had no choice but to make The Falcon and the Winter Soldier her first dive into the Cinematic Universe. What exactly this newcomer will be up to in the upcoming films and shows is still a mystery, but one can infer that she will be building some sort of dark Avengers team based on her written history and black card handout to Walker. It is a cumbersome situation, but Louis-Dreyfus will undoubtedly be given a better time to shine in the future.
On a side note, does anyone else find it extremely odd that Alphie Nyorth’s nameless character has appeared multiple times now yet has no actual name? He is simply listed as “Government Official” in both episodes he has appeared in, yet this is the guy that not only gave Walker the Captain America’s shield but showed up at his hearing and at the ending during the Global Repatriation Council vote. For a government official that receives a camera spotlight multiple times and has partaken in several major events throughout the series so far that have driven the plot only forward — and let’s be honest, he will be in the finale once again for that — it is nothing but weird how this one reoccurring guest has absolutely no background or any details pertaining to his character. Filling the boots of a cog with some game-changing importance, Nyorth has little to no presentable agenda while also being critical to the show’s events.
For the penultimate episode that is supposed to set the stage for one grand conclusion, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes quite a hit in comparison to its two previous highs. It never takes a nosedive or turns for the worst throughout its runtime, yet episode five oddly feels out of place from the rest of the series as it slowly wraps up into a disappointing low point with needed rundown. Pulling through with a thrilling opening and overall great character development for the majority of the key players, “Truth” manages to float with a ton of subsistence despite hitting several setbacks. After setting the stage with a constant stream of action and chaos amongst deep political stances that always treat characters dirty and clean within a complicated global environment, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s pre-finale leaves a lot more to be desired. With new characters and a lot of strange scenes rumbling in the mix, hopefully the closing confrontation between the Flag-Smashers and the prodigies of Captain America will end righteously.