TV Recap – Action-Packed Finale of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” Sets Up Exciting Things Going Forward

We’ve made it to the finish line. This week marked the finale of Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and it was loaded with more action than you could have possibly asked for. With last week’s episode setting up the big fight, the finale wastes little time before jumping right into that final conflict. The episode, titled “One World, One People,” sees everything come together in one big, climactic moment.

Spoilers ahead!

The episode opens with Karli’s pep talk to the Flag Smashers, explaining that it’s time for them to make their move. We see a military presence has surrounded the building in which the GRC vote was supposed to be taking place. We see Sam approaching the city, via a new flight suit, but we don’t get a good look at it. He let’s Bucky, who is approaching the building on foot, know he’s almost there.

As Bucky is allowed past the military barricade, Sam lets him know that he called in some backup. A man asks Bucky if he’s supposed to be there before revealing that he is actually Sharon in disguise, using the same technology we saw Black Widow use in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As Sam flies overhead, Karli spots him and tells one of the Smashers to make their move.

Inside the building, the Flag Smashers begin their attack, flushing the GRC reps out of the building with gas bombs. Sam arrives just in time, smashing a window with the shield and flying in to reveal his brand new Captain America suit from the Wakandans.

As Sam goes to work, someone asks who he is and, without hesitation, he answers “I’m Captain America.” As Sam is trying to direct people to safety, Batroc gets the drop on him and kicks off their one-on-one fight. Sam tasks Bucky and Sharon with making sure the GRC reps don’t leave the building but we see them being lead to three separate means of evacuation – two in armored trucks and one in a helicopter.

As Bucky makes his way through the building, a woman hands him a phone and tells him it’s Karli. The leader of the Flag Smashers tries to convince Bucky that he’s fighting for the wrong side and that she’s fighting for something bigger than herself. Bucky tells her he’s done the same how whole life and he fell twice.

In the basement, two groups of GRC reps are loaded into their vehicles as Sharon watches on. A security guard, now revealed to be a Flag Smasher, closes the door and places a device on it that locks it from the outside, trapping the reps in the vehicle.

As Sam and Batroc continue their fight, the vehicles make their way out and Bucky realizes KArli’s call was just a distraction. As Bucky pursues the vehicles, Sharon takes care of the Smasher disguised as a security guard by placing some kind of chemical bomb on him and detonating it. Cleary, Sharon has gotten a bit more ruthless.

Sharon lets Sam know that the helicopter is about to take off and he quickly ends his fight with Batroc and takes off after it, leaving the villain behind. As Sam approaches the chopper, the pilot sees him and immediately begins to flee. Sam follows and uses Redwing to learn if any of the hostages have flight training.

Karli and the other Smashers regroup and go over their plan. She explains to them that, in the worst case scenario, they kill the hostages. Another Smasher argues that they’re supposed to use them to negotiate but Karli tells her either way their message will get out to the world. The Smashers show looks of doubt and hesitate to answer Karli’s call of “one world, one people.”

As Sam pursues the helicopter, an NYPD chopper approaches to try and help but the pilots quickly find themselves in trouble. Sam saves the pilots by pulling them from the chopper and flying them to safety on a nearby bridge. As Sam protects the officer, he draws cheers and applause from onlookers on the bridge, the first signs of support for our new Captain America.

The Flag Smashers stop the trucks with the GRC reps in them and easily dispatch of the guards. Bucky arrives just in time to stop Karli before they can get away with their prisoners. As Bucky deals with one Smasher, Karli instructs another to create a distraction. They start a fire on one of the trucks, forcing Bucky to tend to the hostages.

As Karli gets ready to make her next move, we hear the angry voice of John Walker call out for her. John approaches and takes on all of the Smashers with his new makeshift shield. Meanwhile, Bucky manages to free one truckload of hostages before saving John. Bucky and John then team up to take on the Smashers.

Sam manages to open a line of communication with one of the hostages who knows how to fly a chopper. He starts a countdown with the hostage and takes out the pilot while she jumps on the controls. That’s two groups of hostages saved if you’re keeping score at home.

Walker’s fight with the Smashers continues and he actually gets the better of them before coming face to face with Karli. The leader knocks John down long enough to get in the remaining truck and get away. She attempts to drive the truck off a ledge into a construction site, setting it up for a fall that would certainly kill everyone inside. She bails from the truck and leaves the hostages for dead, but the truck is held up in some scaffolding.

John gets up in time to see what’s happening and has to make a decision to either go after Karli or save the hostages. In a true turn of his character, he chooses the latter. He keeps the truck from dropping but is quickly jumped by the Smashers and they all fall into the site below. Before the truck can fall though, Sam arrives just in time to catch it, with some help from Redwing and his tech. As Sam brings the hostages to safety, an onlooker cheers him as “the Black Falcon” before another tells him “no, that’s Captain America.”

Karli attempts to attack Bucky and John before Sam hits all of the Smashers with the shield in one throw (he has really gotten good with that thing). With all of them face to face, it looks like things have reached their end until Batroc fills the site with smoke bombs, allowing the Smashers to get away. Sam, Bucky and John pursue them into underground tunnels.

Karli gets cornered by Sharon and the two point their guns at each other before Sharon finally stands down. The two speak as though they have an existing relationship and Sharon asks Karli to work for her again. Karli then reveals what we all feared, Sharon is the Power Broker. Batroc arrives just in time to learn that with all of us. He demands more money from Sharon or he’ll reveal to the world who she is, but Sharon turns her gun on Batroc and kills him. In the process, Karli shoots Sharon.

Sam hears the shots and comes running. Karli tries to get him to stay back as she points her gun at Sharon again. He leaps in to save Sharon but refuses to fight Karli as she throws punch after punch. Meanwhile, Bucky and John get the drop on the other Smashers thanks to their app. John drops a quote about mercy, showing again that he has turned over a new leaf. Police arrest the Smashers and Bucky and John trade some playful banter as they take their exit.

Sam continues to refuse to fight Karli, who continues to try and goat him in. Eventually, she gets the better of Sam and pick up her gun. Before she can pull the trigger on the new Cap though, Sharon shoots her and Karli dies in Sam’s arms. The last words she says to him are “I’m sorry.”

Sam takes Karli’s body to the surface, where police, medical staff and media have gathered. The media try to get answers from him as he approaches the GRC reps. They thank him and inform him that they’ll be moving forward with their plans, calling the Flag Smashers terrorists multiple times. Sam takes issue with the word “terrorists” and argues that they’re handling this situation poorly. He then goes into a long, inspiring Captain America speech that is broadcast for everyone to see. We see Isaiah and Eli watching at home, Torres watching from a base and Sarah watching from back in New Orleans. Sam puts the burden on the council to handle this situation, telling them they have “just as much power as an insane god or a misguided teenager.”

As Sam walks off, he meets with Bucky who tells him “nice job, Cap.” The two of them find Sharon who is bleeding but refuses to go to a hospital. Someone calls for Sam’s attention and before he leaves, he tells Sharon he didn’t forget his promise. A man tells Sam they’ve tracked the last Flag Smasher and asks for his help. Sam flies off with his triumphant music.

We then see the other Flag Smashers being loaded into a truck to be transferred to the Raft. Before the guard closes the door on them though, he leans in and says “one world, one people.” It looks like we haven’t seen the last of these Smashers, but that changes quickly as the truck explodes after driving just a few feet. We see Oeznik, Zemo’s butler, watching the explosion from a car nearby before he puts what appears to be a detonator in his pocket. We then cut to the Raft, where we see Zemo in his cell getting news of the car bombing. He smiles, closes his book and lays comfortably in his bed.

Next, we see Olivia and Val getting the news of the bombing. Val points out that Zemo got the last laugh and joke about planning the bombing herself. Val asks what’s taking John so long and yells to hurry him up. He steps into the room wearing his new suit, a black version of his Captain America suit that resembles the U.S. Agent one from the comics. Val even calls John by that codename before leaving. John and Olivia show their excitement, with John exclaiming several times “I’m back!”

Bucky takes Sam’s advice and goes to visit his friend Yori Nakajima. He tells the old man the truth about his son – that he was murdered by the Winter Soldier. He also explains that he was the Winter Soldier and that he didn’t have a choice. Dr. Raynor walks into her office to find a present waiting for her on the coach. She opens it to find Bucky’s notebook with all of the names crossed off. With it, is a not thanking her for her help.

Sam visits Isaiah and Eli again. Isaiah expresses his approval of Sam, which clear means a lot to him. Sam tells Isaiah he has something he wants to show him. He takes Isaiah and Eli to the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian, which now has a wing dedicated to Isaiah and his service. Sam tells him “now they’ll never forget what you did for this country,” and Isaiah hugs him.

Back in New Orleans, the Wilson family and all of their neighbors celebrate. Bucky even comes for the party and has clearly developed a close personal relationship with everyone there. Same and Bucky look out a the sunset over the water together and walk off before the screen cuts to black and puts up the title “Captain America and the Winter Soldier.”

That’s not all though. Of course, we get a post-credit scene, this time featuring Sharon receiving her full pardon and even getting her old job back at the CIA. After leaving the building though, Sharon makes a phone call and tells a mystery person that they’re about to have full access to “government secrets, prototype weapons, you name it.” It seems her days as the Power Broker are not completely behind her.

There was a lot to accomplish in this finale and, one way or another, it was done. We got a redemption for John, answers on Sharon, closure for Bucky and got to see Sam take up the mantle of Captain America. We even got to see Zemo get one last jab in. The biggest remaining question mark is Val. We don’t know what to expect from her in the future, but you can bet it will be something exciting. We’re just going to have to wait and see what’s next for all of these characters.

You can watch The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ now.

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Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."