TV Show Review: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Details: More information can be found at https://disneyplusoriginals.disney.com/show/the-falcon-and-the-winter-soldier

Score: 7.1/10

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a six episode Marvel show that aired it’s final episode today. Episodes one through five were masterful in choreography of fight scenes, pacing and the subject matter of those episodes. This last episode however, felt extremely rushed and kind of drops some plot developments from the prior five episodes. It really made me wonder the effect the pandemic had on the filming of this show and whether this six episode series was originally meant to be a nine episode series like WandaVision.

Some spoilers ahead.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier picks up a little bit of time after the end of Avengers: Endgame. Without spoiling too much, Captain America retires from his post and hands his shield and the title of Captain America to Sam, also known as the superhero The Falcon. Sam wrestles with the weight of such a responsibility and whether he even wants to carry the mantle. Oh, and Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, is also dealing with some stuff and there’s a new terrorist group causing some mayhem.

The first five episodes are fantastic. The action, the special effects and the subject matter were just amazing. Episode five in particular surprised my in how they just straight up talked about racial politics, something Disney may not have wanted to do in the past. Not only did they address these issues, they did it in a way that was believable, which is difficult to do in a show without sounding fake or condescending.

That last episode though, felt like they cut and pasted ideas together in hopes of creating something somewhat passable. And that makes sense considering what was going on in the world in 2020.

This show was originally slated to air in August 2020 as the first Marvel property to come out since Avengers: Endgame and the first to debut on Disney’s streaming service. Then the pandemic hit, filming was stopped and we all had to deal with everything that came after March 2020. Filming eventually resumed near the end of 2020 and they finished off the series.

I have to imagine that this series was originally going to be nine episodes since WandaVision was nine episodes. However, WandaVision finished filming before the pandemic and so they did not need to compromise in any way. Falcon and Winter Soldier stopped filming midway and after watching that last episode, you can’t help but feel that jarring drop in quality and thoughtfulness they established in episode one through five.

Even further, there are rumors online that there was a whole virus subplot that was removed because of real world events. If so, they needed to remove a whole bunch of scenes and elements that would have originally been in the show. It certainly felt like something was missing this last episode.

Overall, I loved this series, but that last episode was such a disappointment. It certainly wasn’t a bad ending and conveniently wrapped a lot of the plot points, but it ignores and just drops other things as well. The biggest change was the character development for John Walker. They set him up as this big bad guy, and then he magically turns into a good guy with almost no dialogue in between. It was just such a rushed ending and a noticeable drop in quality that the prior episodes had.

Anyways, if you’re a Marvel fan, you need to watch this show. If you are not a Marvel fan, it’s still some entertaining television, but you’re probably going to be quite lost if you aren’t up to date with what’s going on the in the Marvel Cinematic universe. At the very least, you should watching Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers Endgame before watching this. Or just have someone tell you what happened in those movies if you don’t feel like watching them.

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