The Falcon and The Winter Soldier‘s third episode, “Power Broker”, is now available on Disney+. We’re halfway through the series, and things are heating up. As always, spoiler warning for the episode. This is a bigger warning than usual, because a ton of characters from the MCU enter the picture. It’s one of those cases where seeing is believing.
The episode mainly follows Bucky and Sam as they travel the world in search of clues on the super-soldier serum. But their biggest lead comes from a familiar face: Zemo. One of the very first scenes has Bucky talking with Zemo in his prison cell, and promptly breaking him out so he can help their cause. Sam isn’t really on board with the idea, but he doesn’t get much of a say in the plan. Zemo quickly proves his worth by showing them their first lead and flaunting his wealth. He’s got a pretty nice vintage car collection! As he’s collecting his change of clothes and other gear from a car, however, we see him pick up a familiar purple mask. He dons this later on in the episode, so I’ll touch more on it in a moment.
Zemo brings Sam and Bucky to Madripoor. It’s an island that’s divided into two sections: Hightown, where wealthier people reside, and Lowtown, the central hub for criminal activity. In Lowtown, Sam disguises himself as “Smiling Tiger”, a gang boss who looks eerily similar to him. This lands him in some undesirable predicaments, but Bucky’s disguise is worse in a lot of ways. He doesn’t have to change much, because Zemo says that for now, he must act like The Winter Soldier. And it doesn’t take much to prove that Bucky’s still got that programming in him. After Zemo is threatened by a couple thugs, he gives the order for Bucky to attack, and he quickly demonstrates his prowess. Curiously enough, during this scene I spotted an onlooker with their phone out, recording the fight as it happened. I wonder if that’ll come back and bite Bucky in the butt later on, considering his track record.
The trio meets with Selby, an informant who tells them the name of the man working on the super-soldier serum: Dr. Wilfred Nagel. Before she can tell them more, a bullet whizzes past and hits her, killing her. A bounty is instantly placed on the three men and they’re forced to run as bounty hunters chase them down. But someone saves them with a few quick shots, and they discover Sharon Carter, the former SHIELD agent. She’s gone off the grid ever since Captain America: Civil War, and it’s clear she’s still bitter about it. Sam makes a deal with her, saying that if she helps them locate Nagel, he’ll get her pardoned in the states. He knows her plight, since after stealing Cap’s shield they both were on the run. At least Sam found a way out of that mess.
Sharon helps them track down Nagel, and he reveals that he created a total of twenty serums. However, they were all stolen by none other than Karli Morgenthau. He also gives Sam, Bucky, and Zemo the name of someone Karli asked him about: Donya, who we discover is Karli’s mom. She succumbs to tuberculosis, and it’s clear Karli is having a difficult time processing her death. But Nagel’s information stops there. Sharon informs the trio that they’re running out of time, and that nearly every bounty hunter on the island has tracked them down.
Angry at his experiments and realizing that they’ve run out of time, Zemo shoots Nagel and kills him. As they’re all making an escape, he dons his purple mask and saves Bucky, Sam and Sharon. Thanks to his shifty behavior and previous status as a villain, I don’t think it’s the last we’ll see of that mask. I have a hard time believing that he’s truly on Bucky and Sam’s side and is simply biding his time for an opportunity to escape. They might have similar agendas now, but Zemo’s more volatile. I’ll be surprised if he ends up back in his German prison cell by the end of the series.
And so the hunt continues. Zemo flies Bucky and Sam to Donya’s last known location in Latvia in the hopes that they can track down Karli nearby. Bucky gets sidetracked as he spots little round devices nearby. They’re vibranium, he realizes, and they belong to Ayo. You read that right, the second-in-command of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje is here, and she’s tracking down Zemo! Of course she wants him dead, since he orchestrated the bombing and deah of King T’Chaka. It’ll be interesting to see how Bucky reacts to her plan. After all, that attack was pinned on Bucky for a while, and he might still harbor some animosity towards Zemo for that. But again, Zemo’s gotten them far in their investigation, and handing him over now could spell disaster for Bucky and Sam.
Last but not least, we get some short scenes with John Walker as he tries to follow his own leads. He’s getting nowhere with his own search, even going so far as to use his status as Captain America to threaten someone into giving him information. The rouse doesn’t work, and it shows us how despite his good intentions, Walker is incredibly flawed. He finally decides to track down Sam and Bucky in the hopes that he can pick up on their leads. He wants the recognition so badly that it might be clouding his sense of justice.
Overall, this episode involved a lot of jumping around different locations and showing us the cinematic masterpiece of Madripoor. It’s a beautifully dangerous location that reminds me somewhat of Gotham. Seeing all these familiar characters again was a wonderful surprise, and the Flag-Smashers continue to prove that despite being villains, they’re still sympathetic in a lot of ways. Zemo’s also proved himself to be somewhat untrustworthy, so the real question is this: who are the true friends and villains of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier?
What did you think of Episode 3? Do you have any predictions for the next episode? Let us know in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!