The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale, “One World, One People,” brings Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)’s latest adventure to a close, with plenty of high octane action sequences and emotional moments. Sam and Bucky intercept the Flag-Smashers and Georges Batroc (Georges St. Pierre) while attempting to reason with Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) and the reappearance of John Walker (Wyatt Russell.) The finale also sees Sam finally take up the mantle of Captain America, with a new suit to match.
I had the feeling that the series would end with Sam becoming Captain America and it was worth the wait. Mackie’s Captain America suit is ripped right from the comics, and it is a magnificent thing to see in action. Most of the action sequences, including a fast-paced combat scene between Sam and Batroc and a helicopter chase, also shows off Sam’s fighting style as the new Cap. Unlike Walker or Steve Rogers, Sam doesn’t have the Super-Soldier Serum coursing through his veins. He makes use of his wings and flight, twisting through the air and using his shield as a battering ram.
Director Kari Skogland films Sam’s flight scenes with sweeping grandeur, tracking him as he soars through the air. She shifts to handheld camerawork for the other action sequences, which lends a frantic intensity given the number of lives at stake. The final fight between Sam and Kari is a perfect example of this: Karli pounds at Sam, driving him back-and he refuses to fight her. This leads to an emotionally charged conclusion-and it’s the first of many.
Showrunner Malcolm Spellman and co-writer Josef Sawyer, in Captain America tradition, give Sam a number of stirring speeches. Mackie delivers his lines with conviction and a sprinkling of his trademark charisma, guaranteeing fans will be glued to the screen when he speaks. And Stan also has an emotional moment, as Bucky comes full circle from where he was in the pilot. The ending of the pilot also features the two hanging out-which is rare in this genre, but it’s nice to see heroes hanging out without the fate of the world at stake. Given that Mackie and Stan’s real-life friendship helped inform the series, this ending feels like a natural endpoint.
However, the true MVP’s of the episode are Kellyman and Carl Lumbly as Isaiah Bradley. Kellyman’s Karli is cut from the same cloth as Killmonger from Black Panther-though her intentions were pure, her methods were horrific. I do love that Sam attempts to talk to her instead of fighting her and sees the good in her ideas; it’s easy to overstep with this particular type of villain and I’m glad Spellman, Sawyer, and Skogland approached it with nuance. Likewise, a scene toward the end with Lumbly and Mackie brought me to tears, as it felt utterly cathartic given everything Sam and Isaiah have been through.
The finale isn’t perfect, though. I feel that Walker making a left-field heroic turn in the final fight felt tacked on. The previous episode “Trust” perfectly captured Walker’s fall from grace; besides the character works far better as an antagonist than an antihero. Also, the finale could have used a few extra minutes to breathe. This is probably the major fault I have with the series; apart from “Trust,” the episodes felt a little too short and if the series is renewed for a second season I hope that the hour-long format is applied to each as it gives the material room to breathe. With WandaVision, I understand the shorter episodes given the sitcom format but a self-proclaimed “six-hour movie” should feel like six hours.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale serves as a solid finale to the series, with Sam Wilson stepping into the mantle of Captain America and Bucky Barnes coming to terms with his guilt. The ending, as well as the mid-credits scene, tease more adventures for the titular duo and I hope to see those adventures in the future.
All episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are currently available to stream on Disney+.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6 - "One World, One People"
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6 serves as a solid finale to the series, with Sam Wilson stepping into the mantle of Captain America and Bucky Barnes coming to terms with his guilt. The ending, as well as the mid-credits scene, tease more adventures for the titular duo and I hope to see those adventures in the future.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.