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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Highlights and big questions from Episode 6

The Marvel Cinematic Universe returned after a yearlong hiatus, and both WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier on the Disney+ streaming service were worth the wait. Episode 6 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier concluded the series with plenty of action and plenty of powerful moments that set a new status quo for the MCU while foreshadowing battles to come. The series finale also left us with plenty of questions about what’s next for the series’ titular duo.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier brought MCU actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan back, respectively, as Sam Wilson and James “Bucky” Barnes, who are better known as the high-flying Falcon and the deadly Winter Soldier. We took a deep dive into each episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier to discuss some of the notable moments and MCU-relevant elements you might have missed. You can read past analysis of the series’ episodes via the links below.

(This article will discuss plot points from the series, so consider this a spoiler warning if you haven’t watched it yet.)

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The stage is set for an epic showdown as Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) and the Flag Smashers attempt to take the members of the Global Repatriation Council hostage in New York City, forcing Sam and Bucky into action. They’re assisted by disgraced former Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell), and ex-SHIELD agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), and eventually manage to thwart the Flag Smashers’ efforts.

Over the course of an essentially all-action episode, Sam establishes himself as the new Captain America, John becomes U.S. Agent, Sharon is revealed to be the mysterious Power Broker, Bucky finally comes to terms with his dark past, and Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) gets the last laugh by killing the remaining super-powered Flag Smashers. A mid-credits scene also teases bad things in the future as Sharon is pardoned and given her old job back, only to suggest that she has sinister plans for the access she’s been given.

Costume changes

We’ve discussed John Walker’s comics history at length while analyzing prior episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but it’s worth noting that this episode appears to be the final step in his evolution from Captain America to U.S. Agent. John’s US Agent uniform in the show closely matches its comics counterpart, with red and white stripes over a predominantly black suit. Historically, the black suit has been a nod to both his darker instincts and the government’s willingness to use him for missions that occasionally veer into morally questionable areas.

Along the same lines as John’s visual evolution, Sam also makes a big costume change in the final episode of the series. As expected, his spin on Captain America’s uniform not only integrates both his high-flying skillset, Cap’s iconic shield, and the red, white, and blue color palette, but it also mirrors the comics version of the costume worn by the character when he became Captain America.

New title

You probably didn’t miss the mid-credits scene in the episode, but you might have missed the subtle title change the series underwent just before the credits rolled. Episodes typically close out with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier title, but in this final episode, the title was changed to Captain America and The Winter Soldier on the show’s final title card.

Big questions

Although the final episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (or rather, Captain America and The Winter Soldier) didn’t drop any big teases regarding the future of the MCU — not as big as WandaVision, at least — it still posed plenty of questions about what we can expect as Phase Four rolls along.

What is Val planning for U.S. Agent?

Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) clearly has friends in important places and big plans for John in his U.S. Agent role, but we have yet to learn anything about her MCU role beyond her name. If she’s anything like her character in Marvel’s comics, she’s going to give the MCU’s heroes plenty to worry about as she surrounds herself with powerful (but malleable) figures like John.

Is Sharon really breaking bad?

If Sharon is indeed a villain, it will be a big departure from the character’s history in Marvel’s comics. While she has long been a top operative at SHIELD (and even the agency’s director for a while) and required to go undercover with criminal organizations for extended periods, she’s never been on the side of evil at heart.

Given what we’ve seen of her in the MCU up to this point, though, anything’s possible — and we’re left with three likely scenarios. In one scenario, she could indeed be a powerful villain in the making, while another possibility has her deep undercover, working to destabilize the world’s criminal network in her role as the Power Broker. And yet, with Marvel already announcing an upcoming series based on the Secret Invasion story arc — which had shape-changing alien Skrulls infiltrate Earth’s governments — there’s also the possibility that Sharon isn’t Sharon at all.

This is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, after all.

Will Zemo ever dance again?

Okay, so maybe this isn’t a big question on everyone’s mind, but it’s important all the same. Zemo was one of the standout characters in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, so we can’t help wondering when we’ll see him pop up in the MCU next. After seeing him in action in Episode 3, we can only hope that the next time we see him, it will be on the dance floor.

All six episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier are available on the Disney+ streaming service.

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