Previously on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Super Soldiers gone wild. Karli is nearing a point of no return, corrupted by the serum coursing through her, and newly serum-inoculated John Walker has gone off the deep end after losing his partner, Lemar Hoskins, at the hands of Karli. He’s killed a man in cold blood in the streets, an innocent man, so what’s the future for the new Captain America?
John Walker knows what he’s done isn’t going to go over well, and he’s running. He finds himself an abandoned warehouse to take refuge in, recalling the final moments he had with Lemar. But little does Walker know that Sam and Bucky can still track him, and they arrive shortly after he does.
Walker tries to reason with Sam, he killed Nico because he had to, but they know the truth. Sam tries to convince John to face what he’s done, let his record and illustrious career help him get out of this, but Walker isn’t having it.
John, you gotta give me the shield, man.
But Walker has no intention of giving up that shield. John threatens to fight, and assures them that they don’t want to do this. But Bucky assures him that they do, actually, and the fight begins.
After declaring himself Captain America once again after what was surprisingly a pretty fair fight between Sam and Bucky and Walker, Walker destroys Sam’s wings and raises the shield above his head yet again, ready to take out Sam as he had Nico in the town square. But Bucky dives in at the last minute and the two ultimately take back the shield, snapping Walker’s arm in the process.
Torres joins Sam and Bucky as they discuss the GRC’s search for Karli back at the old Latvia camp — they haven’t been able to find her. But Bucky has some unfinished business to attend to before Karli is back at the front of his mind: Zemo.
Thankfully, Walker isn’t getting away with his crimes. Torres assures Sam that what Walker did is a big deal, like internationally a big deal, which also means the suits are taking jurisdiction. Sam wants to go after Karli, but Torres says at this point it’s a dead end, she’s deep underground with way too many people helping her stay hidden.
The only thing to do is wait, and Sam has some unfinished business of his own to tend to. But before he heads out, he leaves his broken wings in the hands of a new owner: Torres.
John Walker is no longer Captain America. He’s been stripped of the title and discharged with an other than honorable discharge, and he’s not taking it well. He throws it back into the council’s face that they created him, they made him who he was, they built him, but it doesn’t change their mind. And again, Walker reiterates that he is Captain America … and this really doesn’t bode well.
Afterwards, as John’s wife tries to reassure him his life is not over, they’re interrupted by a woman approaching. Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine has made her grand debut into the MCU. She tells John he did the right thing, both by killing Nico and taking the Super Soldier serum, and that it’s made him very valuable to a lot of people out there. So, pick up the phone when she calls. She also clues him in a little secret — that shield doesn’t belong to the government.
The Flag Smashers return to their Latvia camp, and it’s been shut down for harboring them. And it only enrages Karli further, and it’s time to set their plan in motion.
Zemo is mourning at the memorial to Sokovia, and he’s not alone. Bucky has found him. Luckily for Bucky, Zemo has decided that one Super Soldier can live — him — and he’s not going to try and kill Bucky any longer. But Bucky has a gun, will he award Zemo the same fortune?
Before the decision on his fate is made, Zemo gives Bucky what he assumes will be his final speech — he has to kill Karli. She’s too far gone and her people are everywhere. But Bucky is still set on doing this Sam’s way, the right way.
Bucky readies his gun, pointing it straight between Zemo’s eyes, and Zemo nods. He’s ready. But that isn’t who Bucky is anymore. The gun isn’t loaded, and Bucky drops the bullets at their feet before the Dora Milaje come to take Zemo to the Raft.
Before heading off to his deep, underwater prison, Zemo let’s Bucky know that he’s crossed his name out in his book; they’re even, the amends have been made. Ayo also warns Bucky that it’s a good idea for him not to return to Wakanda for a little while, and Bucky agrees, but also informs Ayo he may have one more favor to ask.
Sam has returned to the Bradley house, shield in hand, greeting Eli playing basketball in the street before finding Isaiah in his backyard. Isaiah is unimpressed with the relic that Sam carries. Sam wants Isaiah’s story, all of it, his perspective and his history. Isaiah isn’t keen on Steve Rogers, but Sam defends his friend, but Isaiah’s ire isn’t directed at Steve, but at the system that put him there.
They go inside and Isaiah gives Sam an insight into his time in prison, how they’d told his wife he was dead while he was in prison, and then he details exactly what went wrong. In an effort to recreate the serum used on Steve Rogers that died with Abraham Erskine, the government used Black soldiers without consent to test their formulas on. Slowly, they all started dying off from side effects and then a few others were captured. The government couldn’t have their test subjects in the hands of the enemy, and they threatened to blow the entire POW camp where they were being held in an effort to contain their secret, and Isaiah didn’t agree. He saved his brothers.
In the end, Isaiah was the lone survivor of the serum trials, and for that he was imprisoned for 30 years being experimented on until a nurse finally helped him escape. Isaiah Bradley was declared dead, and he was free. Sam wants to make it right, but Isaiah wants to remain dead. He doesn’t trust anyone. And why would he? He tells Sam no self respecting Black man would wield that shield, but does Sam agree?
Sam heads home to Louisiana, and his nephews tell him that the sale his sister had set up for the boat fell through, and they won’t be able to sell it after all. It would cost more money to fix than they’d make. But Sam has an idea.
He calls in everyone in the town to repay some favors they owed his parents, and together the town fixes up the boat, along with one outsider — Bucky. And Bucky didn’t come empty handed, he’s got a big case from the Wakandans of, well we have some guesses, for Sam. Bucky and Sarah formally meet as Bucky fixes a burst pipe (with his right hand, he is right-handed after all).
The buddy scene we deserve follows with Sam and Bucky teaming up to repair Sam’s family boat in a fashion only Sam and Bucky can. When they’re done, Sam tells Bucky he can stay as long as he doesn’t flirt with his sister. Something tells us that won’t happen.
Walker is following his wife’s advice and has one to visit Lemar’s family, lying to them about Nico being the man who killed Lemar.
Sharon back in Madripoor is on the phone with a man speaking French, an Algerian prisoner, and she’s willing to pay whoever it is to do a job for her.
Sarah kicks Bucky and Sam off boat duty, as she should, and Sam and Bucky head to the backyard to practice tossing the vibranium frisbee around. Sam needs the practice. Bucky confesses to Sam that when Steve and himself had been discussing who would get the shield when Steve left, they hadn’t taken into consideration the pressure it would put on Sam being a Black man taking on the mantle of Captain America. And Bucky apologizes. Bucky doesn’t blame Sam for Walker getting the shield, but that shield is also the closest thing that Bucky has left to a family — Steve — so seeing it retired made Bucky feel like everything was lost.
The heart to heart continues, and Sam tells Bucky he needs to stop looking to other people to tell them who he is. And then Bucky confesses something to Sam he didn’t back in episode 1 to his therapist — he’s still having those nightmares all the time. Sam gives Bucky the tough love he needs, that his attempts at amending before were actually avenging, but he needs to go to the ones he’s wronged and be of service to them. Amend his mistakes, give them the closure only he can give them.
Bucky takes off, and Sam gets to work learning how to use that shield after a pep talk from his sister. He’s going to be Captain America. He struggles learning the mechanics of the shield at first, but as time wears on he gets better, he gets stronger, and he finds a high-flying style all his own to wield that shield. He’s not Steve Rogers, he’s Sam Wilson. He’s Captain America.
Karli and the Flag Smashers are in New York City and they’ve called in some help, Georges Batroc, who has something to help them defeat Sam Wilson. The Flag Smashers are dedicated to stopping the GRC from passing the Patch Act in the city that night, an act that would move refugees out of their homes and back to their country of origin.
Then, Torres calls Sam, he’s found evidence of Karli in New York City. It’s time to get to work.
In a mid-credits scene, we see John Walker building a shield of his own … what’s he going to screw up next?
So many questions still need to be answered, what’s the deal with Sharon? Who is Batroc loyal to? Will the government accept Sam as Captain America? And please, is Bucky going to make amends with Yori?
The final episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will premiere next Friday, April 23 exclusively on Disney+.