The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Season 1 finale recap: One World, One People

Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale, ‘One World, One People’, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes get some help as they take on the Flagsmashers, and a whole new threat emerges.

MCU and Marvel Comic fans will enjoy several moments from this instalment of the Disney Plus show. There’s plenty of action, devastating emotion, and throwbacks to the films and comics that’ll have viewers at the edge of their seats.

All this against the very real threat posed by the Flagsmashers, once they take over the GRC headquarters. They’re ably helped by Batroc, who was recruited by Sharon Carter, of all people, as we learned in the previous episode.

In this episode, Sharon joins Bucky and Sam in New York to rescue the Global Rehabilitation Council (GRC) senators. Batroc keeps Sam busy, while Sharon and Bucky try to get the senators to safety. Let’s just say, nothing quite goes to plan. But when does anything?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale – “You’re Gonna Deserve That A** Whoopin!”

In true MCU style, the first half of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale is pure action. And we love it!

Sam Wilson debuts his new suit, gifted to him by the Wakandans via Bucky. The suit is comics-accurate, and it looks good on him. It’s great that Sam gets to keep his wings, Redwing, and the shield. The combination makes for a breath-taking sight and fantastic fight choreography.

The nonchalant way Sam announced to the GRC senators that he’s Captain America was thrilling. Take that, John Walker!

As cool as Captain America looks, Batroc is a tough fighter, and it takes all of Cap’s new skills to take him down. Batroc was an unwelcome distraction, because while Sam was fighting him, the Flagsmashers’ plan was coming into effect.

The GRC senators are led out of their HQ into what they believe are police cars and helicopters that will take them to safety. Little do they know that all the drivers and pilots are actually Flagsmashers.

Karli Morgenthau has this whole thing planned to perfection. She even takes the time to call Bucky and have a chat about which side he’s one and why he’s wrong.

Bucky points out that Karli killing people isn’t going to make the difference she thinks it will—the nightmares she’ll have will never stop. Bucky should know—he’s still waking up in a cold sweat with memories of what the Winter Soldier did.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6
(Center): Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

But Karli is beyond saving right now—she used the chat as a distraction so her people could take the senators away. With hostages, she’ll be unstoppable. But does she even want hostages?

While Bucky realises he’s been played—again—Captain America has work to do in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale.

He’s following the helicopter with GRC hostages and begins formulating a plan. Cap makes several attempts to stop the pilot but none work—this Flagsmasher is trigger-happy and Cap is his target.

Cap uses the new and improved Redwing to scan the hostages and finds one GRC senator who used to be a pilot. This will factor into Cap’s plan.

After being shot at for the millionth time by the pilot, Cap utters the soon-to-be-iconic line, “you’re gonna deserve that ass whoopin!” before performing one of the most audacious stunts on the show.

Cap calls the senator and tells her to get ready. Then he blasts open the helicopter door, flies in, grabs the pilot and flies out the other side. The senator takes the controls and lands the helicopter safely.

This scene is stunning but also, shoutout to the creators for choosing a woman of colour as the senator with piloting skills. It’s a small moment of representation, but it really matters.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale – “That’s Captain America”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6
John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

While Captain America has been flying to the rescue, Bucky has stayed firmly on terra firma. Well, not firmly. He does grab a cool bike to chase after the Flagsmashers. And he’s going to need to catch up to them fast.

Karli has no interest in keeping hostages—if they become an inconvenience, she’s ready to kill them. And they’re not the only ones on the chopping block. Karli’s not planning to get through The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale alive.

Her fellow Flagsmashers aren’t sure about this plan, but there’s no disagreeing with her. They have a cause and they must be ready to die for it. Whether they like it or not.

So, when the Winter Soldier comes at them on a bike, the Flagsmashers have no choice but to fight him. Since the Wakandans deconditioned him, Bucky’s been struggling with his cybernetic arm. The Winter Soldier used the arm as a weapon but Bucky forgets its power, favouring his right arm—after all, he is right-handed.

During this fight, Bucky starts to use his cybernetic arm to protect himself and fight the super-soldiers. More importantly, when the Flagsmashers set a truck full of GRC senators on fire, he uses the power of his cybernetics to break them free.

Their gratitude catches Bucky by surprise. Better get used to it, Buck, you’re a hero now.

Unfortunately, another so-called ‘hero’ decides to show up. John Walker still has his government-issued Captain America suit and has now fashioned himself a shield that is a remarkable replica of the real shield. Except it’s not made of vibranium.

While John holds his own against the Flagsmashers thanks to the super-serum he took, his shield takes a beating. And eventually, he’s overpowered, as well. As is Bucky, who finds himself being thrown into a construction site.

Karli will stop at nothing to make a statement, and drives another police truck full of GRC senators off the road. Surprisingly, John, who had received quite the beatdown by Karli moments earlier, uses his super-strength to hold the truck back.

Then the Flagsmashers step on John’s moment of glory, sending him tumbling down, right next to Bucky. Are the GRC team doomed? No! A shield, a pair of wings, and a couple of tiny Redwings appear at the hood of the truck. It’s Captain America!

Using everything in his suit, in Redwing, and his own will, Cap lifts the truck to safety. The excitable bystanders video it all, and one proudly proclaims that its Black Falcon who’s saved the day, until he’s corrected by his neighbour. “That’s Captain America!”

But the work isn’t over. Karli is furious that her plan is in shambles. As she runs away, Karli encounters Sharon Carter, and Karli is outraged that the Power Broker herself hasn’t really helped her.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6
Sharon Carter/Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Eli Ade. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

Wait, why is Karli talking to Sharon about the Power Broker? Looks like those rumours were true—Sharon Carter is the Power Broker. Peggy Carter is spinning in her grave thanks to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale.

Aside from Karli, the only person who learns Sharon’s secret is Batroc, and he ends up dead soon after at the Power Broker’s hand. Sharon certainly has become ruthless. She does get shot by Karli though.

But Karli’s got bigger problems at hand. While Bucky and John round up the remaining Flagsmashers, Captain America faces Karli. But he won’t fight her. No matter how much she tries, Karli can’t get Cap to do anything but defend himself.

When it looks like Karli won’t stop until she kills Cap, Sharon appears and kills Karli instead. Is this Sharon protecting her friend, Sam Wilson, or is this the Power Broker protecting her identity? Cap is distraught at Karli’s death. She was a kid and didn’t have to die.

He says as much to the GRC senators. In a speech televised around the world, Cap points out that the divisions organisations like the GRC created have hurt more people than they know. More importantly, the decisions they’ve made for the ‘greater good’ really were for people just like them, not everyone who got left behind.

These are powerful words, and they resonate even with us in the real world. The show hasn’t received universal praise for its discussions on race, but this speech in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale does pack a punch.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale – “Welcome Home”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6
Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Eli Ade. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

There’s a lot to wrap up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale and almost every character in the series gets a look-in. First, we have the remaining Flagsmashers, who think they’re going to be saved from eternity in the Raft by a sympathetic officer.

Unfortunately, the van gets blown up, killing them all. The culprit? Helmut Zemo’s loyal butler. Zemo maybe trapped in the raft, but he’s hardly helpless. He’s got his wish of ridding the world of super-soldiers. All but one, that is.

Bucky has taken Sam’s words to heart—he comes clean to his friend, Yori. As always, Sebastian Stan acts his heart out as Bucky confesses to murdering Yori’s son as the Winter Soldier, and explains that he had no choice in committing the act. That’s the end of their Wednesday sushi lunches. But at least Yori knows what happened.

Dr Raynor, Bucky’s therapist receives a package from her patient. It’s Bucky’s—formerly Steve’s—notebook with all the names of the people the Winter Soldier had wronged crossed out. And there’s a thank you note for all of Dr Raynor’s hard work. That’s nice.

John Walker seems to be getting a new lease on life. He may not be Captain America any more but thanks to Val, he’s still got a suit. It’s black and has different stripes, because John is now the US Agent. He really should be in prison but apparently, Val has connections.

In a post-credits scene Sharon finally gets her records expunged and is legally allowed back into USA. This is all thanks to Sam, of course. The man keeps his promises. Sharon even gets her old job back.

She wastes no time in calling someone—we don’t know who—that they should start lining up buyers because she’s going to have access to all kinds of government secrets now. This is not the Agent Carter we were hoping to see!

Sam visits Isaiah Bradley and it actually goes quite well. Becoming Captain America would not have been Isaiah’s choice, but he can see that Sam will make a difference in the stars and stripes. These two bonding is a lovely moment. Isaiah ribbing Sam, as well as his grandson, Eli (Elijah Richardson), is adorable and so organic.

But first, Sam needs to show them something. He takes Isaiah and Eli to the Captain America exhibit which now houses a new statue… of Isaiah. There’s a plaque that explains Isaiah’s history and legacy. Yes, reader, you may take a moment to cry.

Carl Lumbly is superb in every scene on this show but the way he plays Isaiah’s relief, gratitude, and sorrow? It’s a masterclass in acting.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6
(L-R): Sarah Wilson (Adepero Oduye), Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

With the world safer again, and some justice restored, it’s time to relax. The Wilsons invite their entire neighbourhood over to celebrate, and it looks like the Wilson family has expanded by one. Bucky brings cake, plays with Sam’s nephews, and continues to charm everyone in Louisiana.

And as the sun sets, Sam and Bucky look on at their friends and family before sitting down for a delicious meal surrounded by loved ones, a list which finally includes each other. As the title card appears, it no longer reads The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It’s Captain America and the Winter Soldier now.

Final Thoughts – The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale Has Wings

This was a great finale! It was action-packed and full of heart. It also set up a lot of potential stories in the MCU. And we’re going to get them.

Unlike its predecessor, WandaVision, this show is heading for a sequel. Indie Wire reported that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is being submitted to the Emmys as a drama series, not a mini-series.

Soon after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale aired, Hollywood Reporter also shared the news that Captain America 4 was in the works, with Anthony Mackie’s Captain America in the lead.

Showrunner and head writer Malcolm Spellman is developing the film, which will hopefully be the first in a new series. This has been a long time coming and it’s going to be exciting to see Mackie own the role of Captain America. It’s certainly a reflection of our times.

We don’t yet know what will happen with the Winter Soldier. And why is that still Bucky’s name? Perhaps the next time we meet Bucky, he’ll reclaim the Winter Soldier moniker and do good with it? Or perhaps it’s time he became the White Wolf, as the Wakandans call him.

Sharon’s reveal as the Power Broker was signposted over the past few episodes. Why exactly is the character now a villain, I’m not sure. It seems out of character for Peggy Carter’s only living relation, but at least it’s giving Sharon more to do.

As much as I enjoyed the finale, I do wish Karli had more depth. Her mission and vision were so strong but her violent streak came out of nowhere. Unfortunately, the MCU has a long history of creating sympathetic villains who are coded evil by their inexplicable need to murder people for no reason.

But as a whole, this show was tremendously exciting. The chemistry between Mackie and Stan was fantastic. The action was top-notch. And there were beautiful emotional moments that really stood out. Disney Plus is on a roll with its MCU shows. It’s over to Loki to complete the hattrick now.

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What did you think of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming on Disney Plus.