This week’s episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, ominously titled “Power Broker,” had not one, but three major MCU character returns, two of them from Captain America: Civil War, and one from Black Panther. The latter was a member of the Dora Milaje, while the former were Zemo, the man partially responsible for pulling the strings that led to the collapse of the Avengers, and Sharon Carter, who was last seen giving Steve Rogers a little post-treason smooch and then, apparently, driving off into the sunset.
That last one requires some serious unpacking, so let’s handle Zemo first.
As we learned last week, Zemo’s been spending his time since Civil War in a maximum security German prison where he’s being treated with some seriously Hannibal Lecter-like care. Not for long, though–because Bucky doesn’t even bother consulting with Sam before hatching a scheme to break Zemo out and force him to help them. The gambit here is that Zemo is the only other person with HYDRA knowledge that rivals Bucky’s, so he’s their best bet at tracking down the origin of the knock-off super soldier serum, a project HYDRA had been working on for decades.
Of course, springing an international terrorist from jail doesn’t necessarily go over well at first, but all things considered the plan actually does pay off. Zemo probably shouldn’t be trusted at face value but he does provide enough intel to get them all to Madripoor and face to face with the scientist who developed the knock off serum.
Oh, and Zemo’s apparently been a Baron this whole time, meaning he’s completely filthy rich and has his own butler and private jet–just something to keep in mind.
In Madripoor, the three of them wind up inadvertently stumbling into Sharon Carter, who reveals that she was branded a traitor after Civil War and forced to go on the run, which landed her in Madripoor where she now makes a living as a dealer of stolen art. Naturally, she’s a little pissed at both Sam and Bucky who, along with every other Avenger, apparently just left her to rot after they were sprung from The Raft and began galivanting around the globe as fugitives themselves. Now, even someone with a rap sheet as extensive as Bucky’s has been pardoned and she’s still left out in the cold.
Sharon’s baggage gets even more complicated when, as she parts ways with the boys, she surreptitiously meets with a stranger saying that things have gotten more complicated–so it’s safe to say we definitely haven’t seen the last of her. It’s even worth noting that despite being namechecked time and time again, we still don’t actually know who the MCU’s Power Broker is, and right now, Sharon is definitely a possibility. She certainly has a list of good reasons to be mad at superheroes, and has shown plenty of aptitude for secrecy.
After their brief stopover in Madripoor, Sam, Bucky, and Zemo continue following the trail of clues to hunt down the Flag-Smashers and their store of knock-off serum, which takes them to Latvia. Unfortunately, it turns out they’ve been followed. Ayo of the Wakandan Dora Milaje is also in town, though she’s not interested in the serum–she’s here for Zemo. This makes sense, given that Zemo was the man responsible for killing King T’Chaka in his attack on the United Nations, a point that Sam brought up earlier when Bucky first decided to spring him from his cell. It’s unlikely that this is something the Wakandans are just going to let go, even if Zemo is providing useful information for the time being, so we’ll have to see how this particular conflict pans out next week. Chances are it’s going to get messy.
Things to remember:
- Sharon and her unknown colleague apparently have some plan in the works that Bucky and Sam might be complicating.
- Zemo is anything but redeemed, but he’s making an effort to be at least a little trustworthy. In the comics, Zemo is an on-again-off-again anti-hero with his own team of “reformed” villains, the Thunderbolts. This could be the start of their MCU development.
- John Walker and Lamar are also still working on tracking the Flag-Smashers down, but they’re not having the best luck. John’s professional persona is starting to crack under the stress.
- The identity and the motives of the Power Broker are still unknown.