The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes a much darker turn in “The Whole World Is Watching”. Episode four opens “Six Years Ago” in Wakanda on the outskirts of the city. Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) sit beside a fire near a waterfall. Bucky is unsure, but Ayo promises she “will not let him hurt anyone.” In Russian, Ayo says the activation code for the Winter Soldier, “Longing…Rusted…Seventeen…Daybreak…Furnace…Nine…Benign…Homecoming…One…Freight Car.” Bucky weeps as he remembers his most heinous acts of murder. The sequence ends, and he is not triggered. “You are free,” smiles Ayo. Bucky breaks down as he is finally deprogrammed.
In the present, Ayo confronts Bucky on the streets of Latvia, “How could you free him!” Bucky promises that Zemo is “a means to an end.” Ayo gives the “White Wolf” eight hours, and then “we come for him.” She leaves with the Kimono Beads. In Zemo’s hideout, Bucky updates them that the “Wakandan’s are here.” He also tells them that Karli (Erin Kellyman) bombed the GRC supply depot and killed innocent people. Zemo (Daniel Brühl) warns that she is a “supremacist” warped by the concept of a super soldier. He compares her to “Nazis, Ultron, and the Avengers.”
Sam (Anthony Mackie) thinks Karli can be reasoned with. Zemo believes she is already on a path of no return. Bucky reminds Zemo that the serum did not corrupt Steve. “Touché, but there has never been another Steve Rogers,” counters Zemo. Sam thinks there will be a funeral for Mama Donya. Zemo agrees, he tosses Turkish Delight candies to Sam and Bucky.
The Flag Smashers listen to a newscast near ruined buildings. The GRC has enacted “The Patch Act” to tighten borders and speed the return to normal. The news also says that the Flag Smashers are gaining public support. Zemo, Bucky, and Sam return to the Latvian GRC refugee center. Everyone walks away from Sam when he asks about Donya Modani. Bucky has no luck either. A teacher tells Sam that they are “not refugees” and “don’t trust outsiders.”
In the courtyard, Zemo sings “Baa Baa Black Ship” to the children. He puts the Turkish Delight candies on a chair. A girl takes one. Zemo asks if she knew Mama Donya, he would “like to pay his respects.” The girl whispers the funeral location in his ear. He gives her the remaining candy and tells her “not to trust” the men with him.
At Zemo’s hideout, Sam admits that Karli “is the only one fighting” for the people. Zemo brings tea. He tells them the funeral is this afternoon. Zemo will keep the location secret for “leverage.” Bucky smashes the tea, but is restrained by Sam. Sam calls Sharon (Emily Van Camp) in Madripoor. She has a “satellite or two” that can watch the refugee camp. Sharon says they’ve “killed the Golden Goose, the Power Broker wants the serum back.”
Karli and Nico (Noah Mills) visit a cemetery. She removes a gravestone panel, retrieves the remaining vials of serum, and puts them in a fanny pack around her waist. John Walker (Wyatt Russell) and Lamar Hoskins (Clé Bennett) intercept Sam, Bucky, and Zemo on the street. Walker accuses them of breaking Zemo out of prison. Sam tells him they know the location of Mama Donya’s funeral. Sam wants to “reason with Karli.” Hoskins agrees, “If he can talk her down…It’s worth a try.”
Zemo meets the refugee girl. He gives her money and she leads them to a building. The girl points to a staircase. “You got ten minutes,” bellows John Walker. He handcuffs Zemo to a boiler door. At the funeral, Mama Donya (Veronica Falcón) lays in a shrouded casket, surrounded by flowers and candles. Karli eulogizes the kind woman who raised and protected her. She looks up to see Sam watching overhead. Karli tells her followers, “We are one world, one people.”
Sam approaches Karli near the casket, “I came alone. I just want to talk.” He knows what it “feels like to lose someone.” Sam understands her “frustration.” In the boiler room, John Walker paces nervously. Bucky advises him it’s not been “ten minutes.” Walker’s “going in”, he pushes past Bucky. Sam continues to reason with Karli. He brings up Zemo’s term for her, a “supremacist.” Karli is stunned by the accusation. Sam wants to know if “she’s going to use the serum to increase her army.” She’s “killing innocent people.” Karli snaps back, “They’re roadblocks in my journey and I’ll kill them if I have to.” She instantly regrets her comment. Sam “agrees with her fight”, then points to Donya’s casket. She “wouldn’t agree with the way you’re fighting.”
“Karli Morgenthau, you’re under arrest!” Walker screams as he enters the room. A betrayed Karli knocks him down and then leaps to the floor above. Bucky chases her, but she loses him and Sam in “the maze.” Karli enters the boiler room. She’s shot in the side by a freed Zemo. She hides behind a table, but drops the vials of serum. “Is this what I think it is?” Zemo asks incredulously. He smashes the vials with his feet. Karli staggers up the stairs. Zemo is then knocked out by the flying shield. Walker looks at the broken mess, and then spots the only unbroken vial. He hides it in his pocket as everyone else arrives.
Karli looks at her bandaged wound. She’s told the vials have been destroyed. The Flag Smashers are “still stronger than they are.” She gets a text from the Power Broker, “Play revolutionary on borrowed time. I want the serum back. I will find you. I will end you.” Nico warns, “They cannot fight two wars.” Karli has an idea to take Sam out of the fight, “We separate them…and then kill Captain America.”
At Zemo’s hideout, he asks Sam if he was ever offered the serum. No, and he would never take it. Zemo is impressed by Sam’s “no hesitation” as he nurses his head. He lectures Sam that he “cannot hold out hope for Karli. Super Soldiers cannot be allowed to exist.” Bucky walks in with concerns about Walker, “I know crazy when I see one.”
Walker and Hoskins break down the door. They demand to take custody of Zemo. “Shield or no shield, the only thing you’re running here is your mouth,” states Sam. He blames Walker for losing Karli. Walker puts down the shield and approaches Sam. A spear whizzes by his head and slams into the wall. Ayo and the Dora Milaje have come for Zemo. Bucky’s time is up.
John Walker puts his hand on Ayo’s shoulder. She promptly tosses him to the ground. Zemo finishes his drink as the Dora Milaje fight Hoskins and Walker. They are no match for the elite Wakandan fighters. “Looking strong John,” Bucky cheers sarcastically. He tries to stop Ayo, but is drawn into the tussle. Sam joins the fray. Ayo strategically hits Bucky’s chest and his robotic arm falls off. Another fighter tosses a spear and pins the shield through its straps. Zemo has vanished. The fighter takes the shield, but Ayo orders her to “leave it.” Walker looks on stupefied as they exit. Bucky reattaches his arm. He did not know they could disable it. Hoskins picks up a dejected Walker off the floor, “They weren’t even super soldiers.”
Sam looks in the bathroom at the open sewer grate, “I can’t believe he pulled an El Chapo.” Walker and Hoskins have coffee. Walker signs an autograph. He asks Hoskins, “If you had the chance to take the serum, would you do it?” “Hell’s yeah…power just makes a person more of themselves,” Hoskins replies. Walker sadly remembers his Medals of Honor, “Being Cap is the only thing I’ve done that feels right.”
In Louisiana, Sarah (Adepero Oduye) gets a call from Karli. She likes Sarah, but needs to “meet with Sam alone.” Karli makes a threat against Sarah and her children. Sam tells his sister to pack “an overnight bag and take the boys.” He then gets a text from Karli. Bucky and Sam, now in his Falcon suit, meet Karli at an abandoned building. Sam is furious his sister was threatened. “I don’t want to hurt you. You’re just a tool for the regimes I’m trying to destroy,” replies Karli. She wants Sam to join her.
Sharon radios Sam, the Flag Smashers have found John Walker. Karli dons her mask and attacks. She knocks Bucky down, but then gets hit by Sam. He jets into the air to find Walker. He’ll send Bucky the location.
John Walker knocks down a door, and then ascends a staircase. He can’t raise Hoskins on the radio. He finds Hoskins’ gun. In an adjacent room, Lamar Hoskins is knocked out and tied up by the Flag Smashers. Walker searches the cavernous building. He’s attacked by a Flag Smasher, who then vanishes. Meanwhile, Bucky runs through the street at top speed following Sam.
The Falcon crashes through the building’s glass ceiling. He arrives in time to see Walker throw the Flag Smasher downstairs. Then bend a steel bar like a paperclip when the Flag Smasher attacks again. “What did you do?” questions Sam. He follows Walker as they search for Hoskins, who hears the commotion. He uses his knife to cut the zip ties binding him.
Bucky joins the fight. He kicks a Flag Smasher through a brick wall. Upstairs, Sam and John Walker engage the remaining Flag Smashers. “What’s with all the knives?” Walker asks as he unleashes his new super strength. Bucky catches a thrown knife. It’s a super soldier melee as Sam flies around the room kicking baddies. Karli enters when Lamar Hoskins does. She kicks him at full strength into a concrete column. Hoskins breaks his neck on impact, and collapses dead unto the floor.
Everyone stops fighting. John Walker runs to his fallen friend, but he’s gone. The Flag Smashers run away. A rage filled Walker leaps out of the window. He lands on a van, crushing it. Walker sees Nico trying to escape. “Where is she!” Walker screams. Nico throws a piece of concrete, but Walker smashes it with the shield. He slings the shield and knocks Nico down. Walker pins Nico, and then hammers him into a bloody pulp with the shield. Terrified onlookers record his bloody assault on their phones. Karli watches in horror as Sam and Bucky arrive. A wild-eyed Walker looks around at the crowd, as he holds the bloody shield. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier returns next Friday for its penultimate episode on Disney+.
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