WARNING: SPOILERS for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 4, “The Whole World is Watching.”
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a power-packed series. It seems almost as if there is a new twist every time you believe that nothing can change. The series is into its fourth episode and fans are not able to get enough of it. Falcon and Winter Soldier has introduced the Flag-Smashers, and they’re literal trouble. They thrive on the concept of living life exactly how they lived during the Blip. This means, they want a world with no borders, or organizations dividing people. But their ways are lethal. This is exactly where our heroes kick in. Sam and Bucky are carrying out their endeavors. Joining them is John Walker, the new Captain America, for the moment at least.
Episode 4 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier really twisted things. We got to see something that we would have never witnessed. John Walker loses it and does the unexpected. The momentarily Captain America kills one of the Flag-Smashers. In practicality, the character was supposed to be hated. John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell, had already shown himself to be a less-than-worthy successor to Steve in the first half of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The ending of episode 4 has to be one of the bloodiest and darkest moments in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. John Walker snaps and kills Nico. When Battlestar is killed by Karli Morgenthau, Walker loses it and chases Nico, the nearest Flag-Smasher he can find. He viciously beats him to death with the Captain America shield.
This scene closely resonates with one of the most epic moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. John Walker using his shield to kill Nico is related to a scene in Captain America: Civil War. In an epic fight between Captain America and Bucky versus Iron Man, Steve Rogers uses his shield to pin down Tony. But this where the difference lies. Steve knew where to stop, and he didn’t kill Tony. But John killed Nico and displayed his aggressiveness. Abraham Erskine himself warned.
Walker ended up taking the last remaining vial of Super Soldier Serum in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 4. If you remember Captain America: The First Avenger, Abraham Erskine himself warned Steve that the serum amplifies which is within. For Steve, that meant good became great. But for Walker, while he has incredible physical gifts, bad becomes worse with regards to his aggressiveness.
John Walker lost his close friend and the grief is understandable. The ability to control one’s emotions, and to still be able to do the right thing, is something that separates Steve from John Walker. Steve himself has killed people, but he always maintained a sense of perspective, of right and wrong, and of knowing where to draw the line. Steve even left the shield behind when Tony told him that he doesn’t deserve the shield. He doesn’t exactly leave the Captain America shield behind because of how he attacks Iron Man, but there’s a sense in which he recognizes that is enough and he is done with it.
But Walker is different when it comes to this. Even after killing, Walker holds on to the bloody shield, clearly, he isn’t proud of his actions, but by keeping it in his grasp it means the moment lingers, and the shield continues to be re-defined – it is the symbol of his horrific attack, and the name Captain America has been smeared in blood. John Walker’s murder of Nico, and its similarities to Captain America: Civil War, fully bring home how different he is to Steve.
John Walker might be a superior soldier than Steve even without a super-soldier serum. But that doesn’t mean he’s a good person. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is reckoning with the legacy of Captain America, but it’s increasingly clear – more so than it already was – just how great a man Steve Rogers was. It is not just about Steve’s legacy or who’s holding the mantle of Captain America, the show focuses on what kind of a person Steve was, and why no one else could ever replace him.
Walker becomes the ultimate dark mirror to Steve in this instance; a reflection in the shield, showing the broken symbol Captain America. This is something that Steve wouldn’t have ever allowed to happen. Hence, the show shows why we need Steve and why no one could ever come close to him.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is currently streaming on Disney+.