The final episode of the Disney+ MCU show dropped and it perfectly encapsulated the show: it was sort of all right. Anthony Mackie dialled up the charisma and there was some exciting superhero action, the plot didn’t make a bit of sense and Sebastian Stan was moody and handsome. There was only a small amount of Baron Zemo who was the best and worst thing about the show but there was just enough in this episode to have to put a spoiler warning here. Which, I don’t think I did on the other posts, mainly because nothing felt like it mattered enough to be a spoiler.
So Karli and the Flag Smashers (great band name, crappy revolutionary vanguard name) set out to kidnap the decision makers of the GRC who were about to vote on whether their ethnic cleansing idea might be a good thing. Sam Wilson, Bucky and (apparently) Sharon Carter, step in to stop her. The big reveal being Sam’s brand new Wakanda-powered stars-and-stripes supersuit — Sam is Captain America but with WINGS! It is a great design but feels at odds with the gritty tone of this series but maybe that’s a good thing as the shows tone was never quite right. The wings mean there are a whole bunch of shots of Sam in an angelic pose but also as he fights the baddies and rescues people around New York, the scenes evoke something more like Superman (in a good way).
Sadly Karli dies despite Sam’s efforts. With the supposed politics of the series an utter mess, we get a speech by Sam to the rescued GRC members to explain who was bad and good. I mean…I liked that they had Captain America straight-up tell them that deporting a whole bunch of people is bad and that they shouldn’t do it and that Karli had a point but…I’m not going to try and unpack it. There isn’t a cohesive whole here and the show really struggled with the fact that if Karli was just marginally less bad then she would be good, which (of course) is why they made her be randomly bad with some pointless murders that made zero sense either as tactics, strategy or propaganda for her campaign.
Talking of making little sense… Sharon Carter is the Power Broker by virtue of her being the only character with the time in her schedule.
Bad Captain America on the other hand gets to be US Agent. Dramatically, last episode had him heading to turn full bad guy but they decided not. This doesn’t even feel like a plot twist and neither did the Sharon Carter reveal. I can’t point out exactly why everything feels so arbitrary about this series but I think it was a lack of clarity about the stakes and the issues from the beginning.
The post-blip politics was a good idea and looking back, you can see how they conceived the issue. Half the world spent five years in a global disaster and then the other half popped back as if nothing had happened. The premise of the show was that there was a significant movement of people during those five years, as people tried to locally increase the population density in some places while leaving other places there weren’t quite viable any more. Info dumps have a bad reputation but an explanation early on would have helped.
I can see why they put all the pieces they did into this show but it couldn’t carry them all.