The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is on the precipice of dealing with an incredibly sensitive topic
The show has not been shy about tackling some very topical issues.
We're assuming you're all caught up on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier by now, so if not, go watch all four episodes so far, and then come back.
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From the very first episode, it was clear that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was going to be tackling some heavy subject matters, when Sam and his sister were denied a bank loan, with the implication that it was down to race.
The same goes when Sam and Bucky had a bit of a raised-voice conversation on the street, and the cops immediately came to Bucky's defence, hands ready to pull their guns on Sam the second he reacted in a way they didn't approve of.
Ditto with the reveal of a secret, old Captain America, and it was also obviously part of the reason why the US government was so quick to accept Sam's rejection of the shield.
When we spoke to the director and head writer of the series (check out that full interview here), they very much wanted the issue of race at the core of the show.
On the latest episode of TBR Spotlight: The Falcon and the Winter Solider [LISTEN from 25.15 below] Rory and Eoghan break down the power of the episode's final shot.
It has been a tightrope walk with the character of John Walker, too. His best friend/partner-in-fighting-crime Lemar Hoskins is black, as is his wife, so he must be not racist, right?
There have been some moments peppered throughout where Walker talks to Sam as a lesser-than, previously referring to him as Steve Rogers' wingman, as opposed to his equal. And then in this latest episode, when Sam doesn't agree with Walker's plan of action, Walker turns to Bucky, and says this:
"Let him". As if Bucky should be trying to get Sam under control. It is the kind of subtle comment that can be explained away as a misunderstanding, but it might be indicative of a deeper problem with Walker.
It comes up again when both Sam and Bucky try to talk Walker out of getting into a fight with the Dora Milaje, the all-female warriors from Wakanda who have come to apprehend Zemo.
Walker doesn't listen, and goes full Patronising Man on them:
This doesn't end well for Walker, who gets his ass handed to him by Ayo and her fellow warriors, much to the shocked disbelief of Walker himself.
It all culminates with Walker's buddy Lemar being killed by Karli, Walker giving chase, catching up with one of her accomplices, and then killing him in broad daylight.
But, more importantly, in front of many, many witnesses:
An authority figure killing a criminal, while that criminal pleads for their life, and the whole thing caught on camera... there are definitely some parallels to be drawn here to George Floyd, and the whole issue of police brutality in the America right now.
Since the guy he killed, and Karli, and the Flag Smashers at large have jumped from vague annoyances to all-out terrorists, it could be a case that the US government will justify Walker's actions as a means to an end, and excuse away what was essentially a public execution.
But we'd imagine that Sam and Bucky will have plenty to say about how Walker is now another person in their lives who may need to be brought to justice.
We'll see if he gets his proper comeuppance when the fifth - and penultimate - episode airs on Disney+ on Friday, 16 April.