THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER Episode 6 Review; "Ushers In A Bold New Era Of Storytelling For The MCU"

The season finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier just hit Disney+, and we're now weighing in with our verdict on how the six-part series wraps up. Be warned, some spoilers for the episode follow...

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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has been a little inconsistent on a weekly basis (unlike WandaVision, it didn't have the same writer working on each instalment), but this finale definitely doesn't disappoint. Putting Sam Wilson's transformation into Captain America front and centre, "One World, One People" feels every bit as grand in scale as the big budget blockbusters set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with tonnes of impressive set pieces and flawless visual effects. However, those never overshadow the sort of character beats that continue to help single out this series as being more than just an action movie broken into six parts.

Crucially, the Flag Smashers feel a lot less directionless in the finale, and the way things play out for them is more believable as a result. With a more compelling reason for Sam and Bucky to pursue Karli and her group, the stakes feel that little bit higher, and help make this finale all the more thrilling. Malcolm Spellman and Josef Sawyer's script is a strong one, packing a lot into a short amount of time, never sacrificing or skimping on the moments we went into this episode hoping for. Most importantly, it makes us believe in Sam's new role in the MCU - as we've learned with John Walker, there's more to being Captain America than wielding the shield - and Bucky's redemption. Both characters now have a clean slate heading into Phase 4 and beyond, and while this Cap should be utilised on the big screen, a season two is surely now both inevitable and essential. 

As we've pointed out almost every week, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are flawless with the work they deliver here, and both put so much into their performance that there are moments likely to bring you to tears. With a bigger platform to shine on, both actors are able to put everything into their respective characters, giving them the sort of heart and soul that left us fully invested in the story arcs of heroes like Steve Rogers and Tony Stark (the same can't always be said for the MCU's supporting players). Wyatt Russell is another highlight, and if you're not left wanting to see more from him...well, we don't know what to say. Erin Kellyman, meanwhile, really steps up in this finale, redeeming Karli to an extent, but not quite enough to elevate her beyond being one of the MCU's more forgettable big bads; of course, that's more down to how she's written than the Solo: A Star Wars Story star's work in front of the camera.

As mentioned, there are some huge action set pieces in this finale, all of which deliver the sort of visuals we're definitely not used to seeing on television. Marvel Studios is clearly spending a lot of money on these Disney+ shows, but as with the rest of this season, putting the focus on the characters at the heart of the story is what really makes the finale soar. With a strong, extremely relevant message at its core, the decision to explore Sam's path to becoming Captain America over the course of six episodes has been fully justified.

It could have just as easily been handled off-screen, but a movie would have likely only touched on some of the themes that are so perfectly explored in this episode in such a meaningful and substantial way (particularly with race and what it means to be a Black Captain America in the modern world). When Mackie is hopefully doing the rounds come awards season, the likes of the Emmys and Golden Globes have the perfect clip to share of the actor delivering a rousing, inspiring speech that makes the journey The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has taken us on 100% worth it. 

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's finale ushers in a bold new era of storytelling for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an episode that sees Anthony Mackie firmly establish himself as the deserving new face of this shared world. 

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