Warning: This review contains spoilers for the previous four episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier but thoughts on episode five are spoiler-free.

Out of both of the TV series’ that Marvel have released so far this year, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has definitely intrigued me more than WandaVision. Not that Marvel’s first big-budget show was bad, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier just appeals to me more and it has delivered on what it promised. Not to say it has a fair share of problems, but the spy genre grabbed my attention quicker than a mysterious 1950s comedy series.

This week’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier continues where the previous chapter left off. Walker (Wyatt Russell) must deal with the consequences of his violent actions while Sam and Bucky return to the US to track down Karli.

From its opening sequence, Episode Five clearly knows where it wants to lead the story and where to leave our characters for the show’s finale.  We see Sam and Bucky ready for the explosive fight that is teased during the final scenes of this week’s chapter while Karli is building an army that will definitely have massive implications for the rest of the MCU. However, the show gives so many hints of what will happen next week that sadly, it got a little repetitive. We see multiple glimpses of what will happen during the finale in a span of little over ten minutes which felt very repetitive and rather annoying. We see how Walker will play into the story, Karli’s master-plan coming into effect, and where Sam and Bucky need to be in order to prevent the chaos that will ensue. I understand why this has to all be set up but it felt very jarring and irritating that it kept switching between each storyline so quickly and we never see a payoff to it either; it just felt very cheap with the way it was handled.

The episode begins with a fantastic brawl between John Walker (aka Captain America), Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson, which truly is the best action we have seen in the entire show thus far. The hand-to-hand combat is filmed perfectly and every fist thrown hits you on an emotional level due to the fact that the events surrounding the fight are really unfortunate and weren’t meant to happen. This plays into Walker’s character because his ego and stubbornness got the better of him and after the death of Hoskins, he snapped. The final scene of Episode Four makes you want to hate him but this week he must deal with the event and he is given a minor redemptive arc to put his character into perspective.

Anthony Mackie also shines as Sam (aka The Falcon) in this episode. We see how Steve handing him the shield has taken a toll on him and the way this chapter shows him come into his own and step up to the role that Captain America gave him back in Avengers: Endgame. Mackie gives the most layered performance of his career during this one hour episode. We have seen the show building to this episode from its interactions between Bucky and Sam and the very subtle hints from the rest of the supporting cast and it did not disappoint.

This week’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is quite enjoyable. Yes, it did have a repetitive feel to it during its final moments but the cast bring their A game. Anthony Mackie is incredible in this episode while Sebastian Stan, Wyatt Russell and Erin Kellyman deliver brilliant supporting performances. Sadly, Zemo felt a bit wasted here but other than that, this is a solid setup for what will most certainly be an explosive finale!

By Charlie McGivern

Charlie McGivern is a Manchester, UK based writer, film and television critic who likes to watch movies and write about them for Filmhounds.

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