This article contains The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5 spoilers, and possibly more for future episodes and the wider MCU.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5, “Truth,” is another somewhat transitional episode for the series. Big action at the beginning, some heartbreaking reveals in the middle, and then plenty of bonding and moving pieces around for the finale for the rest of the episode. Oh yeah, and one absolutely awesome use of The Meters’ “Hey Pocky A-Way.”
Anyway, let’s dig into the MCU and Marvel Comics references we’ve found so far. And remember, if you spot anything we missed, let us know in the comments!
The episode title is taken from Truth: Red, White, and Black, the 2003 miniseries that introduced the concept of Isaiah Bradley and told his tragic story. It references those events extensively, too…
- Much of what Isaiah recounts to Sam during their heart-to-heart is very similar to the events of Truth: Red, White, and Black. Here, we assume that the events described took place approximately during the Korean War rather than World War II, but the effect is the same, and equally horrific. Things ended differently and perhaps even more tragically for Isaiah in the comics, where a combination of the serum and years of experimentation left him barely functional.
- Isaiah makes mention of the “Red Tails”, which was the nickname for Tuskegee Airmen, a group of primarily Black fighter pilots in World War II. Despite fighting for the U.S. military, they were subject to racism within the army and in civilian life.
- Presumably, the woman writing him letters while he was imprisoned is Faith Shabazz, who was his wife in the comics and similarly never gave up on him. However, there she survived to see his release, while in the MCU, she didn’t.
- Sam’s visits to Isaiah stand in stark contrast to how this played out in the comics, when it was Steve who learned about Isaiah and came to honor him, but by then Isaiah’s mind was gone.
- When fighting Walker, Falcon and Bucky nearly snapped his arm right off in order to remove the shield. Understandably, Walker spent much of the episode with his arm in a sling. In the comics, Walker had a more dire arm injury, losing both an arm and a leg in a fight against Nuke (who we saw a version of on Jessica Jones). During this time, Walker refused any cybernetic replacements and instead resigned himself to a wheelchair. Not that it hindered him, as he was still able to kick ass as the warden of the Raft.
- The fight with John taking on Sam and Bucky simultaneously feels like another inversion from Captain America: Civil War, where Steve and Bucky fight Iron Man. The end of it, with Sam reluctantly picking up the bloodstained shield, is one of the most powerful images in MCU history.
- In the comics, Walker wasn’t permanently stripped of his Captain America role after killing (which he did in gruesome fashion, to the tune of several members of the extremist Watchdogs group after they murdered his parents). In fact the government even tried to help cover it up for a while, and temporarily put a leash on him. They did formally take the title from him a little later, but it was specifically to give it back to Steve Rogers, who initially refused before Walker himself prevailed upon Cap to take up the shield again. In any case, Walker suffers more consequences here than most authority figures do when they find themselves in the public eye for doing the wrong thing…
- Holy moley, Wyatt Russell sure sounds EXACTLY like his dad Kurt during that Court-Martial scene. In particular, his line about “not like I’m gonna disappear” is a nice acknowledgment that John Walker is probably going to have a future in the MCU as U.S. Agent.
Speaking of which…
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentine Allegra de Fontaine
- Your eyes do not deceive you, that is the brilliant Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, Veep) as Jim Steranko creation Contessa Valentine Allegra de Fontaine. She sure does appear to be doing some recruitment here, and with word that she’s also appearing in Black Widow, we get the feeling this means she’s putting together a team of her own. Dark Avengers and/or Thunderbolts, here we come! We wrote more about that intriguing possibility here.
- Interestingly enough, the “legal gray area” she refers to about Captain America’s shield not belonging to the government is in fact a detail from the pages of Marvel Comics. It’s one of the things that led to Steve having to give up the title of Captain America (along with the shield) and that opened the door for John Walker to take over. Although the argument the government used at the time was that the costume and shield had been designed by employees of the federal government, and thus those belonged to them, and that technically Steve had never been discharged from the Army. Presumably, the “legal grey area” here may have something to do with Steve’s disappearance and resurrection and/or how the government may have cut ties with former organizations like the SSR (which later became SHIELD) after it was revealed they had been infiltrated by HYDRA. Or something like that.
- After a quick escape from the Dora Milaje, Zemo visits the Sokovian memorial he mentioned to Sam and Bucky in episode 4. It seems he knew that he wouldn’t get far, and had accepted he’d be back behind bars imminently. The fact that we’re disappointed to see him exit says a lot about Daniel Bruhl’s acting throughout the series, though we doubt we’ve seen the last of the charismatic character.
- Zemo’s philosophical conversation with Sam about his scorched earth policy on supersoldiers in episode 4 pays off in our main duo’s favor in episode 5 when Zemo reveals he no longer has any interest in killing Bucky. Bucky then proves to Zemo that he has become much more than the Winter Soldier, but not before giving him a scare that quickly becomes relief, then disappointment when Bucky reveals there are no bullets in his gun. The Raft better have some good therapists, or this man’s gonna change up his reading material from Machiavelli to Zapffe. [Please stop inserting these philosophy references into our Easter eggs – Ed] [No <3 – Kirsten]
- We’re explicitly told that Steve revealed his retirement plans to Bucky before he went back in time to replace the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Endgame. Bucky apologizes, saying that neither he or Steve fully thought through the ramifications of passing on the shield to Sam.
- It looks like Bucky had the Wakandans make Sam a custom Captain America suit. If you haven’t seen it yet (the toys have already been on the shelves), all we’re gonna say is that it’s genuinely one of the coolest superhero costume designs of the modern era. You can see it here if you want, we just don’t want to spoil it for those who are really waiting. Sam’s gonna look great in the red, white, and blue.
Torres is the New Falcon?
Sam tells Torres to keep his old, broken wings. It seems inevitable that Torres will fix ‘em up, as in the pages of Marvel Comics he becomes the new Falcon.
Looks like we’re gonna get a rematch with Batroc (ze leaper!!!) in the final episode of the series. Sam also took on Batroc in one of his first adventures as Captain America, in the pages of All-New Captain America by Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen. More Batroc is good for everyone, but more relevant to that series and what’s coming next.
Is Sharon Carter the Power Broker?
So Sharon got Batroc out of jail and is helping to connect him with the Flag-Smashers…for some reason. So either she’s the Power Broker (as everyone has suspected) or this is a fakeout and she’s just doing this to manipulate Sam into picking up the shield and becoming Captain America. Maybe she’s doing that with Steve’s blessing?
Also, the painting that we see when we first flash to Sharon’s lair is the painting that Bucky smashes through in the flashback in E1, I think.
The GRC is tasked with resettling 20 million…MILLION refugees worldwide. Would anyone care to guess how many refugees were resettled worldwide in the entire world at the all-time peak in 2016? 189,000.