The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has been the most underrated Marvel series so far, in my opinion. After its one-year anniversary, let’s countdown the best episodes from the series.
Before we begin, I’m judging these episodes based on multiple factors. Character development, story, and overall effectiveness based on its themes will play huge parts in my judgments. From worst to best, let’s count The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episodes.
6. Episode 1: “New World Order”
As terms of pilots go, this was a pretty solid introduction to the series. I think most will agree this was its least effective episode. Primarily because there was a lot of groundwork to be covered post blip.
After the events of Endgame, we find Sam and Bucky trying their best to adjust to this new world. The Avengers are gone, some deceased, others just inactive. The two title characters don’t reunite in this one, to much surprise by fans including myself. Instead, we’re treated to two separate stories with similar problems both Sam and Bucky are going through.
Compared to WandaVision and Loki, this first entry was pretty much a tease for what to expect. Its edge-of-your-seat action put doubts quickly aside on rather or not these shows could rival the scale of the movies. Featuring a rescue mission from Sam and a Winter Soldier flashback scene from Bucky. A nice glimpse for this banger series.
5. Episode 2: “The Star-Spangled Man”
I promise the episodes won’t be in order the whole list, they just had a lot to cover before some of the best moments began. After the John Walker cliffhanger from episode one, Bucky revisits Sam to question his decisions. The reunion from there is what we all wanted and love from the duo.
The show picks up steam here, now that both of them have many things to deal with together. Sam tells Bucky he can’t worry about this new cap now, thanks to the show’s actual “villains” The Flagsmashers. The two reluctantly banter and team up in their first fight against this rebel group.
We also go to meet more of Walker as he shows up to help with his friend Lemar Hoskins. Speaking of meeting new people, the most noteworthy scene was Sam and Bucky’s visit to Isaiah Bradley, a tragic hero with his history erased. The more the episode progresses, the more we learn about the terrible history of the serum and the shield. Two important and ongoing themes to this show.
4. Episode 4: “The Whole World Is Watching”
There’s something about Marvel shows and their 4th episodes not missing. This one offered its biggest cliffhanger when John Walker publicly murders a Flagsmasher. It mirrors his comic arc and is when the series gets down to business.
The story itself focuses primarily on Walker’s downfall as Captain America. Proving that it takes a good man to carry those stars and stripes and not a perfect soldier. We also learn more about the Flagsmashers intentions as their plan tries to come together. Only making things more difficult for Sam and Bucky. Add Zemo into the mix and it made for a nice espionage style installment.
3. Episode 6: “One World, One People”
Sam Wilson is Captain America. The highly anticipated finale brought so many feel-good moments. It’s hard to cover all of it especially because its pacing is really fast but let’s give it a go.
Sam makes his first appearance as Captain America. After struggling with the decision to represent a country that never represented him, he dawns the strips in a new Wakanda-made suit thanks to Bucky’s connections. It’s completely comic book accurate and Sam himself is the perfect cap for the times we’re in.
It’s an important episode for Bucky as well, as he helps Sam take down the Flagsmashers. Throughout the series, Bucky struggles with his identity and what he’s done as the Winter Soldier. There’s a nice moment in the midst of saving people where he’s thanked for his dues. Reminding him he’s always been a hero. He and Wilson share many great moments together including the ending cookout, both seem at peace.
It also had a few teases for the futures of John Walker, Baron Zemo and the new Power Broker, Sharon Carter.
2. Episode 3: “Power Broker”
Sam, Bucky and Zemo. The most unusual trio team up in this crime/underworld adventure. Barnes breaks Zemo out of prison so they can find answers about this new serum. The trio goes to a criminal safe haven named Madripoor. However, they can’t walk in as themselves, which makes things more interesting. What more could you want?
The action-packed episode (written by the John Wick creator by the way) is filled with great character moments and risky tricks. It also reintroduces Sharon Carter back after her absence since Civil War. It answers a few questions about where exactly she’s been.
Madripoor in the comics is a pretty popular spot. A gritty, low-key place for top criminals to lay low. Seeing it come to life thanks to the beautiful cinematography and lighting complimented the episode entirely.
1. Episode 5: “Truth”
The episode that had it all, I’m serious. It’s worthy of being the best because of its heart, action, truth, and overall anticipation. This was it, the showdown we’ve been waiting for. Sam and Bucky take the shield back from Walker. The series had been teasing it and fans wanted it, a trailer was even released to further excite people. You just had to be there the week before its release to experience the hype.
Aside from the action, Isaiah’s history was revealed in an intimate scene with him and Sam. I think ultimately after this conversation, Sam knows what he has to do. If there was an episode where he makes up his mind, it’s this one.
Bucky has to clear things up with Zemo. After that, he visits Wilson back home and that’s where the two bond. It’s such a feel-good episode in the sense that there are these two guys who didn’t really like each other, now helping one another. It’s the best episode in the series no doubt with tons of character development, all while preparing for its finale.