“One World, One People” is an almost perfect conclusion to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and I am begging Disney to officially announce a second season ASAP.
I have exactly one complaint about “One World, One People”, – just one – so let’s get that out of the way real fast. I don’t the white part of Sam’s headpiece that his ears stick out from. If they ditched that one piece of the costume or modified it to look more like his goggles previously, this costume would be perfect. Everything else about it is perfect, but that white neck/ear covering has got to go. But that’s it.
Now are you ready for almost non-stop praise of “One World, One People”? Because that’s what’s coming next.
Everything else about the new Captain America’s entrance was absolutely phenomenal. I was hoping they’d stick the landing on this, and they did so above and beyond my expectation. When Sam said ‘I’m Captain America,’ I straight up almost cried. Yes, Sam, YES YOU ARE. I watch my shows with closed captioning, and they switched to titling him as such in those as well, which is a nice touch likely not noticed by most people who don’t use captions. It was definitely an added layer of emotions, though, so I’m glad I got that bit, too.
It’s been a long time coming to see him officially take up the title, so the whole sequence was incredibly cathartic. Thank you, Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This is what we needed.
The most powerful scene with Sam in “One World, One People” comes near the end of the battle when he flat out tells everyone that he’s a Black man carrying the stars and stripes, and people are going to hate him for it no matter what he does. This is a message not only for the characters in the show, but the audience as well. Racists have been raging about Black characters taking up titles of major superheroes for a long time, and now is no different. I’m genuinely surprised some major right wing commentator like Ben Shapiro hasn’t jumped in to criticize it already, but the smaller commenters are out and about if you know where to find them. But please, don’t. They aren’t worth your time, I promise.
It’s incredibly depressing that so many ‘fans’ consume superhero media without understanding the underlying messaging of these stories. One of the most iconic images of the OG Captain America has him punching Hitler in the face, for goodness sake. Yet somehow people who hold up fascist ideals still consume this media and let these messages fly way over their head. They’ll likely only pitch a fit now that the messaging of equality and equity is being embodied by a Black man, because you can’t really gloss over that. But that’s their fault for not having media literacy and not realizing superhero narratives have always been against them. Tough luck, racists. I have zero sympathy for you.
Fandom will be much better without them anyway. Wish they’d have left a lot sooner, honestly. They will not be missed.
Bucky also had an incredibly satisfying character arc in this show, and “One World, One People” brings it back around to his struggle to make amends from the first episode. This theme is highlighted by his words to Karli when he says he’s tried to fight for something bigger than himself twice before, and failed each time. But this time he succeeded. And I’m not just talking about the battle against the Flag Smashers, but his own personal journey from a lonely abused man with suffering from the effects of PTSD in silence, to someone who has a familial support group ready to give him the small moments of joy that he missed out on in his isolation.
Sam’s family accepts Bucky for who he is, and he clearly feels comfortable with them. In previous episodes, he’d used his arm to help the family with the refurbishment of their boat, and now he’s using it to bring joy to the little kids in the Wilson clan. This is his family now and he’s allowed to enjoy it. If you ask me what I want to see most coming out of the fanfiction community going forward, it’s going to be happy fluff fic focused on Bucky being accepted and loved by Sam’s family. If I felt even the slightest creative spark right now, I’d do so myself, but I’m in a bit of a writing slump at the moment so I can’t produce this content. If you find some fics like this, though, please let me know! I’m dying, here.
The chemistry between Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie has been out of this world. Whatever happens going forward – whether that’s a second season of the show, a movie, or whatever – I hope they give these two plenty of time to interact. I adore Chris Evans and his chemistry with each of them was great, but – and oh God I can hear some loud disagreements on this hot take – I genuinely think these two have a better chemistry with each other than either of them did with Chris. I’m sorry! I know that’s, like, the hottest take ever so forgive me. I ship Stucky for life! I swear! But oh god, Seb and Anthony are just so good.
But guys, we now have a crisis on our hands when it comes to shipping names. We can no longer call this ship “Winter Falcon.” We’re back to having to figure out an adequate portmanteau of their real names: Bam, Sucky, Bum, Sacky…. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about F**ky anymore, because the Falcon title is no longer in the equation. We don’t have to worry about the wayward F making out ship names crude.
Guys? What do we call this? Help! I need to know.
John Walker’s arc in “One World, One People” is significantly harder to appreciate, though, and I genuinely struggled with it. Again, I see where we are meant to understand the nuance of this character. He did, after all, choose to save people over pursuing revenge, so there’s a part of him that’s redeemable. But I still can’t accept him. But you know what? That’s not the show’s fault. It’s not the writer’s fault. It’s not even the actor’s fault (sorry for the hate you’re getting, Wyatt Russell, but I swear it’s not your fault). This inability to see his nuance is entirely on me and my inability to let Steve Rogers go.
Now that Walker has a new mantle – US Agent – perhaps I’ll be able to appreciate his nuance a bit more. Given the space between him and anything associated with Steve Rogers, I may end up coming around and liking the guy. His team up with Val, however, isn’t exactly reassuring. While I haven’t read the comics and have attempted to remain spoiler free about her identity, discussion happens openly on social media and I’ve picked up some things. I won’t spoil you guys too severely, but suffice to say my hunch that she was a bit sus was a pretty good instinct.
I’ll let the rest of her arc play out in whatever way they have in store, though, and won’t seek out more information on her. But I really really hope they tell us what’s coming up next soon. There’s so much more to explore. Not only is Val a big mystery and both John Walker and Sam Wilson dawning new superhero titles, but we’ve got whatever the heck is going on with Sharon Carter to deal with, too. People began to suspect she was the Power Broker a while back, so it wasn’t exactly a bombshell reveal for those of us who keep up with show chatter online, but her accepting a pardon and her position in the government back while still making her sketchy deals is certainly an interesting route to go. And I’m totally here for that.
Speaking of what’s coming next, the title change at the end of the episode might be a pretty good hint. They changed the title to “Captain America and the Winter Soldier.” I suspect that whatever’s next will have that title, and since we already have a movie called “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” they probably won’t have another movie with such a similar title. There’s also the fact that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is often listed as a series, whereas WandaVision is often listed as a ‘limited series,’ meaning the former is open to more seasons whereas the latter is probably concluded. These are just my guesses, though, and until Disney makes an official announcement, all I have is this title card to cling to.
Update 4/23/2021: My article was only a couple hours old and the last paragraph is already outdated. We will be getting Captain America 4. I was wrong! But I’m not at all disappointed.
Moving on from my predictions about where this story is going, let’s talk about the women of the show. Because honestly, the women have been phenomenal and the show has passed the Bechdel test multiple times. Sarah, Karli, and Sharon have all had incredibly interesting plots, but unfortunately Sarah wasn’t present much this week so I don’t have a lot to say about her. Karli and Sharon, however, were incredible.
The Sharon and Karli plots converging in “One World, One People” takes us on an interesting exploration of this morally gray area the show has been placing front and center for the past few episodes. Both women have been pushed into criminality in pursuit of something that they felt was worth the risk. Sharon is operating from a place of anger at having been wronged. When she is actually given the chance to redeem herself, though, she doubles down by continuing her sketchy work as the Power Broker in secret. Her anger has not subsided at all, even with a pardon, which will ultimately make her an antagonist to our superheroes going forward.
Karli, however, would likely have been satisfied if her people had been given true equality and equity. She’s done horrible things, but not from a place of anger. She did them to seek justice for her people. Unfortunately that wasn’t exactly feasible for her, so she never got the chance to step away from the path she chose and has died with the ‘villain’ label hanging over her head. I hate using that word for her, and even Sam steps in and corrects people when they refer to the Flag Smashers as ‘terrorists,’ but when you come from a place of black and white thinking, that’s the side of the spectrum she fell on due to the actions she took to seek justice.
Her fight won’t be forgotten, however, as it’s quite clear Sam understood her motivations and will continue trying to make the world a better place for these displaced people, but in a more peaceful way. Whether or not his path will show results will remain to be seen. It seems like the obvious message will be that a peaceful path can be successful, but it’s an incredibly complicated situation and there are no easy answers here. We are facing similar struggles here in the real world where injustice is the way of the system and people increasingly leave behind peaceful ways of making change when they prove to be ineffective in the face of greater power. When the Social Contract is broken, what else is there to do?
Last but not least, we got one last bit of Zemo to close out the series. My man is locked up in that floating prison and not going anywhere for a while, but, as Val put it, he had ‘the last laugh’ as the Flag Smashers were taken out by a car bomb. Of course, we know the Raft isn’t exactly impenetrable. People have broken out of it before. So who knows? Maybe we’ll see more Zemo in the future. The door is certainly wide open for him to bust out and cause some more mayhem and distribute more Turkish delights. You know, for the children.
To say I’m satisfied with how this series concluded would be an understatement. I am extremely pleased with it and I’m glad it found its footing after the first two someone rocky episodes. The MCU is ready for the next phase to roll out. Up next? Loki.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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