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Falcon Watch: We Got a Deeper Look Into What Sam Wilson Is Thinking on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Sam Wilson holding Captain America's shield

Each week on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it’s felt like Sam Wilson wasn’t getting his time to shine—just sort of on the sidelines to whatever Bucky and Zemo were choosing to do or whatever John Walker spoke at them about. This week though, Sam took charge in his own way and got answers about the past, what the shield would mean if he took it on, and understanding his place in all of this.

**Spoilers for the episode “Truth” from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier lie within.**

Sam Wilson deserves answers. It’s as simple as that. He’s a character who, for the most part, went along with whatever was happening on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier thus far. He’d complain about Bucky helping Zemo escape prison but then still help them try to get to Karli Morgenthau. He knew he had to do his part and that was that.

So this week, when Sam and Bucky are faced with the aftermath of John Walker killing a man on camera with the shield, Sam takes a slightly different approach. He tries to reason with Walker, and when Bucky decides that there isn’t “reasoning” to happen, they fight him to take back the shield. It’s great because for all of Walker’s super-soldier talk, even with the serum, he’s no match for Sam Wilson. Yeah, it’s a super-soldier against a super-soldier and the Falcon, but still. Sam holds his own against Walker, and the two eventually take the shield back from John.

But Sam isn’t just ready to take the shield, as Steve had given him. He’s not going to take it back without answers, and so he goes to see Isaiah Bradley. The things that Steve Rogers was a hero for doing are, in some ways, the same things they used against Bradley to throw him in jail and experiment on him in order to make more super-soldier serum. Isaiah says that no self-respecting Black man would take on the mantle of the shield, and that idea weighs heavily on Sam as he returns home to Sarah and his nephews.

What I really loved about this episode was yet again, Sam’s training as a counselor came into play. Throughout this entire season, Sam and Bucky just bickered back and forth between themselves and rarely talked to each other about important issues—not Sam’s fault; it was entirely on Bucky. He didn’t want to open up, and Sam respected that boundary. So in this episode, when Bucky comes to Louisana and works with Sam to fix the boat and train with the shield, it’s a beautiful moment watching as these two finally talk to each other.

But not only are they talking, they’re listening to each other. This entire season, Bucky held this strange grudge against Sam for giving up the shield, mainly because it made him question everything he thought he knew about himself and Steve, but because he didn’t feel as sure about what he was meant to do. He even admits that the shield feels like a connection to his family, and retiring it was like losing the one thing he still had. (Sam is right there, Buck.)

As the episode goes on though, Bucky is willing to open up to Sam, and I really liked that he recognized that he and Steve didn’t really think past the fact that Sam was worthy of being Captain America to think about what it means for a Black man to have the shield.

Bucky Barnes talking about Steve per usual

More than that though, we actually got to see Sam training. When Steve Rogers got the super-soldier serum, he suddenly was very strong and could run with no problem and we didn’t really get a moment to explore Steve and his new abilities or watch him training with the shield. It was just implied. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier though, we get to explore Sam trying to figure out how the shield works for him. Sure, he almost decapitates himself a few times, but it ends with Sam having an understanding of the shield and what it means for him.

He takes his time to help his family, he takes time to understand what the shield means for him, and he handles all of this in a way that works for him, and it was wonderful to get to see Sam breathe for a moment. He needs more time, and he should have gotten his time throughout this series, but I do have hope with “Truth” and the finale for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier that we’re going to see Sam Wilson come into his own as Captain America.

Anyway, bring me this panel in the finale, please and thank you, Disney/Marvel.

Sam Wilson fighting John Walker

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.