Comics On TV

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3 Takes a Surprise-Filled Trip to Madripoor

"Power Broker" offers treats for every MCU fan, with blockbuster-grade action, shadowy intrigue, jokes, new characters — expected and not — and the faint aroma of Mutants. Plus, Wyatt Russell and Erin Kellyman check in with RT.

by | April 2, 2021 | Comments

Anthony Mackie, Emily Van Camp, and Sebastian Stan in THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER episode 103

(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios)

It definitely feels like the band is finally all together in the third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Of course, that band may give ABBA or the Smiths a run for internal animosity. Nevertheless, the group outing to the famed Marvel nation of Madripoor offered a number of surprising revelations about the post-Blip world. And if you want to be charitable with the naming of characters, the episode may even have introduced the first Marvel Cinematic Universe Mutant.

Sure, that might be a reach. But considering how many ideas are suggested in this week’s episode, a Mutant is the least of Sam (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky’s (Sebastian Stan) worries. They are riding with Sokovian royalty, after all.

So let’s take a look at the episode to see what we can glean from its inferences, suggestions, and more direct statements. Plus, we hear from Wyatt Russell and Erin Kellyman on where their characters — John Walker/Captain America and Flag Smasher leader Karli Morgenthau, respectively — are coming from.

Spoiler alert: The following reveals details of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3, “Power Broker.” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.

Hot Nights in Madripoor

view of Madripoor from Marvel Studios' THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER episode 103

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

First debuting in a 1985 issue of New Mutants, the island nation of Madripoor is a favorite stomping ground of Wolverine. In the mainline Marvel Comics universe, it is located off the coast of Singapore. The location shots in this week’s episode definitely suggests the MCU version of the island is in the same spot. For hopeful X-Men fans, the debut of the island is a big step forward as it was unavailable to Marvel Studios until Disney bought the 20th Century Fox assets and regained control of anything tied to the Mutants.

The island is not the exclusive purview of Mutants, however; characters like Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and even the Punisher have spent time there in various comic books, video games, and animated adventures.

And as seen this week, its refusal to extradite persons wanted by other sovereign territories makes it a perfect place for people like the Power Broker and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) to set up shop without intervention from Interpol, the Global Repatriation Council, or American intelligence agencies. Well, presuming Sharon isn’t working already working on someone’s behalf.

Her story of being on the run since Captain America: Civil War sounds credible. But some may recall she was one of the people presumed lost in the Blip. If that is true, then did she really have time to re-establish her art-dealing trade in Madripoor in just a few months? Since Sam and Bucky are unaware of her Blip status anyway, her tale has the ring of truth. Considering the way she regards her bodyguard at the end of the episode, it sure feels like a deep cover for something else. Whether she’s working for the GRC, S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D., the CIA, or Interpol is anyone’s guess. Since we’re always looking to see S.H.I.E.L.D. restored in the MCU, we’ll pick that for now.

There is also the possibility she’s assumed the role of Power Broker. Sure, Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) gives the impression that he’s met a man who goes by that name, but it would be advantageous for her to let that perception remain. As we mentioned last week, two people have used that identity in the comics: Curtiss Jackson and his unidentified replacement. This second character also identifies as male, but subterfuge is the name of the game on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so it is possible for her to be in charge on the island.

A Better Understanding of Karli’s Motivation

Erin Kellyman in Marvel Studios' THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER episode 103

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

This week also gave us a more personal side to Karli’s (Kellyman) motivation in flag-smashing. Sure, we had the rhetoric last week, but now we see the cost of the Blip via her connection to Mama Donya (Veronica Falcón) and her mention of being displaced after people returned. When we spoke to Kellyman earlier this week, she mentioned the character “moved around a lot,” which also suggests her life was probably tough before the Blip.

But it also seems clear her life — and Mama Donya’s life, for that matter — was appreciably better for the five years that half the world’s population was missing. Kellyman told us Karli’s primary goal is to go back to “a world where there is more equality or maybe more unity. [During the Blip] everybody kind of grouped together and that’s the thing that she’s fighting for.” That suggests there were parts of the world where life was not as grim as the New York depicted in Endgame. The sudden return of people would definitely destabilize that and, presumably, whatever home Karli had was returned to its former occupants under GRC guidelines, putting Karli and Mama Donya back on the street.

That hardly seems fair.

Nevertheless, Kellyman is convinced the sense of unity Karli saw during the last five years can be scaled to accommodate the returnees.

“That’s why she’s fighting so hard,” she said. “[Karli] really does think that it’s possible. And that’s why she’s going about it in the way that she is.”

Although, Karli’s increased willingness to cause destruction while grabbing hoarded supplies, as seen this week, suggests she may subscribe to a less extreme version of Thanos’ grim calculus.

“She’s in that middle section where she’s not a hundred percent evil, she’s not a hundred percent good,” Kellyman said. “But then again, what she’s fighting for is good. And I think it’ll be fun how that plays out.”

It still leaves us wondering the true purpose in stealing the 20 vials of the Super Soldier Serum, but they do seem better off with her than, say, the Power Broker.

Further Shadows of The Truth

Our guess that Dr. Karl Malus might be the source of the Super Soldier Serum proved incorrect as Sam, Bucky, Zemo, and Sharon quickly found their way to Dr. Wilfred Nagel (Olli Haaskivi). In The Truth, the character successfully recreated the serum for the experiment conducted on Isaiah Bradley. So, it makes total sense that he would appear here and claim a blood sample from Isaiah (Carl Lumbly) was the key to unlocking the Erksine formula.

Although, if Nagel is correct and he is the first person to crack Erksine’s code, where did the stable sample used on Isaiah come from? Someone in the 1950s must’ve cracked the code. Our uneasy band may not follow that path, but it would interesting to get some clarity on the matter. If we never get it, we’ll just blame Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

The First MCU Mutant?


(Photo by Marvel)

As teased earlier, it is possible that we’ve seen the first Mutant in the MCU. One can make the case Selby (Imelda Cocoran), Zemo’s contact in Madripoor, is based on the Mutant Liberation Front member who appeared in a couple of Excalibur issues in 1996. That character had the ability to speak with computers in binary code. Sure, it’s a rather slim possibility, but it is a fun Easter Egg nonetheless as it means the creative team is at least willing to be playful with X-Men connections.

Also, considering Selby was quickly killed, it could just be a huge false Mutant flag.

More meaningful is the cover identity Zemo gives to Sam. With a name like “Conrad Mack, the Smiling Tiger,” you know you’re dealing with a proper Marvel Comics character — but is he a Mutant? Born to a Vietnam vet and a member of the Dragon’s Breadth cult, the comics’ Conrad (pictured) would use his feral nature and hand-to-hand combat skills as a member of a group called the Folding Circle. They became part of Madripoor’s criminal element after crash landing on the island. So his bona fides in the region are pure Marvel. Curiously, though, Conrad is listed as a “human mutate” — a character who comes by their abilities via some post-utero means; as opposed to Mutants, who are born with powers which unlock when they hit puberty. The character is an oddly deep pull, although fans of the Thunderbolts comics may see this as a possibility that their favorite characters will soon appear in the MCU.

But it also continues the program’s world building as Mack and the Folding Circle have deep ties to Southeast Asia. A subsequent series (or film) could follow up on that.

Is John Walker’s Problem a Lack of Structure?

Clé Bennett and Wyatt Russell THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER episode 103

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

As seen in this episode, Russell’s John Walker is still not inspiring confidence as the new Captain America. When we talked to Russell earlier this week, he suggested the superhero rules of engagement — and a lack of command structure — may be putting him on the wrong foot with Sam, Bucky, and the audience.

“It’s like these guys are all kind of independent contractors in a way, and they need to work together,” he explained. “But there’s no system that was in place — or is in place, like the military — to dictate what those terms are. So I think that he’s having a very difficult time leading the way he wants to lead and is finding out that one size does not fit all.”

He may come off more confident when ordering the GRC troops —and why does the GRC have troops? — or conferring with Lemar (Clé Bennett), but it’s clear those situations are more familiar for a career soldier. In terms of working with Sam and Bucky, despite their own military experience, the lack of clear structure will create conflict.

“When you go outside of that and you have to create your own. But, if you don’t amend that to the people that you’re currently working with, you’re going to have a very difficult time being a good leader,” Russell said. “And so you always need to shift your abilities to talk to people and to get the best out of people. And I don’t think he’s quite figured that out yet.”

It seems, in fact, like Walker has figured out that letting The Falcon and the Winter Soldier do the work may be the most efficient means of intercepting the Flag Smashers and, presumably, acquiring the missing serum vials.

Zemo Claims His Title

Daniel Brühl in Marvel Studios' THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

And, as it turns out, Helmut Zemo is a baron. The clarification is useful as it means he has resources and he more closely resembles his comic-book counterpart. Also, by making him Sokovian royalty, the lines of demarcation get further muddled. In his eyes, the superheroes are an emerging aristocracy. Yet, he takes to aristocratic airs quite easily once aboard his private plane. At the same time, we cannot exactly disagree with anything he says in this episode. The muddiness, though, keeps the series fascinating as everyone espouses noble goals. Sure, the Power Broker may just be in it for control and, possibly, the chance to be cruel, but all the characters we’ve seen state ideals which are, on their face, worthy.

Nevertheless, Baron Zemo is an antagonist and unlikely ally. And while it would be interesting to see him remain on Sam and Bucky’s side through the remainder of the series, his betrayal is always just a few moves away. But what sort of goal will he have in the end? Hook up with the Flag Smashers? They certainly express a certain philosophical similarity he could exploit. Does he even want to destroy the serum vials? Bucky is operating under the impression that he wouldn’t want more Super Soldiers in the world, but would that be the case if those troops were loyal to him?

One clue to his ultimate plot: the dissolution of Sokovia. According to Zemo, the country no longer exists. So what is a baron to do when his barony is gone? Maybe the play is to re-establish the country or something very much like it. The Dora Milaje may have a few problems with Zemo being in a position of power, however. They are clearly already mad he escaped custody and sent Ayo (Florence Kasumba) to investigate.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres new episodes on Fridays on Disney+.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Horror finale adenture Walt Disney Pictures Watching Series YouTube Premium aliens live event young adult Ellie Kemper satire fresh royal family comiccon cancelled cats thriller new star wars movies 71st Emmy Awards Cartoon Network See It Skip It The CW Schedule name the review SDCC GLAAD Premiere Dates 007 2018 TV movies target Spring TV Drama Pop TV discovery Bravo king arthur streaming movies suspense japan Pet Sematary RT21 marvel comics Spike Television Critics Association OneApp rt archives 72 Emmy Awards Photos ITV First Reviews golden globe awards Black History Month Awards Tour blaxploitation DirecTV Thanksgiving Heroines green book MTV anthology New York Comic Con HBO scene in color debate APB dark fast and furious Captain marvel dexter VICE A24 blockbuster American Society of Cinematographers mockumentary Pop Neflix VH1 The Walking Dead mission: impossible mutant kids LGBTQ BET historical drama mob slasher crime thriller godzilla Mindy Kaling stand-up comedy cartoon series archives Video Games Winners PlayStation Star Wars Crunchyroll Polls and Games Mudbound docuseries Comedy harry potter biography Red Carpet 90s spy thriller IMDb TV Mary poppins foreign Set visit sag awards VOD Action quibi Paramount Network crime ratings ghosts spanish language cinemax obituary medical drama spain Warner Bros. batman singing competition Syfy comic book movie rom-coms Disney+ Disney Plus Chernobyl video on demand Tokyo Olympics technology FOX 4/20 Countdown basketball NYCC Calendar die hard Summer festivals Superheroe Western laika Amazon nature AMC Exclusive Video RT History Masterpiece GIFs NBA ABC Family Rocky Avengers spanish cancelled television blockbusters all-time japanese Apple TV+ spider-verse scorecard Emmys Interview jamie lee curtis Turner Classic Movies 1990s National Geographic Film Festival Podcast President ViacomCBS Pixar WGN television supernatural Netflix chucky live action rt labs critics edition BAFTA Disney Channel Amazon Studios YA films concert doctor who YouTube Musical vs. Shondaland TNT TV renewals Valentine's Day Comic Book reboot Pride Month Year in Review 2019 strong female leads prank Arrowverse screen actors guild Sneak Peek Martial Arts superman Amazon Prime Video Hulu comic book movies biopic Apple TV Plus witnail docudrama canceled The Arrangement children's TV christmas movies Netflix Christmas movies toronto Anna Paquin news documentaries diversity Food Network Superheroes feel good Showtime DC Universe popular Universal cancelled TV shows talk show crossover golden globes worst movies halloween science fiction CBS elevated horror book adaptation cults cars MSNBC spider-man social media high school Film Lifetime Christmas movies Nickelodeon Spectrum Originals police drama video MCU Oscars Endgame Biopics Super Bowl 2017 Shudder Travel Channel Character Guide action-comedy Paramount theme song zombie slashers CW Seed Tubi Holidays wonder woman Binge Guide SXSW Mary Tyler Moore Family Wes Anderson marvel cinematic universe NBC indiana jones Kids & Family french ABC Signature Pirates USA period drama PBS Song of Ice and Fire miniseries indie Black Mirror movie latino TV One hist parents Quiz Lionsgate Comedy Central a nightmare on elm street twilight Brie Larson YouTube Red WarnerMedia casting Sony Pictures A&E BET Awards what to watch PaleyFest critic resources Certified Fresh psycho award winner LGBT composers kaiju cancelled TV series The Purge rt labs stoner The Witch vampires Country scary movies sopranos ESPN critics TV Disney Plus stop motion Mary Poppins Returns 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Hear Us Out The Walt Disney Company BBC sports razzies adventure BBC One Fantasy facebook documentary Fox Searchlight scary hidden camera justice league Chilling Adventures of Sabrina asian-american 2016 superhero Esquire anime Fox News comic books book lord of the rings hollywood adaptation pirates of the caribbean X-Men Ghostbusters Funimation History El Rey classics Sundance natural history Broadway Star Trek streaming Lifetime rotten movies we love cops Lucasfilm independent FX dramedy First Look BBC America black comedy genre italian The Academy game of thrones Stephen King international TCA Winter 2020 dreamworks jurassic park movies dc politics ID Acorn TV Extras Alien space political drama Paramount Plus 20th Century Fox Rom-Com San Diego Comic-Con Adult Swim DC streaming service Vudu Hallmark Christmas movies nfl zero dark thirty GoT travel trailers women Dark Horse Comics true crime serial killer Sundance TV TIFF emmy awards Classic Film Academy Awards directors Reality teaser hispanic Tomatazos monster movies Ovation Freeform Opinion FXX Nat Geo football mcc Writers Guild of America 21st Century Fox worst based on movie comic war 99% canceled TV shows E! Starz 2020 Marvel Studios Mystery best Epix revenge Nominations Fall TV 93rd Oscars SundanceTV festival FX on Hulu rotten posters Turner remakes franchise Holiday Best and Worst tv talk renewed TV shows Disney Legendary Comics on TV richard e. Grant Peacock Winter TV Women's History Month Television Academy TCA Trophy Talk psychological thriller heist movie Cannes Discovery Channel Trailer DGA toy story Cosplay breaking bad Marathons joker binge 24 frames zombies Baby Yoda black boxoffice telelvision Box Office CNN kong CBS All Access versus 2021 venice sitcom DC Comics south america Tumblr IFC Disney streaming service Animation Rocketman Grammys halloween tv universal monsters crime drama animated boxing know your critic 2015 Toys E3 Rock TCM Hallmark TruTV dragons dceu new zealand USA Network dogs Apple Awards disaster TCA Awards child's play free movies Sundance Now Reality Competition Teen CMT Emmy Nominations romantic comedy transformers gangster Trivia nbcuniversal Creative Arts Emmys 73rd Emmy Awards AMC Plus Universal Pictures sequel Christmas HBO Max olympics comedies werewolf TLC james bond reviews comics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Elton John Sci-Fi Amazon Prime robots hispanic heritage month legend 45 Image Comics ABC deadpool new york Infographic screenings IFC Films OWN sequels cooking Logo TCA 2017 Election romance game show spinoff Instagram Live Tarantino art house unscripted Pacific Islander saw Music Comic-Con@Home 2021 HBO Go Marvel Television Britbox criterion Columbia Pictures TV Land aapi Marvel king kong Crackle Musicals australia TBS