**Warning! Spoilers ahead for episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.**
Episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier may have provided fans answers to questions like – “Who is that fake Captain America?” and “When can we finally see Sam and Bucky together?”. In this action-packed episode, the story develops even more – but not without highlighting the daily struggles and discrimination weaved in America’s Justice System.
While accompanying Bucky on a trip to meet a man named Isaiah, Sam learns the truth of a Black super soldier and understandably, gets upset.
The conversation between Bucky and Isaiah was anything but pretty, with the latter revealing that he was put in jail for 30 years for being a hero, whilst “your people” get off easy. Bucky later reveals that “my people” were actually members of HYDRA, but at the time, one can’t help but understand the coded message.
Following that, Sam and Bucky were having a “polite conversation” on the road after leaving Isaiah’s when police officers approach them and immediately asked Sam for his ID. Refusing to give his ID, the officers insinuated that Sam had been bothering Bucky. It wasn’t until Bucky asked the officer “Do you know who this is?” when they realize who Sam was and backed off.
The scene may have only been a few minutes long, but what was happening was really clear. The police were profiling Sam and judging by the emotions from Sam, it further reinforces the idea that he possibly would not be accepted to take on the mantle of Captain America as Steve Rogers had wanted. He is, after all, a Black man in America – hero or not.
In an interview, showrunner and head writer Malcolm Spellman pointed out that whilst The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is an action superhero series at its very core and will look at who will rise up and take on the role of Captain America, Spellman cannot ignore the politics that come with Sam being a Black man.
“It’s right there at the surface like you see it immediately in that first episode and it goes deeper and deeper and deeper. Sam being a Black man, can’t in good conscience just accept that symbol, without serious consideration to both sides of whether it’s appropriate for him to don it and we wanted that argument about not doing it to be legitimate,” addressed Spellman.
With episode 2 already hitting hard, one can expect that the remaining 4 episodes will reveal more of the Black experience and see how that influences and changes Sam’s character growth.
While we see that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier weaves into social commentary in a fairly direct manner, it’s par on course for the characters. After all, Captain America: The Winter Soldier(2014) discussed subtly giving up freedom for security while Captain America: Civil War further explored similar themes surrounding control and accountability.
Guess being a superhero still isn’t quite as glorious as the public makes it out to be, especially when Sam and Bucky are faced with one who pretends he’s Steve Rogers-to be.
Catch an episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier every Friday on Disney+.