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The Definitive Ranking of Every Episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” takes us back to the more political days of the MCU, but now with two sidekick characters taking center stage. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the finale.

Graham Steinberg · 21 days ago

Marvel’s second Disney+ series was willing to go to places the MCU had never ventured before. It’s a bit heavier than standard superhero content, with discussions of race, global politics, and what life is like in the post-Blip Marvel universe. With only six episodes in the first season, this one is relatively short but still filled with many important and thought-provoking details. Let’s take a look at how the episodes stack up against one another.

6. “Power Broker”

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Disney / Marvel Studios

The long-awaited introduction of Madripoor and the return of Baron Zemo and Sharon Carter was super fun (his dance sequence is now important Marvel lore), and this episode was packed to the brim with comic references. From the prison breakout to the underground Low-town club world to the Wolverine references, this was a non-stop thrill and the point in the series when the pace starts to pick up.

5. “The Whole World is Watching”

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Disney / Marvel Studios

Seeing John Walker get his butt kicked by the members of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje was the highlight of my week, and it led to us finally seeing the wannabe Captain America take on his darker comic persona. Also, I am always happy to get more Zemo, who I’ve wanted to delve further into since Civil War. This episode probably sees the most direct confrontation, and the fight sequences are on point thanks to John Wick scribe Derek Kolstad putting them together.

4. “One World, One People”

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Disney / Marvel Studios

It’s Captain America! In the (hopefully just first season) finale, Sam finally suits up, and we’ve been waiting all season for it. This episode is mainly action sequences and a lot of pay-off to the Flag-Smasher conflict that has been building up all season, so if you wanted to see some more fights, you’re going to love this one. Sam’s costume is super comic accurate, which I absolutely love and am excited to see more of. His speech after the battle was particularly relevant and showed how Anthony Mackie earned his place in this role.

3. “New World Order”

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Disney / Marvel Studios

With the premiere of its second series, the MCU took a drastic step back from action sequences (besides the opening montage) and allowed us to learn more about two heroes who have often been on the sidelines of their stories. Seeing the home lives of Sam Wilson navigating discrimination in the loan industry and Bucky Barnes try to go on a date honestly might be some of my favorite moments since Iron Man. It’s a slowdown, but one that is entirely deserved for the franchise.

2. “Truth”

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Disney / Marvel Studios

Starting with the obvious, my jaw crashed through to my downstairs neighbor’s place when I saw Elaine Benes come on screen as the MCU’s Madame Hydra (probably). But this episode was a lot more than that. Arguably the best chemistry we’ve seen between Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan since the series started. Yet again, we get to step back from the action and watch these two work together to fix up the Wilson family boat. Where WandaVision (and most of the MCU in general) work to leave us in awe and spark our imagination, this series has done a perfect job of bringing us back to the real world and letting us sit with the consequences of these characters’ actions and see what day-to-day life would be for characters who are so important.

1. “The Star-Spangled Man”

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Disney / Marvel Studios

After its premiere, I knew The Falcon and the Winter Soldier would be something different, but for it to one-up itself so quickly was quite surprising. This episode begins to deal with something showrunner Malcolm Spellman promised, taking a look at the darker nature behind the shield’s history. Whether it's learning about Isiah Bradley, who was punished for doing pretty much the same things Steve Rogers did ten years earlier or seeing Sam Wilson, a soldier, and hero, get stopped and searched by local police, this episode is willing to go somewhere Marvel has never seemed interested in going before. It’s an important look at what it means to be a hero and the private lives of the people behind the masks.