Despite having a bumpy start, the latest MCU series to air on Disney+, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, looks to have finally hit full stride. Last week's bombshell episode made key developments to the series' main characters, but in particular John Walker (Wyatt Russell), who's proving to be just as unhinged - if not more so - than his comics counterpart.
This week's episode, "The Truth", wasted no time at all in building off the previous instalment's devastating conclusion, showing Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) take down Walker after he murdered a member of the Flag Smashers. Walker, now amped up on the super soldier serum, almost overwhelms the duo, but they're able to work together and ultimately take back Captain America's shield in what has to be the series' most gripping fight scene yet.
The rest of the episode strikes a less relentless tone, instead opting to examine the repercussions of Walker's breakdown and also to finally have those conversations about legacy we've all been desperate to see. The end result is something much more contemplative, but it's a relief to see the series finally living up to the promise of its premise - even if it is so close to the finale.
Of particular note in this episode, though, is the debut of a specific character. After Walker is reprimanded for his actions in Latvia, being stripped of the Captain America title and receiving an other than honourable discharge from the US Army, he is approached by a mysterious woman in boots and sunglasses. The woman, played by the ever brilliant Julia Louis-Dreyfus, introduces herself as La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, and lends a sympathetic ear to Walker's case. Before leaving, she gives him her card, saying that he should get in touch and encouraging him to reclaim the shield yet again.
As you may have guessed by now, La Contessa is actually a fairly significant character in Marvel Comics, and is most well known for her relationship with Nick Fury as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. during Jim Steranko's seminal run on the character in the late sixties and early seventies. She was originally going to make her live action debut in Black Widow, and the signs are all there that she's set to make a big splash in the MCU going forward.
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