This episode could have been titled 'Off To See The Wizard', because pretty much, that was all our intrepid pair did.
First up, the boys go to the prison to see Zemo. That went about as expected. Baron Zemo came out speaking the dreaded activation words only for Bucky to shake it off like a champ. The words didn't work, but damn if that wasn't a tense moment for me. What can I say, I worry.
Much like I worry about Zemo's overall plans. Yeah, he's being all sugar daddy now, ferrying Sam and Bucky about, furnishing them with clothes and hot cars and what have you, but just because he's wearing boots doesn't make him less of an alligator. He's dangerous and no amount of woobification changes that.
That said, the jailbreak was smooth, and Daniel Brühl is a gift. He's got crazy good comedic timing and is convincing as both a villain and a jet-setting international man of mystery. He's proven himself to be an effective ally (so far) in the Flag Smashers situation, but for how long remains to be seen. To be fair, his character reminds me a great deal of Boyd Crowder (from Justified, which if you haven't seen it, you should): a man on no one's side but his own, for his own ends, at all times. If they coincide with the greater good, so be it, but if they don't, well... I don't count on him losing too much sleep over it.
Sharon was flippin' amazing in this. Generally speaking, I never really felt one way or the other about her (MCU-wise, to clarify. In the comics, I know she killed Steve and I'm not as forgiving of that). I liked her in CATWS, both before and after she was revealed as a SHIELD agent. I was ambivalent about her in Civil War, though she was a badass who took on a full-blown Winter Soldier in hand-to-hand combat. I think the whole issue I had came from the creep factor of her being Peggy's niece and kissing on Cap. Putting that aside, though, she's a bad bitch.
No, really. She showed up sniping people chasing Sam, Bucky, and Zemo and then took her remarkable lack of fucks street-level to deal with them. She's been making the most of the crappy hand she got dealt as both someone who survived the blip and got shafted in the whole Civil War debacle. she's been living out her life in Madripoor, and she's making money as an art fence. I kinda dig it. But what I really wanna talk about was the shipping yard scene.
That chick took all fucking comers and came out on top. She didn't care if there were two, three, five, whatever. She had something for 'em and they sure as hell got the message. While the boys were inside dealing with the chemist, she was outside going all 'Jason Bourne on career day'. Shit was serious. I don't know what else she has going on (my money is on deep cover clandestine services for someone other than the US, though I've also heard she could be The Powerbroker but I doubt it), but she was tough as hell and I heartily approve.
I also heartily approve of Sam dressed up like Smiling Tiger. That whole scene was fucking intense. He was pretty as hell. Actually, Sam in this whole episode was giving me life. Not just the whole 'shirtless in Sharon's crib' scene, which, Christ Almighty, those are America's Tits. (pause for a moment while my brain blue screens over that for a second). Okay. Coming back from there, Sam was just the fucking heart of the show today. Receipts on Zemo, check. Looking after Bucky's mental and physical well-being, check. Seeking to set the situation with Sharon right and taking up another mantle, check check. Sam Wilson needs way the fuck more love than he gets.
Of course that brings me to Bucky. This episode was extremely hard on the ovaries for me. Seeing the Winter Soldier in action does not get old. That said, I don't like that they had to use that and I really hope that doing that doesn't set back any progress he's made in therapy. That said, untamed and feral Bucky is exactly what I came for and was so, so not disappointed. Whew.
Things I loved in this episode: Bucky likes 40's music, because of course he does. Zemo and Sam bonding over the Trouble Man soundtrack and a mutual love of Marvin Gaye. A love that was apparently shared by Steve. The trio walking into Madripoor over the bridge had to be the bossest shit I've seen in a long damn time. How do you not move like a badass with lighting like that? I mean, really. I loved how a lot of the the shots from the episode looked like could be panes from a comic page in terms of framing, color, lighting, and action. Just a very cool aesthetic. Oh, and the 'You're not gonna move your seat up, are you?' bit? Yeah, giving me life, I tell you.
Something else I loved but deserves its own paragraph is Jon Walker's "Don't you know who I am?!" moment. Fucking hell, I heard the entitled Karen-itude from here. Cap would never. Yet another week goes by where I have to say, "Fuck that guy."
Actually, there was a fair bit of that going around in this ep, even though he was only on for a hot second. He's kind of jackass to Lemar, like the whole 'translate this' scene rubbed me the wrong way, for reasons I can't articulate at the moment but may revisit. And the whole chasing down Sam and Bucky, with the idea of taking credit for their work dealing with the Flag Smashers (and you can't tell me that's not the undercurrent there) just made his face that much more punchable. I would not at all put it past him to turn Bucky and Sam in to the government about breaking Zemo out of prison if he thought it would advance his career/standing/whatever. It's not like there weren't a literal shit-ton of people in Selby's bar filming while Bucky put in **work** as the Asset. In the words of Han Solo, "I have a bad feeling about this."
Personally, I can't wait to see Bucky dog-walk Jon Walker and take the shield back. It's what they both deserve.
And we'll end this screen where the show ended, with the arrival of Ayo of the Dora Milaje. Remember how Sam said that the Wakandans would not be happy with Zemo out of prison? He wasn't kidding and neither were they. Given Bucky's longstanding relationship with the Dora and his love for Wakanda in general, I'm really curious to see how he's going to explain this to them.
We're halfway through the series now and no closer to resolving any of the main or subplots. In fact, this episode was still adding characters. I'm very curious to see what the Power Broker's next move is and how that's going to play out in relation to the boys and now the Dora. I hope Sharon shows back up, too (words I never thought I'd say but there we are). Next week can't get here soon enough and I am so ready for it. I'm sure I'll have a shit ton more on my mind then, too. So until next week, peeps. Be easy.