So figured out what my beef was last week with John Walker. To be more accurate, I should say what one of my beefs is with the shield bearer. He's a bully.
I mean, the 'don't you know who I am' scene rubbed me wrong for the outright entitlement it engendered, but underlying all that, he's a damn bully. He also treats Lemar, his supposed best friend, like shit in the 'translate this' scene. He's arrogant and dismissive and just this side of condescending. He may be a good soldier, but not an especially good man. Or, if he was a good man, his insecurities about taking up this mantle he had no business having have led him down a dark path. I stand firm on my 'fuck that guy' opinion, though. I am unwavering.
Example, he ability to continually scuttle any progress Sam made with Karli was impressive. He is Captain Fuck Up at this point and should answer to that name. He's arrogant, overconfident, condescending as fuck. I rooted for Karli when she whooped his ass. I rooted for the Dora when they mollywhopped him all over Zemo's place. Sam's "The only thing you're running in here is your mouth." was perfect because it's true. Sam would have wore his ass out like a cheap pair of shoes. Bet. In fact, Walker spent the majority of the episode getting his non-America's Ass handed to him in tiny pieces, at least, until the end. More on that in a bit.
Let's talk about all the ways he got the Dora Milaje fucked up. First up, he was rude to Ayo. The looks she gave him after he introduced himself as Cap should have left him twitching in the corner somewhere. Then he wanted to argue jurisdiction. Then!!!! he made the 'pointy sticks' remark. I mean, what in the raisin-potato-salad white-hooded fuck was that??? That she snatched the taste out of his mouth was totally understandable, that she let him live though... and the shield? You could see the grudging envy on his face when the Dora stepped on the shield to bring it back a la classic Steve.
John Walker is a traumatized vet. He's tired of being used, tired of the shadow the darkest day of his life casts over the rest of it, and when he got dogwalked all over Zemo's Latvian living room, he didn't like being bested by a woman. Several of them. He felt powerless, helpless, and angry.
He definitely has a jealousy issue as well. Jealous that Steve is universally well-received and feels he's still seen as an imposter. He's jealous that Karli got to be a supersoldier and he didn't. He thinks that's the one thing that separates him from fully ascending to Steve Rogers' legacy. It ain't, by any stretch.
"Power only makes you more who you are." Lemar was speaking prophesy right there. And then his best friend took the serum.
For all of Zaddy Zemo's worldy charms, he is, in fact a dangerous man and exceptionally mission driven. He's here to eradicate the supersoldiers, however he has to. Whether or not that includes Bucky remains to be seen (good on Sam for asking him, though), but he's not going to stop until he completes his mission. And he has no problem confronting Whiny-assed Walker, as evidenced by the calm and decisive way he shot and damn near killed Karli. And he would have gotten the job done if, again, Captain Fuck Up hadn't made an appearance.
Sam was, as always, fucking incredible. He was making headway. His disarming demeanor and forthrightness really came through when he was first talking to Karli. He was making headway only for Fuck Up to jump the gun and go blundering into the scene. He's the kind of guy that shoots the man laying down his gun after he's been negotiated to peaceful surrender. I'm glad they beat his ass.
Back to Sam, though. Sam was leading with his innate humanity and again showed why, without a doubt, he should carry the mantle as Cap. He wanted to connect with Karli, to address her needs without any more bloodshed. Even after she threatened his sister, he still came and did so just to talk. Now bloodshed is the only option she will feel is left to her, and I doubt sincerely she's gonna be too picky about whose blood it is.
Speaking of bloodshed, Lemar Hoskins deserved better than to be sacrificed on the alter of his supposed best friend's jealousy and angst. It felt like everyone in the room felt the shift after Karli killed him. He got killed chasing after John, running after the white dude and then his death serves as the final motivation for Walker's Face-Heel-Turn.
To be clear, there ain't no coming back from killing a man in cold blood, in broad daylight, in the Cap uniform, with the shield. The shield, Steve's legacy and he used it to beat (gore?) a man to death, despoiling it with his blood and with it, Cap's image. The man was on his back with his hands up and, as I mentioned earlier, Walker is definitely the kind of guy to shoot the man dropping the gun. Because reasons. As usual, everyone was recording and it will take no time at all for everyone to see him as he actually is, which was his greatest fear. Hell, the episode is called 'The World Is Watching', and they were, or at least, will be.
As usual, Bucky about killed me. Breaking my heart and the show hadn't even been on three goddamn minutes. Holy shit, the scene with Ayo in Wakanda with the Words. My heart broke for him, I was crying because you could see every emotion was over his face. Fear, resolve, rage, regret, and finally relief and elation. "You're free. You're free." And my desire to hug the fuck outta him and bake him casseroles has only increased.
You could see his conflict when talking to Ayo. It's clear they are (were?) close in Wakanda and have history. He couldn't even look her in the face when he walk speaking to her in Zemo's living room. The respect he had for her was obvious, as was the hurt that he had to go against them when she just about killed Walker and Lemar.
This episode showed a lot more of Bucky's superpowers. It's easy to think of him as just this (ridiculously sexy) brooding guy. Sure, intellectually we know he's a supersoldier, but it's something else entirely to see him fling himself across the room and halfway up a flight of stairs. Or running at ridiculous speeds, or kicking a man. Through. A. Goddamn. Wall. Jesus. I need a moment.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. The whole Ayo taking his arm off thing? Holy. Shit. Unexpected and ridiculously interesting. Plus him popping it back on was... well. I might need a minute. Also, Petty Bucky is fucking everything. "Lookin' strong, John!" fucking ended me. I'm glad I'd swallowed my drink before then because goddamn. That he was content to watch the Dora curbstomp the man says everything I needed to know. Plus, Bucky knew something was wrong with Fuck Up even before that became the Problem. "I know crazy, because I am crazy." Amusing in a bittersweet kinda way and I still feel the need to bake.
The show ended on a dark note. SSgt Lemar Hoskins is dead, and Walker is both juiced and crazy. Even if the whole world didn't see his transgression. Bucky and Sam sure as hell did, and they will not let him carry on in this way. I don't know if that means taking him down themselves (I feel like the series is leading to some kind of Bucky vs Fuck Up battle royale) or helping Sharon and her group do it. (She has access to satellites? Do tell.)
Zemo's in the wind, Karli's in the wind and likely girding her loins for vengeance, and Sam and Bucky very much have a John Walker problem. Next week is what I understand to be the penultimate episode of the series and damn is the pressure on now. I'm sure we'll have a ton to discuss next week, so until then, Be Easy.