Well this is certainly a much different Zemo than the one that tore apart the Avengers. Same character, but a drastically different side of him. That’s great though, as the Zemo we follow here is an incredibly fun character, who also clearly has a much larger plan in store for our heroes.
Coming out of his last appearance, I didn’t quite see how this version of Zemo could lead any version of a future Thunderbolts team–who in simple terms are Marvel’s Suicide Squad. After “Power Broker”, that potential outcome is starting to become clearer. That said, his strong stance against super soldiers, or powered individuals in general, is a fairly big roadblock for his role as team leader.
I know that a lot of fans hold the theory that Zemo’s new mask is meant to be inspired by Thanos, but I’d like to shoot that down with one sentence: the mask was in an old car, in a storage container that he couldn’t have touched since pre Civil War. Far before anyone had seen or heard of Thanos. Needless to say though, his mask rocks, and it’s a fantastic move by Marvel to introduce the look into the MCU.
Zemo wasn’t the only returning face, as we finally met up with Sharon Carter again. The world hasn’t been kind to her after her role in the Sokovia Accords disagreements. As near perfect a film that Civil War is, Sharon wasn’t much of a character. She had a role to play, and she did–but no more than that.
So I’m happy that we finally got some actual time with the character. I can only assume that this won’t be the last we see of her since she has been marketed so heavily as a main character. Her fight sequences throughout the shipping yard were phenomenal, and provided viewers with a reminder of how proficient and dangerous she is. I don’t know why Carter wasn’t pardoned like everyone else—seems odd.
One of the most exciting parts of the episode wasn’t about a character, but rather a new location: Madripoor. What makes this a big deal is that it’s the first official product of the Fox-Disney merger. It has deep ties to mutants, and more specifically, Wolverine himself. On top of that though, it was just a really uniquely designed city that came alive on screen. It was bright, vibrant, and was a perfect little slice of John Wick inserted into the MCU.
When it comes to our title characters, it’s no surprise that they didn’t agree on Zemo’s breakout. In fact, I am a little surprised that Bucky was so okay with the whole thing. The dynamic of the two however was really fun to be a part of when Zemo was thrown into the mix.
There wasn’t too much going on for Sam this time around, but it was fun to see him play along with the act, posing as a criminal for the mission. His call to his sister certainly succeeded in garnering that tension, and I hope we get to see some of the fallout that such a situation would have caused on her end. No matter how small that may be.
Bucky was thrown into a pretty serious personal dilemma. As part of the mission, he needed to dive back down into his former assassin persona. Something that comes at quite a terrible time, as he is in the middle of re-conciliating his past. Re-visiting all of that certainly can’t be good for him. While we didn’t see much of the personal repercussions of that whole act, it’s likely something that will come up down the line.
Now I do question why the whole Winter Soldier thing worked. The world knows about Bucky, and the fact that he was pardoned. His former assassin self is known worldwide as nonexistent. So why does Madripoor think that he’s still active? Do they read or watch the news? At the very least, one would think that they’d have some questions.
As for John Walker, there wasn’t a lot given to us this week. However there was enough to give us a glimpse at the darker side held within the US’ war hero, and everyone’s new Captain America. Walker even declared that he didn’t care about how the mission was completed, as long as it’s completed. Sounds a whole lot like the beginning of his descent into the US Agent persona.
Now let’s talk about Karli. Prior to this, the show has done a good job keeping her and her fellow Flag Smashers on that thin line of right or wrong. This seems to be the intent of the writers, and is a big part of what makes the group so compelling. Jump to this week’s episode though, and you have Karli blowing up a building with a dozen tied up guards—just to send a message.
That action alone seems to be a clear cut crossing of that thin line, bringing the group into full on villainy. This is actually a little disappointing, as it makes their whole act a lot less debatable when it comes to moral ambiguity. No matter your cause, murdering helpless people to send a message never quite falls on the heroic side of things.
“Power Broker” was another solid episode, already showing that the show has a more consistent quality than WandaVision had. That said, out of what we have gotten so far, this third installment falls just behind the first two in score. Only by a little though.
While Sharon said her (likely not final) goodbyes, we did get to hold onto Zemo–who seems to continue on as a part of our newly formed trio. Though with Wakanda in the mix, I can’t imagine it’s going to end well for him. I am however excited to see the relationship between Bucky and Wakanda further explored, as the films never really had the time to do so.