The immediate difference in “Truth” to the rest of the episodes, was its rather abrupt change of pace, slowing down almost to a halt. The show chose to take time to breathe, and dig a little more into the characters before everything likely goes bonkers in the finale. This proved to be good, but also problematic at the same time.
The good is clearly the further character work given, as Sam grappled with that very real idea of truly taking the mantle of Captain America. All of the staff was extremely important for the character, and there was incredible stuff on display that truly make Sam’s transition masterful. Of particular note, the show’s emphasis on the world’s opinions of a black Captain America, and how that relates to Isaiah Bradley, was fantastic. Carl Lumbly continued to provide a powerhouse performance, making sure every note hit hard.
Thanks to all of that, and what came before, seeing Sam train with the shield felt well earned. Personally, though, I still question how Sam can handle that shield in a similar manner to Steve, one being a super-soldier and all. It seems like those with similar questions may have to just go with an increased suspension of disbelief on this one.
Also great was Bucky, who actually smiled. Spending time with Sam’s family clearly was good for him. It’s clear that the bond between Bucky and Sam is growing much stronger, and it’s very likely that a permanent partnership between the two will be formed going forward. Sam giving Bucky that little pep talk about the sins of his past was also wonderful, however, it’s likely to lead to a heartbreaking scene where Bucky reveals the truth to his old pal Yuri.
The bad thing about the slow-down in pacing was the near halt of momentum. Not to mention this sudden stop is happening while the show heads into its finale. It’s a strange move for sure, and while there was still plenty of great stuff in the episode, the whiplash of the sudden shift can certainly be felt. One would expect that going into the finale things would be a little more ramped up. Credit where credit is due though, Marvel’s choice of the final scene—the suitcase—was well picked.
Then there was that surprise cameo. The one that has been teased for weeks upon weeks, telling us that there would be a big name actor portrayed as a brand new character from the comics—one with major implications going forward. They weren’t kidding, as it was none other than the one and only Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra.
She certainly seems like she will live up to the shady side of the character that is on display at all times within her comic appearances. But what is the Val up to? Clearly, she seems to be forming a team—not too unsimilar to what Nick Fury did all the way back in 2008. Could this be the start of a team like The Thunderbolts? Or even The Dark Avengers? It may take a few years, but everyone will know eventually.
Let’s go back to who Val was visiting in the first place: John Walker. Coming straight off of last week’s episode, Walker is clearly in shock and unstable to boot. What followed was a fantastic payoff to the season’s build-up of tension between Walker and our two heroes. Their brawl was top-notch, and emotionally charged—something that always makes those MCU action scenes that much better.
Now the show has a super-powered John Walker, at likely one of the lowest points in his life. Disgraced, humiliated, and defeated. It’s no surprise that the after-credit scene shows him making his own shield. While it’s likely not his US Agent shield just yet, it’s clearly meant to show his drive to do things on his own, no matter what the government may have to say about it.
“Truth” continued The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s fantastic quality. Its drive and sincerity when it comes to tackling those hard social/racial/systematic issues are bold, and really give the show a distinctive voice. While the show’s sudden slow-down in pacing did hurt the overall episode, it never fully diminished anything too seriously. We still got another great installment, and hopefully, the finale follows suit.