5 questions we need answered in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale

(L-R): Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Julie Vrabelova. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Julie Vrabelova. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

This week’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier set Sam up to finally embrace his role as the new Captain America — though we’ve yet to see him charge into battle with the suit and shield. That’s likely to happen during the finale this week since Karli and the Flag Smashers are planning to bring him down. (And that’s not to mention that a pissed-off John Walker is in the process of making a shield of his own.)

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has quite a few storylines to tie up during this week’s episode, and it’s giving Sam plenty of work to do during the finale. In addition to facing Karli and her followers — and possibly Walker again — he’ll be making his debut as the new Cap, something the show has been building up to since the beginning.

On top of everything Sam must contend with, the series also needs to give us closure on its other major characters — starting with Bucky Barnes and Sharon Carter, but also outlining what’s next for the villains.

What can we expect in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale?

There’s a lot to cover in this final installment, but hopefully, Marvel’s latest Disney+ series will be up to the task. So, what are the biggest questions The Falcon and the Winter Soldier needs to answer during its finale this Friday?

What will become of Karli and the Flag Smashers?

The obvious answer to this question is that Sam will successfully defeat the Flag Smashers and stop them from whatever they’re planning. However, the Flag Smashers are fighting for an understandable cause, and the series has repeatedly given viewers reason to empathize with them despite not condoning their actions.

With that in mind, it’s hard to believe the ending can be as simple as Sam and Bucky “winning” and having the entire problem go away. For one, the Flag Smashers likely have followers who won’t be present at the final confrontation but would still willingly uphold their cause. On top of that, their cause is certainly worth addressing, and Sam knows that — so it’s likely the Avengers and U.S. government will need to find some compromise to successfully wrap up this storyline.

Karli is another interesting variable because despite having done terrible things, her conversation with Sam proves she’s not beyond reason. The show has hardly painted her as an irredeemable character, and it’d be difficult to find a prison that could hold her — leaving us to wonder what, exactly, the MCU plans to do with her moving forward.

Of course, it’s possible The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is attempting to push Karli past redemption by revealing her plan to kill Sam. Still, given his dedication to Steve’s legacy, it’s unlikely Sam would ever deal her a fatal blow. (And we can’t exactly see him condemning her to imprisonment after learning what happened to Isaiah Bradley.)

Perhaps Sam will change Karli’s mind in the end — but where she’ll go after that remains a question mark. Into the woods with Wanda Maximoff, perhaps?

What is John Walker planning?

It was slightly surprising how quickly Sam and Bucky’s confrontation with John Walker unfolded during the series’ penultimate episode, which makes me think we’ll be getting another fight sequence between Walker and Sam. On top of that, the mid-credits scene from “Trust” sees Walker creating a new shield — and while it’s probably not made of Vibranium, the guy does have superpowers now. It’s very possible he’ll be back to stir up trouble.

Since Sam still needs to contend with Karli and her followers, however, one has to wonder if the promise of Walker becoming an MCU villain will be fulfilled during the finale or if it will be left for another Phase 4 project. Walker could definitely go after Karli during this week’s episode, since he obviously wants justice for Lemar.

However, Walker also wants to become a symbol for America, even after the nation has so clearly rejected him. And with Madame Hydra’s comment about his value during the most recent episode, it’s seeming more and more likely that Marvel has plans for Walker beyond The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. For that reason, he could be planning something much bigger than going after Sam and Karli.

What is Sharon Carter’s game?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finally saw the return of Sharon Carter, who was deemed an enemy of the state following Captain America: Civil War. Unlike the rest of the Avengers, she was never pardoned, so she’s been living in Madripoor ever since — and her reaction to Sam and Bucky showing up suggests she’s been stewing in her bitter feelings since the heroes turned their backs on her.

That fact has led to the popular theory that Sharon is actually the Power Broker referenced in episode 3, and while that’s yet to be confirmed, the most recent episode did see her making a suspicious phone call about paying “double this time.” Right after that, Batroc the Leaper shows up and offers to kill Sam for Karli. And even if she’s not the Power Broker, all signs point to Sharon setting this up — and to her taking a villainous turn during the final episode.

Is it just revenge Sharon is after, though, or is there more to whatever game she might be playing If she is the Power Broker, it’s strange she’d work with Karli and the Flag Smashers after giving them so much trouble. Even if she’s not, though, clearly she’s up to something here. Whatever it is, we’re likely to find out this week.

How will Sam embrace the role of Captain America?

“Truth” finally reckoned with Sam’s initial choice to give up the shield, leading into his acceptance of the role of Captain America. The training montage toward the end of the episode — paired with the fact that he now has the shield and suit — suggests we’ll see Sam fully embrace the role next week. But one question remains: What will Sam’s version of Captain America look like?

If anything, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has repeatedly emphasized that taking up the mantle will be a much different experience for Sam than it was for Steve. Beyond the complications of being a Black man fighting for a nation that he’s likely to receive pushback from, Sam is also someone far more capable of empathizing with the struggles of everyday people than Steve was.

Because of that, Sam may become a very different (and possibly even better) symbol than Steve was. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of legacy he carves out for himself.

What will Bucky do once the series is over?

Alongside Sam struggling with the legacy Steve left for him, Bucky has also had his fair share of problems to work through during The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The series’ opening made it clear that he’s still suffering from the trauma of being the Winter Soldier, and although we’ve briefly seen his efforts to atone for his time working for HYDRA, he hasn’t made any huge strides toward forgiving himself.

That leaves fans to wonder what will become of Bucky after the series concludes since it’d be all but impossible to neatly tie up his PTSD storyline in one episode. Will he continue fighting alongside the Avengers, or is he more likely to seek out retirement and work on his mental health? After more than a century of fighting, it seems he’s earned the latter.

Next. FATWS warns against putting superheroes on pedestals. dark

What are some questions you’d like to see The Falcon and the Winter Soldier answer during this week’s episode? Sound off in the comments below.