Warning: here be spoilers. If you haven’t at least caught up with last week’s episode, it’s advisable that you do so before reading further!

After last week’s fantastic, Zemo-centric cliffhanger, things take a swift turn for the unexpected in the third episode – with Bucky and Sam paying the Sokovian Baron a Hannibal Lecter-esque visit to seek advice on how to track down Super Soldiers. Meanwhile, John Walker is feeling the pressure of his mission – and as we’re quickly discovering, he’s clearly no Steve Rogers…

There’s still an impressively global feel to the show, with some locations here that’ll be very familiar with the (currently) non-MCU characters the Fantastic Four and the X-Men’s MVP, Wolverine. One in particular showcases a very seedy part of the Marvel Universe, with some strikingly gritty, neon-drenched, cyberpunk-style design.

There’s a harder edge to the action here than is usually seen in the MCU too; though not exactly gory or excessive, there’s some satisfyingly crunchy and surprisingly violent fight scenes here.

The return of a familiar face seems a little too convenient, but they put themselves to good use at least (and I have my suspicions about what their alter ego may be. Watch this space!). Overall, this is still an impressively written show that takes us on a journey with two protagonists who definitely deserved the breathing space that their appearances in the MCU movies to date didn’t allow (a conversation about Sam’s beloved Trouble Man soundtrack is a fantastic callback to his movie debut, The Winter Soldier). With other characters also getting more time to shine and some further insight into the post-Blip MCU, it’s an essential part of the tapestry for long term fans so far. Halfway through the season, with some surprising allies and antagonists in the mix, where it concludes is anyone’s guess right now. It may be far more conventional in its approach to MCU storytelling than, say, WandaVision – but The Falcon and The Winter Soldier still feels like an event, which bodes very well for upcoming MCU shows.

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