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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier: 10 Ways 'Truth' Is The Best Episode

After the universal acclaim met by WandaVision, the critical response to Marvel’s next streaming series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, was much more polarized. However, it all turned around after the shocking final moments of the show’s fourth episode, “The Whole World is Watching,” in which John Walker beat a Flag Smasher to death with the Captain America shield.

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This set the stage for “Truth,” arguably The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s strongest installment. The episode was so well-received that its writer, Dalan Mussan, has reportedly been tapped to co-write the MCU’s Captain America 4 project with Falcon and the Winter Soldier showrunner Malcolm Spellman.

10 It Begins With Arguably The MCU’s Darkest Moment

“Truth” was already a fascinating episode from the shocking setup provided by the previous episode, “The Whole World is Watching.” During a fight with the Flag Smashers, Lemar is killed and Walker chases the Flag Smashers out of the building. He pins one of them to the ground – the one who idolizes Captain America, not the one who actually killed Lemar – and beats them to death with the shield.

Throughout the first four episodes, Walker was telegraphed as a bad guy. In the fifth episode, thanks to this brutal cliffhanger, he finally became a villain in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

9 Sam & Bucky V. Walker Lived Up To The Hype

There was tension between Sam and Bucky and Steve’s supposed successor John Walker from the very beginning, despite Walker’s initial phony attempts at niceness.

Sam and Bucky finally teamed up to fight the impostor to their shared best friend’s throne in the fifth episode of the series, and it didn’t disappoint. Apart from some jarring wide shots spliced into the fast-cutting closeups, this fight was just as visceral and intense – and emotionally charged – as fans had hoped.

8 It Fleshed Out Isaiah Bradley’s Tragic Backstory

The namesake of this episode is the groundbreaking comic book Truth: Red, White & Black, which explored one of Marvel’s darkest storylines as it explained that the U.S. government tested the Super-Soldier Serum on wrongfully imprisoned Black soldiers before giving it to their white candidate. This story was told through the eyes of Isaiah Bradley.

After Isaiah’s introduction in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier seemed to gloss over the horrors of his backstory, “Truth” finally filled in the harrowing details. Carl Lumbly gave an incredibly powerful performance in the role.

7 Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Cameo Was One Of The Show’s Most Pleasant Surprises

There were a few surprises in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but one of the coolest was Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ cameo appearance as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. The Emmy-winning TV legend who starred in Seinfeld and Veep will make a fine addition to the MCU.

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After meeting Walker in “Truth,” the notorious Contessa has recruited him to become U.S. Agent, so hopefully we haven’t seen the last of her.

6 The Action Had Real Emotional Stakes

There was less action in “Truth” than the previous episodes, but its action was more emotionally engaging because the stakes were clearly established and the spectacle was driven by the plot instead of vice versa.

In the previous episodes, the action felt pretty lacking, especially since John Wick creator Derek Kolstad wrote a couple of them, but “Truth” made up for it.

5 Walker’s Whitewashing Of His Own Crime Made Him One Of The MCU’s Most Complex Villains

The MCU is often accused of having a “villain problem,” because one-note villains like Malekith and Aldrich Killian aren’t well-developed enough to be as interesting as the heroes.

But in “Truth,” when John Walker became a villain, he established himself as one of the MCU’s most complex baddies because he continues to believe he’s a hero after becoming a murderer. He keeps peddling the lie that the Flag Smasher he beat to death was Lemar’s killer, including to Lemar’s family.

4 Sam And Bucky’s Growing Friendship Is Most Tangible In “Truth”

In keeping with the show’s Midnight Run-esque “buddy cop” dynamic, Sam and Bucky spent the first few episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier bickering and generally not getting along.

Their growing friendship started to turn around in “Truth,” in which they actually help each other out with their problems and talk about their shared insecurities about carrying on Steve’s legacy.

3 The Quieter Dramatic Scenes Actually Land

As with most of the slower dialogue scenes in Marvel projects, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s quieter dramatic moments dragged down the early episodes. But they worked wonders in “Truth.”

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Character moments in “Truth” like Bucky bonding with Sam’s family and Sam contemplating what Isaiah told him are as compelling as any action scene.

2 It Dug The Deepest Into The Show’s Poignant Themes

While most Marvel projects are dismissed as being artistically vapid to appeal to a wide audience, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was praised for its thematic substance in exploring the racial implications of its premise. No episode dug into these poignant themes more than “Truth.”

The show didn’t take the easy route in introducing a Black Captain America. Isaiah points out, “They will never let a Black man be Captain America, and even if they did, no self-respecting Black man would ever want to be.”

1 It Set The Stage For Sam To Truly Become Captain America

Although Marvel fans expected Sam Wilson to become the new Captain America right after Steve gave him the shield in Avengers: Endgame, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier revealed that taking on Steve Rogers’ iconic mantle isn’t as simple as that.

Broadly speaking, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the story of Sam’s journey to truly becoming Cap. He wouldn’t really become Cap until the finale, but “Truth” set the stage brilliantly.

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