The Falcon and the Winter Soldier continues to impress with it's incredible action sequences, witty dialogue between the titular characters, racial and mental health undertones. This week introduced us to the new government appointed Captain America, John Walker, who is ripe with arrogance and even a hint of naivety. It also continued with the idea of living up to the legacy left behind by Steve Rogers. The biggest failure to do so would be in what Sam did in the previous episode by giving up the shield, only allowing the government to do what they want with it. The direct opposite of what Steve Rogers would do as he trusted people closest to him and not corporations or governments as agendas and ideas always change. Sam, however, was doing what he thought was right in retiring the symbol of Captain America only for the government to strong arm him.
After the introduction of John Walker as Captain America we see Sam starting a mission to go after the Flag Smashers while also having his own regrets on giving up the shield. All of which comes to a head when he is stopped by Bucky. Bucky is furious with him that he decided to give up the shield but once he learns of the mission he decides to team up with Sam to stop the Flag Smashers. Here they quickly learn the hard way that the Flag Smashers all have super powers of their own and far too strong for them to take on. Thus, Bucky decides to tell Sam something that he never even told Steve Rogers about in that the United States government still continued the super soldier serum beyond just Steve. Bucky takes Sam to Baltimore where they meet Isiah Bradley who was the only African American man that survived the experiments. This angers Sam greatly as it's not only racist but it also taints Steve's legacy as well as goes to prove that the government isn't any different from the Soviet's that did the same to Bucky. Bucky on the other hand is dealing with his own set of issues as he is beginning to question himself and even his friend. In a joint therapy session he explains his anger toward Sam and says that Steve entrusted the shield to Sam because he believed and trusted him. If Steve was wrong about Sam, then his ultimate fear is that Steve was wrong about himself. It goes to show that Bucky doesn't believe he has any self worth, and the idea that Steve saw more in Bucky was the only thing that has kept him going.
Meanwhile, John Walker is doing his rounds as the new Captain America. He's been sworn in at his old high school as he showed that he was a phenomenal soldier and the best case for the new Captain that the government had at the moment. However, John Walker throughout the episode makes attempts to work alongside Sam and Bucky, even going as far as to say that he's trying to be the best Captain America that he can be and in order to so, having Steve's old wingmen by his side would do a world of good. After his repeated attempts and even freeing Bucky from jail, Sam and Bucky continue to refuse to work alongside him as they both don't see him as Captain America and truthfully think it's disgraceful to the memory and legacy of Steve Rogers. More so, the two believe they are much more likely to stop the Flag Smashers alone as opposed to with John Walker. Realizing that Walker cannot help them in their pursuit, Bucky realizes that the only person they have left to turn too for help is that of Zemo, as he is the only person alive that knows of HYDRA's secrets and could potentially lead them to finding out how the Flag Smashers have gotten the serum. After their latest refusal, John threatens the two which may be the first showing of how unstable John Walker may end up being. The comics version of the character was incredibly unhinged and unstable. So far there hasn't been much to think they are going that direction just yet, but I do believe with the inclusion of the Power Broker, the mysterious character that gave the Flag Smashers the super soldier serum, that the Power Broker will end up giving John Walker the serum and that'll be his descent into madness forcing Sam and Bucky to take him down after the government cannot. After doing so, this will also make the government ask Sam once more to take up the mantle like his old friend originally wanted him to do.
Lastly, the inclusion of Isiah Bradley is an interesting one. It is understandable why Bucky wouldn't divulge this information before as the man has clearly been tortured enough and just wants to live in solitude at this point but he certainly changes perception of the shield. Not only does it continue to hurt the legacy of Steve Rogers and what the United States government had done with the serum but it also introduces his son, Eli. While I would be surprised to see much more of both Isiah and Eli in future episodes, I do think it is possible we will see Eli at least down the line in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the comics, Eli Bradley takes up the mantle of Patriot. Looking back to Wandavision, the MCU had also introduced Billy and Tommy, also known as Wiccan and Speed respectively. It is possible that Marvel is playing the long game in setting up the Young Avengers who will be led by Patriot and consist of Billy, Tommy, Kate Bishop who will be heavily featured in the future Hawkeye Disney+ series and Cassie Lang. Another inclusion would be that of America Chavez who has been confirmed to be appearing in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. People have long theorized that Marvel has been setting this up ever since we saw Cassie back in the first Ant-Man film and now that we have finally seen all the players it feels like they are putting all the pieces together for a future Young Avengers film or television series.