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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 4 Ending Explained

Contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 4, "The Whole World is Watching"

After a couple of installments that set the stage for the story to come, it's fair to say that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has now hit its stride. Last week's episode "Power Broker" made a lot of big moves, including the grand returns of both Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside the progression of some important plot points. Viewers had the chance to see new Captain America John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in action and learn a bit more about the Flag Smashers and their leader, Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman).

At the same time, "Power Broker" also laid the groundwork for its successor, "The Whole World is Watching." Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) maintain their fragile alliance with Zemo, despite an appearance from Wakanda's Ayo (Florence Kasumba), who seeks to take the villain back into custody. Not to mention, the shadow of the mysterious Power Broker still looms large over the heroes and Morgenthau, who hopes to further her and the Flag Smashers' violent humanitarian mission before they're inevitably hunted down. All the while, Walker attempts to live up to the Captain America name.

This week saw some shocking twists and turns, and some intriguing revelations. Here's how episode 4 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier went down.

Baron Zemo: Wakanda's most wanted

To kick off "The Whole World is Watching," The Falcon and the Winter Soldier opens with a flashback to Bucky's time in Wakanda over half a decade ago. He's shown working with Ayo to overcome his verbal triggers that caused him to become the bloodthirsty Winter Soldier, signifying his rebirth as the White Wolf. We're then brought back to the present, where the Dora Milaje member tells Bucky he has eight hours left before she and her forces come to take Zemo into custody. After all, in Captain America: Civil War, Zemo did kill King T'Chaka (John Kani), single-handedly dividing the Avengers and therefore weakening Earth's best defense against Thanos (Josh Brolin).

As expected, later in the episode, the Dora Milaje arrive and attempt to apprehend Zemo, but they're unsuccessful. Thanks to the unnecessary intervention of John Walker, a scuffle ensues between him, Sam, and Bucky against Ayo and her soldiers, providing the Baron with the prime opportunity to escape through the plumbing of the building they were in. By the time the credits roll, Zemo remains at large, meaning he'll either pop back up again before the series concludes in two weeks or in a future MCU project — Turkish delights and purple mask in hand. 

The Flag Smashers face some complications

As our heroes continue their efforts to track down Karli Morgenthau and her companions, the Flag Smashers' plans wind up facing some unforeseen complications. For one, they learn that the governments of the world plan to tighten their borders in response to the Flag Smasher's attacks — which, of course, is the exact opposite of what they want. Not only that, but morale is also incredibly low as the group puts to rest their beloved Mama Donya, who inspired the basic tenets of their movement.

The Flag Smashers' misfortune doesn't end there, as Zemo deals them their biggest blow. Following an encounter with Sam and company, Karli runs right into the Baron, who doesn't hesitate shooting her at point-blank range. Wounded, she drops the remaining vials of Super Soldier Serum — key resources to expand her army — prompting the fervently anti-Super-Soldier Zemo to smash nearly all of them into the concrete. Finally, with the Power Broker still hot on the group's heels, the episode ends with one of Karli's closest confidantes being brutally murdered in the streets of Latvia, driving home just how bad off the Flag Smashers are at this point in the story.

Surely the Flag Smashers will try regroup in the next two episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but they've never been more vulnerable. Now that they're reeling and desperate, who knows how far they'll go to try and escalate their campaign? While it may seem like the beginning of the end for the group, they definitely will not go quietly.

Karli and Sam's connection

Even in the face of multiple setbacks, Karli Morgenthau has a handful of tricks up her sleeve to keep the Flag Smashers' cause alive. One such trick involves her connection to Sam Wilson, which began at their first face-to-face conversation at Mama Donya's memorial. Though they're pitted against one another, the two actually realize they agree on many points. They both believe that the current way of the world isn't working and needs correction in order to save lives. 

Their chat reveals an interesting dichotomy, seeing as they fight for the same cause, but only one of them is framed as a hero. Sam, being an Avenger and a part of the United States military, very much wants to help the entire world, but he can't bring himself to rise up against the systems that work against him, his sister, and countless others in their position. Meanwhile, Karli operates from the perspective of an outsider who has been taken advantage of and wants to make an active change in the world. However, her willingness to spill innocent blood to achieve her goals understandably brands her and her acolytes as terrorists.

In the closing moments of "The Whole World is Watching," Karli extends the olive branch to Sam, offering him the opportunity to join the Flag Smashers. He doesn't outright refuse or accept her offer, though it seems unlikely he'll take her up on it. She did, after all, threaten to hurt his sister and his nephews if he refused her invitation to meet. Even still, Sam's goal seems to be bringing this conflict to a peaceful conclusion. Just how — or if — he'll be able to do that remains to be seen.

Trouble in Madripoor

Unsurprisingly, Sam, Bucky, and Zemo's highly eventful trip to Madripoor last week wasn't without its consequences. For those who don't recall, the trio failed to keep a low profile during their expedition to the sketchy locale — especially after Zemo killed Dr. Wilfred Nagel (Olli Haaskivi), the man behind the return of the Super Soldier Serum and a direct associate of the Power Broker. As Sharon Carter explained to Sam, the mysterious figure is not at all happy with their intervention, and as a result, the entire region is about to fall into a state of chaos.

At this point, the Power Broker has yet to make a physical appearance in the show, even though they have played a key role throughout it. With their pursuit of the Flag Smashers so far unsuccessful — and now one of their most important scientific minds lacking a pulse — surely the Power Broker will have to make their presence felt through more than just threatening text messages and word of mouth. Not only that, but given her role in Sam, Bucky, and Zemo's plan, one can only hope that the already on-the-run Sharon doesn't too become ensnared in the Power Broker's quest for vengeance. That is, of course, unless she's got a deeper connection to the Power Broker than any of her allies might suspect.

A few days after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3 aired, Sharon Carter actress Emily VanCamp spoke with Variety and addressed the fan-theory that her character might, in fact, be the Power Broker herself. "I mean, the Power Broker could be anybody," she said. "Also, there are several characters that have yet to be seen. So, I mean, I can't say anything."

While her response is far from surprising, it's still worth wondering just what else Sharon might be hiding from us as she goes about her shady business in Madripoor. Could she be the mysterious antagonist that's been chasing after the Flag Smashers for stealing the serum? Might she still be secretly working for S.H.I.E.L.D.? Or is this all just a whole lot of speculation that'll ultimately lead to nothing? We'll find out over the next two weeks.

John Walker snaps

Of course, it wouldn't be an episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier without an update on no one's favorite Captain America, John Walker. Both he and Lemar "Battlestar" Hoskins (Clé Bennett) reunite with Sam, Bucky, and Zemo, immediately commandeering the mission and scolding them for releasing Zemo from prison. They then botch Sam's hopes of communicating peacefully with Karli, leading the already insecure Walker to find the thing he most wanted but the last thing he needed: a vial of Super Soldier Serum.

Much like his comic book counterpart, the MCU's John Walker takes the enhancement (though does so off screen) and wastes little time putting it to good use. He and Hoskins get back to hunting the Flag Smashers, with the latter ending up captured while the former tries to rescue him. Moments later, a battle breaks out where Sam and John Walker take on a handful of Flag Smashers. This allows Hoskins time to break free of his bonds — and meet his demise at the hands of Karli Morgenthau while trying to protect Walker from her attack. Incensed at the sudden death of his partner, Walker loses it and goes into a blind rage directed at anyone he can get his hands on. Even though Karli is his main target, Walker finds and slaughters one of her fellow Flag Smashers with his shield. A crowd assembles with cell phones in hand, documenting the murder. Needless to say, Walker will probably get a lot fewer autograph requests now. 

Longtime fans of the Marvel comics probably figured something like this would be coming. Walker's aggression always differentiated him from Steve Rogers, and eventually resulted in him moving away from the identity of Captain America and taking on a different super-powered codename: U.S. Agent.  

Just how the U.S. government, Sam, and Bucky will respond to this display of violence and to Walker's new, unhinged personality will undoubtedly be the highlights of next week's episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.