And we’re back at it again! The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode two was an action-packed romp around the world. But it also found time to offer up some choice Easter eggs, comic book references, and even a couple of new Marvel heroes. So strap in because we’re going to be like Bucky in that plane and jump right to it!
The Star-Spangled Man
The title of this episode is “The Star-Spangled Man.” While it’s obviously a nod to Captain America himself, it’s also a direct reference to the title of the propaganda song “Star Spangled Man” featured in Captain America: The First Avenger. The “star spangled man with a plan” lyric gets a reference later on as we meet John Walker and his friend Lemar.
Shouting Out the Crew
It’s one of the first clear crew Easter eggs that we’ve gotten this season. Following in the footsteps of WandaVision, we’re starting to get some shoutouts to behind the scenes folks. As Walker runs his hands over the lockers in his old high school, we see the name “Choroszylow, E” on the locker for Erin Choroszylow, assistant property master on the show.
You’ve Got a Friend In Him
While we thought that John Walker might be working alone, it turns out that the creative team has turned to the comics to enlist a partner for John Walker. He’s joined in the locker room by his military bud Lemar Hoskins. In the comics, Hoskins was part of Walker’s back-up team known as the Bold Urban Commandos (BUCkies) when he was the villain known as Super-Patriot.
Later, Lemar took on the mantle of Bucky when John Walker was Cap. But he would soon be renamed as Battlestar when it was pointed out to Marvel and Mark Gruenwald that the sidekick’s moniker had similarities to a racial slur. And so Battlestar was born. It’s cool to see Hoskins brought in here, and if this episode is anything to go by it looks like he’ll have a key part to play in Walker’s story. This also isn’t the first time that we’ve seen the character. A different iteration appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
A New Addition to Walker’s Life
This isn’t an Easter egg so much as something interesting to note. We meet a woman who seems to be John’s wife here. She’s credited as Olivia Walker. In the comics, John never had a wife or significant other, so this seems to be a new addition to build on the more sympathetic backstory they’re giving the comic book antagonist here.
Getting the Team Back Together
Hoskins talks about “The Team” to Walker. As we mentioned, in the comics, when John Walker was Super-Patriot, he had a crew. So maybe that’s who Hoskins is referencing here. In the comics, the pair’s ex-teammates become the villains Left-Winger and Right-Winger, who attack the pair when they publicly introduce Battlestar at an event. Let’s hope Marvel doesn’t bring them into the fray.
Also, a weird but interesting factoid. In both the story and letter pages of old Captain America comics, the writers and editors played up Lemar’s height, even using it to counter claims of racism by noting that they made Lemar taller than John Walker. Here, however, Lemar is much shorter than his patriotic partner.
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig
John Walker is debuting at his old alma mater, Custer’s Grove High School in Georgia. It’s all very rah rah patriotism, as well as a little corporate with Cap toys and merchandise. It’s also geographically accurate as in the comics Custer’s Grove is the hometown of Walker.
Good Morning to a New John Walker
During his Good Morning America interview, we get a look at Walker’s past. It is nothing like the comics. Those saw Walker as an angry and broken man driven to desperation by his need to have powers. In those stories, he got his powers from the shady Power Broker, who plays a big role later in this episode. Here, though, it seems like he’s either pretending he doesn’t have powers to the military or they are truly saying he doesn’t have them. They claimed his MIT body scan was “off the charts,” so potentially a mutant? But when we later see him fighting he looks very superheroic. Seems likely that the outcome will be that the government will encourage John and Lemar to take the Super Soldier Serum, or they’ll take it on their own and end up gaining powers. Either way, this is a very different John Walker.
Let’s Talk About Money
So in the aircraft hangar where Bucky and Sam reunite, we see a poster for John Walker. Turns out he is sponsored by the US Army. Not only do they use the real logo, meaning Disney must have worked with the Army on the show, but this confirms that Walker is most likely an employee of the government… unlike Sam and the other Avengers, as established last week. So how can Sam use Torres, an active member of the US Air Force, and also US military vehicles to fly into other countries if he isn’t being paid or employed by them? Who knows? But hopefully those contracts will come through soon so he can pay his sister back.
Breaking Down the Big Three
In one of the funniest moments of the season so far, Sam and Bucky argue over Sam’s definition of their usual antagonists. He calls them “the big three: androids, aliens, and wizards.” Bucky is having none of it, although Sam does have a good point. In this case, it doesn’t really fit as the boys are actually fighting Super Soldiers. Still, it’s a fun nod to all the villains they’ve come up against before and honestly does cover pretty much all of them.
Did Bucky Really Order The Hobbit From the UK?
During this exchange we also get a hint at one of Bucky’s true passions: The Hobbit. Apparently he read it “when it came out in 1937,” which means he would have had to order it from the UK as that was where it was released in that year. We love this for Bucky. He’s clearly a nerd. Now hopefully he can put some of the good Tolkien lessons he learned into fighting the Flag-Smashers or potentially in his unexpected team up with Zemo.
Let’s Read Some Comics
While this is almost certainly just a funny coincidence, the cover is too good to not mention. As Bucky and Sam fly to Munich, one of the cases in the plane they jump out of has a flight tag that says “5000 LB CAP.” There’s a brilliant Golden Age cover to Captain America #28 which has Cap saving Bucky from a 5000 lb weight. We’re taking that as an Easter egg!
Later on, we see some other potential references in the Flag-Smasher’s hideout. Numbers on a dossier image of Karli Morgenthau show #109, which is likely Captain America #109, a Cap and Bucky origin issue. And #122, which could be a ref to Captain America #122. This issue sees Captain America brooding over his lot in life, wondering if he’s doomed to live as a symbol of the American Dream as Captain America while people begin to doubt that cause. Sounds very thematically relevant to us.
The Truth Behind the GRC
Last week we saw strange graffiti that featured the letters GRC. We learn here that stands for the Global Repatriation Council. The org seems to be focused on helping those who were blipped and have returned. But that doesn’t sit well with the Flag-Smashers, who don’t like the fact that no one who survived the Blip seems to be getting help. This could have something to do with their mission. The Flag-Smashers are transporting stolen “vaccines.” But it could be that the refrigerated cases are actually holding the Super Soldier Serum that is giving people the crew their unexpected super strength.
What’s a License Plate by Any Other Name?
An Easter egg, of course! Now sure these are probably just the real truck license plates that we see as Bucky and Sam are getting their butts kicked by the Flag-Smashers. But we had to point out that 5012 does have Marvel relevance. On Earth-5012, Tony Stark becomes the Iron Maniac, essentially an evil Doctor Doom style version of himself. It’s good weird stuff that we will almost certainly not see come to screen, but hey it’s still fun to point out!
Karli breaks the drone known as Redwing—which was just so great to see—and Bucky was as happy as I was about it. But this does raise some very interesting questions. If drone Redwing is finally dead… will we actually get a bird Redwing? Could they possibly make Torres a new hero named “Redwing” instead of him becoming the second Falcon? It’ll be interesting to see, but whatever happens we’re glad Drone-Wing is no more.
Oh Look, It’s Battlestar… Stop the Car
Lemar Hoskins reveals that he does have his superheroic alter-ego. But it’s still unclear whether he actually has powers. Hilariously, this reveal is enough to make Bucky jump out of the car. Apparently he hates a superhero name. It’ll be interesting to see where Lemar and John go from here as we leave them at the end of the episode as potential antagonists.
Someone Isn’t Happy
At the Flag-Smashers hideout, Karli gets some threatening texts. Looks like she “stole something” that wasn’t hers and someone is mad about it. It seems very likely that the texts are coming from Curtiss Jackson, a.k.a. Power Broker. Especially as we know the Flag-Smashers have unexplained superpowers and Power Broker sends some military goons after the crew at the end of this episode.
The Black Captain America
Though they didn’t call him the moniker in the show… perhaps because it’ll come up later, we hope… we meet Isaiah Bradley here. In the incredible comic Truth: Red, White, and Black, he was revealed as one of the 300 Black test subjects who were killed and tortured during the US military’s attempts to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. In the show, he knows Bucky, who just calls him a Super Soldier. But in the comics he was Captain America, wore the suit, held the shield, and even fought Hitler. While in those stories Steve Rogers found out the truth about Isaiah, in the MCU Bucky confirms that he hid the truth of the Super Soldier trials from Steve. Hopefully they’ll build more on that incredible story as it’s one of the best and most powerful Captain America stories, and this scene barely scratched the surface.
The Young Avengers are Coming
With WandaVision setting up Billy and Tommy, and Kate Bishop confirmed for Hawkeye, this was all but inevitable. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting. During this scene we meet Isaiah’s grandson, Eli Bradley, who would become the hero Patriot. In the comics, Eli gets his powers from an addiction to Mutant Growth Hormone. While that likely won’t happen, he can likely get the Serum from the Flag-Smashers or their circle of connections.
Baron Zemo Is Back, Baby
Yep. In a shocking twist, instead of the unexpected allies of the season being the group whose motto is “One World, One People” and who seem to have the support of like every working person on Earth, Bucky and Sam are actually teaming up with the man who was a Nazi in the comics but at a least isn’t one here… Baron Zemo. He did still kill T’Challa’s dad, though, so this seems like an uncool plan. Either way, when we see him he’s in holding cell numbered #2187 which is a reference to Star Wars. How you may ask? Well, Leia’s holding cell on the Death Star has the same numerical title. And if that’s not enough, then how about the best stormtrooper turned hero, FN-1287! Corporate synergy, baby!
Let’s Look at Those Credits
While last week we had so many in-credits Easter eggs we had to do a breakout post, this week is very similar with no new info as far as we could see. But we did get some new creator thank yous in the proper credits so let’s break them down!
Kyle Baker and Robert Morales: The creators of Isaiah Bradley
Jim Cheung and Allen Heinberg: The creators of Eli Bradley
Michael Carlin: The co-creator of Power Broker, Inc
Featured Image: Marvel Studios