All 11 Falcon & Winter Soldier Easter Eggs In Episode 4
The Falcon & the Winter Soldier episode 4 features several MCU Easter eggs and references to Marvel Comics, as well as some disturbing contrasts between John Walker and Steve Rogers. Four episodes in, Falcon & Winter Soldier forces Sam Wilson to confront the reality of what the post-Blip world is becoming. He comes face-to-face with Karli Morgenthau, leader of the Flag-Smashers, in an attempt to talk her down.
Naturally, it doesn’t go well, but largely because of the involvement of John Walker. In the comics, Walker was chosen by the U.S. government to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America, and he swiftly proved himself unsuitable for the role. The MCU is following the same pattern, pushing Walker to breaking point and beyond, and setting him up as the main villain of the show. He has now become a twisted mirror image of Steve Rogers, representing what Captain America would be if the wrong man had been chosen for the super-soldier serum.
All that means this is an action-packed episode that moves at a swift pace, but it still finds time for some deep dives into Marvel lore that help contrast the MCU’s two Captain Americas. Not only does they compare Walker to Steve Rogers, but also show why Sam Wilson is a very different kind of hero to anyone else in the MCU.
11. The Winter Soldier’s Deprogramming in Wakanda
Steve Rogers took the Winter Soldier to Wakanda in order to have his Hydra programming removed. According to the Avengers: Infinity War Prelude comic, Bucky remained in cryogenic suspension for months while Shuri worked on him. It was a difficult task, because the trigger words had been linked to traumatic memories buried deeply in Bucky’s psyche, and Shuri needed to remove their power while ensuring she didn’t erase the memories. Falcon & Winter Soldier episode 4 reveals the Wakandans were still working on Bucky just a few months before Avengers: Infinity War, with the flashback scene showing Ayo testing the trigger words to see if they still held any power over the Winter Soldier. It’s interesting to see Ayo personally involved with this process; she’s the second-in-command of the Dora Milaje, indicating just how much of a potential security threat the Wakandans considered Bucky.
Notice the Winter Soldier hasn’t yet been given a new Vibranium cyborg arm. The Wakandans clearly didn’t give him that until the deprogramming was complete; given Bucky’s pride over the White Wolf moniker in previous episodes, it’s possible he earned it. If so, that would make Ayo’s temporary removal of the arm later in this episode all the more heartbreaking for Bucky.
10. Key Winter Soldier Flashbacks
As Ayo reads the trigger words at the beginning of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3, Bucky sees flashbacks – memories of key moments in his life. They’ll be instantly recognizable to many viewers:
- Zemo closing the book of Winter Soldier code-words in Captain America: Civil War
- Bucky attempting to break out of his cell before Zemo could finish saying all the trigger words
- Several shots of the Winter Soldier on the SHIELD Helicarrier from Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- The masked Winter Soldier attempting to choke Steve Rogers
- The Winter Soldier in the Hydra facility in Siberia, previously seen in other flashbacks in Captain America: Civil War
- Multiple shots of the Winter Soldier being subjected to Hydra brainwashing, as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- The assassination of Howard and Maria Stark
The images are only briefly seen, and are clearly meant to be representative of Bucky’s time as the Winter Soldier; in many shots, the face of Steve Rogers is obscured so as to make it seem he was simply remembering attacking innocents.
9. King T’Chaka
The Dora Milaje remind Bucky exactly why they want Baron Zemo in Falcon & Winter Soldier; because he is responsible for the death of King T’Chaka. His death brought particular shame upon the Dora Milaje, because their sacred duty is to protect the King of Wakanda. While they were content to allow Zemo to remain imprisoned, in accordance with T’Challa’s wishes, they will not stand idly by while he goes free.
8. The “Patch Act”
Moving to the present in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3, the Flag-Smashers’ activities have failed to achieve their objective; attempts to reimpose national borders are being accelerated rather than slowed down. Apparently this is in accordance with the Patch Act, which is most likely an amusing Easter egg given this series has already introduced Madripoor into the MCU; Patch is Madripoor’s most famous resident, actually Wolverine’s alias.
7. Captain America Handcuffs
Captain America actually carries handcuffs. This idea isn’t lifted from the comics, but rather from hilarious tie-in merchandise released back in 1979. Kids could buy an official utility belt featuring a communicator, decoder goggles, a watch, handcuffs, a secret decoder map, a Captain America identity card, and a “secret message.” Quite why you’d keep a wrist-watch in a utility belt is anybody’s guess, but toys don’t always have to make sense.
6. Karli Is “Just A Kid”
Sam Wilson insists on treating Karli Morgenthau as a wounded human being who is lashing out rather than as a supervillain, telling his colleagues “she’s just a kid.” The line is evocative of Steve Rogers’ own dialogue in Captain America: Civil War, where he made the same comment about Scarlet Witch. Granted, the circumstances are different, but the comparison is an interesting one; like Steve, Sam is able to look beyond the current circumstances and see the human struggles. It will be interesting to see whether Falcon proves himself worthy of becoming the next Captain America by redeeming the leader of the Flag-Smashers.
5. Zemo Pulls An El Chapo
Baron Zemo escapes from his safe-house using a secret tunnel in his bathroom, with Sam describing this as “pulling an El Chapo.” This is a reference to Mexican drug lord Joaquin ”El Chapo” Guzman, who escaped from a maximum security prison in 2015 through a 1.5km long tunnel dug in the showers. This is just the kind of move the Baron Zemo from the comics would pull, and is wonderfully in-character.
4. John Walker Becomes A Super-Soldier
John Walker finally becomes a super-soldier in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3, albeit in a very different way to the comics, where he was experimented on by the Power Broker. The problem is that, as Zemo rightly argues, the super-soldier serum amplifies what is already there; good becomes great, as in Steve Rogers, but bad becomes evil. It’s immediately clear all John Walker’s most violent and reckless impulses have been dialed up to 11.
3. The Shield Stuck In The Wall
John Walker demonstrates his superhuman strength by tossing the Captain America shield into a wall – a perfect demonstration that he is struggling to get used to his new strength, because he probably intended to carry out a ricochet. Steve Rogers has wedged the shield into a wall before, but he always did on purpose to give himself a tactical advantage, as in one scene in Captain America: Civil War where he threw the shield into a wall so an agent ran head-first into it.
2. The Winter Soldier Knife Flip
The knife flip has become one of the Winter Soldier’s trademark moves, allowing him to catch a weapon and turn it round. Falcon & Winter Soldier episode 4 plays it as a character moment, though, demonstrating that Bucky Barnes is no longer a killer; having flipped the knife, he swiftly disposes of it, once again proving the Wakandan deprogramming worked.
1. Using The Shield To Kill
The most dramatic and horrific scene in Falcon & Winter Soldier episode 4 sees John Walker use the shield to kill, even as the whole world watches via smart-phones recording the incident. Steve Rogers seemed tempted to use the shield in a similar way against Tony Stark in their final battle in Captain America: Civil War, but he resisted that temptation and instead smashed Stark’s Arc Reactor. This scene serves as a perfect character study, demonstrating that John Walker is the antithesis of Captain America, and unworthy to wield the shield.
There’s also a parallel between this and Black Widow’s death in Secret Empire #7, when she was killed by an evil version of Steve Rogers. The repercussions of this dark Captain America lasted for years, with the world struggling to accept the real Steve Rogers because they had been thrall to a doppelganger. It’s possible Sam will find it equally difficult to redeem the name of Captain America after John Walker.
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
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