As The Falcon and The Winter Soldier progresses, the lines between ally and enemy continue to blur, raising the show's stakes.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Season 1 Episode 3 is a thrilling episode from start to finish, as Bucky and Sam are desperate for answers regarding the Super-Soldier serum.
"Power Broker" features several characters' return -- some beloved, while others, not so much.
We have been waiting for Sharon Carter to grace our screens for the last five years. The last time we saw her was on Captain America: Civil War, when she helped Steve and Sam escape with Bucky.
Now, we know exactly what she has been up to since then, and the answer is upsetting, to say the least.
Sharon never got pardoned by the government, and none of the Avengers vouched for her, leaving her alone, on the run, for the last eight years. She ends up in Mandipoor, where we find her after she unexpectedly saves Bucky, Sam, and Zemo from getting killed. Again.
Bucky: So what are you doing here?
Sharon: I stole Steve's shield, remember? I also took the wings for your ass so that you could save his ass from his ass. Unlike you, I didn't have the Avengers to back me up, so I'm off the grid in Madripoor.
Sam: Hey, don't blow that smoke at me; I was on the run too.
Sharon: Was, is, big difference.
Honestly, we are tired of Sharon Carter constantly saving everyone only to get nothing in return. She saved Steve, Bucky, and Sam all those years ago, providing them with the equipment they needed for the iconic airport battle.
But did anyone ever thank her? Nope. Not even during The Blip, where the rules were different, and Steve could have sought her out. But he did not. So, Sharon made a life for herself in Mandipoor's High Town, an island in Indonesia.
Sharon had no reason to save Bucky, Sam, or Zemo, but she does so anyway because that is the kind of person she is. Even if Sharon lives on an island where criminal activity is high, she still knows when to do the right thing.
Sharon: Look, you know the whole hero thing is a joke, right? I mean, the way you gave up that shield -- deep down, you must know it's all hypocrisy.
Zemo: He knows. And not so deep down.
It is so exciting to have her back on our screens. In many ways, she is truly the star of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Season 1 Episode 3 because, as usual, Bucky, Sam, and Zemo could not have gotten anywhere without her help.
She fights off bounty hunters and figures out where Dr. Nagel's lab is, the key person of interest on Bucky and Sam's quest. The plot could not move forward without her.
But "Power Broker" also shows that Sharon, as always, never plays by the rules -- including when she informs a mysterious agent of everything that occurred with Bucky, Sam, and Zemo.
We wonder who this person is and why Sharon is working with them. Are they for or against Bucky and Sam? Are they a bad guy, a good guy, or somewhere in between?
Sharon's reappearance reminds us of the fierce, strong character she is. It also provides us with compelling questions that we desperately want to know the answers to.
We hope to see Sharon on upcoming episodes, and we know whenever she appears again, she will steal the show like she always does.
When Steve refused to sign the Sokovia Accords, you backed him. You broke the law, and you stuck your neck out for me. I'm asking you to do it again.Bucky
Zemo is another familiar face returning to our screens, although our memories of him are anything but fond. He murdered twelve people -- including King T'Chaka of Wakanda -- and framed Bucky for it. He opened the rift between the Avengers and made everything go haywire.
Zemo is the reason for breaking up the Avengers. He is a HYDRA soldier through and through, even if he lost his family indirectly because of the Avengers. We do not care about your tragic backstory if you still choose to become a Nazi, Zemo. That is completely on you.
But Bucky and Sam break him out of prison anyway because they need his help. Zemo still has connections in HYDRA circles, and that includes the source of the new Super-Soldier serum.
Surprisingly, Zemo comes through time and again throughout The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Season 1 Episode 3. He has plenty of chances to turn on Bucky and Sam, but he does not. He is still as ruthless and uncaring as ever, but he seems to be keeping his word so far.
But this is still Zemo, and we wonder if he has a secret plan that we do not know about yet. We would not put it past him.
We have not forgotten Zemo's HYDRA and Nazi history, but his reappearance also reminds us that a clean-cut line between heroes and villains is a fantasy and simply unrealistic.
Zemo: You must have really looked up to Steve. But I realized something when I met him. The danger with people like him -- America's Super Soldiers -- is that we put them on pedestals.
Sam: Watch your step, Zemo.
Zemo: They become symbols. Icons. And then we start to forget about their flaws. From there, cities fly, innocent people die, movements are formed, wars are fought. You remember that, right? As a young soldier sent to Germany to stop a mad icon. Do we want to live in a world full of people like the Red Skull?
Zemo constantly reiterates why he hates the Avengers so much, and he is somewhat right. Captain America: Civil War definitely showed us that even the Avengers are from perfect. They have their secrets, their vices, and their flaws. But because they are labeled "Avengers," people forget about them and make excuses for them.
Even Sharon Carter thinks so, and we trust her judgment so much more than Zemo's.
This means The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is still heavily running on themes of what good and evil look like. Who gets to define what is good or evil? What does it consist of? And can we truly define such complex terms?
"Power Broker" certainly gives us our doubts, especially since old enemies are now allies, and supposed good guys are not so good after all. Yes, we definitely mean John Walker, who believes in the GRC -- an organization hiding resources while people suffer without them.
Do you remember how scared we were when we took the serum? Felt like my veins were on fire. Prayed it'd kill me. But it was worth it because this world is ours. Should have been Mama Donya's. And we're gonna use all of our strength to give it to the kids in those camps.Karli
While Bucky, Sam, and Zemo were off chasing answers, Karli and the Flag Smashers were hiding in GRC resettlement camps. For the first time, we get a glimpse of what life is like for these people post-Blip, and it is nothing short of heartbreaking.
People are dying of tuberculosis. And the GRC, who supposedly have all these resources, cannot get it together to help these suffering people desperately need.
And it is even more upsetting to find out the GRC is actually hoarding these life-saving resources, allowing people to fall sick and die instead. No wonder Karli and her friends started the Flag Smashers.
When the GRC says they are working on getting things back to the way they were before the Blip, they certainly are not lying. Before the Blip, it was much easier for governments and organizations to ignore poverty, exploit resources, and keep them from those that need it the most.
The Flag Smashers truly are fighting for the people, but it seems like it is starting to get to Karli's head when she bombs an entire resettlement building -- one that holds many innocent people.
Dovich is wary of Karli's new tactics, and so are we. As we move forward, we will keep an extra sharp eye on what Karli does next.
Lemar: I know you want this; I get it. But we've literally tried everything we can here. So has Langley; we keep drawing blanks.
John: So we bet on someone who's got a better hand.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Season 1 Episode 3 ends with a surprising twist. Yet another familiar face appears -- Ayo from Wakanda. We are happy to see her, and her reappearance raises the stakes for future episodes because she wants to recapture Zemo.
Remember, Zemo bombed the Vienna International Centre, killing Wakanda's beloved king, T'Chaka. Now that he has escaped prison, it makes sense for Wakanda to send someone to find Zemo and recapture him.
However, "Power Broker" ends on this cliffhanger, so we do not know how this storyline will play out. We imagine it will not be pleasant, but not knowing will definitely keep us on the edge of our seats until the next episode.
Over to you, Fanatics!
What did you think of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Season 1 Episode 3? How do you feel about Bucky and Sam teaming up with Zemo? Were you excited about Sharon Carter's return? Who do you think she is working for? Were you surprised by Ayo's appearance at the end?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
You can watch The Falcon and The Winter Soldier online, right here, at TV Fanatic!
Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.