Spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier follow.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 4 just gave us the most shocking moment of the series so far. John Walker, the war veteran turned government-endorsed Captain America has blood on his hands – and now a fight with Bucky and Sam is surely looming.
Below, we'll recount the events of the ending to episode 4 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, what happened to John Walker in the events of this episode and explore what could happen next.
John Walker took the Super Soldier Serum
In this episode, Sam, Bucky and Zemo finally caught up with Karli Morgenthau – leader of the Flag Smashers, a group that opposes the reinstatement of national borders following the blip (that is, the Thanos snap that temporarily wiped out half of all life in the universe). The group has turned themselves into Super Soldiers using a new version of the Serum that gave the world Steve Rogers back in World War 2.
Unfortunately, the new Captain America and his comrade, Battlestar – Lemar Hoskins – also caught up with Sam and Bucky. After a chase ensued, Zemo got his hands on a gun and opened fire on Morgenthau. She managed to escape, while Zemo destroyed Morgenthau's remaining Super Soldier Serum supply. Well, except one vial...
Walker turned up and knocked out Zemo with his shield. He pocketed the last remaining vial that Zemo didn't destroy.
After later getting his ass kicked by the Dora Milaje – something that was his own fault – Walker asked Lemar if he'd take the Super Soldier Serum if given the chance. Off-screen, Walker takes the vial.
John Walker just killed one of the Flag Smashers
When Walker re-emerges later on, it's evident he's taken the Super Soldier serum – first hinted at when he flings his shield into a hard wall while fighting one of the Flag Smashers, Dovich, then again when he bends a weapon in front of Sam.
Sam, Bucky, John and the Flag Smashers converge and fight. As Lemar breaks free of the Flag Smashers' captivity, he joins the battle and Karli accidentally kills him by punching Battlestar into a stone pillar.
Karli escapes, and John jumps through a window in pursuit. He chases down another of the Flag Smashers, and executes him in broad daylight by ramming the shield into his chest. Bucky and Sam arrive to the scene too late to stop him. A scared Karli Morgenthau watches her friend die from the crowd, as the new Cap's murder is filmed for the world to see. The episode then ends.
Walker was always going to go off the deep end – but it seems as though the Super Soldier Serum just gave him a little push over the edge.
That said, we'd argue the show is a little too sympathetic to Karli Morgenthau in this episode, who has knowingly let people die, and surely knew what she was doing when she used her superpowers to punch a man to death. Is she really that different from Walker?
Anyway, however you look at it, the optics are not good for Walker, who surely has to be stopped in the remaining couple of episodes.
The Falcon and Winter Soldier episodes 5 and 6: what could happen next?
There's a key moment from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailers that we haven't seen play out in the show so far, which indicates where this storyline is likely going next. Remember the scene above, where Sam is practicing with the shield, somewhere in the countryside with Bucky?
That's not something we've seen in the show yet. And unless it's a big fake out by Marvel that isn't intended to be part of the series, it makes it pretty clear that one of the next steps in this story is for Sam to reclaim the shield from Walker. What's obvious from this last episode, though, is that Walker's not going to give the Captain America mantle up willingly.
Is it also possible that Zemo could come after this new Super Soldier, after making his escape in the last episode? Perhaps that's how he'll come back into the episode.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier releases every week on Disney Plus.
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Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.