In “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” Episode 3: “Power Broker,” we have some excellent Easter Eggs and Callbacks mixed in with some incredible action, great cast intros, and a baller cameo. Episode 3 brought the power.
This is your SPOILER alert if you haven't already watched Episode 3 “Power Broker.”
Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 3 Easter Eggs and Callbacks
The Global Repatriation Council ad is reminiscent of the “WandaVision” commercials—a little campy, over the top, and meant as a distraction while offering a hidden meaning. However, this one juxtaposed with #NotMyCap's raid on the suspected Flag Smashers' Munich hideout was quite the dichotomy.
Winter Soldier Activation Words
Sam and Bucky arrive in Berlin, Germany, at the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre to visit Zemo. Bucky knows of Zemo's detest of superheroes, especially the Avengers, and tells Sam he's going in alone. Bucky is greeted by Zemo reciting the first few of those magic words HYDRA used to use to mind control Bucky when he was the Winter Soldier, but Bucky shuts Zemo down at “Seventeen” and reminds him those days are over.
This is a callback to Captain America: Civil War when Zemo would recite the following Activation Words in Russian: “Longing, Rusted, Furnace, Daybreak, Seventeen, Benign, Nine, Homecoming, One, Freight car.” Bucky would bow his head and respond and “Ready to comply,” also in Russian.
In a bit of foreshadowing, it shouldn't be missed that Baron Helmut Zemo told Bucky he was reading Machiavelli in his prison cell (he wasn't). Zemo may not possess all the characteristics of a Machiavellian Villain, but he possesses the majority of them. A Machiavellian is a term used to describe someone whose sole purpose is to manipulate and corrupt others for their own gain. They are often seen as a “puppet master”—they use others as tools to get what they want. Sound familiar? Some of those characteristics include:
- being convinced that his actions are justified
- alienating himself from others and isolates himself in evil
- is intelligent and has a good plan to act upon
- usually reveals plans in soliloquies
- is resourceful, usually uses other people to help carry out plans
- shows no remorse for actions
- is obsessive when it comes to goals
We've seen Bucky writing in a small notebook and referencing his list of amends from when he was The Winter Soldier in previous episodes, and we see Zemo on the plane trying to read it. We know Zemo's name is on one of those pages. As Bucky takes the notebook back from Zemo (not before threatening his life if he touches it again), Sam mentioned he recognizes the notebook from when Steve used to write in it.
We learn that this is the very same notebook that Steve Rogers used when taking notes about entry into the 21st Century after having been frozen for 70 years. What a sweet gesture from a beloved friend and callback to the notebook Steve writes in during Captain America: Winter Soldier.
A Falcon-Loving Butler
Oeznik, Zemo’s butler, is portrayed by Nicholas Pryor. Pryor really has a love of working with falcons. Pryor was in The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), a true story based on a disillusioned military contractor employee and his drug pusher childhood friend who became walk-in spies for the Soviet Union. He was also in an episode of “Falcon Crest” in 1987. If we want to take the “bird” affiliation one step further, he was also in the 1980 cult comedy Airplane! Pryor is also no slouch when it comes to the buddy cop genre of TV and film.
On the hunt for the maker of the super-soldier serum, Sam, Bucky, and Zemo find themselves headed to Madripoor. Madripoor is where Wolverine once called home while undercover. At one point, Logan worked at The Princess Bar in Lowtown, which also has ties to the criminal Tyger Tiger. Madripoor is a major location in the X-Men comics. We could fill a whole post listing how many X-men, mutants, and other characters in the Marvel comics Madripoor is adjacent to, but won't. Just know that there are commonalities like the few mentioned, that could have significance.
Officially Principality of Madripoor, an island in Southeast Asia located in the southern portion of the Strait of Malacca, southwest of Singapore, its capital and single large city was Madripoor, which was divided between wealthy Hightown and impoverished, crime-ridden Lowtown.
When Zemo, Sam, and Bucky are in Madripoor, they assume aliases in order to get into a nightclub/bar. While Bucky has to pretend he is still the Winter Soldier capable of being controlled by Activation Words, Sam's alias is Smiling Tiger.
In the comics, Smiling Tiger is Conrad Mack's alias. Conrad Mack is a long-established Marvel Comics character and former member of the Thunderbolts. Conrad took the alias Smiling Tiger when he joined the Folding Circle. He battled the New Warriors frequently, and on one occasion, stole the Avengers Quinjet that the New Warriors had stolen themselves. However, the Folding Circle crashed the Quinjet in Madripoor. There, they became major players in the underworld of crime.
Power Broker Is Watching
While walking through the streets of Madripoor, we see a mural painted on a building that reads “Power Broker is watching.” This same saying was in the end credits of Episode 2 in the artwork/graffiti. When the trio is at the bar, right before they witness Selby get assassinated, we learn that even Zemo is terrified to get on this guy's radar. He only knows him by reputation but tells Sam and Bucky that, “He is judge, jury, and executioner.”
Dr. Wilfred Nagel
In the comics, Dr. Wilfred Nagel's alias is Dr. Josef Reinstein. Reinstein was a scientist working for Project Rebirth, the experiment that created Captain America during World War II. Following the death of Dr. Abraham Erskine, he was tasked with recreating the Super Soldier Serum by the US Army.
If you recall from “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” Episode 2, Project Rebirth is the project at Camp Cathcart where Erskine recruited 300 African-American soldiers as test subjects in an attempt to recreate the Super Soldier Serum and only Isaiah Bradley, aka the Black Captain America, survived. Bradley took on the mantle of Captain America and traveled to Europe to fight in the war. The military viewed this as treasonous and sentenced him to life in prison as punishment, although he was released after 17 years. His legacy remained a secret to the world at large but he became a legend and hero to the black community. Sam and Bucky had an argument over the fact that Bucky knew he existed and never told anyone, not even Steve or Sam.
Move your seat up?
Possibly the best callback ever. Leaving the containers where Sam, Bucky, Zemo, and Sharon fought Nagel and a bunch of bounty hunters, Bucky and Sam get into one of Zemo's vintage cars, a Pontiac Firebird. Bucky is in the front, so of course, Sam is behind him.
You're not gonna move your seat up, are you? –Sam // No. –Bucky
And that is a callback to Captain America: Civil War in case you live under a rock.
Doctor Doom Reference?
When Zemo, Bucky, and Sam are walking the streets of Riga, Latvia, Zemo tells us what he knows became of Sokovia.
“I know what became of Sokovia. Cannibalized by its neighbors before the land was even cleared of rubble, erased from the map.” –Zemo
It could mean nothing. But it could be a reference to Doctor Doom's Latveria. We've already had characters of two fictional countries (Sokovia and Wakanda) in this episode, Latveria doesn't seem a far reach.
Sokovia is located in central Europe, so theories are storming the internet as to what some of those neighbors could be. Marvel's fictional country of Latveria—an eastern European country—is home to Victor Von Doom, arguably the predominant villain of the Fantastic Four. Marvel announced at their December 2020 shareholder meeting that Jon Watts would be directing a new Fantastic Four movie, so it makes sense they'd start to lay the groundwork.
Jon Watts will direct the new feature film for Marvel's First Family, Fantastic Four! pic.twitter.com/Eu26ghxbGT
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) December 11, 2020
As Bucky is walking around Riga, Latvia, with Sam and Zemo, he spots a small metal bead on the ground. He separates to walk on his own and finds a second metal bead on the side of a building. Vibranium Kimoyo Beads, I presume. Bucky picks up the bead and says, “You dropped something.”
He keeps walking and when he senses someone behind him, he turns and says, “I was wondering when you were gonna show up.” When we see who he's talking to we see none other than Ayo, a member of King T’Challa’s Dora Milaje, portrayed by Florence Kasumba.
Did you have a favorite Easter Egg or Call back in Falcon and the Soldier Episode 3 “Power Brokers?? Leave us a comment below!!
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