The episode seemingly wraps up both its Isaiah Bradley and Baron Zemo storylines in fairly economic fashion and ends right when Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson is preparing to go face off with Karli Morgenthau and the Flag-Smashers in New York.
The episode also sees Mackie’s Sam and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky reclaiming the Captain America shield from Wyatt Russell’s John Walker — in a manner that very specifically (and painfully) connects to a memorable moment from the Marvel comics.
Forcibly Taken — The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5 opens with a bang, pitting Sam and Bucky against John in a brutal warehouse fight for the Captain America shield. And thanks to Walker’s newfound super-soldier abilities, it’s not an easy fight for Bucky and Sam to win, with Walker even tearing off Sam’s Falcon wings at one point.
Sam and Bucky do ultimately get the shield back, but only by literally breaking Walker’s left arm together. The shield spends the rest of the episode in Sam’s possession. Walker, meanwhile, is forced to wear a splint on his left arm in the days and weeks following the fight.
The battle in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5 isn’t the first time in Marvel history that something brutal has happened to John Walker’s left arm.
A Comics Callback — In Thunderbolts Vol 1 #142, Walker and the Mighty Avengers face off against the Thunderbolts on Asgard. Unfortunately, the fight doesn’t go particularly well for Walker, with Nuke/Scourge using the Spear of Odin to slice off Walker’s left arm and left leg.
It’s a — wait for it — tough break.
The loss of his left limbs leads to Walker retiring from the Mighty Avengers and active duty altogether. He has his left arm replaced with a metal hook for a hand and becomes the warden of the Raft, the same super-villain prison that was featured in Captain America: Civil War and where the Dora Milaje say they are taking Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5.
The Inverse Analysis — It seems doubtful that Walker will completely lose 2 limbs in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale like he did in the comics, but it’s certainly not off the table. Even if it doesn’t happen, though, the injury he sustains in this week’s episode still works as both a dramatic moment in the show itself and as a fun homage to the character’s comic book history.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming now on Disney+.