When Sharon Carter was introduced into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it felt like a whole new character. No more was Sharon just “Peggy Carter’s great-niece.” Now, Peggy is “Sharon Carter’s great aunt.” After being given the cold shoulder by Steve Rogers and left in Madripoor, Sharon bided her time in the criminal underworld...
...and maybe became The Power Broker?
Episode 5 of the series seemed to confirm Sharon’s status as the mysterious Falcon and Winter Soldier villain, but there are some major facts getting in the way.
Sharon’s transformation was alluded to before the series was even released, with head writer Malcolm Spellman explicitly telling the AV Club: “Sharon is going to emerge a badass.” Yes, this was a welcome change, but it also felt like an obvious attempt to redeem her character from the damsel-adjacent role she had in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Regardless, Sharon Carter is now completely different, amassing priceless works of art and making connections all over Madripoor. So when she is asked to help Sam and Bucky, she doesn’t exactly leap at the chance. After all, why should she help them when they’re the ones who represent the country she is no longer allowed in?
So Sharon makes a deal — she’ll assist them in return for a full pardon. She can get back to her old life and move on from Madripoor.
But why would she want to do that if she’s the Power Broker?
Why would Sharon help out Sam and Bucky in their search to find the super-soldier serum that the Power Broker is controlling if she is in fact the Power Broker all along? For the promise of a pardon that would make her abandon her entire organization in Madripoor?
Aside from if Sharon is the Power Broker, we also don’t know how she became the Power Broker. With the way characters discuss the Power Broker, it sounds like they’ve been a part of the criminal zeitgeist for a long time, but there’s only been about a decade between the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Is that enough time to establish a wide network full of scientists and spies?
Only one thing is for sure about Sharon Carter: there’s no question why she would become the Power Broker. If you risked everything for a man who traveled back in time because of his crush on your great-aunt, you would hold a grudge and seek your own fortune too. She’s got the motivations for the heel turn, but the motivations around her actions in the series still need explaining.
So is Sharon the Power Broker? At this point, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has painted itself into a corner. If she is the Power Broker, then there are some massive plot holes surrounding her motivations in helping Bucky and Sam. If she’s not, then there should be a good explanation as to why she was calling Batroc’s phone to arrange a meetup with the Flag Smashers.
With only one episode left, it really feels like time is running out for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to explain just what’s going on with the Power Broker. Will they give her the villainous role her backstory warrants or will she just be a red herring run-of-the-mill criminal art dealer? Only time will tell.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is now streaming on Disney+.