The Power Broker is being set up to be a major antagonist in Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, if not the central villain of the entire show. But could the criminal kingpin’s true identity be hiding in plain sight?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3, officially titled “Power Broker,” continued to set up the mysterious figure’s place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character is referenced a lot in the episode but never actually shown on screen. So why even call the episode “Power Broker” if it’s not the episode in which that character steps into the spotlight?
Because maybe we actually did meet the Power Broker in this episode, and we just didn’t realize it. (Warning! Possible spoilers for Falcon and the Winter Soldier ahead.)
Who is the Power Broker?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3 brings even more characters into the story, including Daniel Bruhl’s Baron Zemo, Ayo (Florence Kasumba), and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp). However, of those three, it’s Sharon in particular who makes the most unexpected impression in the episode. To put it succinctly, she’s definitely not the same Sharon we last saw in Captain America: Civil War.
Instead of the optimistic and well-intentioned character featured in that 2016 film, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Sharon Carter is cynical and angry in a way that’s totally new for the character. Embittered by her prolonged status as a global fugitive — and the fact that Team Cap seemed to totally forget about her after Civil War — Sharon has been forced to take on a life of crime and secrecy during her years on the run.
Fortunately, she seems to be doing surprisingly well in Madripoor. Not only is she able to move fairly freely throughout the city, but she has even acquired a place for herself in the fancy Hightown district. She has deep connections throughout the city’s criminal factions and is able to supply Sam, Bucky, and Zemo with the protection and information they need to complete their investigation in Madripoor.
But there’s also something about Sharon’s situation that just feels off. She’s so well-established in Madripoor that it’s hard not to wonder where she ranks in the city’s criminal hierarchy. Based on everything we see with her in the episode, she seems to hold a pretty high position, which leads us to wonder...
… is Sharon the Power Broker?
Sharon Carter: fugitive turned crime lord?
What do we know about the Power Broker? We know that the character is the crime “king” of Madripoor and that it was the Power Broker who gave the villainous Dr. Wilfred Nagel the resources he needed to finish his updated version of the Super Soldier Serum. We know the Power Broker is dangerous, formidable, deeply connected, and hell-bent on getting their serum back from the Flag-Smashers.
So with all that in mind...
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3, Sharon claims she makes her living by selling stolen pieces of art to high-level criminals. The trade has afforded her not only a place in Hightown but also bodyguards stationed there. While it’s a plausible story, it doesn’t totally explain just how well-connected Sharon is.
Additionally, the character claims to get the information about Nagel’s whereabouts from some of her clients, but if that information is as hard to come by as Selby says earlier in the episode, it’s hard to believe Sharon could procure it so easily. Unless, of course, she already knew where Nagel was.
Sharon is also noticeably distraught over Zemo’s killing of Nagel. That could be because she’s afraid of how the death of the Power Broker’s favorite evil scientist could rebound onto her, or it could be because she needed Nagel to make more Super Soldier Serums for her. Meanwhile, later on, Sharon is seen getting into a car with her own personal driver and warning that they have a couple of “big” problems.
Again, that could be her preparing herself for the Power Broker’s wrath, or it could be Sharon alluding to how both Nagel’s death and Sam, Bucky, and Zemo’s search for the Flag-Smashers may affect her own goals as the Power Broker.
Is Sharon the Power Broker?
It is worth noting that, upon their arrival in Madripoor, Zemo is told the Power Broker wants him out of the city. In response, Zemo refers to the Power Broker as “him,” despite having never met the character. Now, not to get all aerospace engineer about this, but it’s hard not to feel like Zemo’s use of the male pronoun may be a misdirect intended to help add shock to the eventual reveal that the Power Broker is not only a woman but Sharon herself.
If that does turn out to be the case, it’ll be a shocking twist on the part of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier creative team — one that just adds further complications and layers to the show’s ongoing explorations of the MCU’s turbulent post-Blip political landscape.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming now on Disney+.