Is This the End of the Flag-Smashers?
Very early on in this finale, Bucky warns Sam to be careful because the Flag-Smashers could be anybody. That’s what makes this group a bit trickier to stamp out from your usual MCU baddies. The Flag-Smashers aren’t a people, they’re an ideology. Now many of the group’s main players are dead and Sam gave a lovely speech urging for political tolerance. But was that enough for the Flag-Smashers movement to go away?
Realistically, it’s probably not. The so-called “Blip” of Thanos removing half the Earth’s population and the Avengers returning it five years later will continue to have enormous implications for years to come. In fact, in the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is undoubtedly the single most consequential moment in all of human history. The issues of the blip won’t realistically go away and the Flag-Smashers are sure to become an embedded political movement within the MCU.
Granted, Marvel may soon decide that it’s no longer interesting to continue to harp on one event from a 2019 film for the rest of its filmmaking history and begin to move away from blip-storytelling soon. Rest assured, however, that the Flag-Smashers will still be out there somewhere, smashin’ flags.
How Does the Country Feel About John Walker?
John Walker made history in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by becoming the first human being to face consequences for killing someone. Hell, Sharon Carter is the Power Broker and killed Karli Morgenthau but she gets welcomed back into Uncle Sam’s good graces. The difference, of course, is that Sharon didn’t do her killing on camera for all the world to see.
What’s interesting, however, is that even though John Walker was stripped of all his titles and condemned, he did not face any lasting legal repercussions for killing. And that’s how he was able to throw on the stars and stripes, grab a makeshift shield, and head out to help Sam and Bucky save the day.
That leaves John Walker in an interesting place as the show concludes. He’s certainly not a hero in the public eye but he’s also not a villain. “U.S. Agent” is a bit of a drab branding choice for his new superhero venture (even if it is comic-accurate), as is Val’s choice of a Cap costume that replaces the blue with the black. But Val’s first super-soldier appears to be on his way back to public respectability. And this leads nicely into our next question…