Warning: the following contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 2. Turn back now if you haven't seen the latest episode!
A newcomer to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier might actually be a HYDRA agent in disguise.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 2 gave us our first proper introduction to John Walker, AKA the new Captain America – or US Agent, as he's known in the comics. Sam and Bucky take an immediate dislike to him, and his ominous final words – "stay the hell out of my way" – suggest he's going to be causing trouble.
But one offhand comment made in the course of the episode might hint that Walker is even more of a threat to the main duo than he seems. At one point, Walker refers to Bucky as "too valuable of an asset". That sounds innocuous enough, but considering Bucky's history, it could be far more sinister than it first appears – and might point to Walker being a HYDRA agent.
The Winter Soldier
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we see Bucky as a brainwashed assassin. He's under the control of HYDRA, the villainous organization introduced in The First Avenger. In The Winter Soldier, they're revealed to have infiltrated SHIELD – and they have a plan to eliminate any and all threats with a new weapon. Crucially, though, Frank Grillo's Brock Rumlow, who is part of HYDRA, calls the Winter Soldier a very significant term: "The asset."
Oddly enough, Walker uses that same word to refer to Bucky in episode 2.
Does this make John Walker a HYDRA agent?
Sure, the connection might be a bit tenuous, but it's an odd moment anyway – Walker has pulled some strings to get Bucky out of legal trouble after he misses a court-mandated therapy session, and his reasoning is: "He's too valuable of an asset to have tied up, so just do whatever you gotta do to him and send him off to me." Sinisterly enough, he follows it up with: "Got some unfinished business, him and I. You too, Wilson."
All of this is said genially enough, and the "unfinished business" probably refers to Sam and Bucky hopping out of the truck and leaving Walker behind, and Walker tries again later to get them to co-operate with him. But it does sound a little bit strange, considering Bucky's past. "Do whatever you gotta do to him" wouldn't sound out of place coming from one of the Winter Soldier's former handlers.
Plus, the Secret Empire comic book storyline once saw Captain America become a HYDRA agent after his memories were altered – so this wouldn't be the first time Captain America has been a secret operative for the organization.
Then there's the fact that Walker is said to have "tested off the charts" for speed, endurance, and intelligence, we see him handle the shield with ease, and he holds his own against a bunch of Super Soldiers. Could Walker be secretly using the Serum? Sam and Bucky are also trying to figure out how these new threats might have got their hands on some Super Soldier Serum, which has led them to Baron Zemo, who knows all of HYDRA's secrets. Could Walker be working for Zemo, who will inevitably be working his way out of prison?
Even if this is all just a coincidence, it does show that Walker has a serious attitude problem. He reduces Falcon to Captain America's wingman earlier in the episode, then uses his power to disrupt Bucky's therapy schedule purely because he thinks the former assassin might be useful. Clearly, to Walker, Sam and Bucky aren't heroes in their own right, but tools he might be able to use for his own gain.
We'll have to wait until next week to find out what happens next, as the series drops a new episode on Disney Plus every Friday. Check out our The Falcon and the Winter Soldier release schedule, and the best deals Disney Plus deals and prices, right here.