Episode #47 Winter Soldier
Original Airdate - September 30, 2012
Winter Soldier, Red Skull's top recruit, disobeys orders and saves Captain America's life.

Written by Man of Action and James Felder
Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Review by RotalRubble
Media by Marvel Animation, Marvel Animation Age

This was another great episode. It works nice as an ending to the Red Skull mini story-arc, and while not really offering answers to every question raised by the previous couple of episodes, it's still a pretty awesome conclusion. It would have been nice to acknowledge the Cosmic Cube - which is what most likely caused all of these events - but the episode works pretty well even without these explanations. Captain America is once again in the spotlight, but considering we haven't really seen him at all during the first half of this season and that the show is slowly trying to show him becoming the leader of the Avengers, I didn't mind. Besides, with Red Skull being his arch-nemesis and the big revelation about who the Winter Soldier really is, it wouldn't have felt right not to have Cap play a major role in this episode. Apart from Cap, Nick Fury gets some pretty awesome scenes as well. It's been a while since we last saw him in action (probably the only other notable moment was his own micro-episode "Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD", a segment from "Iron Man is Born") and I really liked how Cap brought up that Nick once told him he can count on him, if he ever needs help with something - obviously an allusion to their first meeting, all the way back in season one ("Everything is Wonderful"). Considering these last few episodes are supposedly meant to be more stand-alone, a line or reference like this is always welcome.

As suspected Winter Soldier turns out to be Bucky, Cap's young former sidekick from the days of WWII, who has miraculously survived all these years. He was saved from the explosion of Red Skull's rocket (as first depicted in "Meet Captain America", and shown via flashback in a couple of other episodes), given a bionic arm and then brainwashed into becoming a ruthless assassin. When not on missions, he was kept in a cryogenic stasis and as a result has physically aged only a few years. Red Skull appears to be the one responsible for Bucky's new identity and life, and it appears that in turn Winter Soldier is the one responsible for the loss of Nick Fury's left eye, as seen in a flashback. Following the events from the previous episode, now Winter Soldier is no longer under Dell Rusk/Red Skull's control, and has been searching for and trying to destroy the Sleepers, giant robots built by Skull as a fail-safe in case anything went wrong with his original plans. I liked the way Cap and Winter Soldier interacted in this episode and the ending to this episode was nice and I expect to see Bucky return in the future for some more adventures.

Red Skull's plan to use giant robots to take over the world was obviously inspired from the comics; the Sleeper robots were just one of the things I was hoping to see on this show, and they had a pretty cool design here. Also liked the giant Sleeper formed from other robots and his head, the ship resembling Red Skull which was also the control room for the robot and the setting the climax of the battle occurred - Cap and Winter Solider versus Red Skull. The other Avengers were only seen fighting the Sleepers for a couple of scenes and didn't really get a chance to do anything that memorable, although there was the occasional banter between Iron Man and Ms. Marvel in the first part of the episode while fighting off the Sleeper that was attacking the Hydro-Base.

Even though Red Skull was again defeated rather easily and I would have loved to see more of him, this was still a great episode and at this point I'll take whatever the show offers, hoping that every story-line started will get some kind of closure by the end of the series. I haven't really been disappointed by any of the episodes so far, and I'm looking forward to the next ones.

Video Clips