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SYFY WIRE The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

We need to talk about Sharon Carter

By Brian Silliman

The finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has come and gone, and the good news is that we officially have a new Captain America. The series also brought Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and she's made some cha-cha-changes.

We thought that we knew what to expect from Peggy Carter's niece, but we did not expect the MCU to put her on the path that she's currently on. We need to unpack it. We need to talk about Sharon.

***WARNING: Spoilers lie ahead for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. If you haven't seen the series yet, then jump ship, fly away, scoot, get outta here Dewey!***

The last time we saw Sharon was in Captain America: Civil War. She gave a powerful eulogy at Peggy's funeral — during which Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) found out she was, in fact, Peggy's niece — and then got into a heap of trouble for helping out Steve, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). She kissed Steve and then she vanished from the MCU, supposedly never to be seen again. Until now.

Whether or not she was ever intended as a true love interest for Steve, she certainly wasn't mentioned in either Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame. Did Steve ever tell Peggy that he kissed her future niece? Maybe after their dance was over.

Cut to the events of this show, where everyone remembered that Sharon existed. Sam recognized that she got in a great deal of trouble for helping them before, which included losing her job with the CIA. This doesn't stop Sam and Bucky from asking for her help again, except now she's involved in some manner of art thievery in Madripoor. She helps our titular characters maneuver around a mysterious character called the "Power Broker" and get some truth about the super serum. About a thousand shots of Sharon making shady phone calls — she doesn't use an iPhone, folks — made pretty much every viewer think Sharon herself was this mysterious Power Broker.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Sharon Carter poster

Everybody was right, Sharon Carter is the Power Broker.

This was revealed in a scene she had with Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), who only had the serum in the first place thanks to Sharon. In the mid-credits scene of the finale episode, "One World, One People," we see a senate committee full of morons give her a pardon and her old job back. The government seems thrilled to have a new "Agent Carter." Cut to outside the building after she's pardoned. Sharon gets on her cell phone of doom (still not an iPhone despite the pardon) and tells someone to line up their buyers. She now has access to all kinds of secrets and weapons. There will be plenty for everyone.

Assuming that her Power Broker persona isn't part of an elaborate long game, Sharon Carter has gone criminal. It's an unexpected route to take this character and leaving aside questions about how it was executed, it's not uninteresting. It may have taken us the weekend to get there, but hear us out.

Sharon is still the woman who stood at Peggy's funeral and quoted the "no, you move" speech — most famously associated with Steve in the comics. It's because of her still being that person that her swerve into crime does not necessarily mean that she's a villain as well. She's decided to operate outside of a broken and impotent system, and she's taking big swings.

When the pandemic Blip happened, neither Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) nor Steve bothered to get in touch with her. No Avengers, no problem. Sharon was done serving a master, so she created a criminal empire (and clubbing business) in Madripoor. When everyone got un-Blipped five years later, the same old problems got un-Blipped with them. Sharon has long since stopped dancing to the tunes of others, so she's going to help those who needed help. Karli Morgenthau was one such person, and Sharon took a chance on her.

At this point, Sharon has almost certainly lost faith in the U.S. government of the MCU. She saw them infiltrated by HYDRA, and witnessed the hypocrisy of the Sokovia Accords first hand. Cut to the world post-Blip, and you have the GRC relocating people, playing the same ragged hits they played before. Why would she want to go back and work for someone like General "Thunderbolt of Bad Ideas" Ross when she's gotten used to calling the shots herself?

She's still in the "no, you move" mindset, more now than ever… she's just going about it all in a far more radical way. Someone desperate like Karli Morgenthau is widely ignored by everyone, but not by Sharon. Sharon helps her, and it's only when Karli gets out of control that Sharon realizes she's made a mistake.

This is why we're thinking that Sharon led Sam, Bucky, and the serum-hating/dance-loving Zemo (Daniel Brühl) to the serum stash. The serum was causing problems for Sharon — it was something she couldn't control, and she had to placate the heroes somehow. Why not lead them to Dr. Nagel (Olli Haaskivi), be done with all of it, and then tell them that the Power Broker is angry? The serum was too much; lesson learned, she'll find other ways to be unmoving.

Just to tie up that loose end for good, she takes Karli out in the finale. No second chances with Sharon 2.0, only consequences.

The government deigns to welcome her back, and they dub her the new Agent Carter, much like they dubbed John Walker the new Captain America. Why the hell would she trust any of those people or their judgment? They've proven to be spineless at best and utterly corrupt at middling best.

Nope, it's time for them to move for her. We don't know her true motives or values, but we'll very likely find out. She's now dealing with secrets and weapons, on her own terms, so she could easily be a part of Armor Wars as well as the recently announced Captain America 4.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Sharon Carter

Sharon is done playing nice, she's done serving useless people, and she's done waiting for the creators of the MCU to remember that she's a character with a pulse. If we had our faith sneered at as many times as she has, we'd probably do the same thing. Why keep her around as a "break in case of emergency" love interest, or as a perpetual backup to the male squad? A big boss life of crime is one hell of a swerve away from that, and we don't think Kevin Feige (or Mickey) would go along with it unless further plans were afoot.

Or... maybe she's just a Skrull, and will be a part of Secret Invasion. She was forgotten, she was vulnerable, so she got replaced and no one noticed. This is certainly possible, but anytime any character in the MCU does something weird from now on, someone is gonna think they're a Cylon Skrull.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cast a wide net and had a lot of story threads for a show with only six episodes. The most likely reason why Sharon's turn needs this much headcanon is that she got the short straw, and we can only hope her story will be filled out later. Maybe she will turn into a full-on villain, but we doubt it.

Morally gray? Certainly, but it's time for Sharon "Power Broker" Carter to show all of the outdated and corrupt systems that failed her (and others) a thing or two. She's going about it in an extreme way and isn't asking for permission, but Tony Stark never asked for permission either. For good or ill, Sharon has taken power for herself, and she's gonna strut around in a magnificent suit while using it.

Or, she's a Skrull. A Skrull in a magnificent suit.

Sharon Carter and the Armor War Skrulls of Madripoor The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming on Disney+ right now.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBCUniversal.