The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Episode 6 | Dragon Age: Origins, "The Urn of Sacred Ashes"
TV REVIEW // The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Episode 6, "One World, One People"
Episode summary: As the Flag Smashers escalate their efforts, Sam and Bucky take action. (IMDb)
Despite the vast differences between the shows, I have to say that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (which gets a significant re-naming for the end credits) has surpassed WandaVision entirely and I'm now really looking forward to where the MCU Disney+ shows can go from here. This final episode cemented that perception for me with how it just kept driving forward at pace, while slowing down where needed.
Like the third episode, "Power Broker", I have heard some say that this finale does rush things a little, which I can't really agree with and was surprised to hear those comments again. "One World, One People" is definitely slower-paced than "Power Broker" despite the intense and lengthy action sequences, yet still fins the time adequately pay off any number of subplots before the credits roll (and one during the credits too).
As for said action, I was completely satisfied with the episode after it had all wrapped up and Sam had taken the Global Repatriation Council to task about their treatment of those displaced by the 50% of the population returning thanks to the events of Avengers: Endgame. Honestly, if the episode had ended there, I really wouldn't have had much to complain about.
But the episode continues and we get sequences for John Walker, who becomes the US Agent at last; Bucky truly making amends for his murderous deeds as the Winter Soldier; and Sam ensuring no-one will forget the sacrifice of Isaiah Bradley and the other black soldiers experimented on with the super soldier serum. And it was great to see Zemo still succeed in his mission despite being behind bars - is he the most successful 'villain' around?
"One World, One People" I think captures the main reasons why so many different people love the Marvel Cinematic Universe: there's plenty of action for those that want that; a dollop of humour to keep things light; fantastic characters who have even better interactions with each other, and often in ways you don't expect; with a hefty layer of world-building to cement this world as feeling like a real place just like our own.
I'm also thrilled that a new Captain America movie is coming with Sam Wilson as the title character, written by showrunner Malcolm Spellman and another of the series' writers. Hopefully Bucky gets to tag along too and, even more importantly, I hope Marvel Studios continue to centre race as a vital topic of discussion - I really want the movies to in-depth and not have that kind of social commentary remaining on Disney+
"One World, One People" is a great, action-centric finale to what has been a fantastic first season - maybe last too, considering the recently-announced Captain America 4! Every major plot gets paid off while still laying the groundwork for future developments and expansions of the themes presented here - such a shame COVID-19 robbed us of what could've been an all-time great show.
GAME PLAY // Dragon Age: Origins, "The Urn of Sacred Ashes"
As much as I was looking forward to it, I was left a little disappointed at how little time I got to spend simply exploring the village of Haven and its inhabitants, forgetting just how easy it is to trigger the action by going into one of the very first houses and seeing a bloody altar and knife that definitely isn't being used for food preparation as Alistair hopes.
Heading back outside led to a series of battles throughout the village, although the cultists who make up the populace aren't a threat in the slightest and it's pretty easy to make your way through the place and up to the building that contains their Revered Father - standing in stark contrast to their usual Revered Mother and just cementing how weird everything here is.
After dealing with him and the remaining followers, Elissa helps Brother Genitivi - whose ransacked home started the group on their journey here - and sends him on his way back to Denerim before heading higher into the mountains, with ruins and caverns forming the majority of the locations from this point on - it's pretty much running battles all the way to the end, with only a few Drakes posing any kind of threat thanks to their Overwhelm ability pinning party members and killing them quickly if you don't react fast enough.
The very end leads to an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade series of tests set by the Guardian, who watches over the final resting place of Andraste's ashes. Riddles, speaking with the dead, one last battle with the group's opposites and a final puzzle to cross a gaping hole then follow before one last test which is curious from a game design standpoint.
Your group is faced with a wall of fire behind an altar, which has an inscription basically telling you to cast off you world possessions, leading the game to ask if you want your group to remove their armour (which you definitely should). At this point, I had the eye-opening reminder that a nudity mod was installed as the group cast off literally everything and walked through the flames.
This is then where a cutscene kicks in as the Guardian returns and tells you that you are worthy of the Ashes of Andraste, all while your team is stark-bollock-naked - it's only after the cutscene that the game automatically replaces your gear and leaves you fully-dressed again. It's a weird, but amusing, choice to have the Guardian show up before your characters have a chance to put their clothes on and you have to wonder why none of the developers thought it might be an idea to switch that order around...
Regardless, Elissa approaches the Urn of Sacred Ashes (see the picture above) and takes a pinch to use when they visit Redcliffe and the stricken Arl Eamon, who will hopefully provide support for the Grey Wardens battle against the Archdemon and the Darkspawn...