Spoilers ahead for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Season 1 finale. There have been numerous reasons to be suspicious of Sharon Carter in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, from her first appearance in Episode 2 (when she told her associate Sam and Bucky were “a big problem”) to her phone call with Batroc that ultimately put him in the perfect position to help Karli kill Sam. Now, we know why: in the Season 1 finale, it was revealed that Sharon is the Power Broker, confirming a popular fan theory.
As we learn in a tense confrontation between Sharon and Karli, the head Flag-Smasher first approached Sharon in Madripoor for help. She and her friends worked as “muscle” for Sharon (the Power Broker) but later ditched her because, as Karli put it, “you wanted to control a world that hurt you. But I wanted to change it.” To Karli’s credit, that seems like a pretty accurate breakdown of events: as she died in Sam’s arms, fatally shot by Sharon, she told him that she was sorry, and it was clear he understood that her murderous plans were only ever motivated by a desperate desire for change.
Clues that Sharon was the Power Broker all along have been adding up all season. In addition to her aforementioned shady phone calls, perhaps the biggest hint was hiding in plain sight: the episode in which she was introduced was literally called “Power Broker.” Several viewers also caught onto the fact that Sharon did not use an iPhone, while other established good guys on the show did. It’s apparently a bit of an open secret that Apple will not let villains use their phones onscreen, as Rian Johnson told Vanity Fair in 2020.
So where does all of this leave Sharon? Sam stuck to his word and helped her get a full pardon. In the post-credits scene, she’s welcomed back to the country and given her old CIA job. However, she immediately gets back to Power Broker business, seeing her new lease on life as a strategic way to deal in government secrets and weapons. And because the only other person who knew that she was the Power Broker — Batroc — is now dead, she can do so safely.
The Power Broker has a well-defined story in the Marvel comics. An entrepreneur, he sells strength-enhancing treatments to bad guys. In fact, he’s responsible for giving John Walker his super strength (though in the show, John steals the super-soldier serum and doesn’t appear to be affiliated with the Power Broker at all). A couple of characters have taken up the Power Broker mantle, but as Marvel puts it, “anyone with the ‘Power Broker’ name is well qualified in manipulation, ambition, and entrepreneurial drive.”
Enter Sharon. She is not a businessman who sells strength or weapons purely for fun (or for the money). Unlike the comics’ Power Broker, her motivation stems from a very personal hurt, as she was effectively forgotten by the Avengers after helping Steve, Sam, and Bucky in Captain America: Civil War. It remains to be seen how Sharon’s story will progress in future MCU projects — or Season 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, if that’s in the cards. Either way, Sharon’s villain origin story is shaping up to be one of the MCU’s most compelling yet.