So this is a bit of a different post from me today. To anyone who knows me in person or follows my social media channels then it comes as no surprise when I say that I love Marvel and the MCU.
I grew up watching the films and being surrounded by comics, merchandise and lots of fandom energy, through my Dad being a lifelong fan and comic book collector. I can watch these films over and over and over again (I’m currently in the midst of my millionth time rewatch), and I’m forever trying to consume more content through watching interviews and being part of the fandom on social media.
Unless you’ve been under a rock the last few months then I’m sure you’re aware of the new Marvel series that are being released on Disney+. First we had WandaVision which finished a couple of weeks ago (which was so good), and on Friday we were given the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Cue excited screams!
I had been so excited to see more of Sam and Bucky and to see how the characters develop. How will the Winter Solider change now he is no longer under control from HYDRA? How will Falcon become Captain America? How are they both coping after the events of Endgame and returning from being gone for five years?
Episode one was everything I wanted it to be; I loved it from beginning to end and it’s made me even more excited for the rest of the series. I couldn’t help but scribble down some thoughts as I watched the episode and thought it would be cool to share my thoughts here.
Minor spoilers ahead for FATWS and potential spoilers for previous MCU movies!
My thoughts of episode one of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
So first of all, the opening credits and music get me EVERY TIME. Basically a number of songs from the MCU soundtrack makes a daily appearance in my Spotify playlists but I can’t wait to hear that opening theme in the cinema hopefully some time soon.
We start out with Sam, who has been working with the Air Force for the last six months since the blip. The opening fight scene was the level of epic we expect from the MCU; I’m so glad that FATWS got the budget it deserved because this was on a major blockbuster scale. We see Sam’s new suit decked out with Stark tech which I loved, and it’s clear he’s been doing some serious training too.
Then there’s the introduction of a new character, Torres, a friend of Sam’s with the Air Force. While Torres hasn’t made an appearance in the films before he’s been a regular in the comics since his introduction in 2015. I won’t spoil anything here for future character development just in case but even without knowing anything about him, Torres gives off major good guy vibes as he stands up to the bad guys despite being on his own.
He also brings up the conspiracy theories around Steve and his whereabouts to Sam, suggesting that some people think he’s on the “moon doing moon stuff”.
“We need new heroes. Ones suited for the times we’re in. Symbols are nothing without the women and men that give them meaning.”
Still struggling with the weight that baring the shield brings, and feeling as though he doesn’t deserve it, Sam donates it to the Smithsonian with a heartfelt and moving speech. He talks about honouring Steve’s legacy now that Captain America is “gone”, so I’m pretty sure Steve isn’t dead as they carefully avoid using that word, but I’m sure that’ll come up in future episodes.
Rhodey makes a brief appearance and I always loved his and Sam’s relationship so that was fun to see, even if them wandering around the exhibit of Steve’s life was BREAKING MY HEART. Also flashbacks to Nat asking Sam and Steve if they knew where the Smithsonian was because she had to pick up a fossil in Captain America: The Winter Solider 🥲
“I am no longer the Winter Soldier. I am James “Bucky” Barnes, and you’re part of my efforts to make amends.”
Then we jump to Bucky, who we see is having a nightmare about his time as The Winter Solider. We see him sleeping on the floor which is a nod to Sam who, also in Captain America TWS, talks to Steve about their struggles sleeping in a normal bed after being at war. SOBS.
He’s now in therapy, trying to come to terms with his past and his nightmares. First all of, HIS HAIR? Yes. Secondly, we find out that he has been trying to make amends for his actions in the past by helping members of HYDRA he assisted get convicted for their crimes. All legally, of course. The physical list he keeps really reminded me of the list Steve made after waking up from the ice of the things he needs to catch up on in the world.
Ok so this therapy session was a lot, not just for Bucky, but for us too as viewers and fans. His Doctor checks out his phone and tells him that he needs to nurture friendships; he has limited phone numbers saved and the only person he’s been in touch with is her, not even replying to Sam’s texts.
“This is new for me. I didn’t have a moment to deal with anything, you know? I had a little calm in Wakanda. And other than that, I just went from one fight to another for ninety years.“
It’s clear that Bucky is still trying to come to terms with this new life. From the quote he says above, we know that ever since being captured by HYDRA in 1945 he hasn’t had any time to just be. Honestly this just breaks my heart and I hope that he gets to find a sense of peace and belonging in future episodes.
On a more positive note, I love his new sense of humour and personality that we haven’t really had chance to see since before he went to war in The First Avenger. Not only is he trying to figure out who he is and what he wants, it’s a whole new time too. Evidenced by the fact that although he has got a mobile phone, it’s a super old flip phone. (Wait why am I saying super old, I used to have a flip phone?!) He’s sarcastic and snarky but funny. The fake smile he gives his therapist really got me 😂
Seeing Bucky meeting up with his new friend Yori and going for lunch made me all sorts of happy. The fact that Yori is an older man also hit me hard, as I at first wondered whether it was because Bucky felt more comfortable around those “closer to his age”. Yori trying to be Bucky’s wingman was perfect, and the panic that crosses his face as the woman says yes really made me laugh.
“I can’t believe you did that. It’s a dance to these things. You got to warm up, and I haven’t danced since 1943, it feels like.”
Though then we find out that Bucky actually killed Yori’s son in the past, and he met the man as part of his efforts to make amends. Now though it’s clear to see that Bucky genuinely cares about him and I’m already devastated at this is going to play out.
Bucky turning up to his date WITH A BUNCH OF FLOWERS I mean this guy is something else really. The fact that he had tried and failed with online dating too I mean?? I need to see that profile. This whole scene was so sweet as he plays board games with her, though she doesn’t really know who he is, so when she picks up on his “older fashioned” behaviour she asks how old he really is, laughing when he honestly answers with “106”. AND THE FAKE LAUGH? God I love him.
While Bucky is trying to come to terms with his identity, Sam is trying to make up for the time he lost during the blip with his sister and her children. We find out that his sister was struggling during the last five years and wanted to sell their family home and boat, but Sam is adamant that he can help and they should get a loan.
“And then you were off fighting Doctor Space Cape, or whatever, while I was holding it together for five long years.”
During their meeting with a bank, the member of staff first asks Sam whether he is a basketball player, before Sam prompts him to think of The Falcon. The bank worker is clearly excited and asks Sam to pose for pictures and asks him about his time as an Avenger, making him seem more a product of entertainment rather than an actual human being. When Sam and his sister, who is routinely ignored and disregarded by the man, try to turn the discussion back to the loan, the bank worker quickly shuts them down stating they are just not eligible for the loan.
At the end of the episode, we see the very same team who agreed with Sam that it was a good idea to put the shield on display as part of Steve’s legacy announce a brand new Captain America. HOLD UP. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Cue a very mediocre looking white man running out in the full Cap get up. I was screaming.
“On behalf of the Department of Defense and our Commander in Chief, it is with great honor that we announce here today that the United States of America has a new hero. Join me in welcoming your new Captain America.”
Clearly The Falcon and the Winter Solider is going to heavily feature discussions of race, and how Sam is being treated despite him literally being handed the shield by Steve. His feelings of discomfort around carrying the shield are now not only personal, but are tied up in issues of racism and prejudice.
Filming and production was delayed due to COVID, and so a lot of the scenes dealing with the mistreatment of Sam were filmed quite a while back, but have actually fallen in line with what has actually been going on in the world over the last 12 months, particularly around the events of the Black Lives Matter movement according to the team.
Woven through the episode we have hints of the new antagonist, the Flag Smashers, a group of terrorists who try to push the idea that life was better during the Blip and encourage the end of international borders. They appear to have super human strength (the serum?) and we also know that Zemo is going to make a reappearence soon!
“Trust me. Every time something gets better for one group, it gets worse for another.“
Episode one of The Falcon and the Winter solider was an exploration of how each character is coping with the aftermath of the events of Endgame, and how they are both now surviving in this world without Steve Rogers, one of their closest friends. Both Bucky and Sam are dealing with their lives differently, and it was interesting to me that they didn’t just throw them both together from episode one.
It’s often easy to forget due to the real life relationship between the two as BFFs (if you’ve never seen interviews with both Seb and Anthony PLEASE WATCH THEM) that Sam and Bucky really have had limited screen time together so far and aren’t really that good friends. So, I’m excited to see how they are going to come together and work as a team. The trailers so far have already look hilarious so I’m buzzing.
“If you are alone that is the quietest most personal hell. And that is hardest to escape.”
The Falcon and the Winter Solider is going to be dealing with issues such as racism, identity, loss, PTSD and mental health, and I am beyond thrilled to see such a big budget and epic action show deal with topics such as these alongside some top tier fight scenes and all of the laughs and good vibes we expect from the MCU and these characters.
I also think that we are going to see some major character changes throughout this series, perhaps this might be the last time we see these characters as The Falcon and The Winter Solider. We already know that Bucky no longer identifies as the latter, and a lot of the development for Sam relates to him becoming the new Captain America. I can’t wait to see where this goes!
“The world’s broken. Everybody’s just looking for somebody to fix it.”
Phew, so there are my thoughts on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier so far. This post ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated, and I went maybe a bit more into plot detail than I planned, but there we go! I was excited so it’s hard to shut up.
If it wasn’t already clear I loved this episode and I’m sure the next five episodes are going to be just as epic, if not more. Not only do I love Seb and Anthony in real life as actors, but also these characters are some of my favourites and it’s about time they got the screen time they deserve.
I’m not sure if this is going to be something I do every week, but I wouldn’t expect this to be the last Marvel post of mine! I’m always up for MCU chats so if you ever want to fangirl with me, feel free.