Time to talk about ‘Falcon and Winter Soldier’

“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” is out, and I have a lot of opinions, negative and positive, about how this story is going so far. Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, the main characters, are the center of my attention, and they’re stealing the show perfectly.

Time+to+talk+about+%27Falcon+and+Winter+Soldier%27

by Sydney Allen, Photo Editor

Warning! Major Marvel spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk. 

Let me just preface this by saying that I am absolutely in love with Sebastian Stan. If you searched for the word “perfect” in a dictionary, a picture of him would show up next to it. And don’t even get me started on Anthony Mackie. You’re probably wondering who these two are. Well, Anthony Mackie plays the character Sam Wilson, also known as “The Falcon” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and Sebastian Stan plays James “Bucky” Barnes, also known as “The Winter Soldier.” 

Marvel released a TV show March 19 on Disney+ starring the two called “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” — appropriately named. It is a spin off of two characters from the Captain America trilogy and focuses on their journey through life after the passing of the infamous Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America.  

Episode One: 

Episode One begins  with a thrilling fight scene between Sam Wilson and an army of French pirates that Rogers fought earlier in this franchise. This scene was meant to be a parallel and show us how worthy Wilson really is to take the Captain America spot now that Steve Rogers has mysteriously disappeared from the public eye. 

After Wilson fights with the pirates and wins, we transition to Rogers’ funeral at the Smithsoinian, a slight nod to a reference made in the movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Wilson gives up the Captain America shield to the museum and is told it is the “right thing to do.” 

This first segment of Sam fighting and going to the Smithsonian shows just how big of a role he had in Steve’s life. It was a great way for Marvel to educate us on his connection with Steve, and how important he is even after Steve is gone. I like that Sam is stepping forward and coming into his own as a hero and not relying on Steve. He is not a sidekick; he is the main character. 

We then see a flash back of the Winter Soldier. It is shown as a nightmare and the scene transitions to Bucky waking up alone in his apartment. His recovery from Steve’s death is court mandated therapy and making amends with people he’s wronged or people who have done wrong. This includes befriending the father of a man he killed, which was shown in his nightmare. 

After Bucky’s therapy trip, we see Sam travelling back to his home in Louisiana to help his sister with her financial debt. They go to the bank to get a loan to help keep their house and their late parents’ boat. The bank teller immediately assumes Sam was a famous football player rather than an Avenger, which was the first of many racist assumptions in the show. They did not get the loan and now Sam and his sister Sarah are facing the hard decision to sell their parents boat, which was the last piece of them that they had. 

Bucky’s entire plot line is just absolutely heart wrenching. He fell off a cliff, was brainwashed for 70 years and then came back just for his best friend to leave him. While I enjoyed Steve’s ending, Bucky is now all alone in the world with just Sam, who he is currently ignoring because of Steve’s leaving. Bucky is an underappreciated character, and now that he’s stepping into his own — it is so amazing to see. 

The end of the first episode concludes with the Smithsonian giving the Captain America name to someone new, leaving not only me but every Marvel fan on Twitter and TikTok in a fit of rage. Seeing the government tell Sam he was right to give up the shield and then immediately giving it to this random white guy projects more racial undertones directed at him. 

Not only was I absolutely crushed and angry with the ending, I was confused. Marvel misled us to think that Sam was going to be Captain America, and here we are now with this random guy. My initial thoughts were: “Who is this, and why does he look like the Walmart version of Chris Evans?” 

The first episode, regardless of its ending, was amazing. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, and it left me wanting more when it ended. I was forming theories in my head and I was planning what would happen for the next episode. I had high hopes and this episode met all of my standards. 

Episode two: 

Episode two starts out introducing a bit of the new Captain America, John Walker (ew). He is, of course, an army buff, extremely strong, has a best friend who goes by the name “Battlestar,” has received three medals of honor and claims to think of Steve Rogers as a “brother.” All while he is being interviewed, we see Bucky watching this man talk so fondly of his best friend that left him. 

I hated John Walker more in this scene. He is referring to Steve as if he knew him, and there’s a good chance that Steve never even met this man. Now he’s here boasting to the world that they had this type of connection. Walker doesn’t deserve this shield in the first place, and he’s making me hate him more by lying and saying he and Steve were like “brothers.”

Bucky finally confronts Sam about giving up the shield, reuniting the two after Steve’s alleged death. The two go on a mission together and end up getting some help from John Walker. Walker then proceeds to try and befriend the two who are not so kind back, as they should be. 

I feel this way because Walker refers to Bucky and Sam and Steve’s “wingmen” — his sidekicks. They weren’t ever that in the first place, they were friends. They have every right to be rude to Walker considering he has little to no respect for them or Steve in the first place. He’s taken up this Captain America mantle and is assuming he is allowed to do what he wants, when that is not the case. 

I was filled with a new type of rage watching Walker try and talk to Sam and Bucky as if he knew them the way Steve did. He also jeopardized Sam and Bucky’s mission, and let the villain group of the series, the Flag Smashers, get away. In Walker’s attempt to befriend them, they get angry and the two leave to go see an old friend of Bucky’s. 

We then meet Isaiah Bradley, known in the comics is the Black Captain America from the 50’s. He became a super soldier and took on the mantle of Captain American after Rogers “death,” but the government decided the world wasn’t ready for a Black man to represent them, and they put him in jail. 

I felt pretty much the same way Sam felt about meeting Bradley. I was angry. I had never even heard of this man, and he was already in the comics. Seeing the government hide a Black Captain America was infuriating, and it just shows how much the American system is screwed up. Not telling anyone about Bradley because American “wasn’t ready” for a person of color to be Captain America. It’s sickening and annoying. 

Barely two minutes later, Sam and Bucky are stopped in the street by two cops while arguing. The cops are close to getting hostile with Sam when they realize that he’s an Avenger, so they make an exception for him. 

I absolutely hated these two cops immediately. The fact that they stopped the two and tried to take in Sam just for arguing with a white man is absolutely infuriating. They would have done something much worse to them if they were just normal guys and not Avengers. I’m already expecting more racism just like this later in the show and seeing it only now is not surprising. These TV shows are, as I’ve heard from Twitter, supposed to have more modernism in them instead of just superhero fights. 

Bucky is arrested for missing his court mandated therapy, and Sam goes down to the station to get him out. They discover Walker paid for his bail, and they go to talk to Bucky’s therapist before leaving. His therapist forces them to confront their problems about each other, and Bucky reveals how he truly feels about Sam giving away the shield. 

Bucky always believed that Steve was right and that giving the shield to Sam was the right thing to do. But seeing as Sam gave it away, Bucky didn’t believe him anymore. Which prompts him to deliver the heartbreaking line, “If he was wrong about you, then he was wrong about me.” 

Small backstory. Bucky was captured in the 40s after falling off a train and tortured by an evil organization: HYDRA. He was brainwashed and forced to become an assassin for over 70 years and had no control. Steve, when reunited with Bucky in 2016, told him that it wasn’t his fault and that Bucky was not a bad guy. Steve believed that Bucky could become himself again and that what HYDRA did to him didn’t define who he was. Therefore, if Steve was wrong about Sam becoming Captain America, then he was wrong about Bucky actually being good. 

My heart shattered. Bucky has been suffering for years with no control over himself or his mind, and now he’s questioning if he’s even worthy of being free. Bucky has been through enough, and now being all alone without his best friend and the fear that he’s a bad man is wrecking him (and me) inside. 

The second episode ends with a disagreement between Walker, Bucky and Sam. Walker offers to help them take down the Flag Smashers, to which they make the decision to work on two different teams. Walker works with the government while Sam and Bucky work as free agents to deal with it themselves. 

Overall, the second episode was amazing. I was happy with all of the Bucky content, and was so interested in the plot line that they’re starting up with Sam. He’s becoming a more interesting character the more we watch him be himself, the more I like him. He’s funny — as usual — and has more to his life than just being a superhero. 

Episode Three: 

The third episode starts off with a commercial from the Global Repatriation Council (GRC), which is an organization that is repairing the world after the Blip (the five year period when half the universe had disappeared from Thanos’ snap). The commercial transitions into a raid led by none other than Walker and the GRC. You can sense Walker is quickly losing his patience, which brings me great joy. He’s so frustrated, and I love it. Seeing people be so disrespectful to John is proof that he is unfit to be Captain American in the first place. 

Soon after, we see Zemo, the villain from “Captain America: Civil War,” break out of prison to help Bucky and Sam. They go to talk to someone who maybe knows about who is selling Karli Morgenthau, the lead Flag Smasher, the super soldier serum. They go to a fictional city named Madripoor to talk to a lead from Zemo. 

Bucky is forced to use his Winter Soldier alias as they are posing as criminals. They get in trouble and have to escape, and run into Sharon Carter, a former love interest of Steve Rogers. She’s been hiding in Madripoor as she is a criminal in America. She helps them find the scientist, Dr. Nagel, who created the new super soldier serum, but Zemo shoots him before they find out where Karli is hiding it. The lab blows up, and they are forced to run from several bounty hunters. 

We see more of Morgenthau’s story, and her mission. She loses a mother figure early in the episode that goes by the name Mama Donya. We learn that Morgenthau and her companions were all forced out of their homes when everyone came back from the Blip, and they’re fighting to take back their homes again. Karli kills three people at the end of the episode, blowing up a building that they’d stolen supplies for the homeless from.

Karli’s methods are very tough to defend. I think it was good to find out more about Karli’s fight and see her reasonings behind it. I feel bad that she’s been kicked out of her home because of the return, but she is killing people and it’s very difficult to defend her. She’s not even that bad of a villain yet, she’s still just a kid. But the way she is fighting for her rights, I cannot get behind. 

A recurring mentioned character that we never see is the Power Broker. The Power Broker is first mentioned by Zemo, who said had connections to the serum. This was confirmed by Sharon, saying that she also knew the Broker was looking for the serum. This was also confirmed by Nagel. Sharon at the end of the episode, after the explosion at the lab, tells an associate of hers that there is a “big problem.” Her being so stressed and wanting to find Nagel and the serum so bad, is leading me to believe that she might be the Power Broker. She has a lot of connections, is extremely rich now, and she already knew about Nagel and the serum. Sharon is most definitely the Power Broker to me. 

After all of the explosion, this episode was not as eventful as expected, but it gave a lot of context. 

Seeing Bucky as the Winter Soldier again was thrilling, but it also hurt to see him have to obey Zemo’s every order. He had been fixed in Wakanda, and now here he was falling right back into being a pawn for someone to control. All the hard work and progress he’d made was gone, and he was falling back into the same patterns of being the “Winter Soldier.” It was cool to watch, but deep down I felt horrible for him having to go through something like that again. 

At the very end, though, Bucky notices something as he is walking through the streets of Latvia with Sam and Zemo. He leaves them and walks down to a secure alleyway to be met with one of the Dora Milaje: Ayo. The Dora Milaje are the Wakandan warriors that protect the country and the king, and Ayo is said to be the one who helped Bucky get all of the HYDRA brainwash out of his head. The episode ends on this cliffhanger of Ayo being there to take Zemo to Wakanda to face the crime of killing their former king. 

I thought this was a fairly great episode. It wasn’t as eventful as the previous two, but I still enjoyed it. I wasn’t really left speechless or anything, I was just shocked at the end. I wasn’t expecting to see Wakandan’s appear, but it made more sense the more I thought about it. I could tell it was an episode that set up a lot of plot points that would be important later rather than it being eventful. Still, I was satisfied. 

Overall Thoughts: 

This series has been so intriguing and interesting so far. It’s hard to capture all of the emotions I’ve felt watching this series. There have been severe ups and downs, and it’s so hard to capture my feelings in just this review. I do know that I do find this to be one of the best Marvel stories so far. 

It is intense, and it’s more real than witches, norse gods and genius. I like that it actually reflects on who Sam and Bucky are as people, and the challenges they face as normal people. Whether it be racism, PTSD, or just paying bills — it shows how human they are. Episode four showed this especially, presenting the debate between taking the serum and not. Sam represents the good side, not wanting it. John represents the bad side, taking it (in episode 4) and enhancing the worst qualities of himself. 

This series only has two episodes left, and I am beyond excited for both of them. Marvel never disappoints me and, from what I’ve already heard, episode five will be another hit. This show is perfect in every way imaginable, and I have no doubts about the rest of the series. Marvel is outshining themselves, and it can only get better from here. 

This show is a 5/5 for me. I am so pleased with everything that has happened so far. After the first episode, I had no idea what I was going to get. Yet, Marvel kept one-upping themselves with each episode. I’m always on the edge of my seat, excited to see what will happen next. What dumb thing will John do? What really cool fight scene is going to happen? Where is Zemo? Marvel always scratches that itch in my brain that wants to know more. 

If you need me at all, I’ll be waiting for the next episode of the series to drop.