Caila has been a fan of Marvel and the MCU ever since its cinematic conception! Following every movie and tv show they've released so far!
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The Fallout from the Snap
From the beginning of the MCU announcing their new tv shows that were coming up that still related to the timeline, I was excited for all of them. I am a major fan of the MCU and am always in awe of their bigger picture story-telling and their talent to make comics come to life and be taken seriously on the screen while still being fun! The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was always on my list of things to watch because I figured it would deal with more fallout from the Snap, as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes come across as more ground superheroes than the others, although I did not know how they were going to do it. Also, with Steve Rogers giving Sam the Shield of Captain America at the end of Avengers Endgame, I figured the show would dive into racial and social issues, as well.
Sam is also an Avenger, so to assume that this show would have implications as to what would be coming next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would not be a far stretch. And as I write this, apparently, Captain America 4 is already in the works with the showrunners from Falcon and the Winter Soldier! So this show, needless to say, did well on Disney+, but it also has a storyline that could leak into the movies and possibly another season of the show. From this show, we do get into the bigger problems that some people may not think about in the MCU right now, the fallout that the 3 different Snaps caused, not only for the superheroes, but for everyone in the world of the MCU.
Sam Wilson - The Falcon
Sam is in a predicament at the start of the show. He has given up the Shield and the responsibility that it comes with, to the archives of a museum, which is later given to another soldier named John Walker. Not only does he have to deal with everyone asking him why he gave it away, including Steve Rogers' other best friend, Bucky Barnes, grilling him, but he also has to deal with the issues that happened while he was away for 5 years, Earth time, during the Snap from Thanos. He and his sister are at odds about their family boat on whether to sell it or not to have money to pay for the things that his sister needs to survive with her 2 sons.
We, as the viewer, still know that this is an MCU property because of the action involved, but we are placed in the real world immediately in this show. It really shows how being a superhero is not anything more than a thankful job. You do not get paid, benefits, or a job title because of it. Whatever you took in into being a superhero, you still have later while being a superhero for YEARS! Sam is in no position to take a loan out for his family's boat and home, but still wants to keep them both, while his sister has struggled tirelessly for 5 years while he was gone during the Snap with no help, and is ready to give the boat up for money. Sam is very humanized in this show and is portrayed more of what the OG Cap saw in him before: just an overall good man.
Bucky Barnes - The Winter Soldier
Everyone's favorite Winter Soldier is now in court mandated therapy, which while there, he is still essentially refusing. He is very closed off, not following the rules that are set for him, would rather sleep on the floor than on a bed, and is still having traumatic nightmares about his time as the Winter Soldier and when he was being controlled for other people's will. His PTSD is real!!! This is something that, I don't feel like, any movie's storyline including Bucky Barnes, dealt with whatsoever. This show cannonballs into it! His therapist only wants what is best for him, but Bucky is still not ready to accept his healing and does not know what to do with himself, finally being free.
Bucky cannot even go out on dates without suffering his PTSD in some way or another. This story expands upon something else that the movies did not expand on for his character in particular, as opposed to Steven Rogers, that Bucky is also a man out of time and has to get used to living a normal life. He has made a friend of an old man in a bar, who we come to learn through one of his nightmares, is a father of one of his innocent victims. He is haunted by the idea that he killed this man's son and the old man is haunted by the fact that he does not know why his son died the way that he did. It is very warming and sad to see the two men bond socially. The only thing that Bucky knows is death and now he has to learn to heal. He really drives the heart of this story for me as a character above any of the others.
The Bigger Picture
As the world is getting back to whatever normal can be, for the events that had recently happened, around 3.8 billion people simply disappearing and reappearing 5 years later, there are obvious problems. People are displaced, not married anymore, homeless, and there is not much anyone can do about it. Everyone seems to be in a state of shock and confusion right now really. A group called, The Flagsmashers, are making moves to keep the world the way that it was during the Snap, causing mayhem, and bringing the world back to what they think is peace. They are mostly made of young teenagers and adults who have all taken super serum and of course find themselves at odds with Sam and Bucky.
Within the first episode, we get a brand new inaugurated Captain America, in John Walker. He is a character of the comics, so most people theorized immediately where his storyline would go. In the beginning episode, we see that he never asked for this role, but it was thrust upon him, and that he is actually terrified of being the new Cap. He wants people to like him! This provides great sympathy for the character from the viewer. However, the government saw an outstanding soldier with great credentials, an amazing physique and physical prowess! Perfect fit for Captain America, right? Over time, we begin to see the cracks in his attitude of power tripping, arrogance, and insecurities take him over. Along with being weaker and less equipped than the others in the show he is trying to fight against or with. Bucky and Sam do not want to deal with him out of pettiness and a few reasons, but John soon shows them why they made the right decision anyway.
Throughout the span of the show, we are reintroduced to characters who now have even more role in the story, like Agent Sharon Carter, Agent Peggy Carter's niece. Zemo, the man who orchestrated the breakup of the Avengers, the catalyst for the ruin of their friendships before Infinity War, and one of the causes of Bucky's suffering, comes back into play as Bucky, of all people, breaks him out of prison to help them with finding the Flagsmashers. We get to know Zemo's character even more throughout the few episodes that he is in. While we knew he lost his wife and family in the attack on Sokovia, we come to find out that he is a baron, he's rich, and he likes to dance! He has so much personality and wisdom and help to provide our lost heroes, while still having plans of his own once he is released from prison.
With the release of Zemo, we get to see the Ayo of the Dora Molaje again. They are the loyal and royal army and guard of the King and land of Wakanda. They still have not forgotten the death of their former King, T'Chaka, at the hands of Zemo, years prior and demand to know why Bucky, their White Wolf, has broken him out of prison. They give Bucky six hours before they attack and take him for their own. They easily deal with John Walker and this breaks him down, because he realizes how he cannot compete where he does not compare. This and the loss of his best friend at the hands of one of the leader of the Flagsmashers, Carli, sends him over the edge and we see the full picture as to why he never should have held the title of Captain America in the first place.
A Turning Point for All
The climax of the series comes to a head when John Walker takes a dive off the deep end and kills one of the Flagsmashers for the death of his best friend over the years. He does this with the Shield, caving the man's chest and face in, in front of everyone (and their camera phones) on the street in broad daylight. The Shield is covered in innocent (maybe not all the way, but it wasn't his best friend, Lamar's, killer) blood and we see the fallout from that. John Walker is now stripped of his duty and title of Captain America and his dishonorably discharged from the Army and any of its forces and get no benefits. The title of Captain America has been corrupted. Enter the U.S. Agent., a character everyone knew was coming anyway. He takes the super serum he found and becomes something more.
Sam tries his hardest to reach out to Carli and tries to make her see her wrongdoings in her actions and how she sounds more and more like a villain as opposed to a fighter of the people. Her movement is now leading into terrorism and she does not care about anything except getting her message across. Sam's attempt to reach out to her does not work and Carli is more determined than ever to carry out her plans. Zemo even calls it out on what it is and says that her mind is gone to her cause and cannot be changed anymore. She has officially chosen her path, but Sam like Steve Rodgers before him, will try to the very end if he could.
During the run of the show, Agent Sharon Carter, who has been on the run ever since before Infinity War is now leading a life of crime to survive on her own because she was never pardoned for her actions like the other heroes had been over time. She has intel that Bucky and Sam do not have and always seems to be in the right place at the right time for the unlikely pair. I think everyone initially thought that she was the "Powerbroker" character that was being mentioned in the show so much that held so much money and power. When we found out that she actually is the Powerbroker, it was still a bit of a shock because I think we though that Marvel would pull the wool over our eyes like they have beforehand.
Sam now has the Shield from John Walker and is accepting what must be done, since no one else can do it. He gives the same sort of practice run of the Shield in the same style that we've seen Steve Rodgers do in countless movies before him. He has the support of Bucky and they become official friends instead of frenemies. Bucky even has the Wakandans make Sam a new suit after they deal with Zemo, equipped with Vibranium wings and the classic American red, white and blue Captain America look! I thought the suit looked amazing! The mostly white suit sort of symbolizes the purity of Sam, compared with John Walker's darker version of the Captain America suit and the fading (bright to dark) color scheme of Steve Rogers' suits over the years. This was purposeful costume design that invaded the storyline as well and it was done beautifully. Also, I think it's a cool to see new changes and progression for a character. "Our Cap can fly now!", the fan girl in me screamed, the moment I saw him make a good save in the suit!!!
At this point, everyone and their situations are evolving for the better and the worse. Sam Wilson has officially taken on the mantle of Captain America, debuting his new look against the Flagsmashers, Carli is irretrievably corrupted, and Sharon Carter is the Powerbroker. Everyone is at odds and has picked their side for this particular fight. Sam can longer get through to Carli's humanity and she ends up dying in Sam's arms for her fight by Sharon shooting her multiple times to get her to stop fighting Sam, who wouldn't fight back. She has a perfect tragic ending and it was not in vain, as he saw the purpose behind her madness and the things that she was fighting for.
Sam also comes to complete terms with him being Captain America and the struggles that will come with it. These struggles, including race, I'm sure, will be featured in the next Captain America movie! By the end of the show, Bucky has gotten great advice from Sam to really TRY to get better in therapy and do the work that it takes to get better, and he does. He goes out of his way to cross names off of his list of people that he's wronged as the Winter Soldier. He finally comes to talk to the old man at the end of the series. He tell him that he was the one that killed his son and that he did not have a choice in the matter before the scene cuts away.
I would have loved to see how that conversation went down because Bucky's story was very much so the heart of everything in this show. However, we do see the aftermath of his road to redemption, forgiveness and apologizing. Bucky no longer goes to the bar the man goes to anymore and when he walks past the bar again he sees the man still there with the woman that he tried to go on a date with before. Although he does not go in to talk to them, I think that was his lesson though. Sometimes your actions cannot be undone, it cannot be taken back, and you do not still receive the same love or friendship as before from the people that you hurt. And that is okay. We also see more character development through the use of Bucky's arm, I thought. In the beginning of the show, Bucky associates his Vibranium arm with its dark past and being controlled against his will, to being poked into using it when Sam asks him why he does not use his metal arm more often, as it is a part of him now and he needs to accept that, to using it to play with kids by the end of the show and using it to help in dire situations. So much growth and we love to see it!!!
My Final Thoughts
I thought overall this show was very different standing to its first Disney+ show predecessor, WandaVision, however it was still Marvel!!! It had action, drama, the story led right into something bigger than itself as a show. It was not as zany or sci-fi based as WandaVision, but it was rooted and based in reality. There were even cookouts! The show provided much needed character development for each character and kept the main story progressing forward. We have a plethora of new characters that will definitely proceed into the MCU's overall plot and what they are heading to.
The ending has left the door open for a new season of the now "Captain America and the Winter Soldier" and a new storyline or pickup on the plot for the upcoming Captain America 4 movie. While we have concluded Bucky's personal struggles with his PTSD and his past traumas, Sam and his sister are able to not only keep the boat, but they are also able to fix it up with the help of the town and its people, and we have a rogue Sharon Carter (Powerbroker) getting her government job back and having access to top secret government information to sell off to the highest bidder now, so I imagine that this story will lead into the next movie or season of the show. There is more than enough room for her to be a secondary villain in the next story she appears in.
This show was not one that was on the 2021 lineup of Marvel releases that I was excited about, but it quickly turned into something that got me excited to see the next new episode. When the show first began, I did not know how it would connect back to the films or what to do with the characters of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes and how to integrate them back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its story. Now, I feel like there are so many ways to put them back into the story, there are different ways that the Captain America 4 plot could go, and there is more that could happen to all of these characters in the show next. I am excited for anything they have next! Marvel has been doing well with their tv shows and are even giving the films a run for their money because of the budget they put into the shows, the action and the stories are more fleshed out over week's time. Marvel's Cinematic Universe stays on top of their game no matter what!
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV Show Poll
This TV Show is Gold!!!
Where You Can Watch...
- Stream Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic | Disney+
Disney+ is the home for your favorite movies and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Sign up for Disney+ and start streaming today.