The first episode of Marvel’s The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is available now. The last time we saw Sam Wilson AKA the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes AKA the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) was in 2019’s Avengers Endgame.
Back then, a much-older Steve Rogers gave away his shield and the Captain America mantle to Sam Wilson, but it’s never that easy to carry on a legacy like that. The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is here to explore that. I’ll be discussing heavy spoilers from the first episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, so if you haven’t seen it or want to avoid spoilers, now’s your chance to stop reading.
If you want a non-spoiler guide to The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, you can head on over here.
The Return Of (Georges) Batroc The Leaper
Remember this guy? Actor Georges St-Pierre reprises his role as Batroc, who was first and last seen in 2014’s Captain America The Winter Soldier fighting Steve Rogers and later getting arrested by SHIELD. Now that SHIELD is gone, he’s somehow free and trying to kidnap a military guy named Captain Vasant for an organization called the LAF.
He puts up a mid-air fight against the Falcon before escaping once again in a helicopter as Sam successfully rescues his intended objective; Captain Vasant.
The Aim Of The Flag Smashers
Interesting. According to Lieutenant Torres (played by actor Danny Ramirez), the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the Flag Smashers believes that the world was better during The Blip (when the Thanos Snap erased half of the population of the world at the end of 2018’s Avengers Infinity War but was later undone by the Avengers in 2019’s Avengers Endgame).
They also want a world without borders; just like every other anarchist terrorist organization out there.
Lieutenant Torres Might Be Joaquin Torres Who Is Also The Falcon In The Comics
We haven’t learnt Lieutenant Torres’ first name but he might very well turn out to be Joaquin Torres. In the comics, he was experimented on by supervillain Karl Malus from the Sons Of The Serpent and became a sort of a mutated human-bird hybrid. He then became the second person after Sam Wilson to take on the mantle of the Falcon. Notably, he did so when Sam Wilson was Captain America, so that might turn out to be important in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier down the line.
The Return Of James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes AKA War Machine/Iron Patriot
We all knew that Don Cheadle would be reprising his role as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes AKA War Machine/Iron Patriot, but no one expected him in the very first episode. He attends a speech given by Sam Wilson at an event in Washington D.C, which…
The Event Is To Honor Steve’s Legacy, Who Is “Gone”
In his speech, Sam says that Steve Rogers is “gone”, but what does that really mean?
The look on Rhodey’s face does seem to imply that Steve really is “gone” (read: dead), but is Steve Rogers really definitively dead?
Sam Gives Captain America’s Shield Away To A Museum
Surprisingly, the true purpose of the event is that Sam is giving away and donating Captain America’s shield to the museum (presumably the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.). This is a shocking turn of events, but surely it won’t stay safe for long, especially in a place where any bad guy can attempt a break-in at any time.
The Winter Soldier Is Back And He’s Helping The Government Apprehend Former HYDRA Members
Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier is back at killing people and assassinating them? That’s not a good sign.
Nope, it’s just a dream/nightmare, folks.
What he’s really up to now is hunting down former HYDRA members who are still alive and out in the world for the government.
Lieutenant Torres Gets Beaten Up By A Super-Powered Flag-Smasher Member
We meet Lieutenant Torres as he tries to apprehend a member of the Flag-Smashers, but he gets beaten up instead. It turns out that the Flag-Smasher individual somehow has enhanced strength.
The Government Appoints A New Captain America Without Consulting Any Of The Avengers
The government blind-sided Sam and the Avengers by appointing a new ‘official’ Captain America. While his name isn’t explicitly mentioned in the episode, it’s clearly John F. Walker AKA US Agent (Wyatt Russell), who is a brand new character making his debut into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the comics, John F. Walker was a super-soldier who started as a villain called the Super-Patriot, before replacing Steve Rogers as Captain America when the former refused to follow the orders of the government agency Commission On Superhuman Activities. However, he goes to blows against Steve Rogers for being too brutal and crossing the line while carrying the shield. After Steve Rogers reclaims the shield, John takes on the name US Agent and joins the West Coast Avengers (at the time consisting of the Scarlet Witch, Vision and more).
He’s not a full-on villain, but he’s more like what the Punisher would be like if he takes on the shield. An overzealous and sometimes even psychotic anti-hero, if you will.
Overall, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 1 is a solemn episode of the personal ghosts and demons haunting both Sam and Bucky since the events of Avengers Endgame. Nothing much happens, but we get a glimpse at their lives; Sam spending time with his family and having to face issues like racism, as well as Bucky going on a date while dealing with his past trauma under HYDRA.
It’s more cinematic and grounded than WandaVision, and it definitely looks great so far. We still haven’t met Helmut Zemo AKA Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and Erin Kellyman’s Karli Morgenthau, so there’s a lot to look forward to.