Business As Usual
Episode 1 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins with Falcon getting dressed up, packing Captain America’s shield and heading out. It turns out Falcon has a big job ahead of him. He’s working with the US military and is tasked with going after a criminal organization known as LAF. He’s told to be subtle, watching from afar as three men hijack a plane over the dry, choked deserts of Libya.
Falcon eventually flies out and fights his way onboard. Only, the captain takes a bullet to the head, prompting those onboard to abandon ship. Falcon fights against his foes in mid-air, taking them out one by one and thwarting the threat. His target in all this is a US pilot who has been kidnapped, eventually culminating in Falcon snatching the guy up, stopping the bad guys and flying down to safety.
On the back of this mission, Falcon does some electrical work outside at a bar in Tunisia. With Torres by his side, we learn that he’s been working at the air force for six months now. While they sit and talk, a grateful man arrives and thanks Sam for helping bring his wife back.
Sam’s stay there is brief, as he heads back to Washington for a press conference. He talks to them all about Captain America’s sacrifice and what the blip means for everyone here. He tells them all they need new heroes for this new world, paying homage to Cap’s shield in the process. Symbolically, it’s preserved in a glass box for now.
With the world struggling to get back on its feet, Rhodes and Falcon talk about the new world order and deliberate over what this means for them going forward.
Meanwhile, Bucky continues to suffer from bad dreams. He’s haunted by the past and with him now serving as a civilian following his discharge, therapy is a mandatory condition.
He opens up a little to her and admits that he’s crossed another name off his list. He’s been ignoring calls from Sam too, something his therapist tells him he needs to stop doing. After all, his loneliness is going to be his own personal hell. She implores Bucky to use his gifts now that he’s free.
The first step here comes in the form of meeting a girl, courtesy of a sweet old man setting things up for him. That evening, he meets her at work where they decide to play Battleship. However, talk of dead relatives soon sends Bucky out again.
In Delacroix, Louisiana, Sam rocks up to see his sister, Sarah, and his nephews. With the world back to normal and finances strained, Sarah wants to sell the family boat but Sam isn’t enthused by this idea. Instead, he asks her about money and suggests he pitch in and help, determined to turn this situation around for the family.
This brings the pair to the bank where they try to get a loan. Unfortunately they’re denied thanks to five years of no income. Of course, this is all because of the blip. Defeated, the duo head off with Sam determined to get a loan no matter what.
In Switzerland, a whole gang of people join together and put on masks, causing chaos to ensue as a bank is robbed. Whoever the ringleader is, they’re not messing around and make short work of those in attendance. On the back of this attack, Torres messages Sam and sends him over the footage of this man, who claims to be the leader of the Flag Smashers.
However, Sam and the others have bigger problems. On TV, the Department of Defense announce a new hero. This comes in the form of a brand new Captain America, with a man named John Walker taking the shield up and donning the same costume. This is, of course, all a big ploy but it’s one that has Sam closing his eyes in despair at.
The Episode Review
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier gets off to a relatively tepid start, with a solid 10 minutes of CGI action at the start and some surprisingly grounded character work.
In fact, although Sam is the lead star here it’s actually Bucky who’s the more interesting character so far. His personal demons and nightmares look like they could be explored in more detail across the coming episodes, and it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the MCU has tackled lasting effects from big battle scars (Iron Man 3 and WandaVision for example) but this 6 part series looks like it could be gearing up for a much deeper exploration of that in coming episodes.
For now though, the first episode feels like business as usual for Marvel and fans will undoubtedly love this. However, unlike WandaVision’s unique hook all the usual Marvel tropes are here already, including the disposable villain and CGI-driven action.
It’s still early days though so we’ll have to wait and see what happens across the rest of the season but this looks like it’ll be a fun romp to tide us over until the next Marvel project.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|