The fourth phase of the MCU has started in full swing with the advent of ‘WandaVision.’ The show has established the character of the Scarlet Witch, and most importantly, gives us a glimpse of life on Earth after the blip. As the MCU expands, we have with us a new offering, ‘ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,’ which delves into the lives of Sam Wilson, a.k.a Falcon, and Bucky Barnes, who goes by the moniker “Winter Soldier.” Both of them were wiped off after Thanos’ snap, and five years later, they are back.
The world has changed drastically after the events of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ as peace and stability are at risk from potential threats. Sam Wilson desires to carry forward Captain America’s legacy, but things are not the same anymore. The government has become more cautious and wants to put forward every step in a measured manner. The premiere of the series establishes the presence of the two aforementioned Avengers and the manner in which they have to cope with the changes. Let us have a closer look at the episode. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 1 Recap
Sam Wilson is back after the events of the blip and prepares to handover Captain America’s shield to the government. A new terrorist organization known as LAF has taken Captain Vasant hostage. The Air Force enlists Wilson to intercept the hijacked plane and rescue Vasant. The LAF is operating in Tunisia, the surrounding territories being hostile areas for the US Air Force. Wilson prepares himself as the Falcon and pursues the terrorists. After a terrific mid-air action sequence, Falcon saves Vasant. Torres then tells Wilson about a terrorist organization called Flag-Smashers, whose motive is to break the world’s borders and create a utopian society.
Wilson returns to Washington and attends a memorial service for Captain America. The vibranium shield is kept in the museum that features different memorabilia of Steve Rogers. Colonel Rhodes shares a conversation with Wilson and states that the world is inching towards anarchy. Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes lives under a government monitored program after he is granted a pardon.
He has nightmares from his time as the Winter Soldier. Barnes has to make amends by apprehending the Hydra-affiliated people he had helped gain power. However, he cannot use illegal methods or violence to achieve his goals. Barnes is searching for peace, but his past is too convoluted to allow him prolonged moments of respite.
Sam visits his family in Louisiana and finds that his sister is in financial trouble. She is about to sell their family possessions which include a boat. Sam is adamant about not letting that happen and tries to get a loan to restart their business. However, his absence for the past five years has created difficulties, and the loan cannot be processed. Captain Torres is working undercover to track the Flag-Smashers, but a glaring attack in Switzerland reveals the organization’s dangerous powers. In the end, the government decides to appoint a new hero as the embodiment of American ideals.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 1 Ending: Who is the New Superhero?
In the beginning, we see Sam returning the vibranium shield to the government. Multiple iterations of the world’s grim socio-political situations hint at the need for a new moralistic ideal. We can assume that the government wants to create a shimmer of hope in the form of Captain America. Wilson says in his speech that symbols are useless without men or women giving meaning to them. The government acts upon Wilson’s conjecture and appoints a new Captain America. In the comics, John Walker, a.k.a. U.S. Agent, is a superhero who takes the mantle of Captain America. But he was not always in the proper fold.
He attains his superpowers through the black market and positions himself as the supervillain, Super-Patriot. After a vicious battle with Steve Rogers, he is defeated and has a change of heart. Walker is a member of the West Coast Avengers, and his dark past often comes in between his pursuits. In the series, John Walker assumes Captain America’s identity, as the myth of the true American superhero needs to be preserved for the people to rely upon. Sam Wilson is not amused by this choice, and it remains to be seen how things unfold further.
Who are the Flag-Smashers?
The Flag-Smashers is a terrorist organization that appears to be the main antagonist in ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.’ The members work with a utopic vision of unifying the world without the confines of borders, which seems noble, but the methods are far from good. Torres notes that the idea has enticed quite a few followers, given the attacks that Earth has had to face. We can assume that the constant cosmic threat has created a sense of disillusion among certain people, and they want to unite for a cause that paves the way for anarchy.
The leader of the Flag-Smashers seems to have superpowers as he displays inhuman strength and durability. Perhaps there is a connecting link between LAF and the Flag Smashers as the LAF leader escapes Falcon’s attacks. Also, we can draw parallels between the Flag-Smashers’ political antagonism with Red Skull’s ideologies. Interestingly, the MCU depicts the Flag-Smashers as a group, whereas in the comics, the name stands for a super-villain rather than a collective.
What Does Bucky Barnes’ Diary Signify?
Bucky Barnes has been granted amnesty for his past deeds and lives the life of a civilian. He still faces the trauma from his days as The Winter Soldier and tries to remain close to the father of a person he had killed. During his counseling session, it is revealed that Bucky has to make amends by nullifying threats from erstwhile Hydra members. Bucky cannot use brute force to achieve his goals, but he helps the government apprehend them.
His diary contains the name of those people whom he had helped gain power during the heydays of Hydra. The list also depicts Zemo’s name, who, as we know, is the primary antagonist, Baron Zemo, in ‘Captain America: Civil War.’ It indicates that Zemo might be lurking in the corner and has not yet been nullified, even though the last time we saw him, he was incarcerated. Bucky desperately wants to get back on track by reversing his wrongs, but some permanent damages come back to haunt him.