We didn’t have to wait too long for our next dose of Marvel, as The Falcon and The Winter Soldier launched on Disney Plus after only a week’s break since WandaVision ended in climactic fashion. Immediately, it becomes clear that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is more in line with the MCU’s expected style than WandaVision was. It is action, intrigue, witty banter, and some authentic emotional beats throughout—all staples of what makes the MCU so successful.
The episode takes place several months after the events of Avengers: Endgame and, after a heroic mission that felt very Top Gun-esque, we see that The Falcon has refused Captain America’s wish for him to take up his mantle and shield. Instead, he opts to hand the shield over to the government—who put it into the Captain America museum we saw back in Captain America: Winter Soldier. This decision feels like the furthest thing from what Cap would have wanted, considering his entire story arc was about not trusting in the government and believing that the “safest hands are still our own”. More on this later though.
Without recapping events beat-for-beat, we learn about Falcon’s family who are having financial troubles; furthermore, we get the interesting tid-bit that he isn’t being paid as an Avenger. I have seen many people discussing online, thinking that this is some kind of a race issue; but, to me, the implication seemed more to be that—considering the storyline events of the MCU—Falcon had gone rogue with Team Cap back in Civil War; so of course he is no longer on the payroll. On top of that, the guy was Snapped for five years, which implicates him as having no income for that period of time. Obviously it’s bullshit, but I can understand it being one of those stupid bank policies. I don’t believe the show was implying that Tony Stark and the Avengers were just not paying Falcon because of his race like some seem to think, but maybe I’m wrong. We will see.
On the other side of the series title is the Winter Soldier, who we discover is trying to right the wrongs of his past and is undergoing therapy to try to deal with these matters. I particularly liked Bucky’s storyline in this episode—much more than the Falcon family’s boat dramas. The kicker that Bucky has befriended an old man because, in the past, he had killed his son actually did surprise me, and it felt like one of those hopelessly tragic moments that the MCU likes to pull out every so often.
While we didn’t see our two leads meet up with each other just yet, we did learn a bit about the conflicts they may face in the coming weeks. Namely, the super powered Flag Smashers and the newly government appointed Captain America who rocks up in the episode’s climax.
It is hard to tell whether this new Captain America is going to be some kind of super-powered nemesis or merely a comedic foil for our heroes. I had a thought that perhaps he would be used similarly to how Cap was used at first for propaganda purposes during WW2, but something tells me, considering this character’s comic book origins, there may be more to this guy than meets the eye. This reveal, of course, stings for Falcon because his trust was broken by the government,—something that Steve Rogers also had happen to him. Perhaps getting screwed by the government is the first step towards becoming a true Captain of America?
Other than that, I think the Flag Smashers is an interesting idea because I imagine there would be people who actually did think Thanos was right and the world was better during the Blip. I’m curious to see what they will do and what their deal is in future episodes.
All in all, this was ultimately a bit of a setting-the-stage kind of episode, but a fine one at that. Now that the foundation is laid, let’s see where this adventure into the wild world of Marvel will take us.