Who Is the Heir to the Captain?

With WandaVision‘s first (and hopefully not last) season closed out, Disney+ took no time in bringing us our next Marvel small screen addiction. Friday, the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier hit the streaming service’s list of programs. Picking up after Avengers: Endgame and the retirement of Captain America, Falcon is left with a decision about what to do with Captain America’s shield. Also, since both former partners of Steve Rogers had been turned to dust in Avengers: Infinity War, they both have 5 years of non-existence to catch up on. I really like the way the characters are handled and the background that was created for them given everything about them previously was purely storyline driven for each movie. It may not have the draw of WandaVision (at least to me), but it definitely looks like it’s going to be an interesting show.

Spoiler AlertWhen we start off with the Falcon, he’s packing up the shield to head off somewhere. Before we find out where, he first assists in a military rescue operation. And by assist, I mean he does pretty much everything. It’s good to see him in action showing that he is more than just a dude who flies. I do miss Redwing being a bird like in the comics, but that both reduces the power of Redwing and also would open up the whole question about how he communicates with the bird. (The comics continually try to avoid the insinuation that he could be a mutant, the only logical explanation for the ability, and that is not something we want to try to breach with him in the movies/show.) Following the rescue, we head off to his other destination and that place is a press conference where the shield is to be enshrined with Captain America’s costume and other memorabilia. James Rhodes is there to support him as he’s thanked by an official who says he made the right decision. You can see in his face when they put the shield in its case though that he’s not 100% sure it was. As the two talk further, he comments about how he told Steve at the end of the last movie that the shield felt like it belonged to someone else. They talk about how things have changed after everything has happened.

This then leads into him visiting his sister and dealing with things that have happened with his family in the 5 years. His sister is preparing to sell the family’s boat, a decision which apparently was being discussed long before he disappeared and one that his sister Sarah finally made on her own. He does manage to convince her to let him try to help get a loan to help take care of the boat so they can keep it. Whey meet with a loan officer at the bank they have been with for years but even though he guy is going all fan boy about the Falcon being there, he points out that there’s a gap for 5 years in his history (He was taken out of existence like half of the people in the universe so it makes sense.) and denies him because of him not having a normal source of income on top of that. The guy is such a slimeball that after rejecting them, he’s still trying to get selfies with Sam. Seriously? He really better hope he doesn’t need a super-hero’s help in the future. Sam then hears from a soldier he had been talking to at the rescue op who had taken on someone from a group called the Flag-Smashers who think that things were better before everyone returned. This particular guy that he encountered seems especially strong though. In the comics, Captain America had a costumed enemy called Flag-Smasher so we’ll have to see where this all leads to.

We can’t forgot about the other half of the series, the Winter Soldier. The two heroes don’t cross paths yet in the series so I felt it was best to deal with them separately even though the episode bounces back and forth between the two. When we first see Bucky, he’s geared up as the Winter Soldier and takes out a bunch of people including an innocent man who just happens to see what happens. Just as he shoots the guy, Bucky wakes up from the nightmare. This leads right into a therapy session that he’s in where he denies having any more nightmares but the therapist knows he’s lying. He also gives a very watered down version of activities he’s had recently, carefully wording what happened to make it sound like he’s been a good boy. You get to see flashbacks of what actually happen while he’s talking about it in the session which makes it funny seeing how, technically, he sorta did what he said he did. This part I actually really like because I enjoy how he played around with wording and stayed in the letter of the law. The “law” being three rules: don’t do anything illegal, nobody gets hurt, and “I am no longer the Winter Soldier. I am Bucky Barnes.” This is all part of him trying to get redemption for his past.

Following his, he hangs out with an older Asian man who he is friends with. (How they are friends is unknown but doesn’t seem important really.) They go for lunch and the man tries to set him up on a date with their waitress. An embarrassed Bucky tries to apologize for his friend’s behavior but the waitress takes him up on the date anyway. Later that night, he shows up at the restaurant where the woman turns a game of Battleship into a drinking game. (If you get hit or miss the other person, take a drink. As long as that game goes, that could lead to alcohol poisoning.) The conversation ends up triggering him and he leaves to date early.

The end of the episode has Sarah come in while Sam is talking to the soldier mentioned earlier and turn on the news. It’s the official Sam had talked to earlier talking about how America needs a new hero and introduces the new Captain America. While no details about him are given, credits show that it is John Walker, the person who took over as Captain America when the name was taken from Steve and is now known as U.S. Agent. Looks like Sam should have just kept the shield. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. In the comics, both Bucky and Sam took over for Steve. When the shield was passed off, I was hoping it was going to be to Bucky as Sam has his own gimmick already. It would be good to see Bucky turn things around to take over the name of Captain America. The story could go in any number of directions from here so we’ll just have to watch and see what happens.

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