After WandaVision ended two weeks ago, fans have been eager to get the next show underway. With a week-long gap between WandaVision and Marvel’s next original series on Disney+, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, it’s now time to get back into that weekly Friday night routine as each new episode comes out.

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

Set a few months after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), we catch up with Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) following the snap, in which Thanos (Josh Brolin) eradicated half of the universe with just a click of his fingers.

The show begins with an action-packed scene, as we see Falcon on a rescue mission to save a military hero from the hands of Batroc (Georges St. Pierre), who Captain America (Chris Evans) fought in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

After that, the episode’s atmosphere shifts from exciting and thrilling, to slightly melancholic and mournful.

In Avengers: Endgame, Wilson states to Captain America that, after he’s given the shield, it feels like “someone else’s”. So in light of this, Wilson makes the choice to donate the famous shield to the Captain America exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum.

This part of the episode is hard to watch, in the sense that we see Wilson’s deep grieving of his friend, who wasn’t only a symbol of hope to America, but for Wilson, too.

Sam Wilson with Captain America's shield / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios
Sam Wilson with Captain America's shield / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

As for Bucky, the first we see of him is a flashback from his HYDRA days, when he was still being controlled by the evil organisation. We watch as he carries out a brutal assassination; a moment from his past as proven by the use of his old star-branded silver arm.

Now, he attends (somewhat menial) therapy, and has a list containing names of people he wants to make things right with; HYDRA made him commit awful acts that still haunt the now-free Bucky.

Bucky wishes to pay back for his heinous acts, but of course he can’t; the episode really digs into his grief and the loss of lives he had a big part in taking, as well as his genuine want to right so many wrongs.

We also see Wilson reconnect with his past, as he visits his sister Sarah (Adepero Oduye) and tries to reason with her as she plans to sell their parents’ old fishing boat.

Anthony Mackie, Director Kari Skogland, and Adepero Oduye behind the scenes of The Falcon and The Winter Solder / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios
Anthony Mackie, Director Kari Skogland, and Adepero Oduye behind the scenes of The Falcon and The Winter Solder / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios

The first episode does such a brilliant job at showing why the characters are reluctant to revisit their lives before the blip, as Bucky’s flashback causes him to wake up panicked in his apartment, and Wilson’s family issues arise as if he was never gone.

As with WandaVision, the care and love put into this episode is crystal clear. While it is rather slow-paced and focuses on the characters separately, it is still a fantastic introduction for what’s to come.

We are introduced to a potential terrorist organisation, The Flag Smashers, who believe that the world was better during the blip, when 50% of everything simply disappeared; so we can boldly assume we will be seeing them again throughout the series.

It is so wonderful to see out titular characters in more depth; while their presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was welcomed and significant, we’ve not really had a chance to get to know either of these troubled men on a deeper level.

Despite the steady pacing of the episode, there were still many things worth discussing afterwards. The Flag Smashers seem to be an odd yet deadly force; Captain America’s shield is simply on display; and right at the end, we’re introduced to a new ‘Captain America’ – which was a punch in the gut so soon after Rogers’ departure.

The opening episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was a great, gradual welcome into the show; pasts are shown and while it doesn’t seem clear how the duo ends up together yet, what we’ve seen so far definitely opens up the doors to a thrilling series.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier continues Fridays, exclusively on Disney+.

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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