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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 1 recap: Boys struggle with Cap’s legacy


Sam Wilson feels weird about the idea of taking up the shield, even though he’s Captain America’s chosen successor.


Marvel Studios

Get outta here, WandaVision. You’ve been done for two whole weeks, and there’s a new Marvel Cinematic Universe show in town. The first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier dropped on Disney Plus on Friday, bringing us on an espionage adventure with two of Captain America’s buddies

Last time we saw Sam Wilson, aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie), the wingsuit-wearing Air Force vet had been chosen to be the next Captain America and given the iconic shield by an aged Steve Rogers. He didn’t seem too sure about taking up the mantle though.

On the other side of the show’s title, we have Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), aka the Winter Soldier. Originally Steve’s sidekick during World War II, he spent decades as a brainwashed assassin for sneaky terrorist group Hydra. He’s since been deprogrammed and rejoined the heroes, but getting over the sins of his past isn’t proving easy.

This show takes place in the wake of Avengers: Endgame, when billions of vanished people have returned after a five-year absence and the world is suddenly feeling pretty crowded. Let’s jump over the border into SPOILER territory.


Marvel Studios

Your new Captain America

After telling Sam he made “the right decision” in donating Cap’s shield to the Captain America Exhibit in Washington, DC’s Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the same government official later presents the new Captain America to the world. It’s clearly a kick in the teeth for Sam, who handed over the shield because he reasoned that no one should step into Steve’s role.

There’s also something deeply icky about giving the shield to a white guy after the Black man chosen for the role gave it up.

The government’s new Captain America is John Walker (Wyatt Russell). In a 1980s comic storyline, Walker was chosen for the role in the comics after Steve stepped away due to political interference. Sam was considered for the role there too, but politicians reasoned that people weren’t ready for a Black Captain America — it’s possible they’re thinking similarly in the MCU.

Walker has been both adversary and ally to Cap in the comics, going by names like the rather intense Super-Patriot and more reasonable-sounding US Agent. He’s all about serving Uncle Sam though, to the point where he’s often been a puppet for morally questionable politicians.

Mirroring Steve

The opening action sequence in the Tunisian sky feels similar to the start of 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, from Sam’s confident drop out of the plane to the presence of Georges Batroc (Georges St-Pierre).

It’s clearly designed to tell us Sam is worthy of taking Steve’s place, despite his misgivings.

This article will be updated shortly.



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