This review contains spoilers so please tread lightly or watch the show first.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is my most anticipated MCU content for Phase 4! Okay, I enjoyed WandaVision and I talked a little bit about that before, but I’m a SamBucky girl! Watching the first three episodes, I wasn’t disappointed and I’m glad to say that the wait was definitely worth it!
The show was originally slated to release in August 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. Cue me crying as I wait for several more months for the premiere. My prep for this show was to stay away from the discussion threads as I really wanted to go into this blind.
Of course, I watched the trailers, but the interviews I stayed away from until I watched the first two episodes. I’m familiar enough with the characters to have my own speculations about the series, but I just didn’t want to spoil the experience. I knew this was going to be action-packed and in the same caliber as the Captain America movies, but mostly I was looking forward to the chemistry of Sam and Bucky.
Sam and Bucky are two of the most fan-favorite characters (that includes me), and they have the most chaotic, complicated relationship with each other.
The SamBucky Dynamic 👨🏿🤝👨🏽
We first got to see their banter in Captain America Civil War but had a more casual and comfortable working relationship in Infinity War and Endgame. But it all started in this exact scene in Civil War.
Adding fuel to the fire is the real-life dynamic of Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. Literally, every press junket or interview that they do together is chaotic! 🤣 And everybody loved it!
Honestly, thank you to whoever thought it was a good idea to pair Anthony with Sebastian during the Captain America: The Winter Soldier press junket! They were super funny together that they were like a package deal during press junkets for the succeeding movies.
I have to admit, watching their interviews together is a big guilty pleasure of mine. I just love their chaotic energy together! 😍
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 1: New World Order
In which Sam and Bucky aren’t together yet. 🥺
Quick Recap 📝
Months after the events of Avengers Endgame, Sam Wilson is now working with the Air Force for special missions. He fights Batroc the Leaper in the opening air chase sequence in order to save a guy Batroc kidnapped.
Sam donates the Captain America shield to the Smithsonian Museum in good faith.
Sam’s co-worker (
I refuse to call him a sidekick, okay?) from the Air Force, Joaquin Torres, follows leads about the group called The Flag Smashers and gets injured from an encounter with the group on a bank heist.
On the other side, Bucky Barnes struggles with his nightmares from this past as The Winter Soldier, but he refuses to open up with his therapist, Dr. Raynor, about it. He shares though that he’s been making amends with a list of people.
The episode ends with the US Government naming their new
discount Captain America, John Walker.
Episode Thoughts 🧠
Dear lord, this doesn’t look like a TV show at all! The opening fight scene between Sam and Batroc’s Squad was literally of the same caliber as the fight scenes in the MCU movies! AND I LOVED IT! 😍
I actually loved the fact that The Falcon fought with Batroc because it’s a callback to the opening fight sequence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier where Steve also fought with Batroc!
And this is why Sam deserves to be Captain America!
The first episode also focused more on Sam and Bucky as individual characters. As much as I hate the fact that they weren’t working together yet in this episode, it made total sense. I’m excited about the fact that this show will have us dive deep into these characters for six hours!
Also disclaimer: I love Joaquin Torres, he’s such a fanboy!
Sam’s Struggle with Picking Up the Mantle
Sam donates the Cap’s Shield to the Smithsonian, as he struggles with picking up the legacy of Steve and the responsibility of being Captain America. We see Rhodey during the Smithsonian Scene, and I love that Rhodey tries to make Sam open up.
I hope we get to see more of Sam and Rhodey’s interactions in the future because they have so much in common, particularly losing someone really close to them: Steve and Tony.
Symbols are nothing without the women and men that give them meaning.SAM WILSON, THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER EP. 1
Honestly, I get Sam’s decision and I respect it. I think there was this one interview with Mackie and main showrunner, Malcolm Spellman, where he said that part of Sam’s struggle was how could he represent the country that does not represent him. That cuts deep but it’s rings true to the times we’re in right now.
Sam’s Domestic Life
We get to see Sam’s domesticated life. Sam going back to his hometown was such a good treat for me. I really love Sam’s character since The Winter Soldier and I’m really really happy that we’re seeing more of his back story.
In Louisiana, we get a quick glance at Sam’s life with his sister Sarah, and the reality of the effect of The Blip hits you real quick. Sarah has been struggling with keeping their family business afloat for five years, all alone. They try to get a loan, and even though Sam had a solid plan, they still got denied. Because he didn’t have any income for the last five years.
WTF, he got dusted during the Blip! I’m really ready to fight somebody in this show 😡
Bucky’s Journey to Making Amends
On the other side, Bucky’s story gets dark and emotional. His opening scene was a flashback during his Winter Soldier time which was action-packed but it was really brutal, which turned out to be a nightmare. AND HE’S SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR! 😭
Geez, Bucky. At least get a mattress because you are breaking my heart, man. I mean he had one in his apartment in Bucharest if you look back in Civil War. Then again, it felt like another callback to CATWS, where Sam and Steve got into a conversation they said something along the lines of lying on the bed was too soft, it felt like lying on a marshmallow and you were just sinking into it.
We see Bucky in therapy, and I thank the gods because this man has been through too much shit, he deserves that therapy! That’s a good step towards healing. But the tight close-up shots though, I love that they went this way because it translates to how suffocating it must be for Bucky to deal with his trauma.
It also felt amazing that he was making amends with people he wronged when he was The Winter Soldier, even though he was totally breaking his three rules with Senator Atwood.
Bucky also hangs out with Yori Nakajima, and it was heartbreaking to learn that Yori’s son was actually killed by The Winter Soldier. I’m not sure if Bucky will ever tell Yori, but I knew he’s been trying. God, this show really made me feel a rollercoaster of emotions. Yori was also on Bucky’s list, but his name was on a different page with Senator Atwood, so my headcanon is that there’s a separate group of people, like there’s the bad people list and the good innocent people list on his notebook.
Bucky went on a date though, thanks to Yori, what a great wingman. AND IT WAS CUTE AS HELL! Bucky brought flowers, gosh that was super adorable! 😍💖💖💖
Bootleg Captain America 🥴
I love how everyone’s reaction to this was unanimous! I didn’t expect that they were going to give off the shield to John Walker at the end of the first episode. As if it wasn’t brutal enough that we’ve seen Sam and Bucky’s personal struggles, but they really had to rub it in our faces this obvious propaganda.
UGH WHITE PRIVILEGE MUCH? 🙄
Big props to Wyatt Russell for nailing this smug son of a bitch. Look at him, his face is so punchable. I know a little about him from the comics so I’m excited to see what they’ll do with his character. But still, I wanna punch his face.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 2: Star-Spangled Man
In which Marvel tries to make us sympathize with John Walker. 😂
Quick Recap 📝
The episode opens with John Walker, in his old high school locker room, getting ready to suit up as the new Cap (for Good Morning America, lmao 🤣). The marching band playing The Star-Spangled Man with A Plan from Captain America: The First Avenger (that song still slaps tho!).
Bucky sees the interview and was obviously pissed off. He finally meets Sam after dodging his texts. Sam insists there’s a bigger fish to fry with the Flag Smashers.
Sam and Bucky find The Flag Smashers stealing and loading vaccines into their trucks. This leads to a fight and the duo are hit with the realization that The Flag Smashers were actually super soldiers.
Bucky leads Sam to meet Isaiah Bradley, a black super soldier from the ’50s. We learn that Isaiah was imprisoned for 30 years for being a hero and that he had to deal with people experimenting on him and taking his blood samples.
Walker and Hoskins ask Sam and Bucky to join them but the two decline. Sam and Bucky decide to meet with Zemo in prison.
Episode Thoughts 🧠
There was a lot to unpack with this episode, but I love how the show levels up in every aspect as we go along the way.
Honestly, I enjoyed that we got to see John Walker, even though I still don’t trust him, and his little back story. I’m not sure how much we’ll get from that aspect, but it’s interesting. Wyatt Russell really sealed the deal with that character.
SamBucky One Braincell Time 🤣
Sam and Bucky are working together, so CHEERS TO THAT! Finally! Their banter was just everything I imagined and more. I waited a long time to see this dynamic and I’m finally getting it. Sheesh, this is like a dream come true. 🤩 Like “The Big Three” scene was so hilarious, I didn’t even know we’re getting it this early. That was like my favorite teaser trailer!
Bucky jumping from the plane with out a chute though, ONE BRAINCELL TIME! 🤣 I truly enjoyed the fight scene, even though they pretty much got their asses kicked.
I’ve got to say, Walker and Hoskins showing up in the fight scene to help Sam and Bucky was pretty dope. I still don’t trust him, but I appreciate it. And I STILL DON’T TRUST HIM, they put a tracker on Redwing.
And Redwing, oof! Poor cutie got smoked by The Flag Smashers. 😢
The Reality of America
I’ve got to say, Marvel isn’t pulling any punches with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier getting into the heavy issues like racism, white privilege, trauma, and identity. I love that they went with the Isaiah Bradley story. I’m familiar with Isaiah, but I haven’t read Truth: Red, White & Black yet, and I have to remedy that! I’m not sure about the timeline if Isaiah was the first Cap here. It seems like he was Cap when Steve was chillin’ in that ice and he was experimented on to recreate the serum. In the comics, he was actually the first Captain America. They ran experiments on him to perfect the serum which Steve got and Steve got credit for being Captain America.
I also get why Bucky kept information about Isaiah, and that was totally a good call on his part. Isaiah has suffered through enough and he deserves peace. Besides, it wasn’t Bucky’s story to tell. He chose to respect Isaiah’s life because he knows how awful it is to deal with trauma since he’s going through the same thing.
To top all that, Sam gets racially profiled by the cops. Geez, that was such a hard scene to watch for me, but I get the importance of why they had to show that scene because it’s the reality that Black people in America are facing.
Marvel is taking the right step to have this big mainstream show tackle something as important as these issues. This sparks real conversation. Kudos to the creative team!
I also like this one small detail in this scene, I love how Sam and Bucky still defended each other even though they claim to hate each other. Bucky got pissed at the cops for not recognizing Sam saying “Don’t you know who this is?” And then we get Sam telling the cops that Bucky was already pardoned for his actions by the government when he gets arrested. It just shows that they may not like each other much but they respect each other.
Bucky finally opens up to Sam
As comic relief, we get Sam and Bucky in a couple’s therapy scene where they have a staring contest. Bucky opens up on why he’s pissed at Sam giving up the shield. And then Bucky breaks everyone’s hearts with this line…
So maybe he [Steve] was wrong about you, and if he was wrong about you, then he was wrong about me!BUCKY BARNES, THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER EP. 2
And then tone-deaf, John Walker gets Sam and Bucky’s attention with cop sirens. Like how douchey can you be? Sam and Bucky immediately shoot Walker’s offer down for them to join him and I love how Bucky tries to aggravate him a little. Bucky and I are driving on this John Walker hate train.
Sam though. ugh and this is why he deserves to be Captain America! Alright buckle up, Sam tried to work with Walker, right? Like I know he’s trying to reason with himself that maybe Walker’s not a bad guy. Until this white bread called him “Cap’s Wingman” like bitch, show him some respect! Sam is an Avenger, and he fought Thanos TWICE!
And with Bucky too, like STOP CALLING HIM BUCKY, THAT’S SGT. JAMES BARNES TO YOU! I literally roll my eyes whenever Walker calls him Bucky like excuse me, you’re not friends you don’t deserve to call him with that nickname.
John Walker, you and your micro-aggressions. I’m going to punch you in the face.
I’m excited to see Zemo too! I never thought that this conflict will be Zemo’s entrance back to the MCU because I’ve always expected him to be the big baddie for this show. Then again, he’s always so calculating so obviously, I’m not going to trust him.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 3: Power Broker
In which we got a quartet that we never knew we wanted. 😍
Quick Recap 📝
In Munich, Walker and the police raids a house that The Flag Smashers previously took refuge in. Meanwhile, in Berlin Bucky meets with Zemo and orchestrates a prison break for him, without Sam’s knowledge.
Sam and Bucky team up with Zemo and flies to Madripoor to get leads about the Super-Soldier Serum. Bucky pretends to be The Winter Soldier again and Sam as The Smiling Tiger.
Sam blows his cover when Sarah calls. Sharon, who’s been staying in Madripoor, saves them and helps them find Dr. Nagel, who successfully recreated the serum, in exchange for Sam getting her name cleared. Zemo kills Nagel and someone blows up the lab destroying the serum.
The Flag Smashers steal more supplies from the GRC, with Karli blowing up the building with people still inside.
In Latvia, Bucky recognizes dropped Kimoyo beads which leads him to Ayo, the second in command of the Dora Milaje. Ayo tells Bucky that she’s here for Zemo.
Episode Thoughts 🧠
This might be my favorite episode so far! The action and the stakes in this show just keep getting intense!
I was a little nervous about Bucky meeting Zemo, even though I know that the activation words won’t work anymore (THANK YOU, SHURI!). Zemo always stays one step ahead of everyone and that’s what makes him a great villain. Even the chess pieces/game shown is such a big metaphor for Zemo.
I was interested to see how they will bring back Zemo and I was blown away by how they made it work. The scene where Bucky was “walking Sam into a hypothetical” while simultaneously showing the scenes of Zemo breaking out, was a genius move. It works well both for the aesthetic and story-telling.
Marvel’s John Wick 💥
I definitely enjoyed the Madripoor scenes, and Sharon literally destroyed everyone in the docks, John Wick style! Derek Kolstad, the creator of John Wick, wrote this episode so it just made sense!
I love that we’re finally getting this side of Sharon, which was truly refreshing. Especially that part where she was telling Sam how the all superhero stuff is just plain BS.
Look, you know the whole hero thing is a joke right? I mean the way you gave up that shield, deep down you must know it’s all hypocrisy.SHARON CARTER, THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER EP. 3
The whole fight sequence in the docks was just so amazing to watch, but also a thirsty take: Thank you Marvel for giving me Bucky in a black suit! 💖 And that scene where he threw a pole to that one girl, that’s definitely Wakanda style!
Sam and Bucky’s Growing Relationship
Let’s backtrack a bit in the Bar scene because Bucky had to come back to his Winter Soldier persona. WELL, THAT WAS AWFUL. As much as I enjoyed that Winter Soldier theme song playing, I know that’s not healthy for him. Give him a break, Zemo. What I did like was Sam checking up on him from time to time because Sam knows how much this can affect him.
I also love how Bucky stayed on Sam’s pace when they were running away from the bar, because HE COULDN’T RUN ON THOSE HEELS!
Meddling with the Grey Areas
I figured that this would be the best episode to talk about The Flag Smashers. The Flag Smashers with their catchphrase “One World, One People”, is led by Karli Morgenthau, a gender-swapped Karl Morgenthau from the comics.
I think it was a good idea to have the character tweaked and gender-swapped, and I like Erin Kellyman who plays her because she has such a strong screen presence.
I think The Flag Smashers ideals kind of plays into a grey area, and I get the principle that they’re sticking to. The whole Blip event really sparked their whole agenda, and I love how they humanize these people.
Until this episode, because Karli literally blew up that building to make a statement.
We’ve been getting hints of Bucky’s connection to Wakanda from the previous episodes, but with Ayo showing up… we’re going to see more. But of course, I might be wrong because it also makes sense for Wakanda to be involved since Zemo killed King T’Chaka. I’m glad I didn’t get any leaks about Ayo showing up at the end, I think I’m getting good at dodging leaks and spoilers, heh!
I’m kind of excited to see more of Wakanda because I just know it’s going to show up in future episodes. Like, there’s no way they’re showing Ayo without tying up loose ends.
Overall Thoughts 💡
I think The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is one of the best content Marvel has ever put out. Who would’ve thought that mixing high-stakes action, comedic banter, and tackling real stuff like racism, inequality, and trauma would work so well! Real credits to the creative team behind this gem of a show!
Marvel has managed to blow my expectations and we’re just halfway through the season! I’m really excited for the next three, I’m probably going to discuss the upcoming ones individually. I mean this one got too long!
My favorite aspects of the show were how they made Sam and Bucky really grounded and human; and how realistic the parallels between the real world and their world felt like. Marvel’s stepping up their game and getting too real is just amazing to see because it’s high time for something so big and mainstream as this to dive into these conversations.
I remember how much I cried when Steve passed the shield to Sam, and how amazing Black folks may have felt during that scene because we’re getting a Black man take up the mantle of Captain America!
Moving forward, I’m just so excited for the next episodes because I know and I trust Marvel enough that it’s going to be amazing. It doesn’t even feel like watching a TV show because the quality is just in the same veins as the movies!
Also, I’m going to rewatch WandaVision after this and maybe do reviews for that one as well because I enjoyed it so much!
- Do you follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
- Have you been watching The Falcon and The Winter Soldier?
- What are your thoughts about Marvel and Disney tackling real social issues like racism and identity?