At the end of Avengers: Infinity War and beyond, ‘the blip’ phenomenon had far-reaching ramifications beyond the heroes that we saw. Half of life was suddenly gone from Earth for a five-year period. There was an abundance of people who had to move on, not knowing if they would ever see those who were dusted ever again. When this was reversed, there was another issue. Now, a swath of people got reintroduced to a world that has moved as if they were never coming back. Some, like Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) arrived at the news of her mother’s passing. There’s a question of a world broken and put back together again with jagged pieces.
With Disney+’s first MCU show WandaVision, audiences got to witness the ramifications of post-Endgame life from a contained point of view. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins from a long distance of time post-blip. Where WandaVision is a couple of weeks after, Falcon and the Winter Soldier starts after six months has passed. The world itself is still trying to deal with the loss of some Avengers and trying to find new heroes in their wake. The last time we left Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Steve Rodgers had given him the shield. He’s still struggling with the weight of that responsibility. Does he want to follow in on his own path or continue the one that Captain America has forged?
As he’s still working with the government on off-the-grid missions, the episode opens with an amazing action sequence involving him and a mercenary group. You can tell that the budget for this show was used to the fullest extent, as the flight/fight scenes are the quality of Marvel movies. After he completes this mission, it’s a question of the government wanting him to be the figurehead like Captain America was. Something happens at Sam’s insistence that will have deep ramifications within himself and throughout the series.
Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Shaw) has a different issue. He’s still dealing with the residual effects of him being brainwashed by Hydra and the horrible things he did. It’s to where he’s still having nightmares of the past and in therapy sessions, the psychiatrist notices he doesn’t really have anybody to reach out to. Or that he doesn’t want to. He befriends an older man that lives in his building who finally pushes him to ask a server out on a date. However, something happens, or a connection is made where it’s shown that Bucky’s PTSD is going to take longer to work out.
Sam and Bucky were both caught in the blip and lost friends together. That alone compounds a plethora of things to work through by itself. Where it feels like Bucky is coming back to nothing, Sam has a family that seen him for years. His sister Sarah (Adepero Oduye) has two children, but had to witness the loss of their parents and her husband. In their arguments of keeping a boat that personifies their parents’ legacy, she explains that things have changed in his absence. You can’t just pick up where you left off because that point may not even exist anymore. In trying to finance the boat with a bank, there are even more revelations in what has been done in society to correct itself post-blip.
Within a world that’s still trying to figure itself out, there are new villains to fight. A group called The Flagsmashers has emerged, and they liked things after the events of Infinity War. They called it “a world without borders” and they will do everything in their power to keep it going. However, there is more than meets the eye in terms of their abilities. To where governments around the world will need a little extra firepower.
Coming out of the WandaVision bubble of fantasy and magic, FATWS re-introduces the spy/political/action style of Civil War. It’s a brief sample of what to expect – some action, some character motivations and revelations, and new threats on the horizon to complicate things. With their only being six episodes, there isn’t a lot of ground to have too many exposition-filled episodes. However, this opener does a good job in setting up the stakes from a character and antagonist perspective.
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