The Falcon and the Winter Soldier “Episode 1: New World Order”

Our first in a series of reviews of every episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

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Angela Ter-Martirosyan, Staff Writer

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Well folks, WandaVision is taking the backseat because The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is finally here!

The first episode of the new miniseries premiered last Friday on Disney+, detailing the adventures of Captain America’s best friends, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) months after the events of The Avengers: Endgame. Though this first episode was a little slow, it gave us great insight into everything happening in the real world after the events of The Blip, and it is establishing an interesting direction for the rest of the show. 

The episode alternates between Sam and Bucky’s lives. Both of them are attempting to adjust to life after The Blip, the new world order (hence the title of the episode). Sam, who is still in the military as The Falcon, is wrestling with the unease of carrying on Captain America’s legacy and the racism among his peers. Meanwhile Bucky is trying to live a normal life and adjust to the modern world after decades of service to Hydra. 

Sam gives away the iconic shield Captain America left him to the Smithsonian and continues on with his military service. We get to see an amazing action scene of Sam, as The Falcon, attempting to rescue a U.S. soldier at the Libyan border. Marvel seems to be doing a lot of action scenes in the air, with both WandaVision and with this series, and they’re absolutely killing it so far. 

Meanwhile, Bucky is adjusting to the modern world after being used as a weapon for so long. He is attending therapy. (At last! It’s about time! Now put literally every other Marvel character in therapy, too! Seriously.) He is also taking a shot at romance while struggling with his past, and especially his PTSD. Bucky’s therapy scenes are very well done and interesting, because it’s not often that mental health is addressed in mainstream entertainment, especially mental health issues in men. What’s amazing is that the show took the chance to normalize therapy and mental health struggles, particularly for a demographic that is told by society to repress their emotions.  

We also discover that Bucky was pardoned for his crimes during his time as a Hydra assassin, and he has been trying to make amends. We also find out that his one friend, a kind old man, is the father of an innocent bystander who Bucky murdered during his time with Hydra. (I know, this guy can never catch a break.) 

The episode reveals some additional information about life after The Blip. There are now people, the Flag Smashers, who believed that the world was better in Thanos’s vision, while we discover that many have also suffered the economic consequences of half of the population disappearing and coming back, such as Sam’s sister, who is struggling to make ends meet and can’t get a loan from the bank due to some implied racism. 

Oh, but wait! There’s more!

Out of the Smithsonian, a familiar figure emerges, wearing Captain America’s suit and wielding his shield. Oh, nope, but then we find out that it’s some random white guy getting paid by the government to carry on Cap’s legacy, even though Cap insisted that Sam should be the one to do so. Despite this unpleasant ending, something tells me that the shield won’t be in the hands of this knock-off Walmart version of Captain America for long. 

This episode was ultimately pretty interesting, though at times slow. We still don’t know the overall plot of the show, or how Sam and Bucky will come together. However, it takes an interesting approach so far, and it’s different from the action-packed, lighthearted show of two friends beating up bad guys that I had expected. It has reintroduced two characters facing serious internal struggles, setting up a good development for them later down the road. It also establishes an interesting enemy.

Until next time, readers!