The Falcon and The Winter Solider Episode 1: First Thoughts

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier title art

The first episode of Marvel Studios’ latest series, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, released today on Disney+. You can check out my initial thoughts on the first episode below. Be warned – does contain spoilers!

The bar for Marvel Cinematic Universe based television series’ has been set by the recent WandaVision which was an unprecedented success. Now that WandaVision has concluded, our attention turns to The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. I’ve been looking forward to The Falcon and The Winter Soldier for some time, it feels like a while since we’ve really seen the best of these characters.

Episode 1 kicks off with a bang going straight into the action with Sam (Falcon) in the midst of a pretty epic fight scene. I was super impressed with Sam’s use of his wings and thrusters during close combat and this speed and creativity really created some kick ass moments in the fight. We also get our first shot of Georges Batroc, played by UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre, whom we last saw way back in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It looks like he managed to escape the helicopter towards the end of the fight, so I’m sure we will see him again and will set up for some more highly entertaining fight sequences.

We learn that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is set approximately 4 months following the events of Avengers: Endgame. Comparatively, WandaVision was set only a mere 2 weeks after the events of the ‘reverse snap’. Given that the first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has already visited Tunisia, Washington, Louisiana, Switzerland and New York, it’s safe to say we’re going to see a much wider world of that which we saw in WandaVision.

We also see what Bucky (The Winter Soldier) is up to following the events of the ‘reverse snap’ and his struggle to cope with his past as a Hydra assassin. We similarly get an amazing opening sequence between Bucky and a bunch of goons, which turns out to be a nightmare from his past, where he also takes out an innocent civilian who is in the wrong place at the wrong time. I love The Winter Soldier as a character and I’m really fascinated by his mission to undo all of the bad things he’s done in his past – they could make that a show on its own in my opinion!

I think the MCU television series’ do a brilliant job with the development of characters, compared to that of films. Obviously across 5 or 6 hours’ worth of episodes we get a lot more time with each character, but as we’ve already learnt from WandaVision and the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, there is a significant focus on each characters personal development. We saw an in depth look into Wanda’s character in WandaVision and already we’re seeing a huge insight into both Sam and Bucky’s character arcs.

We see Sam’s struggle with the pressure of the ‘shield’ being handed down to him by Captain America and his reservations in stepping into the limelight and becoming America’s new hero. We also get a glimpse into his personal life and the financial troubles him and his sister are facing. Who’d a thought a superhero who helped save the world wouldn’t be able to secure a bank loan? Whilst Sam is struggling with his future, Bucky is struggling to escape his past. We learn that the innocent bystander he killed as a Hydra assassin was actually the son of his elderly friend, Mr Nakajima. So far I’m enjoying the depth of character development for both characters and the contrasting challenges each are facing.

We also get our first glimpse of the Flag Smashers who are set up to be the main antagonists in the series. We get a brief insight into their MO, but I hope they expand on this more throughout the series because at the moment it seems a fairly weak motive. We’re yet to see Baron Zemo whom we know is set to appear in the series and it will be interesting to see if he works with the Flag Smashers or on his own. Likewise, Sharon Carter didn’t appear in episode 1, but I’m sure she will play some role in reuniting Sam and Bucky back together.

At the end of the episode we see that in Sam’s humbleness to give up the shield, it in fact gets given to ‘the new Captain America’ also known as John Walker (played by Wyatt Russell). It will be interesting to see how both Sam and Bucky will react to the news and whether they will end up working with him or not, but it does seem logical to have someone step up to the mantle if Sam didn’t want to become ‘the new Captain America’. 

Overall I really enjoyed the first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier! I thought the action sequences were fantastic and looked like they were pulled straight from a Marvel movie and the developments of the main characters so far have been pretty solid. Roll on episode 2! 

The first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is available to stream now on Disney+.

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