My Take on Falcon and the Winter Soldier — New World Order Episode 1 Recap (To spoil or not to spoil)
Here we go again, after just a week off after WandaVision and her comes the next product of the Marvel machine. The title of this episode is “New World Order” set in the post blip world. It’s even more pertinent to all of us because we as a species have undergone such an extreme shift this year making what these characters are facing feel more real than I would have thought possible and making more aware of the themes that this show will shine a light on.
The first episode was the scene setter, showing where Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes are today. With Sam deciding to give the shield to the Smithsonian after having completing another mission for the US military. The action scene had a great sense of kinetic energy and a surprisingly high death count with Georges Batroc returning from the Winter Soldier movie. We meet Sam’s military liaison Joaquín Torres, who provides some exposition talking about the state of the world and sharing the rumours on the internet that say Cap is on the moon.
This episode is split probably 55% to 45% Falcon to Bucky. Falcon’s part feels like he is living to find his way in the post blip world and reconnecting with his Sister and trying to help her with keep their boat and house, trying to get a loan only to get a rejection from the bank. The undercurrent of race being the reason for their rejection reflects our current world even more acutely in this post #BLM era but it goes further than that to the subtle invisible racial bias that exists in everyone, like the banker who couldn’t see it because he can’t and is something that we all have to work to fight against.
Bucky’s story is less about the present and more about how to overcome his past. His action scene takes place when he was a Hydra agent and while completing a mission he kills a bystander who witnesses the incident. He wakes from his dream sleeping on the floor of his apartment before we go into a scene at his therapist’s office. I enjoyed the interplay between the two former soldiers and it setups what Bucky’s journey will take across this series as he tries to atone for his past.
This is highlighted by Mr. Nakasima an old man from closer to his time than anyone else. Mr. Nakasima and Bucky have lunch and he asks the waitress at the sushi place out because Bucky can’t. It’s here we learn why he befriended this person, that the victim from his dream was Mr. Nakasima’s son. Bucky’s path is personified in what he will do, will he tell Mr. Nakasima that he killed his son or not.
The episode ends with Sam as he gets an update from Torres about the flag smashers just as his sister puts on the news where the government introduces a new Captain America, End Credits. They show off the new Government Cap looking a little off with the expectation that he is gonna be a Cap we as views will hate and they made just the way he looks in the helmet just off enough that you feel it.
This show has shown us the path of where Sam and Bucky are, the series is a buddy cop kind of story but before we get to that they want us to see where each of these guys are starting from. How they compare, contrast and work together and I expect they will help each other to complete their mission but also find a way forward in their new world. We can say that for ourselves as we can for the MCU in trying to regroup in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.
The show is more topical then they could have ever imagined from dealing with racism, racial bias, patriotism, PTSD and a world that went through a dramatic and sudden shift. The parallels give it weight, make a show with a hero with wings feel more relatable than any one of us want. I enjoyed it but I do hope there is more balance between our title characters. I am excited to see what they will setup in this series for the future and all the references that will be strewn about even if I have to watch some youtuber to understand many of them.
All of us living today can now understand in some way what a dramatic and sudden chance to the world would feel like because we are now living it. Although we can see normalcy in our future, it can’t and will not look the same. Too much has happened and we still have so far to go but that feeling of understanding that different grounds this story and I am on board for their struggle and triumph against the backdrop of a chaotic world that doesn’t look that different from our own.