The Falcon and the Winter Soldier picks up about six months after Avengers: Endgame left off. It follows a Captain America-less world still dealing with the aftermath of the Thanos snap, now referred to as "the blip."

The last year's real-world events seem to have inspired the thematic presence of this show and we're curiously watching to see how deep they'll dive into it. 

What new adventures are in store for these beloved characters?

"New World Order"

Sam Wilson, also known as Falcon, is carrying out missions for the U.S. Air Force as well as facing the moral dilemma of the mantle left to him by Steve Rogers. Bucky, the Winter Soldier, is taking strides to reintegrate himself into society and amend his past. He attends weekly therapy sessions to talk through his PTSD caused by his rampage assassin days while also putting in the effort to make human connections within his community in Brooklyn.

From what’s shown to us, things between Sam and Bucky are—well, complicated. Sam seems to be reaching out by text, but Bucky is uninterested and ignores the messages. 

Sam's sister, Sarah, is a great addition to this universe and is proving to be an emotional foundation of the show. She’s the owner of their late parents' seafood business. She and the rest of the Wilson family are also suffering greatly financially.

In an attempt to right his wrongs and fill the absence of his time in the blip, Sam decides to go to the bank and take out a loan to save the family business.

With this, a huge question within the MCU is finally answered. Do these superheroes get paid or receive any compensation for their work? Nope. Sam actually gets rejected for the loan since he has zero income history from his time in the blip and that there are new regulations in place because of the influx of returning citizens. 

On the surface, it seems outrageous that the Avengers wouldn’t receive anything for their work, but when you compare it to the lack of help and support veterans in our own society receive, it’s not such a crazy concept.

Samlooksatsuit'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'Credit: Disney+

Inspired by real life

While our two heroes are leading distant lives, a sinister anarchist group is boiling underneath. This is where the show truly begins to incorporate relatable and timely themes.

On one of Sam's missions, he is told by his lieutenant, Torres, about enemies known as the "Flag Smashers" who organize online through chat rooms. They believe the world was better off during the blip because it incited a “world unified without borders.” As we've seen in real recent events such as the Capitol riots, any anarchist group that's formed and inspired by hate or dominance over another leads to more division and loss.

The "Flag Smashers" goals so far aren’t very transparent, but the chaos and lawlessness they inspire are extremely dangerous.

The episode ends on an unsettling note as Sam and Sarah tune into a live broadcast. A Department of Defense spokesperson is introducing a “new hero,” one that is a “real person who embodies America’s greatest values” and “someone who can be a symbol for all of us.”

Falcon_and_winter_soldier'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'Credit: Disney+

The spokesman then cheers on the “new Captain America” as a man comes running out dressed in the star sparkling suit we all know and love, carrying the shield that Sam decided to relinquish. This man is not Steve Rogers, nor is he any version of Captain America. 

It's not completely clear so far as to why Sam gave up the shield, other than that it "felt like someone else's." We have to wonder if it's more that's running through Sam's head. Does he feel as though he's not good enough? That he can't live up to Steve? Would America even accept a nonwhite Captain America? 

What is clear is the fact that the government manipulated Sam. They promised the shield would be brought to a museum and modeled for the rest of its time. Though it took them no time to give it right back to another white man who they now have propped up as another savior.  

Racial microaggressions are very prevalent in our country, and I think this episode did a perfect job of encapsulating what that means. They didn't directly say the new Captain America has to be a white man, but they did take the shield out of a Black man's hands, lied to him, and gave it to one.

It's uncomfortable. But all of this shows that your own projects can draw upon current events. Are you searching for ideas for your next TV pilot or screenplay? Look at what's going around you, and consider if there's a story that needs to be told.

High-flying action

One of the biggest highlights from this premiere is the electric opening sequence of Falcon carrying out a mission airborne. 

Marvel is no stranger to bringing big action set pieces to the screen, but seeing this scale on a streaming platform is really exciting. Not only that, it would surprise you how much of these scenes were done practically with stunt performers.

In an interview with CInemaBlend, the director of the show, Kari Skogland, gave insight into her process when developing the choreography.

"I really combed actual footage to be inspired by what can be done, and also pushing the envelope obviously," she said. "But also the coverage—because people are getting used to watching a video that somebody really did jump out of a plane [to film]. And so where were the cameras on that? So we duplicated; we were inspired by all those, and tried to take the best of the best and duplicate what we felt was really extraordinary."

You can feel it, too! This sequence isn't like the other Falcon soaring scenes we've seen in previous MCU films. There's a raw and gritty tone to the direction that makes all the difference, and I for one can't wait to see what else they have in store. 

When do you think the Winter Soldier and Falcon are going to team up for some breathtaking action sequences? 

How the show is performing

Marvel's predecessor, WandaVision, would seem like an almost impossible show to top or outperform. But according to Variety, Disney said Monday that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was its "most-watched series premiere ever during its opening weekend, exceeding the series premieres for The Mandalorian and WandaVision."

This is very impressive considering the jaw-dropping numbers Disney+ has been bringing in lately.

Marvel has found a way to flesh out the not-so-mainstream members of the Avengers and make them emotionally compelling characters on their own, propelling the MCU into an exciting new phase of entertainment.

Did you watch the episode? What did you think?