Warning: spoilers ahead for episode one of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Episode one of Marvel’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier on Disney Plus delivers high-octane action and heartfelt emotion, picking up with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and James ‘Bucky’ Barnes (Sebastian Stan) six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
At the start, the pair are each off doing their own thing, Sam relinquishing ownership of Captain America’s shield and Bucky taking part in therapy in an effort to repent for his past life as brainwashed assassin the Winter Soldier.
The season premiere introduces several new characters into the MCU, including a group called the Flag-Smashers who are on a mission to wreak havoc and a replacement Captain America, now that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is no longer on the scene.
So is Captain America making a return and who are the Flag-Smashers?
Is Captain America making a return?
By the end of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s premiere, it’s confirmed that Captain America is back… sort of.
No, Knives Out star Chris isn’t returning to the MCU as Steve. But after Cap decided to leave his superhero days behind him, having revealed at the end of Avengers: Endgame that he’s now an elderly man, the US government sees fit to replace him in the new Marvel series.
Following the events of Endgame, Sam decides to hand Captain America’s shield over to the Smithsonian Museum, where an exhibition has been created in honour of Steve’s life.
However, it’s not long before the government decides to take Sam’s kind gift and hand it over to military man John F Walker (Wyatt Russell), aka the new Captain America.
They explain that the country is in need of a new superhero who can support them.
However, by the looks of it, this new version of Captain America is nothing more than an impersonation of the prim and proper Cap who was made to sell war bonds during the Second World War before finding his true purpose as a hero.
We know from The Falcon and The Winter Soldier trailers that Sam will get the shield back at some point. But how? And when?
Who are the Flag-Smashers?
In the opening episode of the new series, Sam hears about an organisation called the Flag-Smashers, who believe that the world would be better off if it was unified, with countries no longer separated by borders.
This belief seems to have become instilled in the anti-patriotism group during the five-year Blip, after Thanos (Josh Brolin) made half of the universe vanish with the snap of his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War.
While some viewers may feel that, in a way, the group’s cause is understandable at its core, it’s apparent that the Flag-Smashers are doing far more than simply spreading the word.
The group carry out a burglary at a bank in Switzerland with the help of a swarm of followers, with one of their members revealed to have what appears to be superhuman strength.
While Sam is watching footage of the Flag-Smashers in action, he appears to hint that he thinks there’s more to the group than meets the eye.
However, before he reveals what that may be, he’s cut off.
What can we expect in episode two?
While episode one of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier packed a punch, we’re still missing the return of two key characters: former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) and the villainous Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), who last appeared in Captain America: Civil War.
But even more importantly, Sam and Bucky are yet to unite to form their team.
As we saw in one of the trailers, the pair end up taking part in a therapy session together, working through some of their past rivalries.
So we’d hasten a bet that next week we can expect even more thrill, action… and hopefully the coming together of the dynamic duo.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier releases new episodes on Fridays on Disney Plus.
Credit: Original article published here.