The fourth episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ended after tons of unraveling and an unexpected climactic ending. Since the first episode, the show has teased multiple subplots and has gone deep with character sketches of both Sam and Bucky. The show has delved into the heroes’ personal lives, tackled the negative effects of the Blip, and delved into racial inequalities that exist unexpectedly, even for our most powerful rescuers.
Building on that approach, the fourth episode of the show took us back to Bucky’s time in Wakanda, where he went under rigorous mind conditioning to overcome the effects of brainwashing and other brain experiments that Hydra agents performed on him to turn him into a easy to control and manipulate. Assassin.
Ayo frees Bucky
The episode features a two-minute prologue in which we see Ayo, a member of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje, who helps Bucky free Hydra’s mind control technique in the outskirts of Wakandan’s borders. We see a traumatized Bucky Barnes scared of herself sitting in front of a campfire while Ayo watched him fully wield her vibranium spear. After promising Bucky she won’t let him hurt anyone, she speaks the code words Zemo used to brainwash and manipulate Bucky to storm out of a German prison during the events of Captain America: Civil WarThe words initially take a heavy toll on his mind as he flashes back through all the murders he’s committed, including those on Howard and Maria Stark. But after Ayo has said the last word, Bucky is able to maintain control of himself, realizing that he is fine, as Ayo claims: “You are a free man”.
Remarkably, the writers of director Kari Skogland and the show hint at Bucky’s remorse, overshadowed by a small smile on his face when he is finally liberated from the years of mind control and its torturous consequences. The camera stays on Bucky for a good ten seconds as he screams in pain and looks forward to a new and better way of life.
The scene clearly nods to his struggles during the two years he spent in resourceful therapy in Wakanda. Bucky’s past is rife with bad decisions he made while “imprisoned” on Hydra bases around the world. The first episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier revealed that he killed some innocents along the way and is now struggling to clear his conscience. For a person who has been forcibly kept alive just to be used as a killing machine, it really is a long-awaited relief to finally be free and able to act of their own accord. But that did not know his past actions, a void of remorse, which he may never be able to fill. But for a moment, the scene with Bucky crying makes the character’s painful backstory and feels his past more connected from the audience’s point of view.
Since the events of Civil warBucky’s storyline was somewhat sidelined as MCU episodes shifted to focus on Thanos’ bigger threats, but Marvel’s Disney + slate allowed these characters to grow more in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. After T’Challa / Black Panther gave Bucky asylum in Wakanda, the only glimpse of the character we got in a post-credits sequence in the 2018 movie was, Black Panther, where he was first recognized as a White Wolf. By going to the heart of his Winter Soldier background and digging deep into his character’s descending storyline, Sebastian’s portrait finally helps Stan move beyond a supporting shield or an adversary to Captain America.
Subjects: Falcon and Winter Soldier, Black Panther