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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ gives us a brand new world for Marvel

In the new episode of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,’ we finally see what the new world is like in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.’

John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.’

Marvel Studios

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has returned with its second episode — and it actually feels like the first episode of the new series.

In this episode, titled “The Star-Spangled Man,” Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier finally team up to figure out what’s going on with the villainous rebel group the Flash Smashers. Along the way, they meet up with the new Captain America, who goes by the name John Walker (Wyatt Russell), who proposes an alliance between himself, his sidekick Battle Star/Lamar Hoskins (Clé Bennett), Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is a six-episode series. So it’s not surprising they would jump more into the crux of the story so soon. But it was a fresh change of pace to see Falcon and the Winter Solder together again. It did feel like there was something missing — the shots of Captain America in this show made you miss the real Captain America, as well as the rest of the superheroes of the Avengers squad.

But still, this was an overall solid episode of a new Marvel show that sets us up for what’s next. And it gives us a sense of how Bucky and Sam will work together as they face a brand new world.

‘TFATWS’ becomes ‘TFATWS’

The first episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” started off with Falcon and Winter Soldier on their own. It showed the two dealing with their own lives after the Blip — the event that caused half of the world to disappear in “Avengers: Infinity War.” This episode, we get a little bit more of the two teaming up and working together to face a new common enemy.

It’s exactly what we thought we’d get with the show — more buddy comedy, action duo. It’s a good buddy cop show, which is what Marvel teased for “TFATWS” when it was first being produced.

Last week laid the groundwork for everything, sure. But this one really gave us our first full look at what to expect. It’s sarcastic jokes between the two heroes. It’s little jabs here and there. It’s working together to fight enemies while also trying to figure out how to work together.

It’s everything you’d thought it’d be. And it works, for the most part. It’s still early in the show’s run so we’ll see if Bucky and Sam catch their stride together. But so far, the chemistry is there. And there are few better pairings for a Marvel duo than these two.

Nothing is as it seems in ‘TFATWS’

We learn more about the new Captain America in this episode, which was a welcomed surprise since I didn’t predict they’d incorporate him into the main storyline so quickly. John Walker shares more about his own background in this episode — where he comes from, what his motivations are, and what he thinks about taking on the Captain America shield.

A normal show might have waited for a few episodes before giving us more about the new Captain America. It’s refreshing to see the second episode dive right into Walker’s backstory. We know enough about him now to get a full sense of who he is, and that’s good for setting up whatever happens next in the show.

The new Captain America’s backstory is definitely a zag as well. It’s not what you expect it to be. It takes what you’d expect and flips it on its head. The great thing about “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is that it is taking normal conventions and flipping them upside down. You can expect something, but you receive the unexpected instead.

Grappling with a new world

A large section of this episode deals with grappling with the new world after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” The landscape of criminals has changed, as has the landscape of new heroes. We meet multiple new heroes in this show — from Robin Hood to Battlestar to the new Captain America.

Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.’

Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.’

Marvel Studios

The Disney+ model gives the Marvel Cinematic Universe a chance to tell more isolated stories. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is an isolated story about Sam and Bucky. But it shows us glimpses of the new world that the rest of the Avengers surely have to deal with now. Similar to how “WandaVision” focused on a singular story, “TFATWS” does the same thing — but it gives us more of an idea of what the world outside of the superheroes, and what the people are feeling about the high amount of crime throughout the world.

The end of this episode sets up for how Sam and Bucky — two survivors of the old world, who are now teaming up with a replacement for one of their best friends — will look to tackle this new world (and it may include some help from the old world, as it turns out). We’re still not completely sure why Sam decided to give up the shield in the first episode (which led to John Walker getting it), but we’ll surely get it moving forward.

Maybe we’ll see if Sam can earn it back and become the new Captain America. There’s so much unknown right now. And there’s nothing more exciting for these characters than to step into the unknown, with or without the shield.