The Falcon And The Winter Soldier: Should Have Had A Colder Open
I’ll reserve too much judgment. WandaVision also had a slow opening and we all know how that developed
Of the Marvel TV spin-offs, WandaVision was the first and boldest, Loki promises galaxy hopping mayhem and What If boasts scenarios to make us fans orgasm into oblivion. But what about Disney’s second adventure in The Falcon and Winter Soldier?
Already in its first episode, Falcon doesn’t tease the same ambition that WandaVisison so keenly executed; it’s not layered with mystery, wrapped up as a literal self-contained character study of grief with fantastical hand-waving elements peppered throughout. Instead, we’re re-introduced to two characters who pursue actions that have little to no consequence on the overall plot they seem to be gunning for.
Whereas Wandavision was a show with several great ideas roped artfully together, The Falcon and Winter Soldier feels like a show with a distinct lack of any. A lot was said in this opening episode, but little was actually achieved: we saw Sam’s home life and Bucky’s fish out of water turmoil, but nothing relevant or specific to actually compel us beyond what we already knew about them.
Now I know I’m being quite harsh in my judgments here. After all, it's only been one 40 minute episode. But the pilot of any show, whether funded by Disney or not, is critical to any series. Not only does it set up and paint an important picture for the story to come but it acts as the hook pulling us excitedly through to the end. For example, the intrigue of Breaking Bad’s or True Detective’s pilots kept us glued to our seats for however long the show needed.
Comparatively, and in all fairness, WandaVision had a slow opening as well. However, where the entire first half of the series chose to be a well crafted cold open, constantly intriguing us and layering mysteries left, right and Agatha, the Falcon and Winter Soldier wasn’t sure where it wanted to focus its spotlight and didn’t build as compelling a mystery as Wanda did in Westview. The result was we don’t really know what to be excited for. Action? Social discourse? Team bonding between the two leads? I guess, but those all existed before the show even began.
Instead, Falcon and Winter Soldier could have seriously benefitted from a cold open: an explosive and unapologetic intro that hints at the main threat similar to the beginning of The Winter Soldier film. Indeed, I think what people were excited about with this show was a chance to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier style story and filmmaking brought to the small screen. Naturally, without the obvious draw of the charismatic Captain himself, this show was always going to struggle to define itself in his shadow.
And this is exactly where a cold open would have truly helped. Something to demonstrate just how worthy our villain and the main characters are of our excitement. Not only would this set high stakes for the duo to overcome but introduce the new post blip socio-political situation the two have to contend with. Instead, what we got is a fun but over-the-top and deeply unbelievable high-flying and throwaway action scene. They even appeared to waste a villain who was utilised much better in the film The Winter Soldier is named after.
As it stands, The Falcon and Winter Soldier is not off to the best of starts. It’s not bad. After all, we like these characters. But if not for their previous adventures with Captain America, would we be so compelled by their personal lives? Perhaps, not. In the end, I guess we’ll have to hope the show finds its stride, gathers its ideas and that its slow start was all part of the plan. For that, we’ll just have to wait and see…
Also, I’ve gone ahead and made a YouTube channel. If you’re interested, feel free to go over and check it out: