SPOILERS AHEAD FOR EPISODE 1 OF THE FALCON & THE WINTER SOLDIER
In Episode 1, we see both Sam and Bucky dealing with a world post snap and Captain America. It starts off with Wilson on a mission for the U.S. government in Africa where Batroc has hijacked a military plane and is attempting to kidnap an officer. The action sequence is the meat of the episode as the rest attempts to explore the pair grasping with their grief and responsibilities.
After saving the day, Sam returns to his family in New Orleans and attempts to help his sister Sarah get a bank loan to help their business/family home. The bank manager seems to be more interested in getting a selfie with an Avenger than giving them a loan. He’s referred to as Uncle Sam by his two nephews, which could make for a badass patriotic superhero name if Wilson decides against using Captain America or Falcon once he gets the shield.
Bucky is still dealing with his PTSD from being a brainwashed assassin for HYDRA as he has a nightmare of killing an innocent witness and it’s revealed he’s the son of an elderly Japanese man he has befriended named Yori (not aware he killed his son). The pair are getting lunch at a Japanese restaurant when Bucky is set up on a date with Miki Ishikawa’s Leah. He’s also in therapy where he’s trying to make amends and is being evasive about the nightmare to Dr. Raynor.
During a presentation at the Smithsonian, Sam Wilson makes a speech with Don Cheadle’s Rhodey in attendance as he hands over the shield and they place it in a display case in the Captain America exhibit. It’s mentioned that Steve Rogers/Captain America is “gone,” but they don’t use the words “dead” and Sam’s military cohort Joaquin Torres aka Falcon asks him if Rogers is on a base on the Moon (a nod to S.W.O.R.D./Secret Invasion?).
It’s also revealed that the group Erin Kellyman’s Kari Morgenthau is involved with is called Flag-Smashers (a nod to the Cap villain) and seemingly are upset that things changed when people are brought back to life. Torres tries to infiltrate the group in Switzerland and attempts stop one of the masked members until it’s revealed that Desmond Chiam’s Dovich is enhanced with superhuman strength. I’ll be curious if they’ve got their hands on the super-soldier serum or some black market knockoff.
We’ll likely see that Zemo is connected to the group and his purple mask may indeed be linked to Thanos as the Flagsmashers seem to have thrived post-snap.
The episode ends with Wyatt Russell’s John Walker taking over the Captain America mantle as they give him the shield that Wilson handed over as he didn’t feel like it was his to keep.