This post is already really long so I didn’t want to tack stuff onto it. But since I am a Scholar of Rhetoric (is that worse or is “rhetorician” worse) the Hydra montage it represents is particularly fascinating to me, because the Cap 2 creators knew that they had only a very brief snap of time to convey to the audience the entire history of Hydra, its presence in S.H.I.E.L.D., and its connection with the Winter Soldier in a way that would create the desired impression and emotions for the audience. So a lot of thought went into what these images should be, and I think that it’s worth exploring why the finished product is what it is.
Finish it. I’m with you until the end of the line.
FRIENDLY REMINDER THAT STEVE TRIED TO TRIGGER BUCKY’S MEMORIES BY WEARING HIS LESS DURABLE RETRO!UNIFORM (aka the not-so-bulletproof outfit he wore the last time Bucky saw him) AND BY QUOTING SOMETHING BUCKY SAID TO HIM 70-SOMETHING YEARS AGO
It must have really confused Bucky though. Because okay the star-spangled dude is the same star-spangled dude that he remembered reaching out to him on the train (assuming he remembers that again after the mind wipe). But then the star-spangled dude says something that makes him flash back to this little dude and Bucky must have been like they’re kinda the same, but wtf? And most of what flashes of memory he has would be of the little dude, because he only knew Steve as Cap for less than two years. Poor Bucky.
i mean i know the red room storyline with bucky is intense and heartbreaking but also like
bucky barnes, the winter soldier, master assassin, professional ghost — surrounded by 28 twelve year-olds who each have eighty-seven questions for him about how to kill people and also how to sound like you’re from new york
the possibilities are beautiful to me
No, but this is still heartbreaking, okay?
Because Bucky Barnes had siblings, and even if the Winter Soldier doesn’t actively remember that there would still be those older brother instincts just looking for an outlet. And when he’s training those tiny murderers in the Red Room, he has these tiny, miniscule flashes of different children in a different time.
So, yeah. He teaches them how to snap a man’s neck in a single motion, but he also tells them what kind of tree that is. He teaches how to silence a person with a single blow to a kidney, but also how to make cranes by folding paper.
Because even though he doesn’t remember it, Bucky/the Winter Soldier is a protector and brother first, and everything else second.
Do you think they noticed? Do you think they saw him bonding with his students? Developing human connections, giving them nicknames, like itsy bitsy spider? Do you think that’s when they decided they couldn’t risk it? When KGB fell and Hydra took over the red room, did they find the Winter Soldier curiously invested in his pupils, and decided it wouldn’t do, they couldn’t allow that, it would impair his objective.
Did they wipe him when Natasha was still around to see? Did they wipe her, and Ylena and the others? And when they bring him out of cryo, is there anybody still around who remembers that the Winter Soldier could also be a person?
Does anyone care?
Okay, I’m going to drop my Nat and Bucky headcanon for MCU here because it seems like a right place/right time sort of thing.
I don’t think that Natasha and Bucky had a romantic past like in the comics, but I really do think that they knew each other. When the KGB fell, Natasha would have been very, very little. So we’re going with the working assumption that she’s still older than she appears, but I’m thinking it’s only by ten, maybe 15 years.
What I’m thinking is that Bucky, in a rare and sudden moment of agency, tried to smuggle the preteen/teenage Natasha out from The Red Room and KGB’s hold. He tried to take her and run. There was something about her that made every thought in his head go to saving this one girl.
But they were caught, because of course the closeness between these two in particular was noticed, and they were brought back, and Bucky/Winter Soldier was put back into cryo, and Natasha spent more time with the Russians until she ran into Clint Barton and he made a different call. She didn’t see him again, not until Odessa. Not until the first person who ever tried to save Natasha put a bullet straight through her stomach.
"Did it hurt?"
"Is it permanent?"
"ʏᴏᴜ’ʀᴇ ᴀ ʀᴇᴀʟ ᴄᴜᴛᴜᴘ, sᴛᴇᴠᴇ, sᴏᴍᴇᴛɪᴍᴇs ɪ ᴛʜɪɴᴋ ɪғ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅɪᴅɴ’ᴛ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴍᴇ ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ ʙᴇ ᴀ sɪɴɢʟᴇ ᴘᴇʀsᴏɴ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏʀʟᴅ ᴡʜᴏ ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀsᴛᴏᴏᴅ ʏᴏᴜ" - ʙᴜᴄᴋʏ ʙᴀʀɴᴇs