So I was watching Captain America: Civil War again. And I realised something.
That bit at the end, where they find Zemo? They’re in Siberia. At the Hydra facility. Where Bucky Barnes was held, and trained, and conditioned, and tortured as the Winter Soldier. That’s his chair, right there. One of his chairs. He has at least one more – we saw one in Washington DC in CA:WS. But this is the big one. This is where he was given the order to kill Howard and Maria Stark, among others.
He’ll have a lot of memories associated with this place. A lot of very traumatic memories. He didn’t want to come here, we saw that in his face earlier. But he came anyway. Because Steve needs him.
That’s Steve Rogers on the left. And Tony Stark, also on the left.
Bucky’s on the right, gun lifted, every muscle tense. The positioning of the scene means he’s separated from the others – physically and almost certainly mentally.
Look at his face.
Look at the terror. The barely-restrained panic. The stubborn determination to see this through – and he fully expects it to be a fight to the death against five other Winter Soldiers. It will mean his death and Tony’s death and Steve’s death, and then the world will fall and it will be his fault, because Bucky was the weakest of the six Winter Soldiers and he knows it. He knows he’s no match for even one of the other Soldiers, let alone all of them. He knows he will probably die here, in this place that has already caused him so much pain and suffering.
(Also, for the entirety of Steve’s conversation with Zemo, Bucky’s in the background by the railing. We don’t see a reaction shot until after Tony finds out about his parents. But what’s Bucky doing there? Staring at the chair, trying not to throw up, perhaps? Trying not to pass out from the onslaught of memories, the emotional distress of being in such close proximity to the thing that was used to torture him for decades?)
He’s gripping that gun pretty tightly. He’s on edge. Maybe fighting the pull of his mind combined with this environment. In the previous scene, even when it was clear that Tony wasn’t about to shoot them on sight, he didn’t lower the gun until Steve physically waved him down. Was it because it was Steve, specifically, giving the order? Or was it his mind recognising a command from a superior officer?
He doesn’t want to be here.
He knows he’ll probably die here.
But he made a promise to Steve.
This? This is the end of the line.
And Bucky sure as hell is going to go down fighting.