“The man in the bridge.” says Bucky “I knew him”
It is even more heartbreaking than I’ve previously thought.
Bucky didn’t say:
“I knew him. He is Steve.”
“I knew him, he was my friend.”
“I knew him, he is a good man.”
“I knew him, but smaller”
He remembers nothing: name, physical characteristics or intelligence which would have been given to him in another mission or even his own Bucky memories from his childhood.
But he knows that he knows this man.
The Winter Soldier remembers nothing, not even his own name or what is his first language. The Winter Soldier wakes up everytime and he has not past.
But this man? The Winter Soldier saw him before and he remembered. This man must be important. Why? That is what The Winter Soldier wandered for a brief little moment before they wiped him again.
Everyone refers to this scene as heartbreaking - and it is. But to me this is the most horrifying thing that I have watched in years. What they do to that man is is everyone one of my worst nightmares.
He loses a limb, they operate on him while he is awake, they keep him alive when he should be dead - and all of this against his will. They experiment on his body, they destroy his mind…. what must it be like to live your whole life and never know if your thoughts are your own? To think only in fragments…
When he has been out of cryo for too long he begins to remember things, how terrifying must it be to have these thoughts of another time and place come back to you? And the idea of time - how awful must it be to keep waking up in another time, in the future. There are no familiar faces, just his handlers - and even they would have changed over the decades.
He has no idea who or what he is. What did they tell him he was? Did they tell him he was once a man? Did they tell him he was created by Hydra? Does he think he is more machine than man? They tell him that his work has been a gift to mankind. What other lies did they feed him to make him accept his fate? Do they even call him The Winter Soldier? That name seems to have been given to him by the outside in the MCU. They seem only to call him The Asset.
Suddenly someone calls him by a human name. Everything about that hardened killing machine changes. He is vulnerable. He returns to base recalling nightmares - but it is the familiar face that he holds on to. Nothing else matters to him - nothing. He doesn’t hear a word Pierce says to him. But he is going to lose his one hope and he knows it.
And Zola. Everyone hates Pierce and well they should but what about Zola!? The way he speaks to Bucky, the way he looks at him is beyond creepy. My skin crawls at the very thought of him now. I almost felt bad for him in the first movie, but now I can’t even look at him. Imagine waking up, weak and on the verge of death, looking up and having someone say those things to you.
This happened to him not once - but twice. They did this to him in the first movie. He is shell shocked and suffering from post traumatic stress after he is rescued from that Hydra base. Look at him in the opening scenes of the film and look at him after - he is not the same man. He is broken - but he has at the very least escaped from that horrible place where they tortured him and experimented on him - until he falls and is captured and forced to relive his nightmares over and over again.
Heartbreaking isn’t a strong enough word for me - soul destroying. His life is a nightmare, that he cannot wake up from. He will only wake up trapped in a new nightmare.