MCU ANTI-FREEZE: Why Bucky didn’t shoot the camera before killing the Starks
(the Anti-Freeze section is where I take points from canon that make no sense, are inconsistent with the rest of the narration, are literally plot holes, case of fridge logic-or horror and try desperately to make sense of them using every scrap I can from the source material. Basically it’s me frantically patching canon up trying to hide the ugly parts and finding more or less-it’s less- plausible explanations for them. Or you can say it’s me closing my eyes and singing loudly over logic in order to deny all idea of mistake in my canon and being blindly faithful to the writers for having probably -never- thought of that)
The Winter Soldier is a master assassin so good at his job that most people didn’t even believe in his existence. He is a legend, a ghost of the intelligence community and not a whisper of his existence leaves others indifferent.
This is especially difficult to believe as he spends most of his introductory movie shooting up people in broad daylight in the middle of crowded boulevards of big metropoles. But since this is linked to Hydra’s out of the shadows scheme we can handwave it away by saying he was simply following the out of shadows directive as the fist of HYDRA.
Now the issue comes with his second apparition where he executes Howard and Maria Stark in plain view of a security camera, which he is obviously aware of as he breaks it the moment he is done with the deed. This makes the whole master assassin who’s so good most people don’t even know he exist schtick difficult to swallow. This looks amateurish at best and seems like a contrived plot point to create the Siberia situation.
But what if this was actually a case of fridge brilliance from the writers?
From what we know of the Winter Soldier from Captain America 2, he needs to be kept in ice in between mission as he can’t be out too long without having some “malfunctions”. Also he has some recollections of his life before being a weapon and all points to the fact his reaction toward recognizing Steve is not the first time he had some sort of revelation. That’s why they need to wipe him often to erase his memories.
In Civil War we sees that under the Soviet control while he is controlled by triggers which we don’t know if they were used (though I’d argue not) in the Winter Soldier ; the chair zapping his brain and the sleeping in ice in between assignments was still in use as in shown in the opening sequence. Which means that he still can’t be trusted on his own for too long and needs his memory wiped often in order to make the triggers more efficient.
During the Berlin incident, it is shown that the triggers only allow for simple directives and the state they induce is broken after a while on its own or between bouts of consciousness. This all seem to be an effect of the super soldier serum that heals his brain and thus weaken the mind control while making him stronger.
According to Black Widow, the Winter Soldier has not been very active despite his reputation as he is credited with something like 25 kills over 50 years, which means at best 1 kill every two years. Of course some of his assassination were hidden (the Starks for example) but it seems that Bucky was used only for high target assassinations. Also the fact that his activity is only of half a century as of 2014 when Cap 2 takes place shows that Bucky took time to be molded as the perfect weapon, Hydra had him for almost 20 years before sending him out. All of this shows that he is a valuable almost irreplaceable asset and that his handlers take great care of not breaking the hold they have over him, which they know is fragile in the best of case.
That’s why the Starks were such high targets, and that’s why they wanted nobody to look closer into the accident for nobody should discover the big discovery behind their murder. Indeed, Howard Stark with his bastard super serum offered Hydra the possibility to have 5 more super soldiers without all the hassle Bucky presented.
So Bucky was sent and he executed the mission, taking the serum and leaving no witness alive. Except for the camera.
BUT there is something else we need to take into consideration, Cap 2 heavily implies that Howard had suspicions about SHIELD and the US government being infiltrated by some force and that’s probably why nobody knew of the package he had with him since he wouldn’t want to advertise this when he didn’t know who to trust. So his murder was also necessary as a way to cut off this line of inquiry. Just taking the serum and leaving them alive would have been too big of a risk.
And this is where the camera comes in. The video is found by Zemo in a Hydra base after he spent the better part of a year to try and find this solid evidence. So I think part of Bucky’s instructions was to disable the cameraafter the kill and then bringing back the serum.
Why? Because Howard was not any target, it was one Bucky knew personally. Moreover the need to make it look like an accident required a face to face approach for the assassin. And since they knew the Winter Soldier program was glitchy they didn’t know how he would react with having to kill someone he knew. So this was a test for Bucky, the camera was there to monitor him and be sure he didn’t break his conditioning at any moment. Since if he did he could have lied during his report.
They needed the footage to be sure the Starks were dead for one, and to observe Bucky’s behavior during the hit to see if he hesitated or remembered. I think during this mission, a lot of HYDRA operatives were around in case things went south and they had to finish the job themselves and get back the stray Asset. And though some might argue that he recognized Howard as he allegedly momentarily stilled his hand before finishing him (I’m still not sure of that after having seen the footage hundred of times) he still completed the mission without any issue.
And I think this mission was the reason why they sent him after Steve during Cap 2. Because they already had tested him against people he knew succesfully and thus were confident he would see things through and kill Captain America even if he used to be his best friend.
…So Convinced? Is this theory acceptable? Let me know what you think!
MCU CANONSSECTION: Why Steve is the Shield he wields
(Canonssection is where I take canon, open it, tear it into pieces, see all the gears and fine tuning then try to put some part together as to explain a part of the overall narrative great picture and why that part in particular is not only necessary and revealing but relevant)
During TFA, Steve, after having been given the command of a small task force, is taken apart by Howard Stark in order for him to choose a weapon with which to conduct his mission. On the table lots of experimental arm but the one that caught Steve’s eye is a shield. Not any shield either but a vibranium one, which absorb all force exerted upon it and nullify it and is as such a literal unmovable object.
This choice is interesting because this is not what one would think of at first when talking about weapon. Indeed a shield is primarily a defensive object and while Steve mastered the art of throwing it at improbable trajectories and make it magically come back, it doesn’t change the fact that it is still a clumsy weapon at best and bullets would be more efficient.
This choice is usually analyzed as the pinnacle of Steve’s character and I do agree with this conclusion but not for the reasons most would think of. This shield is always used to reflect Steve’s primary instinct to protect and never instigate, he will defend those that need it when needed. In my opinion only the “when needed” portion of this is relevant when discussing Steve’s (in the MCU at least) personality. In truth, this shield is the ultimate proof that once set in a way Steve is rigid and unyielding, he will go at something with bull-headed doggedness but on the flip side of this if he is unsure of what course of action to take Steve won’t move of his own volition and instead wait for external circumstances to make the choice for him.
Indeed, Steve Rogers is first introduced to us as someone that has one idea and won’t budge from it, he want to enlist and fight on the frontlines. Nevermind all the refusal he got nor his own physical limitations nothing, not even his best friend will make back off from his goal. He gets his chance and the super soldier serum but that’s where things go sideways. He is the only trace left of Erskine’s formula and the only guy in his corner is dead so he can’t go and fight in the war anymore. Faced with the prospect of spending the rest of his days as a lab rat he tries to find another solution and someone gives him one: being a propaganda tool. He accepts.
Even as he seems not to like this that much (at least by the time he gets to the frontlines) he follows without complaints because now that he is a soldier he doesn’t know what to do next and takes the first option he is provided with.
Then comes the decisive moment of Bucky’s capture that once again spurrs him into action by giving him a purpose AND a personal motivation to achieve his goal. He goes into enemy territory gun blazing without a plan out of sheer stubbornness to refuse to believe Bucky’s dead until every stone stands unturned. The mission is a surprising success and he gets a team and missions as a reward. Once again with his personal motivation gone of the equation he is content to just follow orders and take part of the war effort his way. Then Bucky dies before his eyes and once again Steve resolves to personally destroy the Red Skull and Hydra and nothing will deter him from that.
That’s why even after having won the battle and proceeding to sink the war plane into the ice he refuses to consider any option that could save his life (such as jumping a hundred mile above the sea, which he WOULD survive) because he needs to be sure without any shred of doubt that his mission has been carried to completion, even if it costs him his life.
Thus the origin story of Steve Rogers proved to us how zero to 100 he is as a person like his shield when used unstoppable but the rest of the time purely reactive. The next movies he appears in only underlines this concept.
Indeed in the Avengers he is first seen as someone who’s lost all purpose in life and is content with living in the limbo in between the life he used to have and the time he woke up to. When Fury comes to recruit him even if he is bone-tired and weary he takes little convincing to join up as he is once agin given a purpose and this is better than brooding over all that he has lost. During the whole first half of the movie he is a model soldier following orders and respecting Fury’s authority.
He only takes initiative after Tony’s needling, allowing him to find the phase two weapons. When the Helicarrier is under attack he follows Tony’s lead and orders through everything and post himself as a guard. Once again Tony is the one that unfold Loki’s plan and moves ahead leaving Steve to go and fetch Widow and Hawkeye. Once they arrive and are all assembled for the first time Steve doesn’t take the initiative, at that pointhe knows Tony’s was right about Fury, about Banner coming and about Loki’s plan. Only at Tony’s prompting (“Call it, Cap) does he take the lead and starts giving out orders.
Once his leadership is established we find back the Captain, the one giving orders, stubbornly fighting to the bitter end and making the hard choices (closing the portal on Tony).
The Winter Soldier also shows this pattern of Steve’s behavior. Once again at the beginning he works for SHIELD because this is the easy thing to do and not because of any personal desire to be there. He dodges all personal inquiries of Sam revealing that he is content to just go working and then come back home chilling alone and refuse all attempts Natasha makes to try and make him socialize more.
His mission is botched because of Fury and he confronts him on that and then on the Project Insight which he finds morally wrong. But he doesn’t go further than words and never really consider leaving SHIELD as is revealed during his talk with Peggy. He thinks the Project is wrong, doesn’t especially like working for SHIELD and doesn’t trust Fury, yet he refuses to take action since he doesn’t know what to do next (“I just want to do what’s right, I guess I’m not sure what that is anymore”).
Fury is the one that puts him on the path to resist SHIELD when he comes over after being attacked. And once again even as he doesn’t trust him, Steve follows since he doesn’t know what to do. Then the revelation: it was Hydra all along and while it destroys Natasha to learn this it brings Steve peace as he finally is given a clear enemy and goal with a bonus personal stakes that are only upped when the Bucky revelation comes.
That’s how we have the Steve that confronts Fury once again but this time doesn’t take no for an answer and impose his course of action, the one that rejects all attempts made by his allies to consider the possibility of having to neutralize Bucky and the one’s that refuses to fight once the Insight’s threat is over because he’s sure he can reach Bucky.
TL;DR: Steve’s a reactive person at his core and is content to be coasting through life without any real initiative most of the time. Then when something makes his way into his head he becomes an unmovable force that will power through everything or die trying and is focused on how to achieve his goal and not what comes after. In both modes Steve never worries about “after” and straight up refuses to consider it, he is the living embodiment of “crossing that bridge when it comes to it”. For him the future is at the bottom of his priority list. Like his shield always finds his way back to his hand, Steve’s always reverts to a reactive mindset when a goal his achieved.
That’s why he is so angry at Tony for Ultron because it crosses his inner psyche deeply, this is more him lashing out because he is profoundly unsettled than because of any true conviction on his part about lying. For Steve putting the future before anything is endangering the present and he refuses to take any decision that could results in unwanted consequences if he has not the insurance of an instant reward.
That’s whyhe dresses down Tony for Ultron but brushes off Lagos, as Lagos was an overall success despite the losses of life while Ultron was a failure with nothing to show for it except from Vision which seems like a meagre consolation for the destruction caused.
That’s why he refuses to consider any collateral damages as a fault of his own that can be corrected because if he stops for one second to consider the potential repercussion of his actions he’ll be unable to move or take a decision in battle again (“if you start running you’ll never stop”, rings any bell?).
That’s whyhe rejects the Sokovia Accords because they are not to his satisfaction, not caring about Natasha and Tony’s POV that we should take this deal instead of risking being given a harsher hand. For him if the Sokovia Accords failed then it was a victory and if something else is done he’ll fight it as well, he prefers to risk a more bitter loss to secure a victory instead of taking a mild loss without any reward.
That’s why the only moment he considered signing the Accords were when he was given a concrete instant bonus for it, ie. pardon for him, Sam and Bucky and care given to Bucky.
Arceus scrapes his front hoof against the ground repeatedly, like a bull about to charge, but it seems to be an excited gesture... ! To all the small legendaries on this blog who are around-- "How lovely..! Blessed be, my young ones. Grow strong, for I believe in you!"
Wow, Reshi is honored! Thank you for this blessing!!
At my great surprise, I just stumbled upon “the leak” of all time for Fairy Tail.
In some dark corners of the net lies the first draft of Mashima’s farewell chapter. The one concluding the climax and leaving only the ever after to wrap up. The one where the hype and tension finally explodes in a sea of reveals, fast-paced action and grit. And as expected, Mashima doesn’t disappoint and manages to surprise us to the very end with a twist ending nobody saw coming. My fingers are still shaking while I’m typing this, the shock of this piece hasn’t left my bones since I first laid eyes on it.
See for yourself, have your world turned upside down: this is what I’m talking about.(credits to OharaLibrarianArtur for creating this, I’m just sharing his brilliance there)
Here are some highlights of this gem:
Acnologia is out for blood, but luckily the strength of the “meeen” is there to stop him:
Ichiya being a secret master Enchanter (and more dragon boner):
Another meteor is there to obliterate the world but don’t worry our master’s spirit is there to give us the strenght to fight on:
Thankfully strategy is used to save the day and the lesson is that the best weapon is always the one pulled from the ennemy’s strenght:
And finally the conclusion, the end of this chapter (one that I am sure @fairytail-whathesays will particularly savor):
All credits goes to the crazy genius behind this masterpiece of an edit, the one, the only, the true OharaLibrarianArtur (you can find him on reddit)