Wait, is this…? I had never noticed this
realisation of Steve not needing his help anymore
was this really necessary
It’s also Bucky being more than a little upset that they turned his gentle, harmless friend—who Bucky wanted to PROTECT from the horrors of war—into a fighting machine.
was that really necessary
it’s also Bucky realizing that he can no longer protect his best friend no matter how hard he tries. he’s utterly helpless now, even after the war is over. they’ll always be wanting steve to fight this or that, and bucky won’t be able to do a darn thing to protect him.
It’s also Bucky taking the 5 seconds he has of Steve not paying attention to him so he can allow himself to process all these emotions without worrying Steve. If you watch Bucky through the movies, you’ll notice he always makes sure to look like he’s 100% fine if other people are looking at him. Fighting with Steve, but smiling at their dates. Recently tortured, but walking confidently by Steve’s side. Basically a mess, but all “Let’s hear it for Captain America!” It’s a pattern, really. Even in the flashback in CATWS, you can see he looks a lot less confident when Steve isn’t looking at him than when Steve is.
Also, Seb has mentioned that researching WW2, what left the deepest impression was how quickly everybody dies. You get attached to someone only to watch their heads being blown up in front of you the next day. I’m sure this influenced how he chose to act this scene. Because you can bet by the time this scene takes place, Bucky has seen many people – hell, maybe even friends – die, and recently, he’s had to see his whole unit be killed or captured by HYDRA. This certainly plays a role here. It’s not just a general sense of “I can’t protect Steve anymore,” it’s more like “I don’t know if Steve will live till next week.” It’s very real, very immediate. It’s a concrete prediction more than a vague fear. And if Steve’s survives, there’s still the fact Bucky knows what’s like to be changed by war, and Steve will be changed by it, which Bucky certainly hates. Either way, he loses the Steve he knew, even more than he’s already lost, with the whole “Steve Rogers is suddenly a super soldier” deal.
I’d say this scene is wartime Bucky in a nutshell. He handles the entire crowd and this whole Captain America propaganda thing without hesitation, he smiles at Steve and makes sure Steve enjoys the moment instead of pulling some “I did my duty” bullshit, and only then he allows himself to be overwhelmed by the fear that comes with being able to think 48923740 worst case scenarios in two seconds. If we can trust interviews with cast and crew, this eventually becomes his role in the war, basically – he thinks fast and does his job protecting Captain America and the missions, he takes care of Steve on a personal level by shielding him from the worst of the war as much as he can, and only then, if there’s time and Steve isn’t looking, he thinks about how the war is affecting him.
But anyway, overall, this scene is about overwhelming loss of everything Bucky knows, as well as an attempt to hide this as well as he can. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the 4th and 5th gifs, Seb looks a lot like comics!Bucky does when he says goodbye to his younger sister, thinking he’ll never see her again and almost breaking down in tears, but unwilling to show her he’s scared. For your reference:
WAS ANY OF THIS REALLY NECESSARY
The more I think about the timeline for Bucky’s torture given Agent Carter canon, the more I want to cry. That flashback scene in CATWS got impossibly worse.
Presumably Bucky got taken after his fall by Russians- HYDRA or affiliated with them- having suffered the traumatic amputation of part of his arm. His survival alone would have made him a subject for medical experimentation, and when they realized who their captive was, his value as a prisoner would have skyrocketed. He was Zola’s only success.
At this point he was Bucky, coping with a second round of captivity and medical experimentation. Steve was gone. But still, they couldn’t contain him without cryostasis, an incredibly dangerous procedure they must have tested on him. They risked him dying in order to preserve him for Zola. And no, he wasn’t “naturally frozen” in the snow where he fell, because Bucky was conscious enough to remember being found bleeding. He was conscious when he was captured, and when they shoved him into that tube.
Zola came years later, back from American prison to oversee his project. Bucky woke to the operating theater, where he was conscious when a fucking bone saw cut through what was left of his left arm, and the metal one was attached (the series of surgeries required to reinforce his skeleton must have been a never-ending nightmare reel of physical torture). It was still Bucky, Sergeant Barnes, waking up at this point to his worst nightmare standing over him.
Then Agent Carter tells me that Zola had either Johann Fenhoff or his knowledge to fucking hypnotize Bucky into doing whatever they wanted from here on. Before electroshock became their go-to method, they distorted Bucky’s grasp on reality. Zola who had years in America to weasel information to use against Bucky when he had him at his mercy. He could have made him believe anything, forced him to unknowingly cooperate while he was still Bucky.
And even then, after enough trauma to drive anyone mad, Bucky still must have fought them. He must have broken through Fenhoff’s methods, enough that they weren’t viable in the long-term, that they had to experiment and invest in electroshock and risk (inflict?) brain damage on their prize in order to secure their captive and control him.
The process to get their asset was a testament to how strong Bucky Barnes is, how much of a hero at his core. It took years of calculated, brutal abuse, and still, they had to erase him to force him to comply.
Meanwhile I’m here crying about how IF ONLY Peggy or the Commandos had found him at this point in time, had they just known, they could have spared him everything. They’d have gotten back their Sergeant Barnes, minus part of his arm, still strong and able and whole, but no one even thought to look.
I’m not ok…
Excuse me. I’d like to be alone now. 😢
In the bank vault scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when we first see Bucky, he’s being bombarded with fragments of memories of Steve and his own “death.” When I was watching it recently, I noticed that one of the things he doesn’t do much of at first is blink. When Pierce enters the vault, Bucky’s not even blinking at all, simply staring straight ahead, completely lost in his memories and confusion, and trying to piece things together. But if you look at the gif above, you’ll notice that right after Pierce backhands him across the face, Bucky’s staring off toward the right, unblinking, until he begins to say, “The man on the bridge…”
In the dim recesses of my minor in speech communication brain, I remembered some information about cognitive function and blinking, so I looked up what might be going on in this scene, and it’s really fascinating. Blinking (aside from its physical requirement of keeping the eye moist) is related to certain cognitive processes; most people punctuate their speech with blinking between phrases and at the ends of sentences. People also time blinking so as not to interfere with receiving new cognitive input (less blinking while they’re solving a problem, for instance, and then blinking more when they’re done).
A 1933 study showed that the rate of blinking was low during tasks requiring concentration and intense mental activity. However, “unfocused or rapidly changing internal states such as disorientation, emotional excitement, frustration, and anxiety seem to be associated with high rates of blinking.”
In the above gif, you can see that Bucky doesn’t blink at all while he’s more focused on the memories that are assaulting him, but then as his internal state starts to change and he wants to talk, he blinks repeatedly when he says, “The man on the bridge.” He keeps blinking in quick succession as he remembers Steve saying, “Bucky?” and continues, turning his gaze up to Pierce: “I knew him.” The blinking has slowed at that point.
Once Pierce lies and then starts in on his little carrot speech, Bucky goes back to blinking only when his eyes change focus or he moves his gaze. Sometimes it’s not even a full blink, just a small movement of his eyelids, like below.
An example of these processes the researchers mentioned was: “While searching one’s memory for a name, one tends not to blink; then, when the name is located, blinking occurs.” Bucky basically, throughout Pierce’s bloviating, is continuing to process his internal emotions and retrieve information, so he doesn’t blink much at all. The researchers believed blinking is inhibited when activities are not dependent upon visual input – and here, all Bucky really does is half listen to Pierce yammering, not entirely focused on him, only glancing at him occasionally. And even more interestingly in terms of this scene, the lower blinking rate extends to visual memory as well, not just receiving new input. All those thoughts and feelings roiling in his mind are Bucky’s primary focus, not Pierce’s empty rhetoric. Until…
Bucky says something about Steve, and his memories, again. Then he blinks multiple times in rapid succession.
Here you can see him blink slowly once, turn his attention to Pierce’s face, and then say, blinking rapidly, “But I knew him.” He’s accessed those visual memories, he knows he knows something, and he doesn’t care about the new input from Pierce, so the higher blink rate is indicative of his emotional turmoil every bit as much as that little grimace is.
“The rapid changes in visual input level resulting from the closing and opening of the lids may cause massive interference in visual processing areas.” I mean, all I can do here is make flaily hands while I sit in a bathtub filled with the crystalline tears I’ve cried for Bucky.
When Pierce gives up on the carrot and goes for the stick, Bucky goes back to not blinking much at all. Even when they shove him back in the chair, he doesn’t blink.
I don’t know if Sebastian Stan or the directors knew any of this, or if Sebastian did this blinking thing deliberately as part of his acting process, but damn. He just deserves all the awards for such a subtle, amazing performance here. This incredible fucking movie: 16 months later and we can still find stuff to talk about. It’s agonizing and heartbreaking and I don’t think I’ll ever be over this scene.
bucky in fic: steve u asshole u could’ve been killed! what were u thinking? let me bandage u up and get u a nice cup of tea, i love u so much
STEVE: To be used a weapon against your will…I can’t imagine how hard that must have been.
BUCKY: U GONNA LEARN
This keeps showing up on my dash and I have to reblog each time, because “U GONNA LEARN” never fails to make me lose my shit.
For real though: the fics and the movie are both the real Bucky Barnes. Cause only you get to pick on your person. If someone else shoved Steve through a window, you know Bucky’d have his foot so far up that person’s ass they’d be tasting his shoelaces.
Steve: Remember that time in Azzano when I threw you over that fiery pit?? You throwing me at the cops. That wasnt payback, was it?
Bucky: Now why would I do that?
“The serum amplifies everything that is inside, so good becomes great; bad becomes worse.”
I’ve been thinking about this fantastic post that discusses the scientific effects of the super-soldier serum on Steve Rogers’s brain. It’s based on info from the Avengers exhibit in Times Square, and what it concludes is that after the serum, “Steve just feels more.” Because of the changes to his amygdala, everything Steve felt would have been amplified – joy, pain, loyalty, all of it. What this made me realize is:
The serum would have increased everything Steve felt for Bucky.
Whether you ship the idea of a romantic connection between those two or not, Steve loved Bucky. Bucky was his person, 100%, ‘til the end of the line. They’d spent most of a lifetime developing love and loyalty and friendship. Steve might have had some hero worship going on, because Bucky was everything he wanted to be: strong, able to fight for the little guys, charming, loyal. But once he got hit with Erskine’s serum, everything – every one of those feelings – would have been amped up, magnified. If Bucky was his person before the serum, afterwards, Bucky would have been everything. This is why Steve was willing to risk his life, to disobey orders, to hop in a Jeep and go chasing across Europe by himself to rescue the man. There was never a possibility he could do otherwise, because every bit of love he’d built up over a lifetime was driving him forward.
The serum amplified all of Steve’s feelings, and his love and loyalty for Bucky would have become absolute devotion.
But Bucky got Zola’s version.
Whatever Zola did to Bucky before Steve rescued him, it was already acting upon him in fundamental ways – otherwise, there’s no way Bucky could have survived the fall from the train. But what if Zola’s version tended to increase the negative feelings more? I feel like we see some of this in the bar scene, when Bucky complains, “I’m invisible.” Sure, he’s joking, but he’s being pretty hurtful and taunting about how Steve had been treated in the past.
Maybe Bucky had always been a little envious of Steve, envious of the goodness he saw in Steve that he believed he, himself, didn’t possess. And now Steve has all of that inner perfection but has the outer shell to match; he’s caught up to Bucky in the one area where Bucky ever believed he had even the slightest advantage over Steve. And Bucky’s slight twinge of envy becomes a hot streak of jealousy.
Maybe Bucky isn’t feeling jealous, but possessive. Steve has always been his, exclusively – Bucky’s the only one who ever recognized his value. To Bucky, Steve was like that secret spot you find where you can sit and watch the sunrise in perfect isolation; only suddenly the rest of the world has discovered his secret place. With his feelings amplified, Peggy’s interest in Steve might have hit Bucky like a physical blow, because he’s being forced to share his Steve with everyone, just when he desperately needs him the most. And all Bucky can do is lash out – at Steve, who brought this on by taking the serum.
Or maybe, Bucky is truly angry. Because he’s just been through hell and he’s nowhere near recovered – look at the disheveled uniform, and the fact that he’s sitting alone tossing back drinks while the rest of the Commandos party and sing in the other room. He’s survived torture, and then Captain America sits down and asks him to rejoin the fight. And because of the serum…he can’t say no. His love and loyalty for Steve have always been stronger than fear; he’d take on any challenge to protect Steve. Now, even though the fear has been increased, so have the other feelings. Maybe, with the serum running through his veins, he literally can’t say no. Maybe he tries – his first response is “Hell no,” but he can’t stick with that, because he has to protect Steve. So maybe Bucky is angry – that he can’t make himself walk away – and hurt, that Steve even asked this of him. And all he can do in that moment is try to hurt Steve, too.
But what if it’s not a negative feeling being amped up? Maybe (hello, Stucky shippers!) what we’re seeing is Bucky’s reaction to all the love he feels for Steve being amplified out of control. Because Bucky has always tucked those feelings away; buried anything but brotherly affection, not about to taint Steve with feelings that Bucky has decided are dark and wicked. With the serum, he can’t deny it anymore, can’t hide from what he feels, what he wants. He tries drinking, and it’s not enough. Maybe he’s afraid he’s given himself away, by telling Steve he’ll follow him anywhere. So he tries flirting with Peggy, but it fails, because even she can see how magnificent Steve is, and Bucky’s heart wasn’t really in it anyways. Then Bucky does the only thing that makes sense to him – he tries to be mean, to push Steve away before Steve figures out that Bucky wants so much more from him than he ought to.
It’s heartbreaking to think of Steve and Bucky’s feelings for each other being amplified by the serums they’ve been given.
Because it just makes it that much more painful that Steve has to watch Bucky fall. That Bucky falls knowing he won’t be able to protect Steve any longer. That all of their feelings for each other – love and loyalty and respect and devotion – have been increased, and their ability to feel anguish and loss has increased right along with it. The serums made Steve and Bucky more fully themselves, amplified everything that made them who they were – and at the core, what made these two was each other.
While that theory is interesting, it takes away some of Bucky’s free will again. Bucky is…Bucky. Everything that’s happened to him is enough fuel to make him act like he does WITHOUT the serum. And the serum DOES amplify the good in him, HE just doesn’t know that. Even the Winter Soldier wasn’t a twisted wreck like Red Skull was. He was a functioning, efficient human. The same thing would have happened to Steve had he been captured and brain washed.
As for his “jealous” behavior…first off, he’s barely holding himself together because of the torture. Add to that his idiot best friend has done the EXACT thing he tried to get him not to do, only now he’s not just the idiot friend any more, he’s a rival in a different way than he ever was before. Little Steve was a handful, but Bucky could wrangle him. Bucky was always the lead. Bucky was the good looking, smart, friendly stud. Now Steve is that too. Bucky isn’t the “pretty” friend any more. He probably hasn’t even really thought deeply about it, but that’s unsettling. And it’s not so much jealousy (sure there’s a bit of resentment that he’s been tortured and lived in mud while Steve just waltzes in and plays the hero), as it is there’s a power shift.
So you’ve got PTSD from torture along with a massive power shift in a friendship, added to the fact that the idiot friend is STILL doing reckless stuff, only now Bucky has no way to stop him.
Bucky doesn’t need the serum to affect him. The serum working on STEVE affects him enough.
I’ve been so very focused on Steve’s reactions to Bucky during the “do you remember me?” exchange, that it’s taken me a while to hone in on Bucky’s reactions to Steve. I hope I’m not committing a faux-pas here by using tumblr’s add-a-gif function for meta/weepy rambling, but LOOK AT THIS:
LOOK AT IT AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN.
The play of emotions across Bucky’s face, just, holy shit – it’s subtle, but it’s everything. He starts out defensive, eyes cast down, mouth tight, hunched in on himself. Yeah, he’s trapped, but he’s also bracing himself. This is a man who’s imagined what seeing Steve again might be like, who has played this moment out over and over again in his head – where he’s been rejected every time.
And then Steve starts talking – doesn’t just say his name, but calls him Buck, with all that warmth and affection. Bucky looks up. His eyes shine; his mouth softens. He’s playing his cards close to his chest, but look at the barely-concealed wonder there. Of all the ways he’s imagined Steve reacting to him – complete and utter acceptance definitely wasn’t one. When you feel ashamed of something – which Bucky, if he’s anything like his comic book counterpart, really, really does – you project that onto the people you love. You picture them hating you for what you’ve done.
I’ve already rambled at length about Bucky’s response to Steve’s question, but I think this might be one of the reasons that Bucky answers in such an intimate way, why he doesn’t just say, “I remember you,” but shows Steve his memories, with that old smirk across his face, like he’s back in that crisp uniform, asking Steve to come out with him for the night. I think this might be one of the reasons that Bucky didn’t want to be found, all that time that Steve was searching.
Bucky never expected Steve to look at him with all that tenderness, to treat him like someone good – he didn’t expect Steve’s love to stay through everything. So yeah, maybe Bucky’s showing off, but it’s because if Steve still thinks he’s worth this, after everything – he’s got to prove Steve right. If he can show Steve that he’s Bucky Barnes, that he’s someone good, maybe one day he’ll believe it himself.
bc im about to tell u a story
ok so abt 2 years ago i was trying to get into comics & i decided if i was gonna do this, i was gonna do it right, so i researched lgbtq+ characters in comics & after bouncing around some wikis for a while, i somehow ended up on the page of a character called Arnie Roth. he’s not a superhero, but he’s credited with being one of the first openly gay comic book characters so i decided to keep digging
& i am so fcking glad i did
this is Arnie Roth:
“But it hadn’t always been like this… No, back when they were both growing up on New York’s Lower East Side, during the depths of the depression, the blond-haired adonis was nothing more than a stick-legged young dreamer with his head in the clouds and his hands forever drawing. Arnie Roth was the same age as Steve Rogers – but he was bigger, faster, stronger…” (Captain America #270)
ok but buckle the fuck up bc we just started this wild ride
DAMN THOUGH can we have a moment of appreciation for how different Bucky’s fighting style is compared to WS??
Credit for this absolutely goes to Sebastian Stan’s character work. In Civil War when Bucky is in a fight/in danger he’s literally so expressive, compared to the Dead Eyed Murder Glare™ we’re accustomed to from the Winter Soldier.
And it’s such a neat thing because Civil War Bucky is still super competent, he’s got the WS’s skills, but he’s also FREAKING THE HELL OUT HE DIDN’T ASK FOR ANY OF THIS
HE JUST WANTED TO BUY SOME PLUMS FFS
these wide-eyed OH FUCK facial expressions are like half the reason why the GET REKT jokes are so freaking funny, because it’s so different from how the Winter Soldier would’ve acted [[*analyzes a meme*]]
But this is IMPORTANT because one of the things I was so relieved about from this movie was that it emphasized the separation between the Winter Soldier persona and Bucky’s ACTUAL PERSONALITY when he’s not being mind-controlled and forced to kill people.
Yeah, I have my gripes/nitpicks about the movie, lots of us do – but on this particular point I’m SO pleased with the respect that was shown for Bucky’s character. Most of the fans take it for granted that ~Bucky Barnes Is Not A Villian 2k14~, but he could have been written off that way!!! Even just by making less of a distinction between the Bucky that was controlled by Hydra and one who has his own internal life & personality.
I think we should appreciate the fact that the characterization we got could not have happened without collaboration from the creatives in charge: clear direction from the Russos, the writers using a strong narrative device like Bucky being programmed by trigger words, and of course Sebastian Stan acting his face off and totally changing his body language depending on which version he was portraying.
Sebastian Stan proved his acting mettle when he stole CA: Winter Soldier with only a handful of spoken lines and only his eyes visible for like half the damn movie. In CA: CW, though, he takes it to a whole new level. The whole time, he’s viscerally aware of what Bucky’s state of mind would be. He showed us, with his face and eyes and body, whether he was Bucky or the Winter Soldier.
is this another beef comparison post? this is another beef comparison post oops
@softpunkbucky and I are comparing beefs again help
he has a pretty little wasp waist in cap2 but in cap3 he’s just. SOLID
This is a great comparison shot because you can see that in the first one, the curve of his waist follows the width of the horizontal straps, and in the second one, there is clearly extra inches filled out on either side 💦💦
STOP THE PRESSES
Am I the only one whose seeing how in cwtws the horizontal straps are straight up and down, but in CACW they’re pulled to the left, as if they tried to squeeze him into his old costume, but it just doesn’t fit?
Also bonus if you compare the width of the chest strap, and also in Cap3 more of the metal arm is visible near the shoulder/arm pit. HIM BIG.
I was trying to find some decent shots of him in the Winter Soldier outfit in Cap3 for a better comparison but they’re actually few and far between.
Someone get some big HD beef stat
See, this could just be me being Captain Angstbucket, and the whole thing is probably a coincidence (with seb bulking up for the role), but 1991 winter soldier is beefy. He’s solid.
2014 winter soldier is strong, yeah, he’s got abs. But he’s also pretty slender too
Which says to me that the Russians took care of him physically (not mentally obviously, let’s not even go there). But in the care of Alexander Pierce? The weight is dropping off him
Which makes me wonder, at what point Pierce stop finding value in the winter soldier? This man was a ghost, a myth, and Pierce sends him repeatedly out in broad daylight, into crowded streets full of witnesses.
When did the winter soldier become a blunt instrument to him, rather than a fine blade? When was decided that he would get the minimum requirements to stay functional? How long was he losing all that muscle, all that weight before being sent on suicide missions?
Was Pierce a little disappointed each time he came back?
I gotta re-re-reblog this for the meta because yesssss, I also follow that headcanon; the Russian’s treated TWS better, though he was still a thing to them.
Jumps on the angst train cos that’s a good point about Pierce, I think it kind of goes in hand with the idea that the Russian branch of Hydra never gave Pierce/American Hydra the proper “TWS 101″, they probably told them the basics but never how to properly control him. Hence all the “wipe and start over”s. And then like, since TWS wasn’t working properly he became that blunt instrument in Pierce’s eyes.
Though my headcanon about his nutrition differs; I think they do give him the required nutrients, but because he doesn’t have proper food (hydra making sure they know what goes into him, he’s a thing he doesnt need it etc) and his increased metabolism he just burns through it like no tomorrow. It’s an odd irony that what they think is the best for him really isnt.
Pierce wasn’t using him properly because he never got the manual/couldn’t read the user manual because it was all in Russian. So the American Hydra branch has just been winging it. Badly.