Bucky’s Winter Soldier Wounds Are Healing.
Bucky is likely to have been “cured” in Wakanda, however, he is still living in fear of his own potential for evil – expounded by Black Panther seemingly not trusting the He has the spirit of the Winter Soldier inside him, but he can’t erase his past memories.
Fortunately, Bucky’s transition to the MCU came with the most valuable tool: experience dealing with veterans and soldiers suffering from PTSD. While they clash, they are bound by their shared history and have an almost normal symbiotic relationship.
After John Walker’s public assassination of a Flag Smasher freedom fighter in episode 5 of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, Bucky and Sam reconnected, with Sam apparently abandoning his heroism to return home.
Bucky appeared to find a balance in the city that he hadn’t felt since Wakanda, even flirting with Sarah and settling in more easily since following him.
Bucky accepted a place to sleep when offered one, sleeping on the sofa rather than on the floor, indicating some personal development beyond one of his more severe PTSD reactions.
Then, when he and Sam were training, the latter gave him some advice about how to deal with his demons, saying that he should atone for his victims rather than avenge them.
Bucky was discovered to be sleeping on the floor of his sparsely furnished apartment earlier in the season. Although financial problems for heroes have been explored in the past, Bucky’s decision was more psychological.
Sam and Steve bond about their problems with civilian beds in The Winter Soldier, with Sam remarking that his bed is uncomfortably stiff in contrast to what he slept on when deployed.
Bucky’s reasoning followed that of a military man, particularly because his “bed” for decades was a Hydra cryostasis chamber. Bucky’s sleeping arrangements, in general, spoke to his desire to be hyper-vigilant and cautious, not to mention the self-punishment problems that were undoubtedly involved.
Bucky sleeping soundly only to be awoken by Sam’s nephews playing with the shield, rather than being shocked or jolted awake from a nightmare, tells a lot.
Bucky’s acceptance of Sam’s offer to join his family and focus on something other than his own revenge and suffering was obviously a huge deal for him, and it seems to have cooled him down.
Later, Sam’s guidance further humanized him, flying in the face of Bucky’s tragedy of his need to stay a knife – except in the name of justice – and there’s a lot to be said about reclamation’s restorative impact.
It’s unclear where Bucky will end up, but The Falcon & The Winter Soldier has given him some hope, even though his final atonement does come to a disastrous end.