A marvelous post i’ve read some time ago stated that the mind wipe that was used on Winter Soldier damaged his brain cells that contained both short term and long term memory to the extend when rehabilitation is no longer possible. The only thing left for WS were flashbacks or patches of memories that somehow escaped destruction, and his own will to live and become a new person. It was heartbreaking and plausible, until it got me thinking :
Winter soldier program consisted of two parts : the mind wiping to create the WS personality and - the serum to physically make the subject a worthy asset.
I am 100% sure that Bucky was already in stage 1 in this scene:
meaning, he was already injected with a variation of “super soldier serum” - because otherwise how would he survive the fall and the loss of arm?! He would’ve bled out in minutes.
When KGB/Hydra turned him into the Winter Soldier, he got additional dose of serum (because he is almost equal to Steve in physicality and strength! ), and then mind-wiped. But!
Serum not only makes the subject stronger and faster, it also enhances his healing capabilities. That is exactly why Hydra had to keep WS “on ice” or wipe him over and over again, because the longer he is out of cryo the more his body heals itself, and the more memories come back!
That’s why Pierce orders WS to be wiped in this scene- WS had been out of sleep for too long, and started to get memories back.
Steve’s face, of course, was a trigger that only facilitated the process.
So, now, Pierce is gone and with him gone the mind wipe and cryo.
Now think about it : it took Winter Soldier only couple of days to recover so much that he disobeyed his orders and didn’t kill his target. The serum that created Winter Soldier was Bucky’s curse, but it is also his cure.
Several months from now Winter Soldier’s body will repair itself to the point when all the memories, short and long term, will come back.
It will be painful, it will be horrifying - because Bucky will remember not only himself and that blond kid from Brooklyn, but also all the targets he killed…Will he be able to deal with guilt?
I think, he will. He is strong enough to survive 70 years of horror and constant attempts to wipe him out of existence; he will recover and rise from ashes like a phoenix, to become a new person.
As a side note: I’m sure he will remember everything, every mission, every target, every base and hideout he stayed in, and every single person who ordered, prepped or simply saw him when he was the Winter Soldier.
And I have a tingling I know what he will do with that information
Captain America-3 : the spring of reconing
Gifs are not mine