Helmut Zemo is nothing if not resourceful.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier finale has arrived, and as expected, Zemo still had one last trick up his sleeve. Partway through the episode, “One World, One People,” the Flag Smashers were taken into custody and it was revealed that they were to be imprisoned on the Raft. However, as a soldier quietly recited their motto while shutting the door to their armored truck, it appeared that perhaps their far-reaching influence had saved them.
Ah, not so fast. Shortly after the truck began to drive away, it exploded. The camera then panned to Oeznik. In the name in Clue, it was indeed the Butler, in the Car, with the Remote Bomb. We were then given a brief glimpse of Zemo in his latest digs at the Raft. Cozy in his cell with his collection of books, he listened as the news about the fate of the Flag Smashers was announced over the radio. And so he smiled coyly with the knowledge of what he had done before closing his book and reclining on his bed.
So how exactly did Zemo pull this one off? Well, considering that he knew that both Sam and Bucky wouldn’t concede to eradicating the Flag Smashers, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to have concocted a backup plan of sorts with Oeznik and whatever other mysterious resources the Baron likely has.
But wait … there’s more. In the scene that followed, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine was catching up on the latest news about the Flag Smashers as well, and she remarked that Zemo got the last laugh. She then went on to tell Walker’s wife that the situation couldn’t have worked better if she planned it herself. Maybe she did. She didn’t. Or did she? Either way, in her words, it saved people “a lot of paperwork, a lot of redacting, and a lot of shredding.” Hmmm.
Despite all of the signs and potential, the finale ultimately didn’t confirm the highly anticipated introduction of the Thunderbolts to the MCU. However, the fact that they needed to mention Zemo at all in that scene, paired with the fact that we know Valentina has big connections and further plans for John Walker/U.S. Agent, gives us hope that there’s still a chance for more Zemo (and subsequently the Thunderbolts) later down the line. Given Zemo’s feelings on Super Soldiers (with the exception of Steve Rogers and, most recently, Bucky Barnes), it’s incredibly unlikely that he would agree to work with the juiced up Captain America wannabe that knocked him out with his shield. But the door is still open for Valentina to recruit him for her own means. After all, how could you leave all of that scheming, cunning talent trapped on the Raft?
All six episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier are now streaming exclusively on Disney+. Make sure to follow along with all of our coverage on the series, and check out our recent interview with series composer Henry Jackman here.