Falcon and Winter Soldier – What Was Zemo’s Plan To Defeat Karli?

Baron Helmut Zemo was taken into custody in the fifth episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It left fans to wonder what his plan was to stop the Flag-Smashers and Karli Morgenthau. Bucky Barnes helped Zemo break out of a German prison. He relied on his HYDRA expertise to track down the variant of the Super-Soldier Serum developed in Madripoor. Zemo was on borrowed time since the Dora Milaje was after him. Wakanda will never forgive Zemo for killing King T’Chaka during Captain America: Civil War.

Zemo expounded eloquently to Sam and Bucky about his hatred for superhumans. He believed that the pursuit of such power is a road to become a supremacist. According to Zemo, Flag-Smashers and Avengers can be equated with the Nazis. Zemo insisted that super soldiers must not be allowed to exist. But it seems like he has made an exception for Bucky. But if Zemo eluded the Dora Milaje and remained at large, what would have been his plan to stop the Flag-Smashers?

When Barnes confronted Zemo in Sokovia before he turned him over to Dora Milaje, Zemo reminded Bucky by saying:

“Karli has been radicalized beyond salvation… But [Bucky], you were literally programmed to kill. James, do what needs to be done.”

This was a final and desperate attempt by Zemo to persuade Bucky for executing Morgenthau and her Flag-Smashers, just like he manipulated Winter Soldier during Civil War and during their sojourn to Madripoor in the third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Zemo might have realized the futility of this cause. This was because he could see that Bucky was no more the Winter Soldier. Even if Bucky will never truly be free of his decades as an assassin, he needs to make amends with many people. He is haunted by nightmares about his actions.

Zemo still hopes there is enough Winter Soldier left in Bucky that he would kill Morgenthau anyway. Bucky is Zemo’s only shot to get the outcome he needs the most. During Captain America: Civil War, Zemo had one year to prepare and execute an elaborate plot for destroying the Avengers. He was planning revenge for the death of his Sokovian family after the fallout from the heroes’ actions in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Zemo framed the Winter Soldier and took advantage of the division between the Avengers regarding the signing of the Sokovia Accords and succeed in his master plan. But in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, had to make it up since he went along with Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes breathing down his neck and the Dora Milaje stalking him. Zemo focused on destroying every trace of the Super-Soldier Serum variant. He also killed the serum’s creator, Dr. Wilfred Nagel in Madripoor.

When Sam, Bucky and Zemo caught the Flag-Smashers in Latvia, Zemo tried to kill Karli himself. He destroyed every vial of the Super-Soldier Serum before Captain America John Walker stopped him. Zemo had to be content with ensuring that no future super soldiers were created. He tried to convince Bucky into killing Karli and the Flag-Smashers. Towards the end, Zemo may have no better plan except “Karli Morgenthau must die”. He had no more time to implement anything more specific and targeted.

If Zemo had enough resources to put a detailed plan into work, he could have manipulated events so that the super soldiers all destroyed each other and he remained a free man. This could have been the ideal outcome for Zemo. Now since the Dora Milaje took him to The Raft, all he has failed at is remaining free of the shackles. He has still managed to take down all the Flag-Smashers, thanks to his butler Oeznik (and possibly even Val).

All the episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are now streaming on Disney+. The miniseries is directed by Kari Skogland. Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez, Georges St-Pierre, Adepero Oduye, Emily VanCamp and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are playing the lead roles.

Here is the official synopsis of Episode 6 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier:

Wearing a new Captain America uniform and flight suit from the Wakandans, Wilson flies to New York to stop the Flag Smashers’ attack with the help of Barnes, Carter, and Walker. Carter accidentally reveals that she is the Power Broker to Batroc and kills him while Wilson attempts to reason with Morgenthau before Carter kills her as well. Wilson convinces the GRC to postpone the forced relocation of displaced people that Morgenthau died fighting for and instead make efforts to help them.

The remaining serum-enhanced Flag Smashers are caught by Barnes and Walker and sent to the Raft, but they are killed by Zemo’s butler en route. De Fontaine gives Walker a new uniform and codename, U.S. Agent. Barnes makes amends with everyone he hurt or enabled as the Winter Soldier while Wilson has a memorial dedicated to Bradley added to the Captain America museum exhibit. In a mid-credits scene, after receiving a full pardon, Carter rejoins the CIA and intends to use this access to sell government secrets and resources.


Anupal Sraban Neog

Born and grew up in Guwahati, Assam. Wish to see a discrimination free India at some point. Love to travel and explore new places. Binge watching web series is my favorite time pass activity. A Cinephilia and an ardent follower of Marvel and DC.
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