Who knew he would turn out to be the show’s real MVP?
The final episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” had a lot of big moments for big characters. Sam Wilson finally became the new Captain America. Bucky Barnes finally made amends to himself and the people he hurt as Winter Soldier. Sharon Carter finally, uh, set up the perfect crime. But they all pale next to the episode’s real MVP: Baron Zemo’s butler Oeznik (Nicholas Prynor), who turned out be hiding almost James Bond-level assassin skills underneath his geezer looks.
Let’s backtrack a bit. After Karli died (Sharon, how could you?), the rest of the Flag Smashers, including Karli’s friend Dovich, were captured and, near the end of the episode, loaded into a transport van bound for The Raft. It looks like yet another escape is in the works for the Flag Smashers when the guard loading them in whispers “one world, one people” as he closes the door. But before they can get very far, the van explodes, killing everyone inside. We then pan to a parked car, where inside a very relaxed Oeznik is holding the detonator. Meanwhile, from his cell in The Raft, Zemo hears the announcement on the radio and smiles.
Zemo, sneaky mastermind that he is, ended up winning in the end even though he’s currently sitting in the maximumest maximum security prison in the Marvel Universe. And near the end of the episode the Contessa (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) even gave him credit for having the last laugh. But let’s face it: Zemo wouldn’t have pulled this win off without Oeznik. What a legend.
Seriously, in a world with literal superheroes, and surveillance tech so advanced Sam was able to ping hostages’ resumes to find someone who could fly a helicopter, Oeznik somehow just flew under the radar. No one even suspected the old guy might be a threat, even though his boss happens to be one of the most wanted criminals of all time.
And speaking of that, we gotta give the guy props for being so loyal. When Oeznik showed up in episode three, accompanying Zemo on the plane he chartered to help Sam and Bucky get to Madripoor, we just thought he was a fun little side character. Just a very well-paid employee doing his job who shows up mainly to emphasize that yes, Zemo really is rich and also a baron. But that guy, legend that he is, had everyone fooled. Turns out he was Zemo’s ultimate ride or die friend, taking out Zemo’s enemies — even though given his age he could easily have just slow-walked the whole thing while continuing to cash Zemo’s paychecks until he died of old age — and letting Zemo take all the credit for the hit.
There’s so much more we need to know. Has he always been an ice cold killer? Does he do other supervillain-level things? And how the hell is he able to lay low when the whole world was gunning for his boss?
Sure, we’re glad we’ll be seeing a lot more of Sharon, Cap, Bucky and John Walker in future Marvel projects. But Zemo’s survival makes us hope that means we’ll be seeing him again too. And well, it goes without saying that where there’s Zemo, there had better the hell be some Oeznik too.
What we’re saying is, cast him in the Darcy and Jimmy Woo show.
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