The third episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier may have been cluelessly lacking in actual Asian people in a fictional Asian country, but it also gave us the greatest single second in the whole MCU:
There, in a single second, we are given everything about clubbing, Eurodisco, bad dad dancing, and the blurred line between good and evil. TikTok, eat your heart out.
There’s even an entire Twitter account given over to videos of Zemo dancing to various songs.
And now an interview with Daniel Brühl, the man behind the purple mask, has given hope to millions that more than a single second of this dance to life exists:
Brühl laughs at the responses he received from that moment. “It was a long dance,” he tells EW of this improvised bit. “There’s more to it, but they cut this little moment [for the show].”
And the full quote:
Have you seen any of these memes of you just fist-bumping on the show?
It’s so hysterical. [That moment] was improvised when I saw the crowd dancing, going loco. I felt the beat and was like, Zemo has been sitting in a dodgy German prison cell for years. So, he needs to let off some steam and show his moves. Let’s go for it! I enjoyed so much the reaction of Anthony and Sebastian looking at me. Still, I was 100 percent sure that they would cut it out [of the show]. I was really surprised and happy that they kept it. It was a long dance. There’s more to it, but they cut this little moment. I didn’t know what was happening, but I then received all these messages from my friends cracking up. My friends who know me well know I’m an embarrassing, passionate dancer on the floor but it would be different moves. It would be the Spanish side of me kicking in and doing some matador, flamenco moves, going down on my knees. Highly embarrassing for my friends.
While the internet seized upon this as evidence that there is footage of Brühl doing some crazy flamenco moves, I read it as him only wishing to execute such moves. But still, there is hope. Cries to #ReleaseTheZemoCut flooded briefly flooded Twitter and while I would love to see a longer dance scene, perhaps this one perfect, majestic second is all that the world can withstand in this moment.
In a larger sense, though, #ReleaseTheZemoCut completes the Loki-fication of Baron Zemo. Yet another once chilling villain has been turned into a lovable scoundrel to hang out with the good guys and provide the need for exasperated side glances — and a private jet.
Of course, a lot must be forgiven to reach this state. I seem to recall on my last viewing of The Avengers that Loki killed a lot of people. He was responsible for the whole Battle of New York thing that gave everyone PTSD for quite a few movies. Talk about someone who deserves to be canceled! But could we really hate cuddly Tom Hiddleston forever? Or even at all? With such a Tumblr-ready actor and is-he-or-isn’t-he character — not to mention Thor’s own complicated relationship with his adopted brother — Loki was doomed to become one of the good guys. Or at least a not-that-bad guy, with his own TV show coming right up.
So I guess Zemo’s rehabilitation was similarly inevitable. In Civil War — a dark film filled with tragedy and quests for retribution — Baron Zemo was a terrorist mastermind. He ruthlessly kills King T’Chaka of Wakanda just to further his vengeance on the Avengers for killing his family in the Battle of Sekovia in Age of Ultron. Not very cuddly. (And thank goodness Ayo has shown up in Falcon and the Winter Soldier to remind everyone of his crimes.) Unfortunately, once again, Daniel Brühl is such a good actor (the guy has two Golden Globe nominations) that Zemo’s return in TF&TWS was more like a family reunion than the return of a deadly scheming criminal.
Brühl himself knows that we shouldn’t go too far with trusting Zemo:
No, never. (Laughs.) And that’s the good thing. If it’s hard to read and tell what somebody is up to, that ambiguity — which people always enjoy and I do enjoy — is always fun. So, yeah, you shouldn’t really trust him. But I guess it has become apparent that he is not an evil supervillain; there’s more to him, which we already know from the other movie. But in the conversations between the three of them, we have intensified the very human side of Zemo. I disagree with his radical methods, but it’s understandable based on where he comes from. So I understand if people empathize with Zemo, and I would understand if everybody joins Team Zemo by the end of the show.
Team Zemo. Thanks to his dance moves, their ranks are swelling. It’s safe to say, given this reaction, that Baron Zemo will be another regular player in the MCU, shifting between brooding anti-hero and goofball Eurotrash.
(BTW, Loki-fication isn’t possible when then villain is buried under tons of bad makeup. See: Mad Mikkelson (Doctor Strange), Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World) and Oscar Isaac (X-Men: Apocalypse.)
Which leaves only the question of why so many bad guys wear fur collared jackets:
I want to know more about the shop that keeps selling these complicated comic book villains different variations of the same brown coat with fur on top. I imagine it’s their top seller! pic.twitter.com/Dw1TXa2bkf
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) April 3, 2021
The conclusion is inevitable: Villainy often requires working in inclement conditions; a warm jacket is a necessity. And when you come in from the cold, you can always warm up with some dancing.