The Falcon & the Winter Soldier has shown that Zemo and Bucky responded to the loss in very different ways. Bucky chose redemption; Zemo chose villainy. Bucky Barnes is who Zemo might have been in the MCU – but chose not to be. Thus far in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Zemo is helping Bucky and Sam Wilson in their mission to track down the Flag-Smashers and stop them from destabilizing the world. However, just because he's helping them doesn't mean he's one of them, or a hero – or even truly an antihero. It's all about Zemo's choices.
Audiences tend to forget that even before Zemo turned to full-blown villainy in Captain America: Civil War, he wasn't exactly squeaky clean. He was a high-ranking person in Sokovian intelligence, as well as the leader of EKO Scorpion, an elite Sokovian paramilitary death squad. The function of a death squad is exactly what it sounds like - they bring death, carrying out extrajudicial killings and murders, kidnappings, assassinations, and brutal acts in the aim of any number of goals, including genocide or ethnic cleansing, political destabilization, and revolutionary terrorism. Despite his dark work, Zemo had a family, one he loved very much. By all accounts, he was a great husband and a loving father, despite having to travel for work, and it was only when his family was killed that his last tether to goodness and redemption snapped.
In a way, Zemo losing his family was like Bucky losing Steve Rogers. Zemo's family was the thing that centered him and kept him from being the monster he easily could have become. Likewise, Steve Rogers was the only person who believed in Bucky's ability to be redeemed. Zemo's family saw the good in him, just as Steve saw the good in Bucky. However, after Zemo lost his family, he made a very different decision and went down a different path than Bucky. They are mirrors to one another in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with Bucky taking the harder path of redemption that Zemo shunned.
After losing his family, Zemo might have assessed his life and vowed to get out of the business of killing and murder. Instead, he let his grief and rage consume him and finally gave in to full villainy, without even the flimsy excuse of having government backing to justify his actions. He's driven by vengeance, and it's what keeps him from finding redemption and peace, as Bucky is trying to do. After losing Steve, Bucky could have easily backslid into being the Winter Soldier or embraced being the monster he fears he is. Instead, he's doubled down on his efforts to put his past behind him and become a better man.
Perhaps that's why Zemo isn't in any rush to kill Bucky, even though Bucky is one of the Super Soldiers Zemo has vowed to wipe off the Earth. Unlike him, Bucky is trying to atone for his actions because he never wanted to do it in the first place, while Zemo had always embraced his work. That difference is what creates their opposing approaches to loss.
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