What is the Raft in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier?

*Spoiler Alert!* 

The premiere of the much-awaited penultimate episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier left us all in a really happy place thanks to Sam and Bucky discovering a loving and heart-warming friendship in each other. It was the ultimate payoff for fans who have been waiting for this duo to find their rhythm. As an added bonus, we also saw them working with Zemo who brought his own charm to the table despite being a semi-loathsome villain. But Marvel wanted to make sure that we don’t harbor any hopes of a threesome as this particular bromance was to remain absolutely monogamous. So they made a point of ending Zemo in a manner that befits the man and the crimes that he committed. This leads the Dora Milaje to finally getting their hands on the man who murdered their king and thus the Raft finds its mention in the show.

What is The Raft?

Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016

The Raft is a special underwater prison meant for enhanced individuals. Those prisoners who are detained and incarcerated in The Raft are completely cut off from the outside world and will never return to see it. Basically, it is a long-term supervillain prison that is meant to restrain the worst possible prisoners in the world without the possibility of any sort of escape. Being condemned to The Raft is a slow death by itself.

In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Baron Zemo is punished by the Dora Milaje to rot in The Raft for the rest of his life. This is his punishment for killing the Wakandan King when he bombs the conference.

The Raft reference in MCU

The most prominent appearance The Raft makes is in the Captain America: Civil War movie when The Falcon (Sam Wilson), The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff), Hawkeye (Clint Barton), and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) are imprisoned here for working outside the law. Captain America eventually infiltrates this prison and breaks them out after the HYDRA Siberian Facility event. Besides these Marvel heroes, The Raft is also home to Trish Walker and Willis Stryker both villains from the Jessica Jones series.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is the most recent show in the MCU to mention The Raft.

Did Zemo deserve to go in The Raft?

Zemo does not come close to some of the other supervillains who reside in The Raft, in fact, he is not even particularly evil or psycho. In the show, Baron Zemo helped Sam and Bucky to acquire all the information they would need to locate Karli Morgenthau. The potential of Zemo to change and become a good guy is very much real. With the right kind of support and resources, he is actually capable of becoming an asset to the Avengers.

Except that Zemo was also responsible for a bombing that killed King T’chaka, a crime for which he even managed to frame The Winter Soldier. So despite his ‘Super Soldier cannot be allowed to exist’ narrative, he took a dark and evil path to achieve his goals and that means he has to face the consequences.

Zemo’s imprisonment is not about Zemo’s crimes as much as it is a reaction of the Wakandan’s to the loss of their precious King. Even though The Raft spells a bleak future for Zemo, it is worth remaining hopeful for this particular villain with a very real potential to actually turn good.