FULL SPOILERS AHEAD
A lot of What If…? comic stories are total downers. A bunch of real bummer buzzkills, bro! But why can’t everything just be chill for once? Sometimes it’s just nice to have an alternate reality that doesn’t harsh my vibe. I’m running out of incredibly dated slang, but the gist is that “What If Thor Was an Only Child?” is essentially a frat bro comedy about Earth’s biggest party ever, and the party poopers who are ready to nuke the site from orbit.
Like most of these episodes, the premise is in the title–Loki (Mr. Tom Hiddleston, of course) as a baby was given back to the frost giants, so Thor (Chris Hemsworth) had no siblings [that he was aware of]. As such, he grew up to be a bit of a frat bro. Not full on frat douche, which is an escalation of all the worst tendencies, but this Thor’s primary goal is to throw a party as soon as Odin takes his Odinnap and Frigga (voiced by Josette Eales) has brunch with the girls. But where to throw the ultimate party away from the watchful–and noticeably silent since they didn’t get Idris Elba back–eyes of Heimdall? How about a backwater planet like Earth! This is how Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) come in, as Thor’s arrival in Vegas is very similar to the destruction of something called Alpha Star a few years back. The duo head to Vegas and try to see if they can save Earth, but love is in the air; in this case that means Jane and Thor spend a drunken night together–complete with getting complimentary tattoos–while Darcy elopes with Howard the Duck (Seth Green). Sure, why not. Even Loki shows up, prince of the frost giants and Thor’s partying brother-from-another-mother. SHIELD also shows up, specifically Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Brock Rumlow (I guess they really enjoyed having Frank Grillo in the recording booth, because he’s had more to do here than in either of his MCU films). They too are concerned about this out of control planet-wide kegger, so with Nick Fury incapacitated, Hill calls on the big guns: Captain Marvel (voiced by Alexandra Daniels). The punch fight between her and Thor is pretty epic but Carol can’t bring her full power without a lot of collateral damage, so fighting Thor in an isolated Siberia is the plan. SHIELD endorses this plan, but Hill doesn’t mention that she’s secretly ready to nuke the area. But that’s SHIELD for you. While that’s going on, Jane realizes that if there’s a Thor, the other Norse gods probably exist. She calls on Heimdall to take her to Frigga, where Jane narcs on her boy toy. The prospect of Mom coming sends Thor into a panic to clean up the planet before she finds out he lied to her about studying. I mean, she knows he’s lying, but she hasn’t technically caught him in the lie. But things are back to mostly normal by the time she arrives, Captain Marvel and Thor come to an understanding, and Thor admits Jane did the right thing and offers to take her on a date.
Oh, and the Alpha Star thing was a misunderstanding. It’s all cool.
This was a really cute episode! I thought that–wait, hang on, we’re not done yet?
…oh. Out of an apparent multiversal portal–surprising even the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright)–comes an army of Ultron robots, and the big bad himself: Ultron wearing Vision’s body in Infinity Stone powered armor. That’s… not good.
I’ve been saying that everything’s been pointing towards this season having a sort of metaplot, and I think it’s finally appeared. Most likely, next week will be something like “What If Ultron Won?” telling the story of a reality where Ultron achieved his goals from Avengers: Age of Ultron, upgraded himself to the Vison’s body, collected all the Infinity Stones, and then decided conquering one universe wasn’t enough. Then that could be followed by the season finale, a big crossover with some clunky title like “What If It Took a Multiverse to Save the Multiverse?” Most What If…? comic stories don’t go this direction, usually staying very self-contained, but this is kind of fun, yeah? You’ve got all these actors in the studio recording lines for their characters but with a twist, so it’d be a bit of a shame if we never saw them again after their one and supposedly only appearance. We’re most likely not getting any more adventures from Peggy Carter, so why not have some fun with Captain Carter? And we sadly know that Chadwick Boseman isn’t around any more, so having T’Challa as Star-Lord come back and potentially rally a multiverse worth of heroes feels good. One last hurrah for the actor and for Black Panther.
Then again, a lot of this is speculation. There’s evidence backing it up, but there’s always the possibility of surprises no one saw coming.
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