FULL SPOILERS AHEAD
So you might notice that I have not ascended to godhood. While I did correctly guess that What If…?‘s eighth episode would be titled “What If Ultron Won?” I was wrong about the title of the final episode. It’s actually titled “What If the Watcher Broke His Oath?” which is definitely a better title, so I’ll take that loss. Everything in the first season has been leading up to this moment, as well as something in the second season! Let’s wrap this up!
Captain Carter (from episode 1) is on the Lemurian Star fighting Batroc–just like Captain America did in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and implying she’s an Avenger now–when the Watcher snatches her away. He does the same to Star-Lord T’Challa (episode 2), Gamora who destroyed Thanos (episode… uh…), Black Panther Killmonger (episode 6), and party bro Thor (episode 7). They meet outside of reality with the Watcher and Dark Strange (episode 4) to formulate a plan against the multiversal threat that is Ultron in Vision’s body with all the Infinity Stones (episode 8). Nobody seems to notice Killmonger getting way too interested in Ultron’s tech, but a plan is still formulated to destroy the Infinity Stones thanks to Gamora’s Infinity Crusher. The assembled Guardians of the Multiverse manage to distract Ultron enough that Star-Lord is able to steal the Soul Stone. Dark Strange even opens a portal to the zombie world (episode 5) to give undead Wanda a chance to take Ultron out; she did not. But the Guardians meeting up on Ultron’s ruined homeworld creates a delay when post-apocalyptic Black Widow–who confirms she’s the last person alive on that Earth, don’t think about that too hard–tries to grab the stone from these strange intruders. The plan sadly fails when the Infinity Crusher is shown to only work on the Stones from its reality, meaning Ultron gets all his power back. But Widow still has that arrow with Arnim Zola in it and manages to shoot it into Ultron’s eye, uploading the Hydra scientist/virus and taking over Ultron’s body. The day is saved! Except for Killmonger getting greedy and takes the Stones for himself. But before the assembled heroes can try to fight him, Ultron Zola takes the Infinity Stones back. Or at least tries to, as it’s a battle of wills between the two for ultimate power. Dark Strange realizes this is the true endgame and traps Ultron Zola and Killmonger in his pocket dimension. Yup, this was the Watcher’s plan all along and is presumably why he didn’t join the fight. Strange stays as a guardian over these two villains and most of the heroes go back to their respective worlds. But post-apocalyptic Black Widow refuses to go to her dead world unless the Watcher fixes it. Instead he sends her to a world without a Black Widow, currently facing an invasion from Loki. Oh hey! I almost forgot that episode 3’s “What If the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?” hadn’t been referenced yet! A happy ending for most.
A mid-credits scene has Captain Carter and her Black Widow discover the Hydra Stomper armor on the Lemurian Star, with someone–presumably her Steve Rogers–still inside. To be continued?
So about that Gamora. Every other member of the Guardians of the Multiverse had an episode introducing them, except her. Well… she kind of has one? Due to the ongoing pandemic and just the trash fire the last year has been, her episode got pushed back to season 2. We were already 99% sure the series was getting a second season, but that’s direct confirmation. Will season 2 have a similar overarching story like season 1 did? Will Captain Carter’s story continue? Or will the show instead focus on completely different worlds? Early reports suggest the next season will feature newer heroes, like Shang-Chi (from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and the Eternals (from Eternals), so that’d be cool. Let the new guys play around more in the MCU before their next film! What If…? is a seemingly endless sea of possibilities, so I can’t wait for more.
There’s a little moment in this episode that really endeared itself to me. Captain Carter has a phrase she says to Black Widow: “I’ve got the shield. You’ve got the sword.” The Black Widow from her world commented that it was cute wordplay, and that phrase is repeated by the apocalyptic Black Widow. The insular nature of the first several episodes meant we didn’t really see any comparisons between different versions of characters in multiple episodes. T’Challa barely had a role in “What If Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” so we didn’t see major differences between that version and Star-Lord T’Challa other than “one was in space” and “the other died.” But Black Widow’s “cute wordplay” comments remind us that this is the same character, just under very different circumstances. And I like that. Incredibly minor, but one I really appreciated.
So that’s it for season 1! Hawkeye doesn’t start up until late November, so expect a non-MCU related show for the next several Saturdays. Specifically When They Cry: Kai, but no judgment if children trapped in a seemingly endless loop of misery and death isn’t your cup of tea.
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