After giving us Party Thor and Loki as a Frost Giant, and over all the biggest bash of the season, the makers of What If…? have decided to up the ante. And Marvel style at that! How you ask? By flipping the script of Avengers: Age of Ultron and snatching away Vision from us. If you haven’t guessed it already; it’s the mash of both that has given birth to a killer robot that has a Thanos-esque purpose and is armed with all of the Infinity stones! It’s a total departure from the last episode that was fun and all about the eternal brotherhood between Thor and Loki with a light-vein treatment to many issues that Loki, the series gave as a parting gift including his bisexuality.
— What If…? (@whatifofficial) September 28, 2021
But that doesn’t fun this one isn’t fun. The one where Ultron won is equally captivating and is loaded with slick action animation. In the beginning we see Natasha’s Black Widow and Clint’s Hawkeye trying to escape robot minions who are programmed to kill. Because the Avengers couldn’t stop the destructive AI from merging his mind with a synthetic body made from vibranium. Not just that, he also manages to beat Thanos, well slice him into two parts if we are being precise and takes all the infinity stones.
— TC (@TrandonCrunch) September 29, 2021
He already had the mind stone and the others helped him transform into a rather ugly looking cyborg with an even more invasive suit. Needless to say, he is unstoppable and is wreaking all kinds of chaos. Urging The Watcher to intervene and help both Black Widow and Hawkeye who are looking at the analog to defeat AI.
Well, he doesn’t, at least not until then but the pair finds themselves in a Hydra base in Siberia to find former Hydra scientist Arnim Zola, who uploaded his brain to data banks before his death in the 1970s. Nobody goes ‘Hail Hydra’ but Zola still agrees to help the duo, upon intimidation. But eventually he fails because Ultron, with the all-encompassing powers of the stones, is aware that the multiverse exists and is out there searching for The Watcher. But before Ultron finds him and beats him through different timelines, the makers throw an Avengers Endgame parallel that is heart-breaking to say the least. Because even in this reality, Black Widow and Hawkeye are stuck till death strikes and like the last time, one ends up sacrificing self to save the other. This time around, Hawkeye takes the fall and it is equally emotional.
— elo ⧗ tasha loml (@doraemaynat) September 29, 2021
But it isn’t over yet because Ultron will not stop until he beats The Watcher and destroys the multiverse as we proceed towards the end. At this point, it is imperative to recall the ending of episode 7 titled What If…Thor Were An Only Child? The big cliffhanger went off by introducing not just Vision but an evil Vision in an Ultron suit, armed with all of the infinity stones! And surprise surprise – the eighth episode is based on the alternate ending to Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Just with additional characters and arcs that hints that it’s all coming together!
I know, it’s an anthology and/or bouquet of stories but it’s MCU after all. Which is why head writer A.C. Bradley and director Bryan Andrews end the episode on another cliffhanger with The Watcher seeking out Doctor Strange to save him and the multiverse from the all-knowing Ultron. Yes, the same Stange who fought himself to save the love of his life but instead ended up destroying the world in the previous episode. You remember!
— Indiana LN (@Jugs_MB) September 22, 2021
It was surprising and fulfilling at the same time to see the makers tie the ends for a bigger impact and it makes sense. Because Strange pushes The Watcher in the final moments, to break character and intervene because the killer robot has to be stopped! Who knows maybe more heroes will join forces like it happened in the original timeline. And it’s not just a hunch..
— Diego (@d_mandalorian) September 29, 2021
According to Entertainment Weekly, all these seemingly separate stories will come together before the finale. A.C. Bradley told the publication,”As we battle toward the finale, we will see some of our heroes again. And the Watcher [voiced by Jeffrey Wright] learns a few important lessons about what it means to be a hero and comes to a realization about how much these stories, how much these worlds mean to him. Going into the finale, a major source of tension is: Will the Watcher ever break his oath? Or will he remain who he is? Will he stay the Watcher, only observing the triumphs and tragedies? Will there ever be a story that forces his hand?”
Director Bryan Andrews also added that it was all planned from the start and revealed, “It was designed to be a certain way, and some people have been vibing and savvy enough to notice that we’re slowly seeing more and more of the Watcher’s visual appearance as we move forward. And that was all orchestrated from the very beginning. It’s all now coming to an arrow’s tip point.”
So, is it just me or are you excited about episode 9 and see how it all comes together? Anyway, The eighth episode of What If…? is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar with new episodes dropping every Wednesday.
Cover Image: What If Official/Twitter