Marvel What If…? Episode 8 Review
So, I’m just going to get down to the nitty-gritty for this. The MCU multiversesa has just given us a villain capable of destroying it I’m the form of Ultron. Who, as you recall, was able to push the Avengers to the breaking point in his short existence. Whose legacy would fracture the Avengers and lead to their loss against Thanos. Now, the Watcher’s found a universe where Ultron’s become a mechanical god and defeated almost everyone. And as we saw at the end of last week’s episode, he’s not stopping there.
What if…Ultron Won and Became a God?
In this iteration of the MCU, the Avengers failed to stop Ultron. He managed to upload his mind into what should’ve been the Vision’s body, and curb-stomps humanity before bringing about Judgement Day.Then things get worse: Thanos shows up, and…see for yourself.
With all the Infinity Stones and an inorganic body immune to radiation, Ultron uses the Stones to curb stomp the rest of the universe. It’s a preview of just what would’ve been in store for the main timeline if the Avengers had lost.
Then, things get even worse. For the entire multiverse.
Black Widow is Last One Standing
As Ultron continues wiping out all life, we learn he missed Hawkeye and Black Widow. Back on Earth, they work together to find a secret weapon to help them destroy Ultron: Dr. Zola’s AI. However, due to circumstances beyond their control, the unlikely trio fails in even doing this. Worse, this universe’s Hawkeye, already broken by the loss of everyone he knows, sacrifices his life to give Nat and Zola a chance to escape.
This was a very tough moment to watch, even if it was visually stunning. It also represents a great parallel between the two characters fates in the main universe. However, while Black Widow fans might be happy, Hawkeye fans won’t be. Especially since he died once before in the comics.
All of that, though, is only secondary to the main focus of the episode. Ultron becomes the first multiversal threat that the MCU faces. And it’s partially the Watcher’s fault.
Peekaboo, Ultron Sees You
Having decimated his native universe, Ultron has a moment where he goes “Oh no, what do I do now?” However, thanks to the Stones (and the Watcher’s own narration), he becomes more aware of the universe around him. He can see the Watcher from behind the fourth wall separating him from the rest of the multiverse.
The idea of a character breaking the fourth wall isn’t a new concept, but rarely is it played so menacingly. The Watcher, for all his power, is terrified when he learns Ultron knows about him. That terror turns to desperation as he watches Nat and Barton almost give up, wanting to intervene so badly, but held back by his oath.
Then, Ultron does the impossible. He breaks the walls between universes and attacks the Watcher. In a treat for longtime Marvel fans, we see the Watcher unleash his full power against Ultron, and the fight is Shonen anime levels of action. This was my favorite moment of the entire episode, and we got to see the show’s animators use the medium to its fullest extent. The sight of Ultron growing large enough to devour an entire Galaxy is something I’d never thought I’d see, but was amazing to look at.
In the end, not even the Watcher can stop Ultron, leaving the AI free to wipe out all life in the multiverse. But all is not lost.
Multiverse Spanning Avengers, Assemble
There’s an underlying point to this entire MCU, one that was also made clear in Loki. If left unchecked, a threat in one universe could become a threat to the entire multiverse. Thus, the TVA was founded to keep the number of timelines down to a minimum. But the TVA’s methods weren’t right. Luckily, there is a better idea in place. An idea involving remarkable individuals and fighting battles others never could.
The Watcher knows that what’s at stake goes beyond his oath. However, he also knows he can’t make things worse. So, why not create a team of multiverse-spanning Avengers to protect it? Because that seems to be what we’re headed for. And the Watcher’s already got his first recruit: Strange Supreme, who we last saw getting his universe destroyed.
This has to be the best episode of What If…? thus far. The action was superb, and it’s bringing all the disparate stories together into one plot. I can’t wait for the finale next week! Multiverse Avengers, assemble!
I Give “What If…Ultron Won?” a 4.5/5
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