After two weeks of seeing what if two familiar members of the MCU had different fates, What If takes a look at what if something didn’t happen.
It’s a fairly interesting murder mystery, with someone killing super-heroes before they become a legendary team. The solution isn’t too tough, either. It’s still another example of how one detail affects everything.
It also involves Loki, who comes with glorious purpose.
This is an alternate version of the comic mini-series “Fury’s Big Week”, where he tries to recruit Avengers. That series was slightly different from the MCU movies, but so is this episode.
It opens with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in the Randy’s Donuts scene in Iron Man 2, trying to talk Tony Stark out of the sign. Black Widow (Lake Bell) is with Nick, wondering if this will work. She injects something into Tony to help deal with his heart disease….but it kills him.
She’s accused of murder, and is surrounded by SHIELD agents. Maybe Variant Steve Rogers and Howard Stark got SHIELD off the ground after all. Anyway, Fury thinks someone is threatening the Avengers plan, and BW will try to figure out who it is. Let’s say how she gets out rivals that elevator fight.
Cut to the Thor movie where Coulson (Clark Gregg) funds Mjolnir in New Mexico. Fury’s there with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and they expect the owner to show up. He does, and Coulson says he’s got “really great hair” and is “gorgeous”. It’s Thor, of course, but why did the writers have Coulson say that? It’s a different universe, but still very strange.
In Thor, Hawkeye doesn’t shoot him with his arrow. Thanks to a thunderbolt that distracts him, he kills Thor. He can’t believe it, but it was his arrow. Something is up. Even Coulson thinks so.
We’ll never know, though, Suddenly Hawkeye is dead, too.
Black Widow talks to Dr. Betsy Ross, who was the girlfriend of the Hulk in two previous movies. BW, though, is more interested in the murders, and they think nanotech may be the answer. What’s better is her response to finding out Hawkeye’s dead: “Who do I kill?” The way Bell says that would make ScarJo proud.
Someone wants to kill the Avengers before they start, and the only two candidates left are BW and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). BW finds him in Ross’ lab, very willing to cooperate. It’s great Ruffalo was in this episode, but his character design is a bit off.
Now, as the Watcher’s shadow looms (and this should be used often), Coulson senses something weird.
Enter Loki (Tom Hiddleston), an Asgardian army, Destroyer, Lady Sif (!) and vengeance. He’s mad someone killed Thor, which is surprising, and wants the Earth.
He also has a powerful casket that releases a freeze ray.
It’s not good for BW and Banner, either. General Ross wants BW arrested or else. He also has an army. Then someone shoots Banner, which means a wounded Hulk is about to make things complicated.
It’s interesting how both battles are juxtaposed, but they have one thing in common: the person who really started them
While Loki’s wiping out Fury’s army, the Hulk suddenly becomes bigger and bigger, then explodes in a green mist. This shocks everyone including BW and Dr. Ross. The death scene looked pretty bizarre.
Loki stops to hear Fury out, and agrees to help who’s killing the Avengers. Loki also wants Thor’s body, and his killer by sunrise.
Coulson reluctantly helps BW get into the files, and she finds a dead person accessed them. Whoever it is, BW says “it’s all about Hope.”
Wait, Henry Pym is doing this? We know he had a grudge against SHIELD in the first Ant-Man movie…but this?
And isn’t Hope alive?
Yes, but this isn’t Earth-616. Here, she died in Odessa (maybe by the Winter Soldier). Janet is also dead or maybe in a Variant Quantum World.
Fury decides to meet Henry (Michael Douglas), who is very bitter. He calls himself Yellow Jacket, and blames Fury for Hope and Janet’s deaths. This is dark!
This leads to an interesting fight, with Fury getting the drop on Henry a bit too easily
Turns out Fury told Loki who killed Thor, which explains the multiple Furys that fight him. They defeat Henry, and Loki is grateful. He decides to stay on Earth….and take it over without opposition
This was disappointing because Henry should have gotten the upper hand at first. He killed those heroes, and should have given Loki more trouble. Also, Fury just giving Loki the Earth? His options were limited, but it’s a bad image.
Once again, the Watcher shows how good intentions can lead to roads to Hell. SHIELD had been protecting the world, but sometimes those missions lead to tragedy, and someone wanting revenge. You also have to make deals with less-than-honorable people. There’s been recent examples of that. Because Henry Pym wanted revenge, he winds up dooming the Earth to being ruled by a mischievous Norse god. Fury trusting Loki also led to that, but he didn’t have much of a choice.
So, what’s next? Well, there will be Avengers, just different….like an Air Force pilot who has a very menacing cat.
The episode brought it much of the original cast including Jackson, Ruffalo, Renner and Douglas. Bell was really good as Black Widow, and hopefully she can be a regular.
While this series may show people the Sacred Timeline is the best, some will still wonder “what could have been”, see it, and then discover what was really meant to be.
Even in a world under the thumb of Loki, Avengers would still exist. At least that’s still true.
What If airs new episodes every Wednesday on Disney Plus.