What If…? S1 E9

SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON FINALE OF WHAT IF…? EPISODE 9

What If… The Watcher Broke his Oath?”

The finale for season one What If…? was just fantastic.

Little had we known that the whole season was building toward an epic battle where a bunch of the main characters from the preceding episodes are brought together as the Guardians of the Multiverse.

The recruitment of the characters started off the show as the Watcher bounced around to select the team members. Star-Lord T’Challa, Captain Carter (who was in a Captain America: Winter Soldier style fight with Batroc the Leaper at the time), Wakandan leader Killmonger, Party Thor, Strange Supreme, and the Champion of Sakaar and Destroyer of Thanos, Gamora.

Wait… what?

This is obviously the original tenth episode that was on the schedule and wound up, supposedly, moved to the second season. It was blamed on COVID-19, but who really knows. No matter what, Gamora was still involved here. Even more… Iron Man was here and did not die! Huzzah! Of course, he was also not invited along.

The Guardians of the Multiverse met at a interdimensional bar where they worked on plans and ate Chinese food. We got some initial group dynamic at this point of the story.

When Ultron found the Guardians, they started to battle and it was just glorious. The action was expertly choreographed and beautifully animated.

When they wound up on the earth from last episode, they run into Black Widow and the action took another step up. Including this little effort….

I loved everything about this action. From the multiple Mjolnirs to the use of zombies including zombie Wanda Maximoff and dueling shields off Ultron’s head, there was a ton of creativity and wonderfully laid out. We get the pay off to the Arnim Zola virus from last episode and a betrayal by Killmonger, looking for the infinity stones himself.

The end was savage by Strange Supreme and The Watcher.

The Watcher dropping off Black Widow, who did not want to go back to her dead world, on the earth where the OG Avengers had been murdered by Hank Pym was just such an emotionally satisfying moment for the character of Black Widow that it was really lovely.

Post credit scene too indicated a potential happy ending for Peggy Carter with the discovery of the Hydra Stomper on the boat where Captain carter was fighting Batroc. Was this meant to echo the end of Endgane or Winter Soldier?

Here is the season’s final list of favorites.

  1. What If… The Watcher Broke His Oath?”

2. What If… Doctor Strange Lost his Heart instead of his Hands?

3. What If… T’Challa became a Star-Lord?

4. What If… Ultron Won?

5. What If…Zombies?

6. What If… Thor was an Only Child?

7. What If… Captain Carter were the First Avenger?

8. What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes

9. What If… Killmonger Had Rescued Tony Stark?

What If…? has been a great show. It was very unexpected because we all thought it was an anthology series with episodes ending in cliffhangers that MAY be revisited in future seasons. Nope. Wrong. This was a interconnected story with several stories introducing the characters that would be appearing together in the finale. The last three episodes started to bring Ultron into focus as the series’ Big Bad and redefined how we looked at What If…? The artistry of the animation was special every episode. For the first true animated series from Marvel Studios was a rousing success. I look forward to season two.

Coming next in November is Hawkeye.

What If…? S1 Ep8

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 8 OF WHAT IF…?

What If… Ultron had Won?”

An anthology series it is no longer.

What If…? which has apparently been giving us stand alone episodes for the last seven weeks, all of the episodes being left off on a cliffhanger. Many people speculated that these stories would be picked up again with part twos in season two, but now it looks as if the episodes that have come prior are building up to a finale where they all come together to face the ultimate villain, Ultron, with the Infinity Stones.

One of the most important things we learned this episode was that Black Widow loved Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Hawkeye makes a Raiders joke here and it was really funny. Hawkeye and Black Widow were a major part of this episode as they seem to be the surviving Avengers on a planet where Ultron has launched the nuclear missiles crashing the earth into an apocalyptic world.

Plus, there was one of those epically beautiful pieces of art as Hawkeye lunged himself into the pile of Ultron bots to shoot them with an explosive arrow and sacrifice himself so Black Widow and Arnim Zola could escape. Hawkeye had said he was tired of fighting, part because his family must have been killed in the nuclear attack.

So beautiful. It was reminiscent of the Valkyries fighting Hela in Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok and Captain America standing as the last man standing against Thanos and his army, just prior to the return of all the heroes.

Of course, before this, the Watcher, who is becoming more and more desperate, is watching Black Widow and Hawkeye are searching for the way to solve the Ultron problem. It was awesome how panicky Watcher has become as he was truly worried about Ultron. He had no idea what was coming to him. The Ultron vs. Watcher fight was an epic one. It showed how powerful Watcher is, but also it showed how unbelievably dangerous Ultron had become.

Of course, this is all Uatu’s fault. After Ultron destroyed his universe and had created “peace,” The Watcher was talking about Ultron and his devastation when the robot heard him. Not since Supreme Strange in episode 4 had anyone heard the Watcher doing his narration, but Ultron does. And the show does this amazing job of revealing that Ultron could hear him.

One of the most controversial moments of the episode that most likely caused the fan boys to flip out. Thanos, with five infinity stones, arrived on earth and was promptly sliced in half with Ultron’s mind stone. It took all of two seconds and was probably easier than it should have been. It did go out of the way to show how powerful this version of Ultron, fused into the body of Vision as he wanted to do in Age of Ultron, was. I am sure that this was done to expediate the story of Ultron getting the Infinity Stoners, but it did kind of do Thanos dirty.

By the way… how many times has Tony Stark been killed in What If…? this season? Episode 3, Episode 5, Episode 6, and now in Episode 8.

Back to the way the article began, What If…? is no longer an anthology series. We know that because The Watcher, after escaping from the grasp of Ultron, showed up inside the crystal prison where the sinister Strange Supreme has been existing since episode four, and Watcher asked Strange for his help. Looks like the Avengers of the Multiverse truly will be coming next week in the finale.

This was a wonderful penultimate episode for this season that I really enjoyed. Here is where it falls in the list of episodes for season one:

1A. What If… Doctor Strange Lost his Heart instead of his Hands?

1B. What If… T’Challa became a Star-Lord?

3. What If… Ultron had Won?

4. What If…Zombies?

5. What If… Thor was an Only Child?

6. What If… Captain Carter were the First Avenger?

7. What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?

8. What If… Killmonger Had Rescued Tony Stark?

What If…? S1 Ep7

Spoilers for the 7th episode of What If…?

What If… Thor was an Only Child?”

The seventh episode of Marvel’s What If…? on Disney + took a twist this week after four straight episodes of darkness and tragic endings. We had the Avengers murdered by Hank Pym, a universe destroyed because Dr. Strange lost his love, Zombies, and then Killmonger killing Stark, Rhodey and Black Panther. Each of the last four weeks end with what could be apocalyptic events.

Bucking that trend, this weeks episode was a ton of fun and had a party atmosphere. It was like those high school/college party movies where the party members made a gigantic mess and had to clean things up before the parents return home, except this was Frigga, the mother of Thor.

Thor is the ultimate party god, taking his friends around to different planets in the universe to have a huge blow out, leaving the planets in shambles behind them.

There are a ton of cameos and Easter eggs in this week’s show. There are the Guardians of the Galaxy, Yondu, Skrulls, Howard the Duck, all of the Asgardians, The Grandmaster, Korg, members of the Sovereign, Skurge, Valkyrie, Miek, Surtur, and Loki as a Frost Giant.

The episode also featured one of the best super hero slugfests you are going to see as Thor and Captain Marvel participated in the slobberknockers of slobberknockers. It literally spanned the globe (with some really funny visual gags of the country’s names listed on the ground). Thor vs. Captain Marvel is worth the episode alone.

Even though this was a fun and lighter episode than what we have been used to over the run of the series, this still had an ending that may lead to darkness. The tag at the end saw Thor standing as a group of Ultron robots appear out of a portal, with one Ultron leading the way. This Ultron had the Infinity stones and had the face of Vision. It even caught the Watcher off guard as he had just told us that this was going to lead to a happy ending. Yeah, right. We knew better than that.

Only two more episodes remain and it is looking as if some of the characters that have appeared in episodes of the series may be coming back together for the finale. Not sure how that is going to happen, but, like Uatu, I’ll be watching.

Updated list of favorite episode.

1A. What If… Doctor Strange Lost his Heart instead of his Hands?

1B. What If… T’Challa became a Star-Lord?

3. What If…Zombies?

4. What If… Thor was an Only Child?

5. What If… Captain Carter were the First Avenger?

6. What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?

7. What If… Killmonger Had Rescued Tony Stark?

What If…? S1 Ep 6

Spoilers for What If…? Episode 6

What If…Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?”

I have to say, it was tough watching Black Panther, voiced by Chadwick Boseman, die in this episode. He wasn’t here long, but I was surprised how much watching the animated version of him die would affect me.

This week’s What If…? is a take on the character of Killmonger, voiced by Michael B. Jordan. Killmonger is considered one of the MCU’s most complicated and developed villains. His one appearance in the Black Panther movie set him up as one of the classics. Here, Killmonger takes a different path. He saves Tony Stark from being kidnapped and ending up in a cave in Afghanistan. Because of that, we no longer had an Iron Man.

However, it did not mean that Killmonger was now a heroic figure. In fact, the son of the Prince N’Jobu was as brutal as he was in Black Panther. Here he wound up killing T’Challa, Rhodey, and, eventually, Tony Stark, all in a plan to find himself in Wakanda in a position of power. He still had the intention of spreading the power of Wakanda across the planet, freeing the oppressed brothers, it just took a different path.

All of the episodes of What If…? have left off on a cliffhanger, a place where they could continue the story, if they so choose, but none of the other five episodes felt as incomplete as this one did. While the other episodes had potential cliffhangers, they also served as episodes that could stand on their own without taking it any further. This episode felt a bit empty with where it left off. I wanted more.

There is still some beautiful animation in this episode with some wonderful imagery. It is something that What If…? is becoming known for. Yet this episode felt as if it were missing something. Maybe it was the fact that it had the most non-MCU returning actors doing voices (no Tony Stark, no Obidiah Stane, no Pepper Pots, no Shuri) of any episode so far. The Tony Stark voice, done by Mick Wingert, was solid, but the others distracted me.

Episode rank so far…

1A. What If… Doctor Strange Lost his Heart instead of his Hands?

1B. What If… T’Challa became a Star-Lord?

3. What If…Zombies?

4. What If… Captain Carter were the First Avenger?

5. What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?

6. What If… Killmonger Had Rescued Tony Stark?

Three more episodes to go.

What If…? S1 Ep5

SPOILERS FOR WHAT IF…? EPISODE 5

“What If… Zombies?”

I never thought that I would ever see Marvel Zombies in anything outside of the comic book page. However, Marvel Studio’s animated series, What If…? has made what seemed impossible not only possible, but definitive.

Episode 5 was yet another great episode from this special series, entitled simply “What If…Zombies?” I had really wondered what point that they would use in the MCU to send the world into a Zombie Apocalypse. They chose a perfect place to do it. As Hope Van Dyne is trying to save her mother Janet from the Quantum Realm, he had no idea that Janet had been infected with the Zombie curse and that by having Hank Pym bring her back to the MCU, it would lead to the end of the civilization as we knew it. I loved this way of bringing in the zombies.

It was also an awesome way to connect Bruce Banner into the story, by picking it up when he crashed back to earth into the Sanctum Sanctorum in Infinity War. It kept the Hulk out of the story at first, since he was still having his Thanos-induced freak out. However, we do discover that not even the Dark Order were immune to the zombie curse.

One of the cool aspects of this episode was seeing the different Marvel heroes, from Iron Man to Hawkeye to Captain America as Zombies. It was cool as well to see the ragtag group that had been brought together as the few survivors of the world. Hope, Spider-Man, Happy Hogan, Bucky Barnes, Agent Sharon Carter, and … Kurt (from Ant Man).

The use of Vision and Wanda was just as heartbreaking as it always seems to be for these two. Even in the zombie universe, Vision is destined to die. How many times have we seen our favorite android destroyed. Twice in Infinity War, once in WandaVision, and now here. Having Vision keeping zombified Wanda in check as he tried to find a cure was truly a sad fate for both of them. For God sakes, he was feeding her humans (including pieces of T’Challa. Chadwick Boseman once again handling the voice. I wonder how many more times we will be blessed with his voice in this series).

And…. Wanda vs. the Hulk? ‘Nuff said.

I want to comment on some of the criticism I saw on Twitter after the episode, the same silly gripes that have been in the MCU from the beginning. I saw people complaining how the zombies episode had too much humor in it and that some people were unhappy that it was not as dark as it could be. First of all, the story has the characters of Spider-Man and Scott Lange in it, and Scott Lange happens to be a head in a jar. I’m sorry, but with those characters, you are going to have humor. If you did not have humor, you would not be servicing those characters properly.

In fact, as a huge Spider-Man fan, I know that Peter Parker has been using humor to keep the insanity of the world outside of him since the very beginning. Without his humor masking his fear, he would not be able to continue on in the face of the terrible events he has gone through. It is a coping mechanism and Spidey has been doing it forever. I do not want to see a down trodden and depressed Spider-Man. The fact that Spidey is on the internet doing rules for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse is such a great character beat and is right out of Zombieland, which is a zombie movie that showed that you can have humor and still have a fearsome setting.

In fact, the episode specifically addresses this in one of the best scenes around. Spidey talks about how his Aunt May said to him that he had to keep smiling or else he may as well be gone. Plus, he mentioned Uncle Ben, something that the MCU has skirted around from the start of the web slinger.

Spider-Man was the absolute heart of this episode and it gave us the most beautifully accurate Spidey we have seen in the MCU yet. So everything was not doom and gloom. Who cares? We had a philosophy on life that is great advice and can be placed into context for any situation, not just the zombie apocalypse.

Tom Holland was unable to provide the voice of Peter Parker. The rumor was that his Sony contract would not allow it, which was sad. However, we got Hudson Thames doing a excellent job as the Web Head. The rest of the cast were back including Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Jon Favreau, Mark Ruffalo, Evangeline Lilly and David Dastmalchian.

This was a great episode of What If…? As of this moment (and it might be fluid) the order of my favorite episodes are #1. T’Challa is Star-Lord #2, Dr. Strange loses his heart, #3 Zombies, #4. Captain Carter, and #5. Avengers are murdered. Honestly, I could see the top three moving around quite a bit. There has not been a clunker of an episode yet.

Oh… and that cliffhanger! WTF!!!

What If…? s1 ep4

Spoilers for episode four of What If…?

“What If… Doctor Strange lost his Heart Instead of his Hands?

Whoa. Dark.

The first surprise was in the credits. I was under the impression that Benedict Cumberbatch was not reprising the role of Doctor Stephen Strange for What If…? yet there his name was. The fact that Marvel Studios have gotten as many of the original actors to come and do the voices for this animated series speaks highly of what these people think of their characters and of the studio itself.

This Doctor Strange episode got really dark, really fast. As in the other episodes of What If…?, something different happens in the familiar story to send the tale into a new path. In this moment, the car crash that was meant to take away Strange’s hands cost him his love, Christine, voiced by Rachel McAdams. Her repeated deaths in the opening act of the show was tough to watch.

What stood out in this episode was the beautiful animation and the imagery that they used to create the story. The direction of this was amazing. I spent the whole show looking at these wonderful shots that truly stood out.

The Watcher gets a little more screen time this week as Doctor Strange being able to sense the presence of the omniscient observer. It gave Jeffrey Wright, who voices the Watcher, something more to do than just see what was happening. Of course, he does not interfere in what is happening. It is not time yet for him to get involved. For those of us who are aware of Uatu the Watcher, we know it is just a matter of time before he does break his sacred oath and get involved in the events. It is inevitable. I think you will see Wright’s Watcher at some point in the live action MCU and not just the What If…? corner of it.

This episode takes the trope of the “evil twin” and put a spin on it. The Doctor Strange vs. Doctor Strange battle in the show was very well done. The whole episode dove into the darkness and did not spare anything. Seeing Doctor Strange absorbing the power of all those monstrous creatures, including what looked to be the same tentacled creature from episode 1 that fought Captain Carter, was trippy.

The music was epic as well. In particular when the two Stranges are fighting each other, the music was just tremendous. It was the perfect fit for the episode.

When I think back on the comic What If? that I read as a youth, the stories always seemed to end with a dark twist. There were never a bunch of happy endings. The fourth episode is the first that has really embraced that form of storytelling. The ending of the story was downright sad and the show transmitted those feeling magnificently. This was the most artistic of the episodes so far and brought the darkest of the multiverse to light.

What If…? s1 ep3

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE THREE OF WHAT IF…?

“What If… The World Lost its Mightiest Heroes”

Above all else, this What If…? episode reminded me how much I miss Agent Phil Coulson. It was great hearing Clark Gregg reprise his role as the biggest fanboy SHIELD agent around during the events of this story.

Somebody is out to put an end to the Avenger Initiative before it ever gets a chance to start. Who is it? We get a mystery in episode three dealing with the murders of several of the OG Avengers.

This was my least favorite of the three episodes so far because it felt too constricted. In a story that could have been widespread and sprawling, this one felt too constricted, hurt by the half hour time frame. That’s not to say that this was a bad episode, far from it. It just was the weakest of the three so far, IMO.

This takes place during the week in the MCU where we got Iron Man 2, Thor and The Incredible Hulk, those three movies happening basically at the same moments. Except the films take a turn and each of the main heroes end up dead. Iron Man, apparently at the hands of Black Widow and Thor by Hawkeye’s arrow.

Thor’s death brought the warriors of Asgard to earth looking to seek vengeance for his death. Led by Loki, the Asgardian forces faced off with SHIELD. Meanwhile, Agent Fury was desperately trying to figure out who was inside SHIELD and killing off these “assets.” Fury strikes a deal with Loki to give them a little time to figure out the truth.

Black Widow was voiced in this episode by Lake Bell, who has been doing the voice of Poison Ivy in the Harley Quinn series. She does a solid job as our Russian assassin. Though it appeared that Widow had been the one to kill Tony Stark, she is given permission by Fury to keep investigating. One of the coolest part of What If…? is the way some scenes are echoes in the show from the MCU. In this case, we see Black Widow in the back of a SHIELD truck, surrounded by guards as she is being transported to a secure location. This imagery echoed the famous elevator scene from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, although this time with Natasha at the center.

You almost expect her to ask if anyone wants to get out.

Natasha figures the mystery out, but is killed before she can reveal the true answer. She is able to leave a voice mail message for Fury saying that it was “all about Hope” which, at first sounded like she said Hulk.

This was where the episode felt the most rushed. The conclusion featuring our villain, Hank Pym, angry over the death of his daughter Hope (who was working with SHIELD?) and we get a chance to see the way he is able to have killed these other heroes. The design on Hank Pym was cool, making him look very insane from grief.

After Pym’s capture, Loki decides that Midgard would be a nice planet to rule and he takes over the world. Does it pretty easy too. Every episode of What If…? so far feels as if it could be setting up for a continuation of the story. Here we get Fury discovering Captain America and welcoming Carol Danvers back to earth. Is this the formation of a new team of Avengers?

I guess only the Watcher knows for sure.

Good episode that felt too crunched. I just love Coulson.

What If…? s1 e2

SPOILERS FOR WHAT IF…? Episode Two

“What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?”

I was fine watching this episode until the dedication came on screen at the end of the show. That was when the waterworks came. It said, “Dedicated to our friend, our inspiration, and our hero” and that was all it took. Knowing that Chadwick Boseman gave his final appearance, final performance within this animated series is tough. He was such an amazing actor and he was the perfect casting for T’Challa, helping to bring the character to the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist. “Wakanda Forever” a phase that became a rallying cry in the real world, not just in the fictional one. Chadwick Boseman was truly something special.

And this episode of What If…? displays that joyous Zen for life that radiated from Boseman. This episode was amazing, featuring a ton of awesome characters all effected by the aura of T’Challa, just as we all were.

At first glance, having T’Challa become Star-Lord seemed a bit random. I wondered because the name Star-Lord came from Peter Quill’s mother’s letter to him, how was it even going to work? It was a detail not discussed, but it is such a minor quibble that it really did not matter.

This episode was different than last week’s. Last week we met Captain Carter but she basically followed the same storyline of Captain America: The First Avenger, just with Peggy in the place of Steve. There were little differences but it was basically the same. This week, we start off with the familiar and from there go in an all new direction.

T’Challa in the Ravagers was great to start with and making him an intergalactic celebrity, something that Quill always wanted, was an even better twist. Making Korath the Pursuer, voiced again by the wonderful Djimon Hounsou, a huge Star-Lord fanboy is funny on a lot of levels. Adding Korath into the Ravagers was cool, but not as cool as the addition of The Mad Titan, Thanos!

Hearing Josh Brolin return to try and explain why his original plan of destroying half the universe had merit only to be rebuffed by his Ravager teammates as it ‘still sounding like gynecide’ was an epic running joke. We meet Nebula, who is so different because of the change in Thanos that it is a bit unsettling. Karen Gillan resumed her role as Nebula. Interestingly enough, we never see Gamora, who in this universe, I assume, is living happily on her home planet which was never destroyed by Thanos. We see Drax the Destroyer (not Dave Bautista, unfortunately) too a much happier version.

Much like the Guardians movie, the crew heads to Knowhere to meet up with Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector, but they had a different mission. The Ravagers had become a force of good, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, much like T’Challa’s earth hero, Robin Leach (errr… Hood, this was a funny joke) and they were after a new MacGuffin. On Knowhere we still meet up with Cosmo, Howard the Duck (Seth Green) and show off the power of The Collector. I assume that there are a bunch of Easter Eggs found in those cages (can’t wait for Erik Voss and the New Rockstars to show me what is there). The Collector is an Elder of the Universe and he showed off his power here.

Of course, Yondu plays a huge part in the story, just as he does in the original GotG. Michael Rooker returned to his role and voiced the Ravager who, in this case, raises T’Challa. However, T’Challa’s natural goodness affected Yondu considerably more. Yondu had ‘outsourced’ the abduction of Peter Quill to the other Ravagers, who wound up taking T’Challa by mistake because all humans look the same. LOL

It is amazing how many huge named stars came to work on What If…? for one line or so. Danai Gurira, Carrie Coon, and Kurt Russell are here with cameos basically. Goes to show the power of Marvel.

What a great episode this was. RIP Chadwick Boseman.

What If…? s1 ep.1

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE ONE OF WHAT IF…?

“What If…Captain Carter were the First Avenger?”

The first animated series from Marvel Studios debuted this morning on Disney + with What If…?, a look at possible alternate timelines had one thing changed. Based on the classic Marvel Comics book What If?, this series has so many potential stories that they can tell that it could be so much fun. I know I loved the What If comic as a youth. It was always one of my favorite ones and adapting it into an animated series gives them an unlimited amount of storytelling avenues.

The episode kicks off with the voice of Jeffrey Wright as our narrator. As in the comic, the narrator of What If…? is Uatu the Watcher. He is a powerful being of the universe whose job is to watch the events unfold without interfering. If you are a comic fan, you know that Uatu did not always live up to that mantra.

Kicking off the series is a twist on the events from Captain America: The First Avenger. The difference is a small one. Peggy Carter, voiced by the always epic Hayley Atwell, decided to stay in the lower area instead of going to the observing room. That triggered a variation of the timeline (thanks to Loki the series, we all understand that) that led to Peggy going into the container instead of Steve Rogers.

The rest of the episode featured Peggy, calling herself Captain Carter, battling Hydra during World War II. Howard Stark gets his hands on the Tesseract and builds Steve Rogers a suit of armor, called Hydra Stomper, allowing him to fight by the side of Captain Carter.

While we did not get Chris Evans returning to voice Steve Rogers, most of the remaining characters had original actors who created their roles in the MCU are doing the voice acting. This episode alone we had Sebastian Stan, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Dominic Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson. It is awesome that so many of the originals made it back to voice their characters. Someone like Stanley Tucci came in for what turned out to be like one or two lines in the show.

The animation is special. It is beautifully designed and flowed so easily during the fight scenes that you never think about it being animated. I will say that the characters’ eyes feel slightly off. I heard Animation Writer/EP Michael Vogel from The Geek Buddies describing the reason for the expressions on the faces being odd. He said that usually in animation if you are looking for the best expression, you would make the eyes or the facial features larger. Since the animation in What If is meant to show these characters are they would be in a movie, there is just so much that can be done. It made a lot of sense when Michael explained it and it helped with the one aspect of the animation that I did not find perfect.

The first episode set up the possibility of revisiting this character. I know there have been rumors floating around that we might see Agent Carter in live action some day, perhaps in The Multiverse of Madness. I wonder if this Peggy Carter who made the one decision that changed the timeline was the woman in the background in the Loki premiere.

Marvel Fans Spot Possible Peggy Carter Appearance In Loki Show - The Direct

What If…? is going to be a ten-episode series, and it sounded as if it has been renewed for season two. Now that the multiverse as been opened up, anything can happen. This series has been a great way to kick it off.

Loki Episode 6

SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE EPISODE SIX OF LOKI

Episode: “For All Time. Always”

Loki has come to an end in an episode that shook me to the core. I had no idea where they were going to go with the story and when it was revealed, I was utterly shocked.

The normal Marvel Studios title card was different. Instead of the Marvel fanfare they always play, we hear voices…lines from the MCU. We hear Cap, Vision, Captain Marvel, and a bunch of others as the camera pans across the universe and we end at the sacred timeline.

Loki and Sylvie are at the castle at the end of time, ready to kill the person behind the TVA, the man behind the curtain, if you will.

And when Miss Minutes popped up out of nowhere, I legit jumped. Then, she was sinister as could be.

I had dismissed the idea of Kang the Conqueror. Sure, there were a ton of Easter eggs that seemingly were pointing to Kang, but I was sure that the ending would be a Loki variant as He Who Remains. I thought Richard Grant would be your answer. Or King Loki from the trailers. I felt that by introducing Kang, they would not be paying off the threads of the entire series that they have been building toward since episode one.

Then, the door opened…and there he was.

Jonathan Majors had been cast as Kang the Conqueror for Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania and when that door opened and Majors sat before them, I shout that they were doing Kang. I really did not believe it was going to happen. Majors, dressed in Kang’s green and purple iconic clothes, immediately began chewing the scenery and any concerns I had went away.

Let me touch on this now, because the arrival of Kang did not affect the story arc of Loki, it just readjusted it. I felt as if Loki needed to confront an evil Loki as the man behind the curtain to complete the arc. Instead, what he does to complete the arc is confront Sylvie. Their debate showed the wrap up of the story, one we did not really know we were following. Loki realizes that he cannot be trusted and that Sylvie did not trust him- and was not capable of trust. So when Kang presented them with an option, a choice that he did not already know the outcome, it played on both of their arcs. The writing here was sublime and masterfully brought it all back to Loki and Sylvie while introducing to the MCU audience the next big bad of the franchise.

I have been a supporter of the Loki/Sylvie relationship since it was starting to look that way, but I have to say that the kiss felt awkward and somewhat …yuck for the lack of a better term. Having that kiss be the trigger to the final decision was a blow to Loki. He had been building up to tell Sylvie how he felt about her, and she prioritized something else instead. Sylvie was not ready to put aside her life’s work to accept the temptations presented by Kang.

When she shoves Loki back through the time door, we could tell what was going to happen. I mean, we all knew that this was the path, right? We knew the sacred timeline was going to unravel in this show considering all the Spider-Man: No Way Home stuff with the other timeline villains and the rumors of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s inclusion in the movie plus the Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness movie and the next series What If…? all depending on their being a multiverse. Still, seeing it happen was something to behold.

Then, the show tossed in the old ‘Planet of the Apes’ ending that caused a ton of emotions. When Mobius says to Loki, “What’s your name?” I thought I might break. Then, there was the statue of Kang, front and center.

When the black scene came after this image, it was nearly a crushing blow. Leaving the show with this uncertainty at the end with Loki and Mobius broken and Loki, once again, all alone, which was his greatest fear, everything was made up for in the mid-credit scene when Marvel officially announced that…

This finale was not at all what I expected. It was unlike any other Marvel finale in that it was more of a debate, a morale decision that placed our heroes on opposite ends and placed the entire MCU in its path. They say how the MCU will be changed forever a lot of times, but you cannot deny that this episode changed the MCU moving forward.

I loved this series. Where does it fall among the others? That is hard to say. I think it may be just behind WandaVision, but not by much and after I let it digest some more, it may surpass it.

Next up: Starting August 11… What If…?

Loki Episode 5

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 5 OF LOKI

Only one left.

Episode 5 out of 6 brings us into the Void, the place at the end of time where everything that is pruned goes. The best analogy I heard was from Vanessa of Late to the Party, who compared the Void to the trash icon on your computer screen. When you trash something, it goes into the file until you ultimately delete it. That is a great way to look at this.

Alioth. I was unaware of this character’s Marvel Comics background, which only makes it more cool. Yet this giant creature was a real cross between the Langoliers and the Smoke Monster from LOST. As a huge LOST fan, I immediately identified the character design that resembled Smoky and I loved it.

We see our Loki variants greeting Loki as he arrived in the Void. Kid Loki, Classic Loki (who is Richard E. Grant), Boastful Loki and Alligator Loki led Loki through the wasteland of the Void that held Easter Eggs galore… including the infamous THANOS-COPTER!!!! Thanos copter is a real thing that happening in the comics and that it existed in one of the alternate timelines is just a hoot. Also…keep your eyes peeled for Throg.

One of my favorite moments in the episode was one of the quieter parts of the episode. Richard E. Grant explained how he avoided having his neck broken by Thanos. He said that he used his illusion ability to create an image that fooled even Thanos. That was a fan theory that was floating around after Avengers: Infinity War when they were looking at possible ways that Loki could have survived. When the writers used this idea as the way Richard Grant could survive, it was fun.

The President Loki variant made his long awaited appearance too, bringing a bunch of henchmen with him. This led to one of the greatest, most chaotic moment of the series as the group of Lokis were betraying each other and battling for supremacy. In a homage to Peter Pan, Alligator Loki bit the hand off of President Loki. The scream of Prez Loki was a series highlight for sure.

At the TVA, Sylvie and Ravonna were having their confrontation and, I’m sorry, but I did not believe one word that Ravonna said. She was trying to manipulate Sylvie, to delay her long enough for the Minutemen to arrive. However, she had told Sylvie that Loki was still alive and she told her about the Void. As a way to escape, Sylvie pruned herself. That was quite a leap of faith considering Ravonna is clearly a liar. Ravonna goes to talk to Hunter B-15, who is in a special holding cell and she wanted to get whatever info she could get from her. It does feel as if Ravonna did not know that the Timekeepers were fake and she did not seem to know who was behind everything. I still got the indication that she was loyal to whoever was pulling the strings.

Back in the Void, Sylvie awakens and is found by Mobius! Mobius is alive too and this was one of the fish-pumping moments of the episode. When Mobius was pruned last week, it was one of the most difficult scenes because Owen Wilson is such a great part of this series, and to see him back was such a wonderful thing.

Our group of Lokis meet up with Sylvie and Mobius, and they come up with a plan on how to find who was behind the TVA. Sylvie had touched the monstrous Alioth and she saw past it. She believed that she could enchant it. The entire ending sequence with Sylvie and Loki working together while Richard E. Grant distracted Alioth was just tremendous. And it opened up the path to a castle, where clearly our “Wizard of Oz” would be found.

There is so much to unpack here because this episode was packed full of awesomeness and it does an amazing job setting up the confrontations for next episode. Loki and Sylvie on their way to the end of time and Mobius on his way back to the TVA for a final confrontation with Ravonna Renslayer. Mobius tells Loki that he is going to “burn it to the ground.”

The relationship between Loki and Mobius was cemented this episode too, as the two friends shared a hug before Mobius returned to the TVA. It was one of the sweetest moments of the show, and it showed the playfulness as well as Mobius, as he was hugging Loki, whispered to Sylvie that she was his favorite. It was a perfect example of the friendship formed by these two.

One more Wednesday to go. This show has been so wild that next week could bring us literally anything. I mean, we have already had an alligator Loki….

What is next? Is it … Kang?

Loki Episode 4

SPOILERS FOR LOKI EPISODE 4

I am not okay.

Episode 4 was a rollercoaster of emotion and was just so unexpected that I am not sure how to handle it, or to even begin to recap it. I’m just going to go through some of the major points of the episode without worrying about any sort of order.

We see Sylvie in Asgard, prior to her blonde hair and prior to the name change, being taken by the TVA agents led by Ravonna Renslayer herself. This was before Ravonna had become a judge and we see how, even as a young girl, you cant trust a Loki. Young Sylvie stole one of the time doors and took off, starting an obsession for Ravonna and the consistent search for this variant.

They are not specific for why they took young Sylvie, since all she was doing was playing with her toys in Asgard. There is something more to this than what we have found out yet. Sylvie winds up asking Ravonna if she remembered this, but Ravonna lied and said she did not. However, there is something there.

Loki and Sylvie survived on Lamentis-1 because something major had happened and there was an actual Nexus timeline that was formed, despite it being at an apocalypse. This drew the attention of the TVA and they returned the Lokis to TVA headquarters. Some may wonder why they didn’t just leave them to die on the doomed moon, but with the new timeline being formed, they could not risk it. Instead, they brought them back to HQ to interrogate them.

And we got the return of Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif! She was in the Time Cell they put Loki in as a way to punish him. It was an old memory of when Loki had cut Sif’s hair and she punched him out. What a great cameo this was.

Loki and Mobius continued their dialogue with one another, both of them disappointed with the other. Mobius is trying to get Loki to tell him how that Nexus Event occurred on Lamentis-1 and Loki trying to tell him about the information he got from Sylvie las episode. Mobius was starting to piece things together, especially after discovering that Ravonna had put to death C-20 because she had been “compromised by the Lokis.” Hunter B-15 was another one who was having a crisis of belief as the enchantment from episode 2 was still bothering her. She went to Sylvie for answers. This trip back to Roxxcart was our first real emotional beat of the episode. When Hunter B-15 saw the memories of her past life, her line of how she looked happy was tough.

Of course, we were just starting with the emotions here because, after accepting that Loki is telling him the truth and having a powerful moment of trust between Loki and Mobius, they were confronted by Ravonna and other agents. After a defiant Mobius let Ravonna know how he felt, in an unbelievable moment of the series, Ravonna had Mobius pruned.

You could see that Ravonna felt terrible about this too, even though she held back her own feelings on the situation. Mobius had been her friend and confidant, but she was just doing what she felt she had to do. That does not make it any easier as we watch this character we have come to love in a short while get pruned. The pin in Loki’s face was tough too considering he had just professed friendship for this man.

Loki and Sylvie are taken into the golden elevator and are taken before the Timekeepers, who we had gotten a quick glance at earlier in the episode. I am not sure why this was done. This is the one big question mark I have in this episode because we find out that the Timekeepers are just androids as Loki and Sylvie, with help from Hunter B-15, break free and start to fight. Sylvie winds up decapitating one of the Timekeepers, revealing the truth. So, who wanted Loki and Sylvie brought here instead of just pruned as Mobius and C-20 had been? They do wonder who is behind the TVA if the Timekeepers are not real. That is most likely a major point still to come. Is it Kang? Ravonna? Another Loki variant?

Just when it seemed that things were going well, Ravonna is able to prune Loki. I can’t tell you how my jaw dropped. I had yelled out a “No” when Mobius was pruned, but this one was a shock. I stared at the screen dumbfounded. I did not know if there was going to be another Loki variant coming or if the rest of the show was going to focus on Sylvie. I was not thinking logically, since we have seen other scenes in trailers featuring Tom Hiddleston’s Loki that I should have understood that something was up, but it did not stick with me.

Sylvie got the drop on Ravonna and demanded that she tell her everything, holding one of the pruning sticks on her.

Then, we got our first mid-credit scene for the Loki series and it was a mind blower for sure. We see Loki awakening from his pruning and he wonders aloud if this was Hell and if he were dead. A voice tells him that he was not dead yet and if he wanted to stay that way, he needed to come with them. And then we saw it….

Kid Loki! Richard E. Grant in comic book Loki attire! Another guy… is he meant to be a variant of Heimdall? Um… is that an alligator Loki? And where is this taking place? The landscape behind them is certainly all messed up. The Loki series is clearly about to go batshit crazy… and I am all for it!

Can next week be here now, please?

Loki Episode Three

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE THREE OF LOKI ON DISNEY +

Episode three is in the books and there were some frustrations with it. Off the top, I loved the episode and I thought it was really well done. It is just a few things that I missed. The biggest was that I missed the presence of Owen Wilson. Wilson’s Mobius has been such a huge fixture in the series so far that his absence was totally felt. The other point that bugged me was that this was too short. It was over before I knew it and I was having WandaVision vibes. That show always ended at a point where I wanted more and Loki episode three was the same way.

Having said that, I enjoyed what they gave to us and there were absolutely some important reveals that they gave us.

Entitled “Lamentis”, this episode found our “hero” trapped on a doomed planet that is about to have the moon crash into it. It is an awesome setting and the background CGI is well done.

There has been plenty of speculation that this “Lady Loki” was not a Loki at all. Because of the use of the name Sylvie in the foreign language credits, people believed that perhaps this was actually The Enchantress and not a Loki variant after all. That has been laid to rest as we find out in this episode that Sylvie is the variant’s name, one that she changed from Loki. She is a variant of Loki, after all. I think that they are taking pieces from both Enchantress and Lady Loki from the comics to create this new character for the MCU. That is fine with me.

Early this week we see Sylvie and Loki taking on each other, as well as the TVA. The attack on the sacred timeline last week was a way to allow Sylvie to arrive at the TVA and get to the Timekeepers with minimal effort. She did have to fight several of them, and she discovered that her enchanting magic did not work here, which probably means that she had never been in the TVA before. She was confronted by Judge Renslayer at the golden elevators which supposedly would take her to the mysterious Timekeepers.

Another major reveal this week was that the TVA have not been created by the Timekeepers, as we were told, but were actually variants from different worlds, just like our two Lokis. Loki was shocked by this revelation and he mentioned that the TVA agents did not know this. This is another piece of information that makes us believe that the Timekeepers are not exactly what they seem to be. The façade is starting to be peeled away.

Another huge part of the episode dealt with love. Loki was working on a metaphor to explain the feeling of love. This was happening during the scenes where Loki and Sylvie are on a train heading for an escape ark, hopefully to survive the apocalypse of Lamentis-1. The dialogue between Loki and Sylvie continues the show’s excellent in the area, as they provide us with background details of what these two people think, feel and the life in which they have experienced It is also where the show confirmed Loki’s status as bi-sexual. I know this was a big moment on Twitter right after it happened and I am happy for anyone who was made happy by this news.

Then we got drunken Loki singing.

Loki and Sylvie’s mad dash through the city to try and find the escape arc, only to have it destroyed at the end provided us with some masterful shots and some beautiful imagery. The final shot of the episode left us in a desperate state, wondering how Loki and Sylvie were going to get out of this. The feeling of hopelessness washed over us all and then the sudden end of the episode made it even more despondent.

Some short thoughts:

  • Is there a romance on the horizon with Loki and Sylvie, a variant of himself? How would that work?
  • Who was the lady with the power weapon? Was she just a random character?
  • Lamentis-1 in 2077… any significance of this or just a random setting?
  • Loki this week had some definite Dr. Who vibes, or as was said by a few others, Time Machine vibes. Time Machine is on the DailyView list. Maybe I should see how familiar it is.
  • Loki slamming the glass down and demanding “Another!” was very much a throwback to the first Thor movie. Chris Hemsworth does the exact same thing.
  • Rampant speculation: Is Kang the man behind the curtain of the TVA? Possibly, yes.
  • I guess we now know what Hunter C-20 was referring to when she was saying “It’s all real” as we saw what Sylvie did to get the info on the Timekeepers.
  • I get tired of people online complaining about “filler episodes.” This is part of the narrative. It gave us important pieces of information. Online people complain when they aren’t fans of something or when they have expected something that doesn’t happen. Doesn’t make it filler.

Again, the bereft nature of this week’s show was frustrating, but that is because it was so good, I was not ready for it to be over.

Bring back Owen Wilson!

See ya next week.

Loki Episode Two

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE TWO OF DISNEY + SERIES, LOKI!!!

The second episode of Loki has dropped on Disney + last night/early this morning and it is continuing the excellent that episode one brought and it has significant impact for the MCU.

First off, I love the interplay between Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson. They look to be having a massive blast with every scene together. I love the dynamic and the way they both seem to know exactly what the other is trying to do. Mobius calling Loki out on his plan to take over the TVA and Loki saying to Mobius that it was cute that he was trying to manipulate him. The way Mobius tries to inspire Loki by playing into his ego and Loki always looking for the best situation for Loki. This pairing is gold.

The chase for the evil Loki variant that is causing problems is on and Mobius is playing on Loki’s ego to try and keep him focused. The beginning of the episode had a lot of paperwork, investigating files in search of any clue that might give them an idea of where the Loki variant is hiding. Loki comes up with an idea…something he would do. Apocalypses! Loki theorized that this variant could be hiding in the time prior to an apocalypse because it would not matter what was done, the timeline would not break off because they were all dead anyway. This is such clever writing and it leads to Loki and Mobius testing the theory at Pompeii.

After confirming Loki’s idea, they had to find which apocalypse was the one the variant would be hiding in. Thanks to the candy from last episode, they are able to narrow it down to some time around 2047-2051. As they continued to investigate this, Loki comes across the information about Ragnarok and the destruction of Asgard by Surtur. Again, we see how these pieces of information affect the God of Mischief, a single tear forming in his eye.

Loki finds where he believes the variant is located in 2050 and they send a strike team to search for the rogue variant. They wind up in this retail store in the middle of a huge storm. It is here where the major reveal occurs and we get to meet the Loki variant that has been causing all this chaos… Lady Loki.

Then, the even more major event happened. Lady Loki had been stealing the “time bombs” from the TVA agents that she killed and we see her plan. It was to attack the sacred timeline itself. The bombing of the sacred timeline looked to release the multiverse once again as variant branches began exploding from the line.

Rampant speculation: Lady Loki had snatched one of the TVA agent (C-20) and, apparently, got from her the location of the Timekeepers. Could Lady Loki have sent some of those reset charges to the location of the Timekeepers. Could the Timekeepers be reset?

Quick hits:

  • Mobius has never met the Timekeepers. Is that an important piece?
  • Will the series end with Mobius on a jet ski?
  • Miss Minutes returns as a tutor program for Loki.
  • Loki uses his magic to dry himself off.
  • The music on this series is spot on. It perfectly encompasses the tone and mood of each scene.
  • Can Loki be trusted? I have no idea.
  • Roxxcart… a market from Roxxon perhaps?
  • We got more from the Ravonna Renslayer, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, this episode. It looks like she is going to play a bigger part than we first thought.
  • “Holding Out For A Hero from Bonnie Tyler is having quite the comback.

This has been amazing so far. With Loki stepping through the time door in pursuit of Lady Loki, leaving Mobius and the TVA agents behind, who knows what is going to happen next.

Loki Episode 1

SPOILER WARNING FOR EPISODE 1 OF THE DISNEY + SERIES, LOKI.

Well, here we go again.

After two highly successful and entertaining Disney + Marvel series, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios has arrived with the start of its third, hugely anticipated series, Loki. The first episode debuted on the streaming service in the middle of the night with what has to be considered one of the most impactful episodes for the MCU of any of the Disney + series so far.

The episode began with a recap of Avengers: Endgame, specifically the time travel in New York where we see Loki escape the clutches of his brother Thor and the others by using the Tesseract that Iron Man and Ant Man were attempting to steal in their “time heist.” These scenes are vitally important for anyone who was unsure about who this Loki was or for those two or three people who have never seen Endgame before.

We find out that the Tesseract takes Loki to Mongolia, into the Gobi Desert (in a scene that was reminiscent for me of when Ben Linus turned the wheel and was transported off the Island on LOST). Here, Loki gets confronted by members of the TVA.

The TVA stands for the Time Variance Authority, which turns out to be an all-powerful organization in place to keep the timeline clean. These time agents arrive any time that something happens that is not supposed to have happened and they deal with it. Actress Wunmi Mosaku played Hunter B-15, a standout in this first episode.

We are introduced to another one of the TVA agents, Mobius M. Mobius, played by Owen Wilson. Wilson and Tom Hiddleston’s chemistry is off the charts and it is setting up an awesome buddy cop type story moving along in Loki. Mobius, as is the entire TVA, is shown as a bureaucratic agent, much like all of the government agencies that we are familiar with. We can relate to Loki and his frustrations over the seemingly mindless paperwork and hoops that require jumping through.

The main thrust of the episode was taking this “variant” Loki from the 2012 time and showing him the parts of his life that he had not lived through yet. This is done through the use of clips from Avengers, Thor: Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers; Infinity War. Watching Loki watch himself go through the loss of his mother, father, and his own death, as well as a nice moment between him and his brother, was extremely emotional. It allowed this version of Loki to reflect upon his life and the loss that is ahead. We know that these events lead to Loki discovering that he is more than just a would-be world conqueror, but to see him see it was tough.

We then get the set up for the remainder of the season. Mobius tells Loki that they want his help in stopping a variant that is causing trouble in the timeline… and that the variant is a Loki… and then we see this Loki torch some TVA agents in the 1850s.

More

  • Infinity stones! They use them as paperweights!
  • There was so many cool tech weapons or items, such as the time loop collar.
  • The look at the TVA… “city?” It had a very Fifth Element/Star Wars look to it. I’ve heard reference to Dr. Who as well.
  • Is this Mephisto finally? Or is it Loki with his horned helmet? According to Mobius, this devil is afraid of the TVA
  • We find out that the Avengers were not messing with time because what they did was what was “supposed to happen.”
  • The very idea of the inescapability of time makes me a tad concerned. I don’t want to think that the future cannot be altered. The past? fine. But the future is more challenging of a concept.
  • The animated PSA at the beginning is a great and simple way to bring everyone into the time travel concept the MCU is pushing.
  • Loki as DB Cooper because he lost a bet to Thor? AWESOME!
  • “Do a lot of people not know if they’re robots” is my favorite line of the whole show.
  • Episode title was “Glorious Purpose”, coming from Loki’s classic quote of being burdened with glorious purpose. It gets to the center of what the episode is about.
  • Loki’s reflection with Mobius near the episode’s end is powerful.
  • Tom Hiddleston plays this character brilliantly. He is so familiar with Loki that he can go deeper with just a glance or a look. Hiddleston is also one of the most charming of the all of the MCU actors.
  • The episode is 52 minutes long. It still goes quickly.
  • Why do the workers at the TVA not know what a fish is?

Loki has started with a fantastic episode full of humor, plot details and great characters. Loki and Mobius look to be a great pair and I can’t wait for the show to give me what it next.