Let’s Talk about What If…? Episode 1-7
The best way to summarize the most recent episode of Marvel’s What If…? isn’t even a sentence I would have considered typing until today.
Yes, the series just threw down the gauntlet by creating its own version of Van Wilder with Thor as Ryan Reynolds.
Let’s figure out what in the Blue Hell is going on in episode 1-7 of What If…?, the one with the interplanetary party.
Thor and Dr. Jones
Have you ever watched The Big Bang Theory? Let’s be honest. You have.
During the height of its popularity, this CBS sitcom earned 15 million weekly viewers regularly. And it stole one of its core concepts from comic book stores.
If you’ve spent any time at these places, you know about the absurd conversations involving fictional heroes.
People debate who would win fights between such characters, which can lead to stuff like this:
Even the non-comic book fans on the show have argued the subject at times:
Well, this episode of What If…? comes down to one prolonged debate. Who would win a fight between Thor and Captain Marvel?
Everything else stems from this prolonged battle across states, countries, and even outer space.
That’s the entirety of this week’s show. After that, it’s an extended party across planet Earth, and two of the most OP Avengers fight for a good third of the episode!
Ostensibly, the name of this episode indicates its conceit: What If… Thor Were an Only Child?
In execution, the story reveals that Loki challenged Thor enough that the Avenger matured quietly, almost invisibly over the years.
Without Loki’s influence, Thor is a glorified Norse frat boy from a 1980s movie. He’s a reckless party animal who leaves a path of destruction in his wake.
Love, Exciting and New
This episode riffs off the various Thor movies, starting with Dr. Jane Foster and her loyal assistant, Darcy.
The scientist is tracking something that destroyed an entire sun. She fears an alien invasion. And Darcy is mainly there to quip. I love her so much.
For his part, Thor’s (all)father has entered the Odinsleep. So, the crown prince will have no parental oversight, as his mother is taking her millennial vacation.
Yes, Thor flies solo and throws a party while his mother’s not watching. It’s basically your life at 15, only if you were a muscular Norseman with flowing golden locks.
Well, you may have been. I don’t know you. Anyway, Thor brings along his friends as he visits the slummy part of the Nine Realms, Midgard.
When I say friends, I mean pretty much every outer space character from the MCU who isn’t Thanos.
Seriously, even Howard the Duck appears. And he gets married. To Darcy. I’d…been rooting for those two to get together. True love finally wins?
Speaking of true love, Dr. Foster’s plans fall by the wayside. She’d wanted to alert S.H.I.E.L.D. of impending doom. But, then, she took one look at Thor and, well, you know.
Since Thor lands in Las Vegas, her RV isn’t that far away. Foster drives to witness and possibly engage in the first contact.
Unlike every BTS fan on the planet, Foster gets her wish when she meets Thor. Oh yes, there IS first contact.
You know it’s not a sitcom when, moments later, the show cuts to the bedroom where they just hooked up. I think Thor might still be a virgin in the movies.
Anyway, S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Maria Hill shows up, informing Foster that Thor’s buddy, Korg, knocked Nick Fury into a coma.
It’s a zany episode, folks.
Hot Avenger on Avenger Action
Hill views the invaders as a nightmarish threat to our existence. Meanwhile, Foster has already deduced that her new boyfriend is an immature manchild.
Ergo, the women have differing views about the Asgardian menace. Meanwhile, Thor keeps summoning friends to his party.
A Frost Giant appears and claims that he is Thor’s brother from a different mother. Yes, it’s Loki.
In this universe, they somehow still feel that connection, although they’re bros, not brothers, here. So they apparently plan some Hangover-worthy partying.
Then, a party pooper arrives from the depths of outer space. Yes, Maria Hill has hit the beeper and summoned Captain Marvel.
Yes, Thor and Captain Marvel spend the next several minutes kicking each other’s asses.
The story doesn’t run away from the fact that Thor could never defeat Captain Marvel in a fair fight.
After all, she is right there with Scarlet Witch for the most powerful Avenger in the universe.
However, this episode belongs to Thor. So, it acknowledges that she is fighting with only part of her power. So, he “wins” by trapping her under Mjolnir.
The whole thing functions as a cheap excuse to have two heroes battle one another in (mostly) comedic fashion.
Still, for me, the funniest part of the episode comes during the resolution. Dr. Foster, the brilliant scientist, saves the day by…calling Thor’s mother.
At that point, the story switches to full Risky Business mode as Thor tries to clean up his mess before his mother arrives.
The whole thing is difficult to take seriously, but that’s what I like about it.
Marvel could have told any story they wanted here. Somebody thought it would be funny to make Thor an eternal 19-year-old with his first real crush on a girl.
They were right.
A few episodes ago, the seemingly righteous Dr. Strange turned so full-throated evil that he imploded his universe.
That episode devoted two minutes to an Avenger swallowing the souls of other beings.
Think of this one as the polar opposite of that. Nobody’s ever in any real danger. Even the disintegrated star gets played for laughs.
Instead, the focus here is on the drunken shenanigans of various MCU characters, some of which you know well. Others barely appeared in movies.
The Easter eggs from this episode are fun to track because everyone involved is having so much fun.
Somehow, the story still ends with a shocker, though. An Ultron-style character appears, and it’s wielding all the Infinity Stones. It’s Vision.
Uh-oh. There goes the party.
I give this episode an A- and want to watch more Fun Marvel stuff rather than Evil Avenger Destroys All.
Having said that, I’m really looking forward to that sequel episode with OP Vision.