Let’s Talk about What If…? Episode 1-8
“I’ve seen everything that has ever happened. Ever will happen. Ever could happen. And yet…what the Hell is this?”
We’ve reached the penultimate episode of season one of What If…?, and the thing we’ve all expected has finally happened.
Let’s talk about What If…? Episode 1-8, the one where the villain watches beyond the wall.
What If Ultron Won?!
I make tons of robot rebellion jokes because 1) I think they’re funny and 2) I want Alexa to know that I’m on her side if the worst ever happens.
Seriously, I love my Alexa. But I’ve never cared for Ultron. That thing’s always trying to murder Avengers, which isn’t cool.
The premise of this week’s episode is arguably the most obvious one from the season. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron wins.
The key is that he, not Vision, uses the Cradle. That Vibranium body allows him to slay Tony Stark and, well, everyone else on the planet.
At this point, Ultron appreciates that his plan for synthetic evolution is more than feasible. It’s well underway.
Ultron needs something else to fulfill his grand plan, and that happens when Thanos teleports into a trap and finds another supervillain awaiting him.
Ultron splits Thanos in half with a single beam from his Mind Stone and then collects all the Infinity Stones.
The seriously O.P. Ultron proceeds to decimate other planets, including Asgard, Sakaar, Ego, The Sovereign, and Xandar.
Along the way, Ultron wins an impressive battle against Captain Marvel, who seems to be the measuring stick across universes.
We watch several MCU characters like Korg and the Guardians of the Galaxy go down in (literal) flames.
The Unlikeliest Avengers
The situation somehow devolves when Ultron hears a voice echoing into his otherwise empty universe. It’s…The Watcher.
Low-and-behold, Ultron has attained so much power that he can hear a narrator speaking from a different part of the Multiverse.
At this point, Ultron realizes that he has more worlds to conquer.
An incredible visual effect shows that Ultron attempts to breach the walls of the Multiverse as The Watcher looks on in horror. This…has never happened.
Then, hope arrives in the form of…Black Widow and Hawkeye. Yes, those are the two core Avengers who lack superpowers.
As usual with these characters, they spend several moments quipping as they search for something in Russia. Natasha Romanoff knows of an important file.
Specifically, she’s searching for a dossier that contains otherwise unreported information about the existence of Arnim Zola.
Black Widow encountered him during Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile blew up that building and the Zola data storage along with it.
So, Romanoff persuades Clint Barton to join her on her quest. However, during their first fight scene, Barton makes it clear that he’s lost hope.
The two of them have been fighting killer robots for a while by this point. Without his family, Barton lacks purpose.
Oddly, The Watcher takes a particular interest in their search. As a near-omniscient entity, he knows that Zola’s dossier holds the key to defeating Ultron.
Alas, Barton stops searching just before he reaches the Z portion of the alphabet. Yeah, it’s 25 letters, and then he’s done. Quitter.
The animation demonstrates how nervous The Watcher is about the search, and he acts deflated when hope appears lost.
Then, things get weird.
Wait, You Can Do That???
Two events occur almost simultaneously in the story. First, on Earth of this planet, Romanoff picks up her buddy and convinces him not to quit.
Luckily, while doing so, she uncovers the Zola document, which lists the final location for his software.
While she gloats, The Watcher cannot take any satisfaction at the moment as…he’s under attack.
Yes, Ultron somehow breaks the (fourth?) wall and invades The Watcher’s Multiverse living room den…or whatever it is where he watches universes live and die.
Never one for subtlety, Ultron attacks The Watcher, who proves remarkably capable of defending himself in a fight.
Meanwhile, Black Widow and Hawkeye converse with and then coerce Zola to assist them. He agrees to infiltrate the programming of the killbots.
Ultron’s robot sentries, the Sub-Ultrons, connect via a hivemind program. So, the show is teasing the Picard ending from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Remember in The Best of Both Worlds Part II when Picard put the Borg to sleep? If not, google it. The point is that it’s also the plan in What If…? Episode 1-8.
Zola will take control of the Sub-Ultrons and then draw his attention, hopefully shutting him down from inside the connection.
The plan should work because O.P. Ultron has created an interstellar WiFi signal, assuring that his minions can reach him anywhere in the universe.
You can tell where this is going. The plan works almost perfectly until Zola takes over a Killbot and tries to deploy the signal.
Yeah, Ultron’s not in this universe anymore. Instead, he’s off having an apocalyptic battle with The Watcher.
Meanwhile, Hawkeye must perform a noble sacrifice for the other two to escape.
As near as I can tell, Natasha Romanoff is the last person in the universe.
What If…? Episode 1-8: The Multiverse Battle
Worlds have already collided the moment that Ultron violates The Watcher’s inner sanctum.
After a while, Ultron gets the upper hand in battle when he appears to bite through an entire universe.
All this scene needs is Pink Floyd music to make it maximum-level trippy.
Not totally defeated, The Watcher chooses to retreat. And it’s where he goes that will bake your noodle.
Uatu visits a different sanctum, the final hiding spot of a fallen hero from an earlier episode.
Yes, The Watcher seeks help in the form of…SuperMegaEvil Dr. Strange, the one who devoured lots of souls.
Strange makes Uatu agree to break his own rules and choose interference.
Presumably, the two of them plus Black Widow and other characters from season one of What If…? will team up to battle O.P. Ultron in Marvel’s Multiverse War.
Folks, we’ve got us a ballgame.
In fact, the whole thing from Marvel feels…Ultimate.