Marvel’s What If…? series has been a great adaptation of the classic Marvel comic series, giving viewers entertaining, surprising and often clever twists on familiar scenes, characters and movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though there have been a few weak episodes that didn’t really do anything particularly interesting with the concept (hello Killmonger and Party Thor), for the most part there have been some really intriguing glimpses into worlds where one small change rippled out to change entire universes. It’s The Butterfly Effect in an episodic, animated format, delivered with generally excellent writing, animation, music and performances.

Jeffrey Wright’s Uatu – The Watcher – has been our guide through the new worlds made possible through these changes; cursed with being able to see the dramatic events in every universe, but unable to interfere. Yet last week’s episode, which picked up on the closing moments of the Party Thor story, saw a reality-hopping Ultron bringing his own brand of devastating peace to the multiverse – and discovering the existence of The Watcher, before trying to take him out too. With multiversal reality about to be destroyed entirely, will The Watcher intervene?

The title of this week’s episode is a bit of a giveaway to that question of course. Last week’s cliffhanger showed us who Uatu turns to in his hour of need as well; this week we see how their plan plays out. It’s a shame that Disney spoiled the concept of this episode in various ways – with trailers, toys and other promotional merchandise revealing the return of characters from previous weeks – because it would have been a jaw-dropping surprise if it hadn’t been telegraphed way in advance.

Yet there are still surprises to be had – not all good, necessarily; one character feels like they’ve come out of nowhere, but I believe one of the episodes was cut out of the series at the last minute, which would explain this. The episode as a whole is generally effective at tying the previous one-offs together to give us a big, single payoff; overall, it’s pretty satisfying and feels like an epic, Endgame-style struggle against an impossibly strong for (and though it’s spoilery, check out the episode’s cast list – it’s absolutely mind-blowing in terms of the big names involved). There’s a post-credit scene too, which could suggest that one particularly popular universe will return in further episodes (and there’ve been a few set up that have such potential that it’d be a shame not to see them again in some form). It may just be a pipe dream, but it’d even be great to see some of these tales continue – or just have the characters appear – in live action.

We’ve had a great introduction to the wider multiverse concept in What If…? (and Loki of course), preparing us for what looks like some serious reality-bending shenanigans in the ‘actual’ MCU – with Spider-Man: No Way Home first out of the gate in that respect, to be followed by the second Doctor Strange film next year. It’ll be good to see where What If…? heads in its second season – there’s infinite stories and infinite possibilities for us to ponder alongside Uatu, of course.

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