Marvel’s What If…?
Season 1 Episode 8
What If…Ultron Won?
Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton seek to destroy killer robot Ultron following a cataclysmic event.
After the silliness of the last episode, Marvel decided that they needed to get to their arc and what better way to do that then to craft a threat that goes beyond the confines of one world. A threat that might require the intervention of the Watcher rather than his passive witness to events. The episode title already establishes the premise so there aren’t any spoilers in the knowledge that Ultron was able to fuse with the organic body that might have become Vision and with that body he decimated the world. What makes this story different is that Ultron doesn’t stop there.
The opening of the episode establishes that Black Widow and Hawkeye are the only two Avengers left in the world. They fight side by side in an attempt to stop Ultron, but the AI has bigger fish to fry as it moves throughout the universe destroying plot lines for other MCU movies starting with the big bad himself and kind of working his way down the food chain. Once a certain character bought the farm, it didn’t really leave much in ways of stakes for who Ultron went after next.
What’s next is where both the episode and the premise of What If really pick up in pace, stakes and momentum. With nothing left to conquer, the Infinity Stone infused Ultron is alone, but suddenly, he can hear the voice of the Watcher and proceeds to go hunting for him. This forces Uatu to almost break his rule of not interfering when he realizes the threat of Ultron to the multiverse. Going back to Ultron’s world, there is a scene where he questions whether to help Hawkeye and Widow or not and you finally get a sense that there are actual stakes to this universe and concept as Ultron finally breaks through.
There’s a heroic sacrifice moment ala Infinity War that is cool looking, but doesn’t feel earned considering the circumstances and the action then shifts to where it needs to be with the Watcher fighting Ultron between realities. Watching the two fight it out between realities is awesome and the hints at other worlds was fun to see. The conclusion of the episode was even better with the Watcher being put into a position he was unprepared for and the return of another character who might have the power to help. This episode definitely hints of something huge to come in the finale and I am here for whatever it is. This is what I wanted from this series and as fun and interesting as many of the episodes have been, this is where the series really seems to begin for me.