With What If...? finishing up last week, I decided to rank all of the episodes. What If...? is a cool show that takes a diversion from the usual MCU and does an animated show in the multiverse. Some of the episodes were great, while others were not as good. It ended on a strange note, but the episodes that were good still stand as good episodes. That said, here's my ranking of all nine What If...? season one episodes.
9. Episode 3: What If....the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?
This episode did not do it for me. It was cool that we didn't exactly know what the change in the timeline was, but I thought that it didn't use the concept of the Earth being without the Avengers well. Instead, we just get an episode of Nick Fury and Natasha speculating as to why the Avengers are getting killed. There's no implications of all of them being killed, and I think that's the main reason I didn't really like it. The twist that Hank Pym is killing all of them was clever, though.
8. What If...Thor Were an Only Child?
Episode 7 definitely felt like filler. It was the least interesting of the What If...? scenarios and executed that uninteresting scenario relatively badly. We get a lighthearted, somewhat fun teenage party episode that was just so disappointing given the concept of What If...?. I thought Thor was extremely unlikable, but he was our protagonist, so that made Captain Marvel kind of unlikable, too. The fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. thought he was super dangerous because he was throwing a party on Earth was just plain stupid. I don't like this episode, and I don't think it works on any level.
7. Episode 6: What If...Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?
This episode was okay. Plot-wise, I think this is the worst episode. There are tons of plot holes and things that don't make sense if this is supposed to connect to the normal MCU. T'Challa should not be Black Panther in 2008. Killmonger seemed to not know that T'Chaka killed his father. Why was Killmonger even in Afghanistan in the first place? I do think that this episode works as a combination of Iron Man and Black Panther, but I am not a huge fan of the amount of plot holes there are in this episode.
6. Episode 9: What If...The Watcher Broke His Oath?
I was relatively disappointed by the season one finale of What If...?. Instead of doing a good job of showing what would happen if the Watcher used his powers to intervene, we get the worst action of the show as the Guardians of the Multiverse team up to take down Infinity Ultron. Yes, it was cool to see our characters from previous episodes return to battle the big bad of the first season, but it was a twenty-minute long bland action sequence that I was not the biggest fan of. Hopefully season two will redeem this finale.
5. Episode 1: What If...Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?
Each episode does a good job of using the What If...? concept differently...except this first one. The pilot episode of What If...? is basically just Captain America: The First Avenger but with Peggy Carter instead of Steve Rogers. I found this episode particularly frustrating because it tried to squish the plot of The First Avenger into a thirty minute episode of TV. My favorite part of the episode was the use of Steve as the "HYDRA Stomper", but, otherwise, this was a pretty mediocre start to the season.
4. Episode 5: What If...Zombies?!
This is the wacky stuff that we are allowed to get when we have an animated anthology show in the Marvel multiverse. While Marvel Zombies was always a planned episode of What If...?, this episode executes the concept extremely well. It starts off at the beginning of Infinity War, which was strange, but it then makes sense when you realize that the zombie virus started when Janet van Dyne was released from the Quantum Realm. That was a great way to introduce zombies to the MCU. The twist that zombie Thanos has the Infinity Gauntlet in Wakanda was a great way to cap off the episode. While I think this was a fun one, it wasn't the most creative, since it stuck to the zombie apocalypse template, so that keeps it from top tier What If...?.
3. Episode 2: What If...T'Challa Became a Star-Lord?
This was where What If...? really hit the mark for the first time. Bold decisions are made in this episode: first off, T'Challa abandons his family, which seems out of character, but makes sense in light of the story. The biggest twist is Thanos being a part of the Ravagers. I love that Marvel has the guts to make this show and throw all these crazy things at the wall, hoping they stick. Thankfully, most of the time, they stick. And this second episode is great. Besides making bold decisions, it gives T'Challa and Yondu great, full character arcs...in thirty minutes. Wow.
2. Episode 8: What If...Ultron Won?
This is the episode that confirmed that What If...? was not an anthology. It was individual stories connected by an overarching narrative. Because of the way that they have developed the Watcher and the fact that he refuses to intervene in the most dire of situations contributes to how great this episode is. Every time that Ultron comes close to finding the Watcher, you feel the tension. Then, when Ultron continues to punch the Watcher through the multiverse, you feel the danger rising and begin to wonder what the implications will be. It leaves off with a dark, Empire Strikes Back-type ending cliffhanger, as the Watcher goes to a last resort, teaming up with Strange Supreme to fight Infinity Ultron.
1. Episode 4: What If...Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?
This is the darkest thing Marvel has ever created. Doctor Strange has always been an arrogant and egotistical character, but if you break his heart and spirit, the arrogance becomes hunger for power. And episode four of What If...? absolutely nails this storyline, giving Doctor Strange a very sad and powerful arc. The ending is tragic and actually hard to watch. It also gave us the first character interaction with The Watcher. I do think that the fantastical element got. abut too wild at some points, but, otherwise, this episode was a perfect, tragic, heart-breaking story.