After last week’s touching episode that felt like a monument to an actor gone too soon, episode 3 had a hard act to follow. Worry not, true believers, because episode 3 delivers on a whole other front. Moving out of the cosmic and back into the grounded phase 1 of the MCU, episode 3 delivers on thrills. This week’s What If…? ponders an alternate scenario for “Fury’s Big Week”.
That is, the slate of Phase 1 films that closely followed one another: The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man 2. Not to mention, right before Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) also discovered Captain America frozen in ice. It was indeed a big week for Fury, as that led to the assembling of the original six Avengers. However, this event in the MCU’s history’s altered drastically in this week’s episode. Fury’s plans are laid to waste as one by one, the original six Avengers are picked off before they can even be assembled.
The grisly premise delivers tension, suspense, and some stellar action as well. Moreover, this What If…? premise is definitely one of the most unexpected so far. While most of what has been advertised has come off as predictable, this episode isn’t. It’s a fresh offering that chooses to focus on supporting characters and have them step up. The architect of the Avengers initiative must take drastic measures when it all comes crumbling down.
Jackson is as suave as ever, clearly comfortable in the role he has settled in. Nick Fury adapts and changes, and shows in this episode why no one should count him out in the MCU. By his side is the Black Widow herself, Natasha Romanoff, who also has to rise to the occasion in this episode. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, her inclusion in this episode is welcome. A side not explored that much in Phase 1, Romanoff’s investigation and spy skills are put in the spotlight in this episode as well. Lake Bell does an incredible job in the portrayal of her character as well.
Phase 1 alums Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Coulson (Clark Gregg) all return as well. Each plays a brief role in the episode, and don’t overstay their welcome. The mystery surrounding the circumstances of the Avengers’ demise is intriguing and carries the episode. Eventually, Fury makes a startling discovery, one that is better viewed than finding out in a written review.
Needless to say, the payoff mostly works. Fury comes to face with an unexpected foe, and he uses his resourcefulness to come out on top. The conclusion feels a bit rushed, and the way that Fury goes about is questionable, but in the end, it still works.
After a tension-filled episode, the conclusion comes off as a bit rushed and unexpected. The unforeseen consequences of losing the original six Avengers so early in the timeline were entertaining to watch. The only problem is the episode ends before it could explore that premise even more.
Overall, this third episode of What If…? delivers in a lot of unexpected ways. It provides a premise no one saw coming, an interesting and creative new antagonist, as well as a spotlight on characters like Fury and Widow who show they can step up to the occasion when needed the most. This alternate history proves to be one of the more intriguing the show has introduced so far. Moreover, it will be interesting to see if the series follows up on any of these scenarios in future episodes. – Ernesto Valenzuela
What If…? Streams New Episodes Every Wednesday on Disney+