‘What If…?’ Episode 9 Review: “A Break From Tradition”
What If…? is back with a high-strung season finale that continues on from last week’s cliffhanger of an episode. The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) recruits the guardians of the multiverse, which features familiar faces from several previous episodes.
This episode is quite the departure from previous episodes. This is not to say the episode isn’t badass in what it pulls off. But I wish it has stuck true to the anthological aspect of the show as it had put up in previous episodes. Similarly, it feels too cut off from the other episodes to really showcase these characters from other universes. There have been eight weeks between the first episode with Captain Carter, and now she returns in this episode, and you don’t feel the connection like you do with the Watcher. It’s a truly missed opportunity to either leave the show in an anthology form or close off storylines in order to prevent a lingering sense of dread.
The throwdown between Ultron and the guardians of the multiverse falls very close to the battle between the Avengers and Thanos. In drawing the parallel, What If…? focuses more on the action than the why the characters are there. Sure some mystical being told them the fate of the multiverse depends on them. But there’s no driving force behind the Watcher’s statements. Especially after how well the show handled some of the emotional scenes, it stinks to see this episode drop them in favor of action setpieces. Additionally, the title is “…the Watcher broke his oath”. Well, he breaks it twice, so why not continue to break it and actively participate in the fight? It seems very inconsistent.
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Overall, What If…? had an incredible strong first season, punctuated by yet another Marvel action over development choice. Where will it go next season after some of the choices made? I hope back to the core of the season which was its bread and butter this go-round. –Katie Rentschler
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