It was bound to happen, wasn’t it? What if the Watcher broke his oath?
It’s kind of like this exchange from Avengers: Infinity War:
Wong: We swore an oath to protect the Time Stone with our lives.
Stark: And I swore off dairy… but then Ben & Jerry’s named a flavor after me, so…
Dr. Strange: Stark Raving Hazelnuts.
Stark: Not bad.
Dr. Strange: A bit chalky.
Wong: A Hunk of Hulk of Burning Fudge is our favorite.
Okay. Comparing the Watcher breaking his oath really isn’t the same as Tony Stark swearing off dairy, but the results are the same. Ben & Jerry’s named a flavor for Stark and he caved in; the Watcher finally encountered someone big enough and bad enough to destroy everything, so to save the multiverse he has to go back on his promise to stay out of everything.
BONUS CONTENT: Who Is The Watcher? The Truth Revealed!
And at that point, the Watcher took action.
Marvel’s What’s … Going On?
This, the first season’s final episode in Marvel’s What If …? starts off with a bang. As happened in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Hydra hijacks a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship, making it necessary to send in a strike team led by Captain America. In this episode of the show, it is Captain Carter that goes in to take on Batroc and his battalion of baddies. She hits the deck running, flinging her shield around like the Vibranium frisbee it is until she is confronted by Batroc in the flesh. The two decide it’s better to go fist-to-fist until interrupted … you guessed it: by The Watcher …
… At which point he says to her, “Captain Carter, the soldier lost in time, you have been chosen.”
Who can resist such a thing as that?
Fast Forward …
… in similar fashion, the Watcher selects other members for this new team. One after another, Star Lord T’Challa, Gamorra, Killmonger, and Party Thor join the Watcher and Dr. Strange Supreme in a pub location that Strange conjured to make Captain Carter (and the others) feel more at home. Over drinks, the Watcher explains the plight plaguing all of space and time and declares the assembled heroes to be The Guardians of the Multiverse.
All well and good. There’s still Ultron to deal with, however.
Without gushing too much, this episode really has it all. It has good continuity with the past episodes of Marvel’s What If …? and additional playing off of the plots of various MCU feature films.
What Has It Got?
It has humor. The Watcher has no problem inserting himself into the activities of those heroes he wants to elevate to Guardian status, except for Party Thor. When found by the Watcher, Thor is actively smacking around a hoard of Ultron bots and is too engaged to hear the booming tones of the Watcher. Finally, the big guy has to physically grab the Thunder God and, imitating the moment that Thor first enters the Grandmaster’s realm on Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok, he screams like a little girl as he is sent to the pub. Yes, great fun!
There is also a lovely set of verbal asides between Strange Supreme and the Watcher in the pub scene. When one of the Guardians says / does something stupid (could it be Party Thor?), Strange whispers to the Watcher, “You picked them …” Moments later when another of the Guardians comes up with a game changing, plot expanding cool way of finishing off Ultron, the Watcher rejoinders, “Yep. I picked ’em.”
The battles within this episode are very, very epic. Within reason, the designers and animators pulled out all the stops to turn everyone involved into fully realized Guardian characters. Star Lord T’Challa goes in and out of costume as the fight demands and deploys his rocket boots at a critical time. Party Thor drinks heavily and brings the lightning as required (and a couple of times he probably shouldn’t have brought it). Strange Supreme employs his own powers and unleashes the other sorcerers he has captured, and these are some of the most dramatic moments in the show.
Who Put The G In Gamorra?
The one outlier in the Guardians group is Gamorra. She is not part of her own unique story. When the Watcher recruits her, she is standing next to Tony Stark. He is dressed on some sort of massive Hulk Buster suit. The two of them are supervising melting down the Infinity Gauntlet. There is some indication that the Infinity Stones still need to be dealt with. Not that Gamorra isn’t a worthy inclusion in the Guardians of the Multiverse. But viewers get a bit cheated by not having the whole Stark / Gamorra / Thanos story to view.
The penultimate compliment for the finale is that it uses the medium of animation so well, and better, in fact, than if these shows were live action. Some of the best payoffs in this episode are, in fact, possible only because they are animated. They would look silly if tried in live action. Without giving anything away here, Strange Supreme’s powers are animated so cleverly and delivered with so much panache that after he leverages a few of them it is completely possible to suspend disbelief to an almost unbelievable level. Also, well … no spoilers … there are zombies in this show and they form the foundation of a singularly spectacular scene.
Do We Need To Talk Voiceovers Anymore?
The voice talent is very much the same quality as it has been, that is, really excellent. Each of the original MCU cast members deliver high quality recreations of their vocals. Super subs are more than up to the task in this, the finale.
Bring On Season Two!!
Marvel’s What If …? has really lived up to the premise. How will the creators manage to craft a new story arc that delivers so well for Season Two? There are so many characters to work and so many pathways they can go – we would be Stark Raving Hazelnuts to think that the creators won’t find new ways to engage and entertain us.
* Source: YouTube – What If… The Watcher Broke His Oath – Episode 9 Spoiler Review – We Were Robbed…