During the closing minutes of last week’s What If…?, a version of Vision appears and he possesses all the Infinity Stones. If you thought Frigga showing up could be a major party buzzkill, his ominous presence could probably put her to shame. What seemed like the series’ typical dark turn ending actually served as a primer for the most recent episode.
In “What If…Ultron Won?,” the figure we saw previously wasn’t Vision at all but Ultron in the body he originally made for himself. In his universe, the Avengers were unable to stop him in Sokovia and we witness his rise in power from when he “saved” the Earth to his search of more worlds to eradicate life.
For most of the season, the Watcher has been mainly an observer blending into the background and only interacting with the characters on rare occasions. With the ever-growing threat of Ultron and his ability to sense the Watcher and other multiverses, our alien friend has a new sense of urgency and wrestles with his pledge not to interfere. His more active role and stress convey how big of a danger the sentient AI poses.
The Watcher can no longer be an innocent bystander and is drawn into the conflict when Ultron finally catches up to him. We’re treated to an impressive and epic battle between the two that spans different multiverses. It’s such a treat to finally see the Watcher in action and what he’s capable of but once again, Ultron’s ability to stand toe to toe with him is a testament to his power.
Ultron hasn’t eradicated all life and there is still a resistance in the form of Hawkeye and Black Widow. Their journey to find a way to save humanity takes them to some unexpected places and they turn to another MCU computer consciousness to aid in their fight. The subplot is suspenseful and tense as Ultron sentries stalk them across the globe. There is a nice reference to their exploits on Vomir in Avengers: Endgame with a little flip in the script.
This episode of What If…? is the first time the show seems more than a bunch of hypothetical one offs. It begins tying some of the elements we’ve already seen. It is a continuation of “What If…Thor Were an Only Child” and has the type of cliffhanger ending that you expect to be addressed in the season finale.
There is even the reappearance of a character from earlier and he helps the Watcher question his values. Little by little, the common presence in all the episodes of the season has become more involved and it should be exciting to see what he does next to stop the big terror that can span multiverses.
“What If…Ultron Won?” sees the Watcher take a more active role including an impressive battle scene but also signals a switch in the series with more continuity and tying together elements seen previously in the season.
New episodes of What If…? are released Wednesdays on Disney+.
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