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What If... Ultron Won?

"I have seen everything that has ever happened. Ever will happen. Ever could happen. And yet, what the hell is this?"

And we went right back into darker side of things again. At least this episode ended on some kind of hopeful note.

We are officially no longer an anthology. There have been hints along the way that we've been building to something, and it's finally clear what that is. I am so glad that this turned into something "more" than just a series of unconnected one-offs. I don't know if this means that we'll see the ramifications in other MCU entries, but at the moment I'm happy. It's been a slow buildup and evolution, but it all makes sense.

We did not pick up right where we left off with Ultron appearing in front of Jane and Thor, but instead stepped sideways into explaining how exactly this Ultron's universe played out. Ultron succeeded in retrieving Vision's body, nuked the world, and then immediately cut Thanos in half when he appeared on Earth. Efficiency really is the best word to describe how he approaches everything. No hesitation. No debate. He simply acts and successfully destroys all organic life and achieves peace. Or almost all life.

The Watcher really needs to stop narrating. This is twice now that he was caught by someone because they heard him talking, and now the entire multiverse is at risk. As much fun as it was seeing the Watcher take on a more active role and actually fight like the powerful being that he is, my favorite parts were definitely the ones involving his internal debate on what to do. His yelling at Clint was maybe a little cheesy, but it got me caught up in the same frustration and hope that he would finally pull the right file.

I am slightly disappointed that the episode didn't fully focus on Nat and Clint, but only because I loved what we did get of him and wanted more. I loved Nat trying to stay focused on the mission and still smile at things contrasted with Clint's tiredness and lack of will to continue to fight. Nice parallel to their mental states during the Blip. I also greatly enjoyed both of their interactions with Zola, including the immediate decision to destroy his legs. I know that Zola is apparently the only hope of defeating Ultron, but I just don't trust him at all. His inclusion was a nice surprise, though.

As was the reappearance of Strange Supreme following the events of his episode. I know that apparently the midseason trailers spoiled his reappearance, but I hadn't seen it and so he caught me completely off guard. He's another one that I'm not sure how much I fully trust, but he also seemed to have learned his lesson after completely destroying his universe. If nothing else, I'm very excited to see his dynamic with the Watcher going forward. There's a lot of tension there.

The Watcher really has been our protagonist across the entire series. He's always been there, watching, dryly commenting on what happens but never interfering, even when asked to. He's always been isolated. He felt a lot more human here as he grappled with the idea of breaking his oath. What are the ramifications of the Watcher finally giving in and teaming up with Strange Supreme? Who watches the Watcher (sorry, I had to) to make sure that he's following the rules? Possible questions for next season.

This also had some of the most stunning scenes to date. Of course, I need to mention the shot of Clint falling into the mass of Ultrons. It looked like a painting. Gorgeous. Almost all of the fight between Ultron and the Watcher was similarly gorgeous. Highlights included Vision eating an entire Galaxy and the way the universe switched during the beat down in Times Square. This is definitely one of the benefits of doing this animated as opposed to the normal live action. It simply looks better.

Random Thoughts

There was some debate over whether Ultron would sound like Ultron or if he would sound like Vision. Turns out that there was a third option: someone who didn't sound at all like either. Ross Marquand wasn't terrible by any means, but he certainly wasn't James Spader.

Apparently, President Rogers was an episode that was pitched but didn't get greenlit for full production. It was fun to see it briefly all the same. I'd vote for him.

When the Watcher told Ultron to not underestimate his will, I immediately thought of the Green Lantern Corp and got excited. And then I remembered that this wasn't DC and got sad.

I loved Clint's arm and Nat's use of the Red Guardian shield. Gave me some very strong Steve and Bucky vibes.

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An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

3 comments:

Samantha M. Quinn said...

I'm not really torn about this one, because I loved it. But I am a little bit about the shift from Anthology to 'It's all connected'. I guess with the Watcher it has always had a through line, and this was so much fun that I'm not sure I care. Plus it makes some of the downer endings have a bit more oomph, like having Strange Supreme show up means that that story isn't over. I guess we'll find out next week which way things are going, but I cannot imagine this one being resolved in 30 minutes.

I loved Nat and Clint's interaction and Clint's invisibility cloak and super awesome new arrows. I loved seeing Nat with her father's shield, but it is sad that this version never got Yelena back (who is probably dead in this universe). I have an idea, lets have this Nat go to the Prime universe with Captain Carter.

Thank you for the review as always!

Billie Doux said...

I was disappointed that it was even darker than most of the previous episodes, even though I was enjoying Nat and Clint. But then we were in that huge Russian archive, and the librarian in me went nuts.

How could they possibly throw all of those boxes in there without so much as index cards saying what was in them? How could Nat and Clint go into the middle of it, pick a few boxes at random, and find what they were looking for? It just was so illogical that I couldn't stand it.

The ending was somewhat interesting and as you said, Fangirl, indicative that the episodes don't stand alone, but the archive ruined it for me. :)

Shari said...

I assumed there was some method o the archive madness and that Nat had stopped in that particular area for a reason. Was that me just fan-waving?