Disney+’s What If…? is both Marvel’s first attempt at playing in the multiverse sandbox, and the first animated show set fully in the MCU. But What If…? doesn’t seem interested in being a placeholder for the live-action shows, it’s got stories to tell, and some of them might end up being as interesting as the ones we originally saw. Episode 1×05 focuses on…zombies. Avenger zombies, space zombies, and most of all, a Scarlet Witch zombie.
A show with so many characters and perspectives felt like it required more than one voice. So, I’m teaming up with my friends Lyra and Lizzie to review What If…? Join us each week as we rejoice, commiserate, and hopefully enjoy the show. Let’s do this!
Lynnie: So. Zombies. With magical powers. And Tony’s suit. And Captain America’s ass. I am not a zombie person, so this episode was a little lost on me. It was even worse to see all my favorite Avengers looking like they were in dire need of some plastic surgery, maybe some mouthwash, and definitely a different diet; maybe something with greens.
My least favorite part of the episode, aside from the premise and the zombies, was having to watch Bucky kill Captain America. Haven’t I been traumatized enough? Why show me Bucky having to lose everyone again – not to mention the dearth of deaths within the episode. Pain. Just pain.
How do you feel about the zombies? And what was your least favorite moment?
Lizzie: I’m very much not a zombie person, so meh. I will say, however, that I enjoyed this episode more than I expected to, in general. Probably because there was more than zombies to it all. There was a very human element involved — it was about humanity and fighting to retain it. Which I guess is the point of zombie stories, but whatever. I don’t watch those!
Least favorite moment? The whole WandaVision in reverse that Vision pulled, which hey, ended up going great for him! Or maybe Hope blowing up Sharon? Or, wait — to make Lynnie’s pain more profound, let me bring up Bucky’s “I guess this is the end of the line” to Steve. THAT was brutal.
Lyra: I LOVE ZOMBIES! I don’t know what it is about them but you mix it up with the genres I love and BOOM — I’m a happy camper! I especially loved that they were smart zombies. They weren’t speaking, their throats and mouths were too rotted for that, but they were able to use magic and their super suits. And don’t even get me started on super zombie Wanda. Even in death she’s still the biggest badass around. Sure, what Vision was doing to keep her alive was a bit sick, but love is love, am I right?
Lynnie: I really liked Peter Parker and his orientation video. It was inappropriate, had naked Bucky, and a fabulous t-shirt that I now want. It was also a good way to introduce the idea that at least one person has some sense when it comes to zombies and also to show us who the survivors of the apocalypse are and how they’re living.
Peter was the heart of the episode. His hope and his uplifting personality, even in the face of impossible odds, made things feel a little less doom and gloom. He had a really moving speech that I enjoyed, and his desire to help and create solutions made me root for him above everyone else. Everything about him was really well done, and I liked every interaction he had with other people in the episode.
So, what was your favorite moment from the episode?
Lizzie: Like Lynnie, Peter was my favorite part of the episode. Peter’s personality was very in line with the Peter we know, but that works very well when what you want is hope, because Peter is just …kind, and nice, and good, even when things go badly. And a lot goes badly for Peter.
Surprisingly, though, I also really enjoyed Bruce Banner. It feels like he got a little redemption from the Hulk bailing on him during Infinity War. And, of course, there’s the women. I enjoyed all of them, and they should run everything, all the time.
Lyra: Surprisingly enough my favorite moment was with Hope. I’ve always cared for Peter and loved his scenes with Hope. And maybe it was those interactions that made me feel something towards this character in a way I’ve never felt before. I didn’t think I’d care so much when she walked through the zombies. And I seriously got a little teary eyed when she told Peter to smile. She was holding onto Hope, even as she was fading away and living her last moments as a human.
Lynnie: Can we all agree that Hank Pym needs to stop caring about people forever? Like, every time he cares about someone in this series, it starts some terrible shit. This time it was zombies and a whole lot of people dying because he went to save his wife and she contracted quantum realm measles or whatever.
Lizzie: Yeah, we can agree. At least prime MCU Hank didn’t create Ultron, so he’s got that going for him, but he’s been …borderline dangerous. And I think part of the point of What If …? is to show us all the ways his choices could have gone badly because …well, he cares. But I don’t think the problem is really that he cares, or it’s not just that. He’s got this personality that makes him believe he can fix anything, and he’s smart enough that he probably can, if not fix things, at least make a mess while trying.
So yeah, I’m begging the prime MCU’s Hank Pym not to get ideas, please. Because I like the people around him, particularly Hope and Janet.
Lyra: Never thought that Hank Pym was a threat to the very fabric of the world and here he goes for round two of destruction and mayhem. Sure, it wasn’t totally his fault. But he took a risk to save someone who had been stuck in a quantum realm for ages. What did he think was going to happen? I’m surprised death and destruction didn’t find him sooner.
Lynnie: Vision’s actions, in saving Wanda and feeding her, were rooted in love and an illogical need to keep that love close. His actions were also annoying, a little inconsistent, and inconvenient for my heroes.
Did he really have to kill himself right when he would have been useful in at least slowing Wanda down? After feeding her for so long instead of killing the all-power witch zombie? Could he not have picked a better atonement than leaving them to deal with Wanda on their own?
What’s your opinion about the twist on Vision, the abrupt change to atonement, and the way love guided them straight to the end of the world?
Lizzie: I mean, I sort of appreciate how they were doing reverse WandaVision, but so much of the heroes’ decisions in this episode were …misguided at best. Vision would have been more helpful alive and using the Mind Stone. Hope didn’t need to sacrifice herself if that meant the zombie army gained a giant version of her! Like, can we think before we do things?
But yeah, I guess this show just wants to keep harping on the idea that people make really dumb choices out of love thing. At least Bruce’s idea made sense, I guess.
Lyra: GIVE ME MORE ZOMBIE SCARLET WITCH! Seriously, how is she such a baddie even as a zombie? But…maybe not at the sacrifice of T’Challa being nommed on like he’s on The Walking Dead. No, no, no. We don’t approve of anyone hurting our king. I will say that his words about those who pass still being with us…got to me. TWO TIMES I TEARED UP ON A ZOMBIE EPISODE. What is wrong with me?
Lynnie: What was your opinion about that ending? Thanos zombie…Zombie Thanos? The one gauntlet to rule them all and the zombie horde! Did you like that they went all in on it being all terrible? Was this a sandbox you want to play in again?
For me, it’s a no. All the nos. Forever with the no. They can keep their zombies and their face eating ways. This is the first episode where I’m one hundred percent okay with not seeing any sort of additional moments. Even with my summer child Peter leading the way and the always wonderful Chadwick Boseman at the helm of T’Challa again, there wasn’t much for me here and I’m happy to move on to the next without looking back.
Lizzie: Yeah, this one could have ended better — or at least with some hope. I understand why last episode didn’t, and that didn’t annoy me, as there was a message there. This felt more like shock for the sake of shock, and I’m never here for that. But, quick question, would we be so angry about Thanos snapping half of the zombies away? Asking for a friend.
Yeah, yeah, not as simple. But since this reality is all but doomed, we gotta make jokes, I guess.
Lyra: It’s a yes for me on more zombies and zombie Thanos. He was a messy wench before, and I can’t wait for him to growl, grunt, and nom on people while making a hot damn mess of everything.