Writers: A.C. Bradley, Matthew Chauncey
Stars: Jeffrey Wright, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong
RATING: 4 Stars
What if Steven Strange wasn’t alone in the car when it crashed? And what if instead of irreparably damaging his hands, the accident caused the death of Christine Palmer? How far would the Sorcerer Supreme go to bring back his love? And is there anyone left who is powerful enough to stop him?
Doctor Strange has always been one of my favourite characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His ego and arrogance make him quite a complex and troubled hero, and with the recent release of the new ‘No Way Home’ trailer, it seems like this isn’t going to change anytime soon. So the set up of this weeks episode of What If was really exciting to me, because we get to see what would happen if that Ego, and Arrogance got the better of him.
All the minor characters are back from the original film, The Ancient One, Wong and of course, Christine, but it really is Benedict Cumberbatch and Doctor Strange that carry this entire episode. It’s both fascinating and deeply sad to see how far he is willing to go to try and rescue Christine, despite numerous warning not to do so. Absorbing more and more power until he becomes this Lovecraftian-like entity, and then in the end…well lets just say, like all these episodes, it doesn’t exactly end well. The final showdown was excellent, and reminiscent of the Strange/Kaecilius fight, using portals and the mirror dimension to add visual interest to the sequence.
Though to me, the explanation from the Ancient One on how to beat Strange does seem a little to easy and convenient. Which is ending up being my biggest criticism of this show. The episodes aren’t really long enough to fully tell and explore the stories they want to tell, and the reveals and solutions are tending to feel a little rushed at the end.
It was great to see The Watcher take a slighting bigger role in this episode. Nothing huge or anything, but just to have a role to play, particularly towards the end, I hope this will become more of a thing as the show goes on.
‘What If…?’ episodes 1-4 are streaming on Disney Plus Now!