This week’s episode of Marvel’s What If…? pulls no punches. It is an expertly designed episode with a fantastic beginning and a hell of an ending that will hit you like a sucker punch. For this week, we focus on Doctor Strange.
Not our Doctor Strange, of course, one from another reality. But this one became the Sorcerer Supreme not out of ego but out of grief. This Strange was a good man ruled by love. But when that love was taken away and set him on his path to enter the mystic arts it also gave him a goal no one should ever achieve: bringing the one you love back from the dead.
Though it’s just over a half-hour long the entire first half feels like the opening from Up, it’s so bittersweet it’s designed to make you tear up. But then things take a drastic turn as Stephen Strange becomes focused on regaining his love so much he destroys his soul in the process.
I won’t give it all away, that would be a crime. But more than any other episode of What If…? this one feels like a classic Twilight Zone episode. SPOILERS AHEAD! This also marks the first time The Watcher breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to a character in the story. This means that the character (played beautifully by Jeffrey Wright) is likely to have a much larger role in the greater MCU beyond just the television show.
I love that Marvel is finally cracking up its multiverse and all the weirdness that goes with it. It’s always been creative and ambitious when it comes to introducing characters to the mainstream but after more than a decade of being a leader, it’s fully ready to go bonkers and bring in some of its absolutely bonkers characters. Phase four and five are going to be a ton of fun.