For a good seven episodes, What If…? has maintained a strong standalone status, shifting from alternate reality to alternate reality, each depicting a universe where the outcome of the smallest differing action could cause a landslide of change.
Vision, a version of him anyways, clad in the armoured-shell of Ultron, and flaunting the six Infinity Stones walks right into this reality like he owns it… which he kinda does, given the power he now wields.
This was it, really—the moment we’ve all been waiting for, for seven weeks: how was What If…? like all of the preceding Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe shows going to change the MCU as we know it? And, it turns out, pretty tragically.
From a reality where Ultron had won, bringing about an actual age of Ultron, the Mind Stone-empowered android conquered his Earth with relative ease. With only Hawkeye and Black Widow surviving his onslaught against the Avengers, Ultron (in his vibranium body) had little to stand in his way… and following a brief interaction with Thanos, had all the power he possibly needed to achieve peace in our time.
This eighth episode of What If…? is a true showstopper (kinda literally, ‘cause it is the penultimate episode), illustrating what might be the darkest reality yet (not that there’ve been very many cheery ones). But what makes it truly enjoyable is it’s multiple throwbacks to the MCU’s 13 years of history. From re-visiting a scene in The Winter Soldier, to actually visiting a location from Civil War, What If…? Ultron Won is an Easter egg galore and pay off for many MCU fans, second only to the third episode which extensively homaged Fury’s Big Week.
What If…? Ultron Won also serves to deliver a villain for this series, one that has been somewhat foreshadowed in earlier episodes given the role Vision has played thus far, and also a less immediate threat as compared to Thanos.
But the real question remains… who’s gonna stop him?