The latest episode of Marvel Studios What If shows us Doctor Strange as he goes into a conflict with himself, all for the sake of love.
The 4th episode of Marvel Studios What If asks what would happen if Strange lost his love interest, Dr. Christine Palmer, in the car accident instead of his hands. Will he let love take over his responsibilities as the Sorcerer Supreme? Or, will he let go of the love of his life for the sake of the universe?
A What If True-to-Form
After 3 not-that-good episodes, Marvel Studios What If finally gives us what it promised. Not an incomplete story but one that has actions along with their consequences. Episode 1 showed only Peggy becoming Captain Carter. Episode 2 just turned Peter Quill into T’Challa. Neither of these two episodes showed any results of the actions. Episode 3 merely killed the Avengers without showing any outcome either. If this had been the case with episode 4, we would probably have seen Doctor Strange attaining his dark self and the fight with his better version. However, it didn’t. This is the first episode where we see the repercussion of Strange’s actions to its very outcome.
Here’s what happens. Strange loses Christine in the accident. Learns magic and becomes the Sorcerer Supreme. But then he decides to bring back Christine, something which, according to the Ancient One, is impossible. Christine’s death is an Absolute Point in time. Such a point in time can never be manipulated and if Strange even tries to reverse an Absolute Point, he will risk the universe. He doesn’t listen and travels to the Lost Library of Cagliostro in the past and studies time manipulation for centuries. Realizing that he needs to gain power by absorbing other beings, he begins doing so and absorbs one being after another. But then his friend O’Bengh tells him that there exists another half of him.
Next, we see this “good” half of Doctor Strange that the Ancient One created when she split the timeline and Doctor Strange as well. Now it is up to the good Doctor Strange to stop the misguided Doctor Strange from reversing the Absolute Point (Christine’s death) and preventing the formation of a temporal paradox that can destroy the universe. What follows is a fight that finally ends in the defeat of the “good” Doctor Strange as he is absorbed by the misguided one.
Watch: Marvel’s WHAT IF…? (2021) EPISODE 5 PROMO TRAILER | Disney+
In the final act, misguided Doctor Strange brings Christine back to life but only to see her die again, along with the rest of the universe, just as the Ancient One has foretold. The episode ends with the Watcher’s words, “One life, one choice, one moment, can destroy the entire universe.” And the episode portrays these words in the perfect way.
Doctor Strange and the Absolute Point
The Absolute Point theory clears a lot about the active multiverse and the way it works. We now have a motion that supports why Iron-Man cannot be brought back. It was an Absolute Point in time without which Thanos would still be alive and the MCU universe would perish at his hands. We now know that it is possible to have more than one variant in the same universe. This can be used in Loki Season 2.
We also know how dangerous Doctor Strange potentially can be if he wants to. Furthermore, we have our second glimpse at Shuma-Gorath (first was in What If episode 1), the villain who will be the main antagonist in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Emotions Getting the Better of Strange
In this episode of Marvel Studios What If, we see a different Strange, one who isn’t afraid of risking the entire universe for the sake of his love. This is totally opposed to the one we have seen in the movies. We do remember how he refused to hand over the Eye of Agamotto to Thanos until he looked at 14,000,605 different possibilities and found only one of them in his favour. And we can assume that he knew that Stark would die but he took it because he knew that it was the only chance he had at saving the universe.
But here, we get a look at the version of Strange who isn’t afraid of taking the wrong path if it brings back Christine, the love of his life. There is a possibility that we can see this version of Strange in the Doctor Strange sequel. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) will return as his love interest. We also have Tom Hiddleston as Loki so we can expect variants. Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) will be there too so we will see the multiverse at play, probably in a notorious fashion. And we already mentioned that Shuma-Gorath is one of the villains, if not the main villain, of the movie. So we have all the ingredients that can add to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness the spice of a great What If movie.
The 5th episode of Marvel Studios What If comes out on September 8, 2021.