What If…?‘s seventh episode gives us a glimpse at a reality where Thor was an only child and Loki lived his life as a Frost Giant. While this might seem to promise an intriguing exploration of the importance of the characters bond, instead it gives us a Looney Tunes-esque Marvel adventure that is a silly and hilarious ride.
SPOILERS lie ahead, so be warned.
As with last week, I take some issue with the phrasing of episode titles. While both episodes were thoroughly entertaining and interesting, The Watcher’s introduction set up something that did not feel at the core of this episode. The missing sibling bond is evident but the episode is about a moronic hooligan Thor coming to earth. Nonetheless, I found the episode a lot of fun so let’s get into it.
The episode introduces us to a party crazed Thor who waits for his father’s inevitable comatose state, the Odin sleep, to sneak off and throw planet-wide parties that end up having dire effects. This version of Thor leans a lot more into the performance I feel we got glimpses of in Avengers Endgame. his dialogue kept reminding me of the character’s excitement to be reunited with Hulk and Rocket in the latest Avengers movie.
As with every episode, we got a super fun returning cast including Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings as Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis. I always thought Darcy was a fun character in the Thor movies and her return to the role in WandaVision was a delight. So having her return in this episode as a Captain Marvel fangirl and Howard the Duck’s bride made for one of the comedic highlights of the episode to me.
As for Jane Foster, it was great to see her again. I have a lot of nostalgia for the 2011’s Thor. It was the first Marvel movie I saw in cinema so this episode had a lot of elements I enjoyed from that perspective. Jane is in a very similar place to where we find her in that film. This time, however, she has a much better understanding of the impending alien arrival; attempting to warn a lot of people about what could be Earth’s first contact with alien life.
It’s not quite what she was expecting. A handsome blonde Norse god is what greets her amid a massive intergalactic party in Las Vegas. Just as you would expect, romance blooms, she spends the night partying with the Asgardian. Darcy marries Howard the Duck and we see several guest characters including Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster, who I kind of wish we had got more of, to be honest.
It’s the goofiest portrayal of the Thunder God so far and it was just straight-up fun. So much of this episode just felt like a much lower stakes fun time that was a nice change of pace compared to some of the darker more serious episodes from the past few weeks.
Despite the lack of adoption, Loki does still make an appearance as Frost Giant of Jotunheim; with frozen horns adorning his head and the charming voice of Tom Hiddleston. This version of the character was a fun contrast to the countless incarnations we have now seen since Loki. However, just like Thor, without growing up with his brother, Loki is a bit of a moron too. They both emote cringe-worthy demeanors, especially when they are with each other and it’s hilarious. I’m sure Jotun Loki will be a fan favorite for a lot of people.
The episode progresses and we learn of the potentially devastating effects this party could have. Jane mentions early on a planet that was destroyed as a result of the last party Thor threw, and a Maria Hill led SHIELD warn the spreading partying is becoming increasingly dangerous. In a desperate move, they beep their best hope, Captain Marvel.
This was the best part of the episode for me and will remain a highlight of the whole show, we see Captain Marvel and Thor go head-to-head in a super entertaining battle I couldn’t help but grin through. Imagining favorite characters facing off is a fun thing to do, and seeing two of the MCU’s biggest powerhouses trade blows was surreal. In the aerial moments of the fight, the names of countries are written across them in giant letters (an element that gave the cartoony vibes of Looney Tunes).
As far as Captain Marvel’s appearance outside of the fight, she was a welcome presence. I was a big fan of her solo film and wanted more from her Endgame appearance, but I am happy to see what a presence she has set in the future of the MCU. I did kind of miss Brie Larson’s voice as the character, but Alexandra Daniels does a great job at emulating Carol Danvers. I think every voice actor in the show who has been stepping into the shoes of an on-screen actor has done a fantastic job, leaning less on impressions and more on finding the character’s voice in their attitude.
The episode wraps up with a hilarious sequence that reminds me of the 80’s teen movies that my mum would show me growing up. With a frantic Thor desperately trying to tidy up his worldwide party with the help of the many alien guests who, for some vague reason, do not want to upset Frigga. Frigga playing the role of the stern mother who has to keep a careful eye on her 1500-year-old son was a fun twist on the character and called back to the best of her appearances in Avengers Endgame.
When all is said and done, the planet is tidied up, Frigga arrives on earth, Thor fails to fool her and Captain Marvel begins an earth education friendship with the Thunder god. We, at last, find Thor promising a date with Jane Foster only to be interrupted by the arrival of a multiversal threat in the form of Ultron that shocks The Watcher as much as it is sure to surprise the viewer.
This pretty much confirms a theory that many, including myself, have speculated. The Guardians of the Multiverse inevitably assemble in a team up against the Ultron who won. As we see, this version did successfully transfer his consciousness to the Vision’s body. No doubt changing the entire way Avengers: Age of Ultron played out, which I suspect we might see fleshed out next week before the team-up.
Overall, this episode can simply be described in one word. Fun. It was just fun, there are specific things I liked about it and I do consider it one of my less preferred episodes of the season but that speaks more to the overall quality of the show than it does to this episode’s lack of quality. The cliff-hanger promises the exciting return of an iconic villain and I eagerly await the next episode.