Finally, the Disney+ and Marvel Studios’ original takes a complete new jump into the unknown with a unique genre and storyline, similar to last week’s episode. What If…? wanders into the world of the zombie apocalypse with elements of The Walking Dead and Zombieland that would make Robert Kirkman proud. Although not totally original as there was a limited Marvel Zombies comic book series, it was an interesting take for the hypothetical series to leap into an unconventional representation of the world’s favorite superheroes.
The episode saw a wild conglomerate of the MCU Avengers and its heroes, albeit in different forms. Setting the episode off with Bruce Banner’s arrival back on Earth to warn the Avengers of Thanos’ arrival, he arrives in a desolate New York and a Zombified encounter of the undead Avengers such as Ironman and Dr. Strange quickly dispatching Thanos. After a few moments of utter chaos, Banner is saved by the likes of The Wasp, Spiderman, and Dr. Strange’s cape and whisks him away to a safe house within New York City. Within the safehouse, Spiderman shows a Zombieland-like orientation video starring Happy and Bucky Barnes as Banner is reunited with the duo in addition to Agent Carter and Okoye. The ragtag group sets off to produce a cure at the nearby Camp Lehigh in New Jersey which ultimately sees the demise of Happy and Peggy Carter relatively quickly in addition to Zombified Captain America, Hawkeye, and Captain Falcon.
Upon their arrival, the group finds Hope, aka the Wasp, sacrificing herself after a bite scare and the group arrives on Vision and the camp. Within the camp, Vision discloses the root of the issue and also reveals that he has managed to cure Scott Lang before Barnes uncovered an amputee version of T’Challa and a Zombified and powerful Wanda. Apparently, Vision has been able to cure the likes of the Avengers but also killing off innocent people to keep the starving love interest and powerful Wanda afloat. Upon the reveal, Wanda breaks free and wreaks havoc while Vision passes off the Mind Stone after his death. Meanwhile Banner finally hulks up to sacrifice himself while Barnes and Okoye meet their untimely demise as well.
The episode lands upon the final scene with an emotional Peter Parker/Spiderman expressing his distraught attitude towards losing his friends, the first instance of a lack of positivity within the episode. Yet, a floating head of Scott Lang in the cape alongside T’Challa looks to the future of Wakanda on how to fix this world.
“What If…Zombies?” was one of the first true forrays for the original series into the bizarre and unique possibilities that The Watcher can offer the MCU. A brief 30-minute adventure into the horror genre saw the MCU explore the fatality of its characters in a way only HBO’s Game of Thrones has shown television fans in recent memory. What If…? allows for the absurd to come to life and the Disney and Marvel Studios’ writers to explore and bend the storylines and story worlds that these familiar characters exist within. Last week’s episode featuring a dark turn with Dr. Stephen Strange was the show’s first adventure into the unknown and this week’s installment saw a more fun and violent turn of events with the MCU characters that fans have grown and loved. The only drawback from fans might be the show’s late cash-in on the Zombie craze that overtook Hollywood in the 2010s, but it was still exciting to see how this story tope could evolve into something much different within the MCU.