After the juggernaut that last week’s episode was, I was curious to see what direction the show was gonna go. And then Marvel comes out with a title like this, I was hooked. My thinking for scenarios were limited to the idea that the first episode proposed that only a random choice having a ripple effect. Clearly I wasn’t seeing the big picture.
This scenario has Nick Fury and Black Widow attempt to recruit Tony Stark to the Avengers Initiative. But suddenly, Tony Stark is killed by a defective batch of lithium dioxide. This sets off a domino effect of Avengers being killed off: Thor is shot by a faulty arrow, the Hulk explodes, Hawkeye dies while in SHIELD custody, and Black Widow is killed trying to solve the case. Working with Loki, who is now out to avenge Thor’s death, Nick Fury learns that Hank Pym orchestrated it as payback for Hope’s death.
Of all the scenarios presented thus far, this was the one that had me watching to see what would happen next. It was like watching a horror movie; everyone was being picked off, the suspense was high, and it culminates with a simple but compelling climax with Nick Fury as the Final Girl. And coming off the end of “Loki,” it was nice to see one of the variants in the multiverse here. It stands as a reminder of how much he cares about Thor regardless of whether it’s his Thor. And the final scene with Fury and Captain Marvel rediscovering Captain America under Loki’s control made me wish I could see how this resistance would play out.
There were so many details that I appreciated in this episode. For example, the way the founding of the Avengers being in the matter of a week is a solid homage to the comic “The Avengers Prelude: Fury’s Big Week.” Two scenes that mirrored those in “The Avengers,” such as Loki’s “humans crave subjugation” speech and Natasha trying to quell Bruce Banner are brilliant reflections that change the context of the originals. But the most poignant detail is the shots of The Watcher’s silhouette in the horizon, watching down on the world. It captures the spirit of the show perfectly with the Watcher being a subtextual stand in for the audience.
As they do best, Marvel gave me something I didn’t know I wanted but made me want more. I want more scenarios like this that leave me thinking more about it hours after watching the episode. With the horror movie thrills and suspense, this episode represents the Marvel standard.