Movie & Television Show Reviews

Stranger Things | “Marvel’s What If…?” Season 1: Episode 4 “What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” Review

Up until now, I was in the dark about each episode, not knowing what the show had in store until the premiere day. But last night, as I was preparing my content plans for the month and noticed a tweet that hinted this episode. With a title and trailer, I was able to prepare myself accordingly.

In this scenario, Stephen Strange loses the love of his life, Christine, instead of his hands. This forces him to learn the mystic arts and follow the events of the movie. But one day, he decides to try to prevent Christine from dying, however, each attempt results in her dying. The Ancient One warns him that her death was an “Absolute Point” and couldn’t be eliminated. After pursuing knowledge to challenge this impossible feat, he becomes Strange Supreme and causes the universe to collapse.

“Doctor Strange” is another one of those Marvel movies that I never really got around to seeing. So here, I was invested as an outsider waiting to see what happens next. The magic felt concrete to the world with its magic system having a set of rules and repercussions for those rules being broken. And seeing the montage of Doctor Strange failing to save Christine felt like a sad “Groundhog Day” montage.

The high point of the episode is the penultimate scene where the Watcher confronts Strange for ignoring the warnings from the Ancient One and Wong. While he insists that he doesn’t interfere, the chastising he gives Strange feels like it toes the line. This scene also reminds me of the third episode of “WandaVision,” when the audience is broken between Westview and the real world. If the Watcher’s prominence in the background was a feature of the last episode, he has now emerged to the foreground and it feels like the start of things to come — both here and in the mainstream MCU timeline.

This episode really feels like a turning point for the series. One that will have the Watcher seem like he’s having more of an active role to the series as we move on in Phase Four. Along with the magic and brilliant fight scenes, this one was a world-bending episode that shows how large the Marvel multiverse is willing to go.

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