What if Episode 4 is the series' darkest episode to date! (Review)
Now here’s a familiar question, how far would one go to bring back a loved one or prevent his or her death?
"What if the best of intentions has very strange consequences?"
In the fourth episode of Marvel's What if, "Dr. Strange lost his Heart instead of his Hands," is perhaps, the melancholiest.
As most of us are aware of how Neurosurgeon Stephen Strange acquired his role as the Sorcerer Supreme after experiencing a near fatal car accident however, in this alternate reality witnessed by our mysterious observer- The Watcher voiced by Jeffrey Wright, things take a more tragic turn.
Although Strange has survived the car crash without any serious injuries, his love interest, Dr. Christine Palmer is killed. Years afterwards, Strange unable to cope with his loss, selfishly uses the time stone to alter the timeline in order to prevent Christine from reliving a tragic incident. Sounds convenient enough, right?
Well no. There's a disturbing montage of how Palmer is killed in several ways, one, another car accident even when Strange avoids an incoming truck, another a mugging gone wrong and there's even an explosion hinting of a terrorist attack!
It's like a chilling "Best of " compilation orchestrated in the tradition of M. Night Shyamalan.
No matter how hard he tries, Stephen cannot prevent Christine's fate as its inevitable. But that doesn't stop the very tenacious Sorcerer from seeking other more drastic attempts at obtaining his goals. He obtains the powers of other mystical creatures including a certain one-eyed tentacle monster who was previously seen during the Captain Carter episode. Strange believes he can make the impossible, possible but at what cost?
Episode 4 distances from the former What if tales, this story's roots is more emotionally oriented that at times, feel like an animated Hallmark production with some token action shoehorned in to keep the ADHD crowd still invested. Yet I found myself entertained by the overall aspect that most of us can identify with. If we had the power to alter the course of time, we could prevent personal tragedies from happening. True, it's a familiar premise when you think of the upcoming Spider-Man No Way Home, or prior to that One More Day, where Peter Parker (literally) makes a deal with the Devil, for the sole purpose of saving Aunt May, but "What if" handled what would be dubbed as just another "trope" is wrought with thought provoking commentary with SPOILER ALERT ⚠️ less than favorable outcomes.
As with the other What if episodes, it was good seeing or rather "hearing” most of the MCU actors lend their voices to a TV animated series and the soundtrack blends in perfectly with the animation. Episode 4 in certain ways, may seem as if it was a subtle promotional tool for the Sam Raimi directed Doctor Strange sequel, Multiverse of Madness, but it’s more of a haunting companion piece.