What If...? Season 2, Episode 3 recap | Agents of Fandom

‘What If…?’ Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: Happy ‘Hulk’ Hogan Saves Christmas

The Avengers show up and save the day…. or do they?

Warning: Spoilers ahead for What If…? Season 2 Episode 3.

What better way to celebrate Christmas Eve than the first, true Christmas-themed episode of What If…? Season 2? The third episode in the animated series is now streaming on Disney+, and it leans fully into the more goofy and lighthearted side of what this show can be. With tons of familiar voices returning from live-action MCU projects and a healthy mix of comedy and festive spirit, this episode is sure to be a fan favorite. Let’s reminisce on how exactly Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) saved the day in our What If…? Season 2, Episode 3 recap.

Happy Hogan Enlists Darcy Lewis and Maria Hill’s Help in ‘What if…?’ Season 2, Episode 3

The Avengers logo at Avengers Tower with a Santa hat on top of it in What If...? Season 2, Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
What If…? Season 2, Episode 3 is one of Marvel’s most merry projects to date. Image Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney+.

What If…? Episode 3 opens on a fast note with a jarring reveal of The Avengers fighting a mysterious purple figure. Before learning exactly who they’re clashing with, The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) explains that to understand this story, the viewers must go back. After a brief rewind, we see Happy Hogan decorating Avengers Tower for the Avengers Holiday Gala with the help of his intern, Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings).

Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) comes on the radio to offer some assistance, but Happy politely declines. As Darcy heads out the front door, she crosses paths with Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) who is scheming to ruin the party. Hammer makes his way to the top of the tower and uploads a program that grants him control of the Iron Legion. He then reveals the true nature of his plan: to steal a vial of Hulk’s (Mark Ruffalo) blood and turn himself into a superhero.

Maria makes her way upstairs to stop Hammer, but he’s one step ahead and willing to fight dirty. Happy tries to steal the Hulk blood to keep it out of Hammer’s reach and accidentally injects himself with it in the process. He hides in a closet as his limbs slowly begin turning large and purple, and decides to call The Avengers for help.

The Avengers Assemble to an Already-Solved Problem Thanks to Happy and the Team

Clint Barton, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Natasha Romanoff assembling outside Avengers Tower in What If...? Season 2, Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
The Avengers assemble on the Tower to help Happy in What If…? Season 2, Episode 3, but their services are no longer required. Image Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney+.

When Tony (Mick Wingert) answers the phone, The Avengers are anything but prepared for battle. Tony is dressed up as Santa Claus, Steve Rogers is an elf, and Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Bruce are fighting over a toy. Back at the tower, Happy jumps out a window to escape Hammer’s gun-wielding goons and completely loses control of his inner Hulk. The Avengers aren’t going to make it in time, and Darcy is the only one Happy can count on to save Christmas.

Hammer reveals his plan B, which is to kill Happy and extract the Hulk blood from his corpse. Hulk Happy ascends into the penthouse and wreaks havoc on the Iron Legion, but Hammer escapes. In chasing after him, he rips through an army of Iron Legion soldiers with ease and finally finds Hammer. It seems Christmas is all but saved when Hammer reveals he made it to the armory and has control of the Hulkbuster.

Hulk Hogan battles Hammer as Darcy and Maria try to regain control of the Hulkbuster, but Happy proves more than up for the task. Right as he takes down Hammer, the Avengers show up and mistake him for the villain. Darcy quickly clears up the misunderstanding, and Happy saves Hammer from falling to his death in the spirit of Christmas. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finally arrives once the conflict is resolved, and delightful Christmas music rings in the credits.

Marvel Studios Is Firing on All Cylinders With ‘What if…?’ Season 2

Tony Stark talking on a cell phone dressed like Santa Claus in What If...?'s Season 2 Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
Mick Wingert embodies Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark so well, you’d think he came back for What If…? Season 2. Image Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney+.

With three episodes of remarkably different tones in What If…? Season 2’s rearview mirror, Marvel seems to have figured out how to successfully improve upon their Season 1 woes. General reception to Season 2 has been much more positive, and the new release model is giving fans something exciting to look forward to every day. With six episodes remaining, there’s still plenty of time to elevate the stakes and bring back more fan favorites.

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'What If...?' Season 2, Episode 3 Review

'What If...?' Season 2, Episode 3 Review
4.5 5 0 1
4.5 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • The episode has delightful festive spirit.
  • Premise holds up as very unique in contrast to previous episodes.
  • A bit less so than before, but still feels plausible.
  • The episode is goofy, lighthearted, and easy to watch.

The Bad

  • Not enough Avengers.
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