Warning: Spoilers ahead for What If…? Season 2 Episode 5.
Now over halfway through Season 2, the fifth episode of What If…? is available on Disney+, and it begins setting the groundwork for the overarching narrative. After the first three episodes tell more fresh and unique stories, episodes four and five feel much more familiar to previous MCU tales.
Episode 4 essentially replaces Thor (Chris Hemsworth) with Tony Stark (Mick Wingert) on Sakaar, and Episode 5 puts Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) in Steve Rogers’ shoes for multiple famous MCU moments. With only four episodes remaining in Season 2, let’s go over what would have happened if Captain Carter fought the Hydra Stomper in our What If…? Season 2, Episode 5 recap.
The Avengers in ‘What If…?’ Season 2, Episode 5 Look Much Different With Captain Carter
Episode 5 is a direct sequel to the Season 1 premiere, which sees Captain Carter become the first Avenger when she takes the super soldier serum in place of Steve. The episode opens with a slight tweak on the Battle for New York from The Avengers but with different team members, including Captain Carter in place of Steve, and Wasp in place of The Hulk. When Black Widow (Lake Bell) and Captain Carter head to the top of Avengers Tower to apprehend Loki, the credits roll and the episode truly begins.
With a Captain America: The Winter Soldier parallel, Captain Carter picks up Natasha from a run around the Lincoln Memorial Pool. They head out to a Lumerian Star-like ship and find the Hydra Stomper in a shipping container. The mask opens to reveal Steve Rogers, still inside after all this time, and after a brief fight he flies off into the night sky. Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Peggy confronts Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) about Steve’s survival.
Natasha reveals the Red Room is controlling Steve, and Peggy insists on joining the fight, but Fury advises against it. Up on the top floor, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is the Secretary of State, and just when security runs in to escort him out, the Hydra Stomper attacks. Fury gives Natasha the green light for a kill shot on Steve, but Bucky stands in the way and saves his life, knowing Steve would do the same for him.
‘Black Widow’s Melina Is Behind the Red Room and the Hydra Stomper
Steve seems to recognize Bucky for a brief moment but quickly zeroes back in to take him out. Before he can pull the trigger, Peggy stops him and the two ascend high into the sky, where Peggy knocks him out. Black Widow is there to catch them from their rapid descent and takes them to a safe house off the grid in Scotland. It only takes a few moments of analysis to realize the Hydra Stomper suit is the only thing keeping Steve alive.
Natasha wants to call Tony or Bruce for help, but Peggy insists on solving this problem themselves. Steve comes back to consciousness and is in full control, offering to take them to the Red Room in Sokovia and help with their mission. Steve and Peggy share a touching moment just before getting into a battle with widows bite-shooting mannequins around the compound, where they’re vastly outnumbered. Melina (Rachel Weisz) shows up and resumes control of Steve, proving he was never in the driver’s seat.
Melina reveals her master plan was always to get Captain Carter to the Red Room. A massive fight between Steve and the widows and Peggy and Natasha ensues, and Peggy finally gets through to the love of her life. Steve flies up and destroys the Red Room, taking Melina with her. Peggy and Natasha vow to find Steve, but an ominous portal appears and Peggy falls in. When she awakens, a very different Nick Fury and Scarlet Witch are there to greet her.
‘What If…?’ Season 2, Episode 5 Lays the Groundwork for More Exciting Events
The fifth episode doesn’t offer as much in terms of a fresh story, but it sets up some exciting payoffs for later in the season. The worst way to handle the multiverse is to play it safe; after all, with infinite possibilities for stories, the nuttier, the better. Each episode from here to the conclusion will likely include more and more overarching exposition ahead of the grand finale on December 30.
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