The whole idea of the What If? series is to reimagine individual stories and explore the possibilities around them. But the entirety of season 2 of the Marvel animated series got busy making sequels, prequels, and interconnected narratives of the already established universes. And the last episode of season 2 was no different. We really hoped that Strange Supreme, who had made appearances in the previous episodes, would get some sort of a redemption arc, but in the end, he is back to doing what he does best: resurrecting Christine Palmer by any means possible. No character in the episode had any real significance, yet the creators tried to fit them into the narrative, making it more tacky all the way to the end. People who love spotting “one million” Easter eggs in the Marvel franchise might find the episode interesting. But is that all that Marvel now has to offer? One giant Easter egg hunt without any story or plot to follow?
Why Does Strange Bring Peggy Carter To Sanctum Infinitum?
The finale of What If? season 2 picked up from the last episode, where we saw Strange Supreme pay a rather “strange” visit to Peggy Carter, who was still stuck in the 1602 universe after saving it from the brink of destruction. The two Guardians of the Multiverse had known each other for quite some time, as they had fought a battle against Infinity Ultron in the season 1 finale. Additionally, the two shared a similar grief of losing their loved ones in their respective universes, a void that they failed to fill in their lifetime.
Speaking of Strange Supreme, the sorcerer lost his beloved in a car accident and blamed himself for the loss. He used his powers and went back in time in order to change the outcome of the events, but what was destined to happen happened every single time. Strange was an obsessed lover. He was ready to explore any possibility that would bring his Christine back, and he thus used the lost books of dark magic to manipulate time. In the process, Strange absorbed the powers of the dark creatures and eventually turned into a monster himself. The sorcerer lost his sanity and ended up destroying his universe just for the sake of saving his beloved.
As we met Strange in What If? season 2, we thought he had overcome his grief and had now become a savior of the universe. He brought Peggy to his Sanctum Infinitum, where he had locked the supervillains of the multiverse who were trying to destroy their respective universes. Or, as Peggy said, Strange was collecting universe killers. He needed the woman’s help to catch one of the supervillains who had escaped his grasp, and therefore, Strange wanted one last favor before he could send Peggy back to her universe. Something had been off since the beginning, and even though Peggy was suspicious of Strange’s actions, she decided to help.
Strange teleported Peggy to a universe where HYDRA had successfully unleashed the powers of the Tesseract and destroyed the world in the process. Strange wanted Peggy to locate a woman whom he had lost in these lands, but it turns out it was none other than Kahhori, whom we had seen earlier in Episode 6. According to Kahhori, Strange wasn’t only collecting supervillains but also superheroes in order to re-forge his universe and bring Christine back. So Strange’s madness hadn’t come to an end, and he was still pursuing his obsession with all his heart. But the question here is: why did Strange need Peggy to catch Kahhori? If Strange is powerful enough to capture both Peggy and Kahhori all by himself, then why play the nice guy and set a trap? Or is it because of the Tesseract that Kahhori was able to disappear into the respective universe? The episode refuses to explain any of it.
What was Strange trying to do?
So, Strange Supreme had been hunting supervillains and superheroes across the universe to sacrifice them in “The Forge,” which would resurrect his universe and probably bring back Christine. We believe someone really didn’t have the time to get creative with the name of this “villainous machine.” Otherwise, who would call it “The Forge”? Or maybe it was a reference to the Golden Forge from where Thor got his ax. We don’t know.
Nevertheless, Strange tried to convince Peggy to join his devilish schemes, as she could understand his grief over losing a loved one. Peggy was much more rational than Strange could ever be, and therefore she decided to help Kahhori destroy The Forge before Strange could commit genocide once again. In order to distract the evil sorcerer, the two righteous superheroes freed Strange’s prisoners and created a riot-like situation at the Sanctum Infinitum.
How Did Peggy And Kahhori Stop Strange?
While trying to locate The Forge, Peggy came across a version of Erik Killmonger donning the five infinity stones. In a really lousy fight that followed, Kahhori used her powers to teleport Killmonger out of his suit, and Peggy stole the infinity stones so that she could have a chance against Strange Supreme. After getting some battle gear, the two arrived in a hollow chamber where Strange planned the mass execution, but before they could destroy Strange’s most expensive weapon, the sorcerer intervened and tried to kill the heroes by any means possible.
During the final battle, Strange used his powers to lock Peggy in a dream-like state where she had the chance to step back from becoming a super soldier. In such a scenario, she would have been able to avert Steve’s death, but Peggy saw through the cracks in the narrative and quickly punched Strange in the face for pulling such a dirty trick. When everything failed, Strange tried to speed up the sacrifice ritual. That was when the heroes and the villains falling into the pit gave away their weapons to Peggy and Kahhori so that they could stop the mad sorcerer.
While Peggy attacked Strange with all her might, Kahhori used the distraction to teleport all the superheroes and supervillains to another location so that Strange couldn’t finish what he had started. Her actions enraged the sorcerer even further and he transformed into a demonic version of himself and tried to kill Peggy and Kahhori. In the end, Peggy grabbed the five infinity stones in her palm and threw a punch at Demon Strange, which separated him from the demons that were possessing him, bringing him back to sanity for a moment. However, the demons quickly took back control of Strange’s body and tried to bring Peggy to The Forge. Eventually, Peggy used his tactics against him and pushed the Demon Strange into The Forge, thereby ending his existence forever. For a brief moment, we saw Strange trying to control his demons so that he could be stopped from destroying yet another universe. Perhaps his sacrifice was his only redemption.
During What If? episode 9’s ending, The Watcher revealed to Peggy that Strange’s death resurrected his universe and brought Christine back to life. But as it was destined, the two won’t be able to be together. Strange had been wiped off from existence and would never take birth in this universe. Perhaps it was the kind of sacrifice one makes in love. Kahhori, on the other hand, was sent back to her universe, where she would use her powers to protect the weak and eliminate evil. And for one last rodeo, before returning home, The Watcher took Peggy to the Tree of Universe, the new multiversal spot that was created by none other than Loki himself. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that in the next installment of the What If? series, we are indeed going to see stories around Loki’s new multiverse. I really hope that the third season of What If? won’t repeat the flaws of the second installment and instead follow individual stories, something it does best.