What If...? Ep 3 Takeaways: SHIELD is framed for murdering the Avengers and Loki has the last laugh

What If...? Ep 3 poses the shuddering question; What If... The world lost its mightiest heroes?

Updated on Oct 07, 2021   |  11:38 AM IST  |  371.8K
What If...? Ep 3 premiered today, i.e. August 25
What If...? Ep 3 envisions a world without the OG 5 Avengers.

*SPOILERS ALERT* Continuing the bittersweet path of leaving MCU fans an emotional mess; as they poignantly did in What If...? Ep 2 in which the late Chadwick Boseman's voiceover saw T'Challa become Star-Lord, we now have a shocking question answered in Ep 3; What If... the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes? Well, now we know and it's nothing short of heartbreaking!

In What If...? Ep 3, we're taken on a one-week journey, just before The Avengers were recruited. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is met with one obstacle after another as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Lake Bell) and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are framed for the murders of Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Mick Wingert) and Thor. Moreover, while Natasha tries to help Bruce Banner aka The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) escape, the latter explodes to his death while Nat and even Clint are murdered as well. But, who is responsible for these 'targeted' mysterious deaths? Let's find out!

Here are the five takeaways from What If...? Ep 3:

Avengers are murdered one by one

As explained on top, one Avenger (before they could become one!) after another is dropping dead due to a mystery villain while the blame game is pointed at fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Natasha and Clint. While Tony dies after a lithium dioxide shot inside the trademark donut shop, with the cause of death turning out to be something else entirely (more on that later!), Thor dies in Mexico at the hands of Clint's arrow, also not in the latter's control. (P.S. We adored Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Clint swooning after Thor's Greek God looks and luscious blonde locks!) Clint, too, dies under cryptic circumstances while Bruce (in The Incredible Hulk era), is shot. After transforming into Hulk, Bruce literally explodes to his death. When it comes to Nat, she's met with a formidable opponent, and unfortunately, is killed as well. In the concluding moments, we see the caskets of the five fallen Avengers with their symbols intact, leaving us teary-eyed. Watching Tony Stark die one more time, along with the other Avengers, why Marvel, why?!

Black Widow is a bada*s in any timeline

While Scarlett Johansson's voiceover (along with RDJ as Iron Man) is duly missed, Natasha still continues to be a force to reckon with in any timeline. In spite of the stacks decked against her, Nat's will to talk the talk and fight the fight is commendable. Her sarcastic, witty dialogues also make a comeback as she fends off Brock Rumlow aka Crossbones (Frank Grillo) and other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, who have captured her post Tony's death. Even her sequences with Betty Ross (Stephanie Panisello), Bruce's love interest, are sassy. We'd have loved to see the Black Widow and Hulk team up in a more elaborate way but General Thaddeus Ross (not William Hurt but Mike McGill) ambushes the duo. The bullet to Bruce, however, was someone else's doing...


Hank Pym is the murderer

It's Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who orchestrated the Avengers' murders, something which even Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thanos couldn't do. In a week's time, Hank caused utter mayhem and it was only thanks to Nat's "It's all about Hope" clue that enabled Nick to find the real murderer. With Loki's help, who had come down to Earth to avenge his brother Thor's death, Nick is able to capture Hank. The reason for Hank's vicious actions is because he blames S.H.I.E.L.D. for the death of his daughter Hope van Dyne during an assignment, similar to his wife Janet van Dyne. Speaking of the God of Mischief...

Loki achieves his glorious purpose

Besides the hilarious "goth kid" reference at Loki by Hank Pym, the Trickster God manages to steal the show yet again. Along with Sif (Jaime Alexander) and the Asgardian army, Loki enters Earth to avenge his brother Thor's death. Before Loki can extinguish Earth, Nick strikes a deal with the God of Mischief to give him some time to find the murderer with the promise of enabling Loki to deliver the final justice. However, with the clock ticking and the Avengers dying at rapid speed, Nick enlists Loki's shape-shifting powers and tricks Hank into defeat and taken by Asgardian custody. However, Loki decides to stay on Earth and becomes its ruler.

There is still "Captain" full of hope for the Avengers

But, what about the Avengers? Well, Nick Fury always has a Plan B-Z in tow, as seen in many MCU movies, and even this time, he doesn't disappoint. While we got the '90's beeper tease early on, we eventually see Nick getting his hands on Steve Rogers aka Captain America's frozen shield while he welcomes Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Alexandra Daniels), beckoning a new lineage of Earth's mightiest superheroes. "I believe that in this universe, as in every other, hope never dies. As long as someone keeps their good eye on the bigger picture," The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) teases.

"Welcome back, Captain," Nick states before Captain Marvel asks, "So where's the fight?"

We're glad What If...? Ep 3 is an alternative timeline storytelling because imagine having to watch ALL our beloved superheroes die even before Avengers came to be in the MCU! Thank you, next!


Which was your favourite moment from What If...? Ep 3? Share your personal picks with Pinkvilla in the comments section below.

ALSO READ: What If...? Ep 2 Takeaways: Chadwick Boseman's final hurrah as T'Challa turned Star-Lord is a perfect tribute


Meanwhile, What If...? Ep 4 will be out on September 1.

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