What If … Zombies!? Episode Review

Wednesday remains Marvel review day, even if I might post a little later in the day. As a warning, this will likely happen for several weeks to come, as my schedule has changed a bit. BUT reviews are still happening. Today we talk about What If … Zombies!? and spoilers are ahead from here on out!

What If ... Zombies!?
credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

When Bruce Banner falls to Earth to warn everyone about Thanos’ arrival, he finds a planet entirely changed and now inhabited by … zombies.

My thoughts?

I genuinely thought last week’s episode was dark, but this one was equally (if not partially more) sinister. In general, I was never a huge fan of the zombie genre, but I was curious to see what they would do with it paired with the Avengers and it was a lot of fun. I don’t have a comparison to the comic book storyline (because yes, there were zombies in the comics too), but it worked alright for me. That is … until the once again, super open and ambiguous end. I vowed not to complain so much about the episodes feeling rushed (which they still do), but I also haven’t made peace with the fact that it’s never really a closed story. Sometimes an open end is great, but sometimes … I just don’t know what to do with it. But let’s start at the beginning!

  • Just like in Infinity War, Bruce Banner crashes into the Sanctum Sanctorum to warn everyone of Thanos’ arrival. However, in this reality, Bruce finds Earth changed and seemingly deserted. That is until Bruce’s henchmen arrive to start a fight, just to be surprised by superpowered zombies in the shape of Tony Stark, Wong and Doctor Strange. It’s not often that I see zombies retain the abilities they had before they were changed.
What If ... Zombies!?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Bruce eventually gets saved by Hope van Dyne, Strange’s cape and Peter Parker as we find out what happened on Earth.
  • In this version of events, Hank Pym also went to find his missing wife in the quantum realm, but the reunion went quite differently. Janet van Dyne contracted a quantum virus that corrupted her brain (aka turned her into a zombie) and because of her daughter’s unrelenting search for her, she managed to bring the virus back to our realm and infect large groups in no time. Once the Avengers joined the fight and got turned as well, the fate of humanity was more or less sealed. 
  • If only it weren’t for a small group of survivors that still carried that torch of hope. In a very curious constellation, Hope van Dyne, Peter Parker, Happy, Bucky Barnes, Kurt (one of Scott’s friends, if you struggled to remember him as well), Sharon Carter and Okoye as well as Bruce Banner now, all found themselves in New York, willing to give their all to save the planet.
  • The group gets a beacon that tells them that a potential cure has been found and in an attempt to get there, they lose a couple members. I have to say that, despite the scenes being fairly brief, the violence was definitely upped quite a bit. I never thought that I’d have to watch Sam get cut in half from top to bottom and Bucky react entirely nonchalantly, but here we are. I mean, he literally said “I should be sad, but I’m not”. To me, there were several quite gruesome moments.
  • Only Peter, Bruce, Bucky, Okoye and Kurt make it to the base that is supposed to hold the cure, just to find Vision there. He found out that his mind stone creates an aversion within the zombies, which ultimately led him to test his theory. He was able to save Scott, but only his head. A head that keeps floating around and just telling dad jokes. Typical Scott!
  • This is where Marvel really twists in the knife though! When everyone gets excited about potentially saving humanity, Vision turns dark. In reality, he has been luring people to his hideout in order to feed his zombie bride – Wanda. She is too strong and her zombie-condition can’t be cured, so he instead contained her and fed her, even holding T’Challa hostage.
What If ... Zombies!?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • I did not expect to get another appearance of Chadwick as T’Challa, but my heart sang again. This wasn’t nearly as happy as the last episode he was in, but yeah, I’ll take what I can get.
  • Ultimately, Vision can’t betray everyone he knows, while he also can’t let go of Wanda. He opts to destroy himself and give up the mind stone to the others, rather than leave her or kill her himself.
  • A Hulk vs. zombie Scarlet Witch fight ensues, while Peter, Scott’s head and T’Challa are the only ones making it off the base with the mind stone. Thankfully, Wakanda’s shields were strong enough to not have them fall pray to the zombie apocalypse. So, technically, there is still hope that they can fabricate a cure, if only it wasn’t for the small little detail everyone forgot – Thanos arrival.
  • The episode ends with an image of a zombie Thanos, who is wearing an infinity gauntlet with a full set of stones. To me, that means he defeated the remaining people in Wakanda and got the mind stone. I’m assuming his plans for the use of the gauntlet changed with his turn to a zombie, but I don’t know. I could speculate and form a dozen theories, but that’s the frustrating thing with these episodes sometimes. The end could mean basically anything and everything.
What If ... Zombies!?
credit: Marvel Studios

What did I learn from this episode? I still remember this thing going around TikTok or Twitter, where someone said that heroes would always sacrifice their love in order to save the world, whereas villains would burn down everything rather than let you go. Well, I think the What If … multiverse proves that our heroes are definitely willing to let it all go to hell for their loved ones. Just some more food for thought, because as the watcher said, all these stories (most of which often turn to a form of horror) started with love and hope/Hope.

Something I appreciate a lot with these episodes is how they replicate certain shots from the bigger MCU in animation. It was especially notable with Captain Carter’s episode, but continued to be utilized throughout the season thus far. This time around, for example, we saw a corrupted Steve Rogers still use his shield and it looked marred by blood, just like it did when John Walker misused it in TFATWS. It’s very smart cinematography, because it easily creates a connection and possible emotional memory to something familiar, but in a very subtle way.

In general, this episode offered a lot of imagery hinting at the fate of characters in different realities. There was Peter with the cloak/cape and him being Spider Supreme in another universe. Then there was Bucky with the shield (“guess this is the end of the line”), stepping up as the new “Captain America” in this version. It’s the little things that often only last a couple seconds, but that can be meaningful to viewers (although Sam is my Captain. Sorry not sorry).

Ultimately, I liked the episode, but I’ve enjoyed others even more. Maybe I’m not the right audience for an anthology series like this, but we’ve made it to episode 5 (which I believe to be the halfway point of the season), so I’m going to keep going with these little reviews/recaps.


PREVIOUSLY: WHAT IF …


What did you think of this episode? Did you like this take on zombies? What are your thoughts? Let’s chat!

Flatline or the Adventures of Doctor Clara

Another Whovian Saturday! In this week’s episode “FlatlineJamie Mathieson/Steven Moffat were dead set on getting us scared of walls and giving Clara another opportunity to shine. As always you should hear River in your head by now: “Spoilers!

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After I’ve seen the promo for “Flatline“, I thought the episode had potential to be really creepy. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up liking it that much. While I really love Series 8 as a whole, I also have my issues with it. So far, there haven’t been any terrible episodes, but there also haven’t been any outstanding ones. I’ve been waiting for an episode to really wow me and excite me, like for example “Vincent and the Doctor“, “Blink“, “The Empty Child“/”The Doctor Dances” or “The Girl in the Fireplace” did. And those are just the examples I could come up with from the top of my head! Again, “Flatline” wasn’t bad at all, but I doubt it’ll stay in my memory forever. However, it did have it’s moments! Since the Doctor was stuck in the shrunken TARDIS, Clara had to do his job and defeat the monsters. Here are my thoughts about the occurrences of “Flatline”.

  • So, as I mentioned above, our weekly monster was a little different this time around. It started out in 2D, but quickly evolved to something more 3D by draining the TARDIS of its power. In my opinion, those creatures (Do they have a name? They remind me a bit of the Vashta Nerada to be honest) have the potential to be really creepy, but didn’t fully realise said potential during the course of this episode. In the end, they just looked like pixelated and glitching Zombies.
  • Clara was the center of attention once again. It’s not like I don’t like her, but come on. This is turning into the Adventures of (Doctor) Clara Oswald rather than Doctor Who. Is that just my feeling? Because I don’t remember the other companions being that much the focus of the show. Also, she’s turning more and more into the Doctor – the lies, her way of thinking …
  • Danny … oh poor Danny. Always having to worry about Clara. He’s not stupid! He clearly knew she was getting into trouble with the Doctor and she shouldn’t lie to him. If she’s getting into a dangerous situation, he needs to know that. At least, he said that that’s a deal breaker when they started dating.
  • Rigsy (Joivan Wade) was sweet and he looked like he had a crush on Clara. But why exactly did he want to sacrifice his life for no reason?
  • Did not like grumpy old man Fenton (Christopher Fairbank), but I suppose it was intended that we dislike him.
  • I like the use of psychic paper, even if it was beaten by utter lack of imagination.
  • Did I just imagine that, or did the TARDIS in siege mode look like the Pandorica? I know that it was Gallifreyan writing on the box, but it still very much reminded me of the Pandorica.
  • The Addams Family-hand reference was funny.
  • The Doctor, as always, is a mystery to me. On the one hand, he had hope that it was all just a misunderstanding with the enemy creatures and I again saw a glimpse of the man who finds every creature in the universe important and beautiful, but then he did not hesitate to destroy them. He compliments Clara for how she handled the situation, but at the same time tells her that his actions have nothing to do with being good or goodness. I still want to believe that the Doctor is a good man, but he himself seems to have stopped believing that altogether. However, I still like the scenes where we see that the Doctor cares about Clara and sometimes even is jealous, even if he doesn’t like that she’s becoming more like him.
  • Missy had her almost obligatory tiny appearance again. Tonight’s episode seemed to be another hint that she might truly have been the woman in the shop. She called her “My Clara” (wasn’t that Eleven’s thing?) and said that she chose her well, so, that just makes me assume she’s the one who gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number. After the torturous and slow build-up of her character I hope the season finale, which supposedly reveals everything, will be as good as I expect it to be by now.

What were your thoughts about this week’s episode? I’m already looking forward to “In the Forest of the Night” (which oddly makes me think about “Forest of the Dead” and the Forest people, although I doubt it has any connection to those things), because Danny will finally tag along on the TARDIS … even if it is with an entire group of children.