What If…? season two episode six review

Marvel Studios is using the ability afforded to them in ‘What If…?’ to tell a completely new story in episode six, one that doesn’t rely on past movies or TV shows to tell its tale. It finally realizes the potential of the multiverse. It takes one element that audiences are familiar with – the Tesseract – and completely recontextualizes everything else, resulting in an original story about strength, belief in one’s culture and community, and one that shows superpowers aren’t just for a select group.

Screen Culture

The story follows the Native American woman Kahhori (Devery Jacobs) as she discovers the power of the Tesseract and uses it to defend her people from the Spanish invaders. It gives the Tesseract a radical new mythology, imbuing its power within a mysterious lake, which sucks people into an alternate dimension of beautiful paradise if they fall in. This paradise grants other Native American inhabitants abilities like super speed and telekinesis, which the show depicts with a smooth crystal blue look.

Kahhori falls into this lake while being chased by brutal Spanish Conquistadors, which whisks her away from the fight and grants her these powers. She’s desperate to get home to save her people, but because the portal is in the sky, it’s out of reach. The Native Americans that have previously fallen through encourage her to stay and relax and tell her to drop her desire to return home, which introduces the danger of complacency into the story.

It’s one that Kahhori nearly falls to as she develops her power and begins to relax in this new world. A creative setpiece features huge boarish creatures with fruit on their backs that the villagers need to get, and they do so by jumping over their backs. Naturally, Kahhori figures out her own way, showing up the rest of the village in the process. This is when the dangers of complacency return, as a dance around the campfire shows Kahhori is willing to forget her people and give up on returning home.

Some Spanish soldiers get through the portal and stumble upon the campfire, but Kahhori utterly destroys them with her new power. It reminds her of the struggle back home and causes her to pull the portal to her in rage, and she gives an emphatic speech decrying the laziness of the other Native Americans, urging them to honor their struggling brethren and fight. But they tragically refuse, showing they’ve forgotten their shared cultured kinship.

Kahhori returns alone, and the sparing use of slow motion in the following action scene is powerful and resonant, especially as Kahhori is defeated. But, it turns out, the other Native Americans have remembered their shared connection, and come to save their brothers and sisters from the Spanish.

The Native Americans finally see Queen Isabella of Spain, demanding a truce. It caps off a stellar episode and one that rarely uses English to convey its story. It shows subtitles don’t prevent connections or understanding what’s going on.

Doctor Strange Supreme’s appearance is a surprise, as he’s supposed to be imprisoned in the gem of solitude he made for himself during ‘What If…?’ season one. It’s clear that with this ending and Peggy Carter’s disappearance, things aren’t right in the multiverse. He takes Kahhori with him to another universe. Whatever the show is building to is bound to be interesting.

Kieran Burt

My name is Kieran and I am based in the UK. I love writing about all things science fiction and fantasy, particularly Star Wars and Marvel. When I’m not writing or watching anything sci-fi related, you can probably find me exploring the open worlds of alternate lands through my Xbox.

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