Marvel's What If...? shatters Doctor Strange's heart in haunting episode

Burbank, California - Marvel's fourth episode in the series What If...? shows why even the all-powerful Doctor Strange can't cheat death.

Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Dr. Stephen Strange in the fourth episode of Marvel's What If...?
Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Dr. Stephen Strange in the fourth episode of Marvel's What If...?  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

On Wednesday, the most recent chapter in Marvel's latest project completely changed the game.

Though the first three episodes showed potential, the show seemed to drag a bit.

However, any doubts fans may have had about the animated series have surely now disappeared.

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The fourth episode, What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?, questions what would happen if instead of losing his hands, Doctor Stephen Strange – played by Benedict Cumberbatch – was missing something much more valuable.

The unexpectedly emotional and dark plot took everyone by surprise with its shocking end that could play a crucial part in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Plus, viewers were also treated to a closer look at the mysterious narrator The Watcher, played by Jeffrey Wright, who also makes a stunning move nobody saw coming.

What if Doctor Strange tried to bring back a loved one?

In the fourth episode of Mavrel's What If...? Doctor Strange (l.) tries to unsuccessfully bring back Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams (r.), whose death haunts him.
In the fourth episode of Mavrel's What If...? Doctor Strange (l.) tries to unsuccessfully bring back Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams (r.), whose death haunts him.  © IMAGO / Cinema Publishers Collection

The fourth episode's story begins with Stephen Strange picking up Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams, for dinner a party.

However, similarly to the plot of the 2016 film Doctor Strange, the two are struck by tragedy.

But this time, the soon-to-be Sorcerer Supreme doesn't lose the ability to use his hands. Instead, he loses something much more precious: Christine.

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After Christine's death, Stephen still successfully completes his journey to become the Master of Mystic Arts and studies the Eye of Agamotto.

However, the ancient one, played by Tilda Swinton, and Wong, played by Benedict Wong, warn him not to alter time as it could damage the fabric of reality.

Fast-forward two years later, when Dr. Strange refuses to heed their warnings and repeatedly tries to bring Christine back – but fails.

On his final attempt, the Ancient One returns from the dead to inform Stephen that Christine's death is necessary and irreversible.

The arrogant doctor still refuses to listen, and uses the Time Stone to travel to the Lost Library of Cagliostro.

There, he meets its librarian O'Bengh, played by Ike Amadi, and spends centuries absorbing magical beings to gain more power. It leads to the wizard becoming evil.

But, there's a twist!

Apparently, the Ancient One used the power of the Dark Dimension to split Dr. Strange in two, creating a "good" version of the sorcerer – who has accepted the loss of Christine – and an "evil" counterpart. The evil "Strange Supreme" continues with his mission to save her.

The Ancient One recruits the good version of Stephen to fight his evil side, and to save the world.

Unfortunately, Strange Supreme overpowers his good twin, and when the two become one, he successfully resurrects Christine. It also tears reality apart.

Strange Supreme soon realizes his mistake and tries to fix it.

*Enter The Watcher!*

Dr. Strange pleads with the alien figure, but the latter refuses to intervene. It causes the universe to explode, Christine to die (again), and Strange Supreme stranded to grieve into oblivion.

Will the evil Doctor Strange appear again?

(From l. to r.) Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey, Jr. in Avengers: Infinity War.
(From l. to r.) Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey, Jr. in Avengers: Infinity War.  © IMAGO / Everett Collection

Released last week, the trailer for the upcoming Spider-man film teased that Dr. Strange would play a hand in the mess of the multiverse. Subtle hints have also been thrown around in other Marvel offerings, but not fully explored.

After this latest episode, the direction the MCU is heading in is becoming more clear.

Now fans are getting a glimpse of what the future holds for Marvel's heroes, and it doesn't look too bright.

With an alternate evil Dr. Strange floating around the galaxy, it's apparent that this won't be the last viewers will see of him. Especially since reports have suggested that the upcoming Dr. Strange sequel film will be more of horror flick.

Also, The Watcher's integral part in the destruction of Dr. Strange's world will inevitably lead to more catastrophic trouble. Will Dr. Strange's evil twin be the foe he will face against?

Where will Marvel take viewers next week? Whose world will be spun on its axis next?

Marvel's What If...? is now streaming on Disney+.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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