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BWN Nerds’ Review: Marvel’s What If…? Episode 1

The Nerds pivot a little, instead of movies they decide to tackle Marvel’s What If…? series! Rey and Big Dave give their opinion on Peggy Carter as Captain America!

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The Nerds pivot a little, instead of movies they decide to tackle Marvel’s What If…? series! Rey and Big Dave give their opinion on Peggy Carter as Captain America!

The Nerd Review is going to go in a slightly different direction the next few weeks as we cover Marvel’s new series What If. The general concept for the series is that The Watcher is, more or less, the narrator leading us through some of our favorite stories from the MCU that have had some very important elements changed. In the wake of the Loki season finale clearly setting up the Multiverse, this series is all about the Multiverse and the different variations that can permeate through such a concept. This first Episode hammers that point home very effectively.

  • Metacritic: 69
  • Rotten Tomatoes: Critic: 92% – Audience: 87%
  • IMDB: 7.3/10

Episode 1: What If….Captain Carter Were The First Avenger (2021)

Dave Ungar

In Episode 1, we get the relive the familiar story from Captain America: The First Avenger. The big twist though is that as Steve Rogers is set to enter Dr. Erskine’s chamber, he is shot by a Hydra agent. Rather than waste an enormous amount of time, resources, and money (apparently, once the process started it could not be stopped) Peggy Carter volunteers to have the super solder serum administered to her. She emerges as a female version of Captain America and soon dons the moniker of Captain Carter. Steve Rogers recovers from his wounds and begins to assist Captain Carter as he climbs into one of Howard Stark’s early Iron Man-like suits called a Hydra Stomper. Another key difference here is that the Hydra Stomper is powered by the Tesseract. Captain Carter becomes as big an obstacle for the Red Skull and Hydra as Captain America was in the original source material, foiling many of his nefarious plots. Meanwhile, Steve and Peggy’s relationship deepens and their feelings for each other are evident, even with the role reversal, signifying there is something much deeper between these two than even Endgame showed us.

The climactic battle sees Steve lured into a situation where a massive explosion occurs. Captain Carter, along with Bucky Barnes (who is still Steve’s best friend in this universe, although will probably never become the Winter Soldier the way this plays out), fear that Steve has been killed. Still, they soldier on to carry out their mission. The Red Skull acquires the Tesseract and uses it to summon a tentacled Kraken-like creature from, presumably, one of the MCU’s pocket dimensions because Marvel loves pocket dimensions. Captain Carter sacrifices herself to push the monster back into the dimensional portal, but the portal closes and traps Peggy with the creature somewhere in the vast confines of time, space, and quantum physics. 70 years later, Nick Fury is able to re-open the portal and Captain Carter emerges having reduced the creature to so much Hydra-sushi. She realizes she has lost Steve forever in a familiar, yet different, and equally heart-breaking closing scene.

On this weeks Episode of BWN, I said that what I really enjoyed about the Episode was that Marvel did not shy away from going all-in on a subject that can be problematic in today’s culture: The degradation and marginalization of women during the mid to late 1940’s. By today’s standards, we all know women can do just about anything men can do and often do it better. That mindset did not exist during World War II and this Episode demonstrated that. Even a woman with super powers, heart, and undying determination, was not above being belittled and degraded by the obnoxious Colonel John Flynn. Col. Flynn questions Captain Carter’s abilities at nearly every turn and it is so laden with sexism that it is almost uncomfortable to watch. On the other hand, it is a good example of just how far we have come as a society. After all, we cannot learn from our mistakes if we are not aware of them.

Ultimately, I felt the Episode was as much about exposing the narrow-mindedness of sexism that existed in the late 1940’s as it was about the other great aspect of the Episode: Peggy and Steve’s love for each other. It was great to realize that Peggy always saw beyond Steve Roger’s physique, whether he was the scrawny kid from Brooklyn or the super-soldier known as Captain America, and loved him for his best quality- his heart. Whether it was on Earth-616 or wherever this Episode took place, Peggy & Steve’s love for each other crossed all planes of space, time, and existence.

How can you not love that?

Rating: 4.5/5

Rey Cash

There has been a plethora of Marvel properties reviewed in this review series and on our podcast, Bandwagon Nerds.  Marvel has changed the way movie franchises are created and how the superhero/comic genre is perceived.  The one shortcoming that you could say about Marvel, however, was their animation wing.  While most of us grew up with the Spiderman and X-Men television shows of the 90s, there has been little to no animation that has been in concert with the MCU.  The new series What If…? changes this and continues the innovation that Marvel has staked their claim to.

In reviewing a series instead of a movie, naturally this review is going to be shorter than usual.  Still, this episode had enough quality and thought-provoking moments to give even the most dispassionate writer a ton of material to use.  The very premise of What If…? breeds a limitless amount of possibilities for stories to tell.  Under the guise of Uatu The Watcher, a cosmic being tasked to watch all of the Multiverse without interference, the show is given autonomy to take on any moment in MCU history and change just a small detail, allowing the butterfly effect-esque series of events to play out on our screens.

The first iteration of What If…? revolves around Steve Rogers and his transformation into Captain America.  We all know the story of Steve Rogers being the only person to make the Super Soldier Serum work because of his selflessness.  Well, in this episode, Peggy Carter is the one to make the transformation, having to jump into the transformation pod as a sleeper Hydra agent shoots Steve in the shoulder.  Upon her exit, she’s visibly bigger, stronger, and different.  And much like Steve initially, she was largely ignored until took her fate into her own hands.  The most interesting thing about the episode is how openly they addressed the rampant misogyny of the time with the US Government treating Peggy like a second-class soldier despite her abilities.

The other interesting thing about this episode was that Howard Stark created a very primitive version of the Iron Man suit which went to Steve Rogers.  The idea that a Stark was always going to create Iron Man is a very interesting to ponder, as well as Steve Rogers being destined to be a superhero of sorts.  Also, Bucky Barnes did not fall to his demise on the train in the Alps; Steve Rogers is the one who goes missing.  Finally, the last note of interest to me is that despite being the big bad of the episode, The Red Skull never faces off with Captain Carter.  Instead, he’s killed by a creature summoned from a different dimension by the Tesseract.  Peggy jumps in this same portal to go after the creature, which is where she disappears for 70 years until Nick Fury and Hawkeye free her, bringing her into our generation.

I think the idea is flawless.  We’ve had enough content and time go by in the MCU that looking at alternate timelines is a very welcome pivot.  Considering how Loki ended, the idea of a multiverse is finally being expanded upon, and What If…? gives the perfect tour into this new side of the MCU.  This is an absolute must see show.

Rating: 4.75/5

 

Overall Nerd Rating on What If….Captain Carter Were The First Avenger: 4.625/5


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Bandwagon Nerds #138: Cookouts & Premiere Dates

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Bandwagon Nerds #138: Cookouts & Premiere Dates

David Ungar returns from vacation and PC Tunney is heading to a cookout this week on the Bandwagon.  Patrick does his best to keep the guys focused with a review of the penultimate episode of The Boys season 3 and News around the Nerdosphere!  This week is dominated by release dates from Lucasfilm, Warner Brothers and NBC.  The guys ponder problems facing the upcoming the Star Wars films and discuss what upcoming shows they will (and won’t) watch this fall.  Plus, all kinds of casting rumors are swirling around the MCU, the Nerds tell you which ones are worth buying and which ones are duds.

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Join Patrick O’Dowd, David Ungar, PC Tunney and Rey Cash as they keep everyone up on all things nerd, and maybe add some new nerds along the way. It’s the Bandwagon Nerds Podcast!

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Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, Suwama’s Station, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.


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Chairshot Radio 5 by 5: SNL Films

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With Dave and Patrick both on vacation this week, Hockey Talk had to take a pause and will be back to reflect on the Stanley Cup Finals next week.  We all knows that means another edition of the Five by Five!  This week, “Mr. Saturday Night” PC Tunney returns to the show with Patrick to give you their list of the Five Best and Five worst SNL movies of all time.

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About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio daily editions, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.

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