This article incorporates spoilers for episode 4 of What If…?
Although this week’s episode of What If..? had some fairly cool visuals and intense motion scenes, the general idea was lower than excellent. The battle between two completely different variations of Doctor Strange was positively one thing to see, however “Dark Strange” was motivated by a basic comedian mistake – fridging.
Fridging is when a personality is killed off for no different cause moreover motivating the hero’s actions. Fridging has a protracted historical past within the superhero trade and the time period was truly invented after a difficulty of the Green Lantern comedian sequence was launched. In the comedian, Green Lantern’s girlfriend was murdered by the villain, solely to be shoved right into a fridge shortly after her demise. More usually than not feminine characters are the prime victims of fridging, which has led lots of people to see it in a sexist mild.
One pretty current instance of fridging is Vanessa’s demise throughout Deadpool 2, as a result of her homicide is what inspired Wade Wilson to hitch the X-Men and attempt to be a greater man. The solely cause Vanessa died was in order that Wade’s character had an excuse to develop, taking all the main focus away from the girl’s struggling to as a substitute deal with the person’s improvement.
That’s to not say Deadpool 2 is a nasty film. In reality, one of many MCU’s greatest movies, Avengers: Infinity War, used fridging when Thanos sacrificed Gamora to acquire the Soul Stone. The solely goal her demise served was to maintain Thanos’ plan shifting alongside and present viewers that he couldn’t be all dangerous if he was able to loving his adoptive daughter. Just like Vanessa, the main focus was pulled away from Gamora’s struggling by the hands of the Titan and in favor of showcasing the male character’s journey. Although using fridging was a little bit of a cop out, each of those movies had been nonetheless fairly nice.
Episode 4 of What If…? started by killing off Strange’s love curiosity, Christine Palmer. Fridging her is what sparked the existence of two Stranges in a single universe and was the only real cause “Dark Strange” was even created. Out of all the directions Marvel could have taken this episode, killing Strange’s girlfriend was perhaps the most overdone and boring of those selections.
Using Christine because the motive for Strange’s battle towards himself additionally cheapens her character drastically. It makes her solely goal within the universe to die in order that another person will be nice, which the Sorcerer Supreme made very clear. In a manner, Christine’s life was belittled the identical manner Loki’s was when the TVA instructed him his cause for existence is to construct heroes out of others.
Character demise is meant to imply one thing, however fridging is a straightforward manner for writers to proceed a hero’s story with out taking the time to do any actual character improvement. Using grief as the only real driving pressure behind furthering a personality’s journey will be thought of lazy writing.
Not to say, a good chunk of episode 4 is spent by displaying all of the methods through which Strange tried to save lots of Christine’s life, solely to fail each time. That plotline is fairly harking back to what occurred within the precise Doctor Strange movie. Fans noticed Strange enter an infinite time loop with Dormammu within the authentic film, and regardless that he died a number of alternative ways, the result was all the time the identical. Strange would lose his life, similar to Christine repeatedly misplaced hers in the newest What If…? episode.
The idea of reliving the identical occasions greater than as soon as isn’t simply acquainted to Strange. Popular films like Groundhog Day and Before I Fall inform tales about characters caught in time loops. There’s an episode of Supernatural the place the Winchester brothers are compelled to repeat the identical. Even one in every of Disney’s previous child reveals, Wizards of Waverly Place, discovered a strategy to incorporate time loops when the characters used their magic to attain an ideal first kiss. Between the fridging and overuse of time journey tropes, Strange’s What If…? story feels drained and overworked.
The episode might have been centered round larger “what ifs,” like what if Doctor Strange discovered two methods to cease Thanos as a substitute of 1, or what if he had by no means given up the Time Stone. Both of those matters would have had a a lot larger affect on followers, as a result of they might have answered questions like whether or not or not Tony Stark would have died in Avengers: Endgame if there was one other manner out.
It’s unreasonable to anticipate that all the pieces Marvel places out there may be going to be nice. Some tasks are merely higher than others. The What If…? sequence as a complete has been a enjoyable exploration of all the probabilities that might exist inside the MCU, however Strange’s story positively wasn’t essentially the most compelling episode to have been launched up to now.
New episodes of What If…? are streaming Wednesdays on Disney Plus.