A golden statue of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) gives a thumbs up.

My Favorite Christmas Gift Is the Return of This Marvel Villain

Who is this handsome dog?

Happy Holidays, Marvel fans! Today, we got a very belated Hanukkah present: the fourth episode of What If…? season 2, which includes one of the best characters to ever grace the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, has returned!

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Spoilers for What If…? episode 4 ahead!

To recap: in episode 4, Tony Stark (voiced by Mick Wingert) blows up the Chitauri armada after the Battle of New York, but gets sucked through a wormhole to Sakaar instead of landing back on Earth. On Sakaar, he’s forced to watch a Nascar-esque grand prix, which is also kind of a demolition derby and a death race? It’s Sakaar, so anything goes. One of the cars is just a giant jet engine on wheels. It’s wild.

Who’s behind the death race? The Grandmaster, of course. And he’s up to all his old tricks.

It’s hard to pick one favorite moment in the episode, so I’ll go with two. Near the end of the episode, Tony challenges the Grandmaster to a race to gain control of the planet. Sly dog that the Grandmaster is, though, he gives himself a head start while his holographic projection is still counting down.

My second favorite moment is at the very end of the episode. The Grandmaster gets hit with the infamous melt stick, but he doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he embraces his fate with surprising goodwill, remarking that it feels good. Maybe the Grandmaster is a little more tired of megalomaniacal villainy than we thought?

In the post-credits scene, we get a little more info. Being melted didn’t actually kill him! Instead, he’s a sentient puddle, cheerfully begging Topaz (Rachel House) to put him into a bucket. “Sponge me, sponge me up!” he says. “I need to be absorbed by something! Ooh!” He actually says that. That’s an actual line. Apparently, according to the show’s writers, a lot of this episode was ad-libbed. I want to hear all the Goldblum gems that didn’t make it into the final cut.

If, like me, you’re always down for more Grandmaster (in liquid or solid form), you also can catch him in What If…? season 1, episode 7, “What If…Thor Were an Only Child?”. He doesn’t have a big role, but he does have a fun line about scoot scoots. And, of course, there’s his first and biggest appearance, Thor: Ragnarok.

But as mesmerizing as the Grandmaster is, let’s not overlook all the rest of the talent in this episode: House as the ever-disgruntled Topaz, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and Taika Waititi as Korg.

What If…? season 2 is currently dropping new episodes daily on Disney+! Someone sponge me up!

(featured image: Disney+)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>