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This One Line From Marvel’s What If…? Has Fans Laughing and Crying At the Same Time

Oh Marvel, you so funny...?

First Avenger Captain Carter

Spoilers for the first episode of Marvel’s “What If…?”

The first episode of Marvel’s What If…? is now streaming on Disney+ which means I can finally write about this one line that made me go:

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And:

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Followed by:

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In my review of the first three episodes, I talked about how the series, even if it’s a giant, ongoing AU, delights in viewers knowing these stories when they come into the Multiverse. The first episode looks at what would’ve happened had Peggy responded differently to Abraham Erskine when he asked, “Agent Carter, don’t you think you’d be more comfortable in the booth?”

The Watcher wasn’t kidding when he talked about how the smallest thing could change absolutely everything we knew, because when Peggy decides to not go into the booth, a chain of events occur that leads to her being the one who gets the super-soldier serum, becoming Captain Carter.

The super-soldier serum experiment isn’t the only thing that gets tweaked. There are other plot beats throughout the episode that feel like we’re retreading familiar territory, only to have the series say LOL SIKE! The moment I’m going to focus on here is a line that, well, made me paranoid throughout the entire episode (and series in general, if I’m being honest).

Let’s talk about the train heist.

In the MCU’s Captain America: The First Avenger, this is the moment where Bucky falls off the train and “dies” – though we find out in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that he didn’t die. He did, however, lose his arm and get brainwashed by Hydra. In What If…? the train heist seems to go according to plan until Bucky nearly falls. Captain Carter saves him, though, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him back onto the train.

Bucky then says, “Whew. Thanks. You almost ripped my arm off.”

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On the one hand, it’s a cute little wink to the camera because we, the viewer, know what that train scene means. On the other hand…

My paranoia about the whole thing kicked in when the train exploded and we seemingly lost Steve. At that moment I thought, “Holy shit, they changed who ‘dies’ during the train scene, it’s Steve now!”

Later, we find out that isn’t the case, but it truly made me watch the rest of the episode with great caution because, wow, maybe destiny really was out here saying that something bad HAD to happen on this train. There was also plenty of time left for something to still happen to Bucky and/or his arm. Like. He was joking about it but I KNOW what happens to Bucky Barnes, okay?!

At least I thought I did.

In the end, it’s Captain Carter who we end up “losing” – well, kinda. It’s got a similar vibe to how Steve was frozen, minus the arctic temperatures because she goes through a portal and ends up meeting Nick Fury and Hawkeye nearly 70 years after the war. I kinda expected this to happen because she was the one carrying the shield this time, but I’m not sure where the series will go from here.

That’s what makes it so exciting.

And, um, a little stressful, because now that we know that the series has no problem hinting at traumatizing moments for these characters (like the train heist) we’re left wondering if it’ll always be a just kidding moment, or if we’re gonna find out that some characters are always gonna suffer in some way, shape, or form.

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(Image: Marvel Studios)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)