Tony Stark/Iron Man in a Santa hat in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF…?, Season 2.

Your Guide to ‘What If…?’ Season 2 Episodes, Ranked Worst to Best

Or from better to best, if we're being honest.

Now that Marvel’s What If…? has dropped every episode of season 2 on Disney+ and already started to look ahead to season 3, here’s how the episodes compared to each other. The biggest twist is that every episode of What If season 2 kind of slapped.

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I cannot overstate how much I liked this season, especially compared to the first season. I was not looking forward to this season at all, and to my surprise, I don’t think there was a weak link this time around. So, don’t yell at me when you realize that this list is pretty subjective. My ranking is more about personal preference than quality because I honestly think the quality was consistent. What can I say? My quibbles are small.

Overall, I remain very bored by this show’s commitment to Steve/Peggy, but I recognize that my yuck is someone else’s yum … and more Captain Carter is not necessarily a bad thing. However, even if their “worst” is better than other shows’ best, here’s how the ranking shook out.

9. “What If… Hela Found the Ten Rings?”

Xu Wenwu and Hela in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF…?, Season 2

Hela has never been a favorite of mine, and I wish the show had done something else with the lore from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I’m not an expert, but aren’t we all a little over narratives where white characters become heroes through studying martial arts? Weren’t Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and even Batman Begins enough? Maybe that’s ultimately not an issue. Hela does fight back against Odin’s colonization, and I loved the optimistic ending.

8. “What If… Strange Supreme Intervened?”

Strange Supreme in Marvel's What If...? season 2

My least favorite episode of season 1 was the one where Stephen Strange went evil after Christine got fridged over, and over, and over. So even despite Captain Carter and Kahhori’s incredible team-up, the Cabin in the Woods-esque attack of the world killers, and the reveal of Loki in his arboreal form, I couldn’t let myself fully enjoy the finale.

7. “What If… Captain Carter Fought the Hydra Stomper?”

Captain Carter and Black Widow in Marvel's What If Season 2.

As much as I enjoy Captain Carter’s relationship with Natasha Romanoff in this universe, this redux of The Winter Soldier fell flat for me. I didn’t like how so much of the dramatic tension came from people lying to my girl. And I think that there were some missed opportunities here. Peggy visited the ’50s version of the Red Room in the Agent Carter universe. Where was Dottie Underwood? However, I liked how Melina factored into the story and the bullet hole lighting in that one scene, and I loved the reveal of Old Man Bucky Barnes.

6. “What If… Iron Man Crashed Into the Grandmaster?”

Grandmaster talks to Iron Man in Marvel's What If season 2.

This was a really fun episode, though it was a little over-stuffed. Racing storylines always kind of rule, but I wish the episode had gotten to the Grand Prix a little bit, well, faster. Can we talk about how great Mick Wingert is at voicing Tony Stark? It’s such a light and funny performance, and I really liked how his Tony bounced off Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster. We also must appreciate how a Tony-centric episode was secretly about both Gamora and Valkyrie. He helped maximalize their joint slay, as the kids say!

5. “What If… Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?”

Nebula in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF…?, Season 2

I’m guessing I rank this episode higher than most people, but I’m a sucker for a space noir! This episode got the season off to a zippy and exciting start. Plus, the banter between Nebula and Yon-Rogg really surprised me. Enemies-to-lovers storyline when? It wasn’t not the most high-stakes story, but it was solid. All in all, this was a fun mash-up of Marvel’s space properties (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, and Thor), and I wouldn’t mind spending more time in this world.

4. “What If… Happy Hogan Saved Christmas?”

Avengers in Marvel's What If season 2

The most anticipated episode of the season, because it seemed like the justification for dropping all of the episodes over the holiday weekend, lived up to the promise! I’m not a Die Hard fan, but I appreciated the homage all the same. Justin Hammer is an underrated villain, and it was great to see him. Darcy killed it, as always, even though I thought the jokes about her being a forever intern were unnecessary. I’m going to be thinking about Steve and Tony working a shift as a Mall Santa and Elf for the rest of my life. Same goes for the nod to Black Widow’s ballet past from Marvel comics. Good, festive time!

3. “What If… Peter Quill Attacked Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?”

Black Panther/King T’Chaka, Howard Stark, Bill Foster/Goliath, Peggy Carter, Dr. Wendy Lawson/Mar-vell, and Hank Pym/Ant-Man in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF…?, Season 2

As far as I’m concerned, the next three episodes are tied for first. I want a movie with these characters ASAP! This ’80s version of a the Avengers felt so natural, even though many of the characters had never interacted on the big screen. I gasped at how Howard Stark effectively saved his own life by talking down Bucky in Winter Soldier mode. I loved how Atandwa Kani, John Kani’s son, reprised his role as Young T’Chaka. And I need more cute young adult adventures from Hope and Peter Quill. Even though intergalactic characters like Thor and Ego played major roles, the stakes felt grounded, like the best Marvel conflicts, because of the interpersonal relationships at play.

2. “What If… Kahhori Reshaped the World?”

Kahhori in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF…?, Season 2

Devery Jacobs can do so much, and we should all be thankful that we’re living in their world. We already knew what they’re capable of on Reservation Dogs as an actor, writer, and director. The fact that she’s got two Marvel performances under her belt, as the new hero Kahhori and as a supporting character in the upcoming Echo series, is not surprising. The animation in this episode is stunning. It’s a complex and satisfying origin story. It makes a new and creative use of the secret Main Character of the MCU, the Tesseract. So much care and research got put into getting the Mohawk language right. While I know I ranked the continuation of Kahhori’s story towards the bottom, I cannot wait to see more!

1. “What If… the Avengers Assembled in 1602?”

Loki playing Hamlet in What If Season 2

Even one of my biggest Hamlet pet peeves (the skull, a.k.a. Yorick, is not canonically present in the “to be or not to be” soliloquy) couldn’t keep me from ranking this delight of an episode first. I want so much more of this universe, please! Every detail was just so whimsical and inventive. It was heartwarming to see the Asgardian royal family act like siblings. I loved the Robin Hood-inspired band of thieves, though it obviously should have included Hawkeye. Wanda Merlin tapping into her powers without getting corrupted was so refreshing. Beard-y Hulk in the Iron Mask was … kind of hot? Also, wonder of wonder and miracle of miracles, this brief iteration of Steve and Peggy charmed me! I didn’t think it was possible!

(featured image: Disney+)

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Image of Leah Marilla Thomas
Leah Marilla Thomas
Leah Marilla Thomas (she/her) is a contributor at The Mary Sue. She has been working in digital entertainment journalism since 2013, covering primarily television as well as film and live theatre. She's been on the Marvel beat professionally since Daredevil was a Netflix series. (You might recognize her voice from the Newcomers: Marvel podcast). Outside of journalism, she is 50% Southerner, 50% New Englander, and 100% fangirl over everything from Lord of the Rings to stage lighting and comics about teenagers. She lives in New York City and can often be found in a park. She used to test toys for Hasbro. True story!