From the very opening of the episode, we know to expect a tonal shift from the jubilant previous episode. This would be a good time to mention, pretty big spoilers ahead, so you know, act accordingly.
This episode has several notable first. It’s the first time in the show that one potential universe has referenced a previously explored one. It’s also the first time a character in the show has interacted with or even noticed The Watcher. It’s the first “to be continued” episode. And while it isn’t the series’ first post-apocalyptic show, but it is the first in which things have gotten so bad that The Watcher becomes embroiled in the chaos.
From great overseer’s dialogue, we can glean that, should super saiyan Ultron gain the ability to get to The Watcher, in his infinity stones powered body, he could potentially reap catastrophic destruction on the entire multiverse and not just the universe in his own timeline. And to be fair, that does sound like a bad time. But, there is a palpable shift in the episode when The Watcher becomes a player capable of enacting change in the story, rather than one who merely watches what unfolds.
It’s kind of like in the movie Jaws: when you don’t see the shark, it’s tension filled and scary. The least frightening moment in the film is when you see the shark.
That’s kind of what’s happening here. We as the audience are no longer just watching an alternate reality play out with just one little change. Now we’re ‘watching an *all-powerful-being* watching an alternate reality play out with just one little change’. Like when someone in a movie says, ‘I know that YOU know that I know…’
It’s farther removed from the action, and therefore we are less connected to the story, and that’s a shame because the story isn’t bad.
It’s always fun when this series draws from the films in an interesting way, and having Zola return as a hero of sorts is kind of cool. And this episode also has some pretty beautiful imagery. Hawkeye’s final moment is visually stunning, and Ultron nomnom-ing on a galaxy is pretty rad too.
Ultimately, the later part of the show struggles to recover some true investment and attachment to the characters and the outcomes. Though the last minute addition of Bizzaro Strange is cool, and we’re excited to see where that goes, as far as a real emotional connection to the events, it’s lukewarm at best.
Here’s hoping they can turn it around next week with their thrilling conclusion of what happens when good AI’s go bad.