Marvel’s What If episode 9 Recap: Guardians of the Multiverse starts off in the timeline of the first episode. Peggy Carter, having taken the super-soldier serum, now working alongside SHIELD in modern times. Aboard a SHIELD jet, she briefs Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff and Brock Rumlow on their mission involving infiltrating a boat of terrorists (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
Peggy and Natasha have some playful banter while preparing for their mission. With the jet’s doors opened, Peggy descends from the skies. She lands on the boat and proceeds to use her vibranium shield on the gun-toting terrorists.
What If Episode 9: The Watcher Recruits Heroes
One terrorist challenges Peggy to not use her shield and they fight with fists. The fight stops, however, when Peggy notices The Watcher in the skies. He speaks directly to Peggy, stating that she has been chosen to save the multiverse.
Meanwhile, in the timeline of T’Challa becoming Star-Lord, Earth is invaded by alien forces. Ego is torturing his son Peter Quill in a Dairy Queen, where Marvel’s What If episode 2 of the series ended. The cosmic display is interrupted by T’Challa’s arrival.
T’Challa attaches a bomb to Ego and brings Peter to safety. Peter points to the sky and T’Challa witnesses The Watcher in the skies. Just as with Peggy, The Watcher states that T’Challa has been chosen.
In another timeline, Tony Stark and Gamora are visiting the intergalactic weapons factory where Thor’s hammer and Infinity Gauntlet were created. They oversee the formation of the Gauntlet. Tony stresses the security he wants to provide for Earth.
Gamora notices The Watcher in space. He states that Gamora has been chosen. He doesn’t need Tony, however, as he tells him to pipe down.
In the timeline where Killmonger was successful in taking over Wakanda (Marvel’s What If episode 6), Killmonger is approached by The Watcher. The Watcher says he has been chosen and they depart this timeline. They leave just as Pepper and Shuri arrive in the throne room to retake Wakanda.
In the timeline of Thor being confronted by Ultrons from another dimension (Marvel’s What If episode 7), Thor is approached by The Watcher. While it takes him a bit of time to catch Thor’s attention, he succeeds in recruiting the God of Thunder. Thor is terrified as The Watcher picks him up with his gigantic hand.
All of the characters from different timelines are sent to a pub. Doctor Strange is present and admits the pub was his idea. While Thor indulges in a beer, the rest of the assembled heroes and villains question why they’ve been brought here.
Behold. You’re Guardians of the Multiverse
The lights flicker and the towering Watcher appears before them. He states that they’ve been chosen for a highly dangerous mission. Informing them of the severity, he dubs them the Guardians of the Multiverse.
Thor, however, is convinced this is a trick by Loki. He attempts to leave the pub but opens the door to a magical black hole. Quickly shutting the door, he realizes this mission is very real.
The Watcher and Doctor Strange inform the ensemble about Ultron and his powers. They believe the best strategy is to remove the Infinity Stones from the robot. They will also have to face a seemingly unending army of robots.
Over Chinese food, the team discusses their powers and how they can benefit the mission. For causing a distraction, Thor showcases his abilities with thunder. For getting rid of the stones, Gamora reveals she has an Infinity Crusher that will grind the stones into nothing.
Peggy, taking the lead, decides that the strategy is to get the Soul Stone to Gamora. Everyone else will provide cover. Figuring they’re ready, The Watcher transports them and wishes them good luck.
The team makes a base in a universe with little intelligent life on a deserted planet, figuring it’s a secure spot that Ultron will not attack immediately. Doctor Strange reveals that his dark magic is getting harder to control. Peggy and Doctor Strange then talk of the differences in their worlds, specifically regarding Steve Rogers.
Gamora watches over Killmonger examining an Ultron helmet and has doubts. Thor, thinking little of it, recommends that his team feasts for the night. Doctor Strange obliges by conjuring some alcoholic beverages.
Doctor Strange tries to make an inspiring speech but it is grimmer than he thought. T’Challa interrupts him and makes the speech simpler. Offering a cheer, Thor gives a hurrah with his hammer that conjures thunder.
Ultron then appears in the skies, attracted by Thor’s display. Realizing they don’t have much time now, Doctor Strange arms everybody with magical armor. The Watcher then opens a portal for Gamora and Killmonger.
Thor, overzealous in his abilities, makes the first attack of launching thunder at Ultron. It does nothing. Ultron, unamused, uses the stones to crumble the ground.
Ultron believes the heroes have been stopped by being buried in the rubble. The protection spells of Doctor Strange, however, save them. Strange then uses his duplication spell to multiply Thor’s hammer that attacks Ultron.
Peggy and T’Challa then ascend into the air. Peggy bashes Ultron with her shield while T’Challa attempts to jump on Ultron’s back. Ultron then chucks T’Challa of his back and blasts him a good distance.
Thor and Strange continue using their powers to battle Ultron. Peggy checks on T’Challa. He’s okay and now has the Soul Stone in his possession.
Strange tries to hold off Ultron by distracting him with dragons. Ultron is confident that he’ll win and says he’s going to end this. He is shocked, however, to discover his Soul Stone has been stolen.
Peggy states that it’s time to go. Seeking a distraction, Doctor Strange opens up the portal to the zombie universe (Marvel’s What If episode 5). A massive swarm of zombies descends upon Ultron.
Before the heroes leave through the portal, Doctor Strange states that it’s not exactly the zombies that will distract Ultron. Once they leave, Ultron obliterates the zombies. All except one: Zombie Scarlet Witch.
Scarlet Witch uses her powers to hinder Ultron. Her attack doesn’t last long though. In a few seconds, Ultron is able to obliterate her and the planet they occupy.
The heroes now find themselves in the timeline where Ultron won (Marvel’s What If episode 8) where Gamora and Killmonger are now. They prepare to destroy the Soul Stone but Black Widow arrives on the scene to snatch it. The heroes prepare to attack until Peggy tries to speak with Black Widow.
Revealing Black Widow’s history, she convinces the last human on Earth that they’re here to help. Their friendship moment is halted, however, when Ultron arrives via a portal. He wants the Soul Stone.
A game of keep-away takes place where the heroes make sure Ultron doesn’t get his hands on that stone. Ultron, angered, attempts to destroy this galaxy. His attempt is thwarted, however, thanks to Doctor Strange’s magic.
A confused Ultron is then attacked as the battle for the stone continues. Every hero beats back on Ultron. Eventually, Ultron slows down time and takes the Soul Stone.
Doctor Strange, however, can also manipulate time. Strange uses his dark magic to prevent the stone from being returned to Ultron’s armor. The battle gets grander as Ultron grows inside and Strange unleashes the full fury of his dark magic.
The magical display is enough to force the Soul Stone away from Ultron. Gamora catches it as Thor unleashes thunder on the robot. The heroes act quickly to destroy all the stones.
Doctor Strange uses his magic to hold down a struggling Ultron. The rest of the heroes keep him contained by hanging onto his magical restraints. Gamora’s Infinity Crusher then proceeds to grind up all of Ultron’s Infinity Stones.
A giant explosion occurs. When the smoke clears, Ultron is gone and the heroes figure they’ve won. That victory is short-lived when they hear Ultron’s booming voice.
It is only then that Gamora realizes a crucial error. The Infinity Crusher was only designed to destroy the stones of her own world. It won’t work on the stones from Ultron’s universe.
Ultron then rises from the rubble. He brings about a massive level of destruction with explosions. Ultron then realizes that Doctor Strange is the only person who can hold back everybody from oblivion.
Black Widow is chucked across a demolished city and her protection spell wears off. It’s then that she remembers. She has Hawkeye’s arrow with the virus that can shut down Ultron for good.
Black Widow quickly devises a plan with Peggy. Black Widow uses her motorcycle to ascend the skyscrapers. Peggy climbs the towers.
Their plan then proceeds as Black Widow fires Hawkeye’s arrow. Peggy then jumps into the skies and onto Ultron’s back. She lifts up his helmet at just the right moment for Hawkeye’s arrow to pierce Ultron’s eye.
Ultron is distracted and confused. He removes the arrow but finds that Arnim Zola’s mind is now inside him. The two then have an internal conversation where Zola states he’s on a mission of revenge for HYDRA.
Ultron’s body becomes infected and he uses his powers. His husk of a body falls to the Earth. He is now unconscious.
While Black Widow explains her virus to Thor, Killmonger approaches the body of Ultron with another Ultron helmet. The proximity transfers the armor and the stones to Killmonger. The heroes fear the worst.
Killmonger tries to make his case that this is something The Watcher owes them. He states that they can use the stones to fix everything. Lives destroyed and homes lost can be repaired instantly.
T’Challa demands Killmonger hand over the stones. Killmonger refuses and quickly uses them to blast back everybody. The heroes are pushed back as their protection spells kick in.
What Killmonger didn’t count on was Zola still being in Ultron’s body, now appearing more like Vision. Zola uses his body’s power to reap the stones from Killmonger’s armor. The two then engage in a tug of war for the power of the stones.
It is at this moment that Doctor Strange realizes the true purpose of their mission. They were never meant to win. All they had to do was separate the stones from the bodies.
Strange uses his powers to freeze the moment in time of Killmonger and Zola fighting for these stones. A blinding flash consumes the scene. The heroes of Black Widow, Peggy Carter, T’Challa, Gamora, and Thor remain.
Doctor Strange returns to The Watcher in his multiverse observatory with the frozen moment in time. The Watcher then reveals that this was all planned from the start. Doctor Strange’s job now is to ensure that the multiverse will never crack like this again.
The Watcher then addresses the remaining heroes at the pub. He thanks them but admits that their worlds will never know such a victory. He returns them to their worlds at the exact moments they left.
Peggy Carter, however, attempts to ask if The Watcher can send her to a world with Steve. The Watcher, however, stresses that her world needs Captain Carter. She leaves for her world before giving Black Widow a smile.
As the last hero present in the pub, Black Widow admits she can’t return to her world. There’s nothing for her in a decimated world. Angered by what has transpired, she questions why The Watcher did nothing while her world burned.
The Watcher admits that he needs their stories but that he can’t change their worlds. Not accepting such an answer, Black Widow refuses to walk through the door to her world. At that moment, The Watcher transports her to a world where the SHIELD Helicarrier is under attack.
While witnessing the battle, she spots Captain America and Captain Marvel, battling the forces of Loki. Asking where they are now, The Watcher reveals that she is now present in a world without Black Widow. This relates to Episode 3 where she was killed off during the investigation of Avengers murders.
Appreciative, Black Widow jumps into action. She finds Loki threatening Nick Fury with his magic staff. She kicks Loki and takes control of the staff, manipulating his mind.
Fury is perplexed by Natasha’s appearance. He recognizes that this isn’t the Natasha he knew. He can see, however, that she’s the Natasha he needs.
A montage of the other worlds is shown as The Watcher narrates. He states that the stories and the multiverse are all a part of him. He vows to protect them to the very end of time.
Captain Carter Is Reunited With Someone From Her Past
In the post-credit scene, we catch up with Peggy Carter being reunited with Black Widow on the boat of terrorists. After a brief display of appreciation for being back, their mission continues. Black Widow admits that what she has found on the boat is quite shocking.
Having experienced the near end of the multiverse, Peggy says it can’t be that strange. What she finds is the Hydra Stomper from World War II, the one that Steve Rogers piloted. Black Widow then states “And there’s someone inside.”