In the latest episode of Marvel’s What If…? that reimagines a world in which the villainous Ultron is more successful with his devious plans than what played out in Avengers: Age of Ultron, one character moment in stood out as questionable.
In the alternative reality, a remixed version of the ending to the aforementioned second cinematic Avengers installment is presented, where Ultron successfully merges with his do-gooder AI alter-ego, Vision. The story imagines Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, and Black Widow, voiced in the animated episode by Lake Bell, are the only ones to survive a nuclear blast set off by Ultron that desolates the entire earth.
There’s no doubt the episode takes a dark turn, but a particular story beat near the end of the episode had some wonder if it went too far, Looper pointed out.
A questionable self-sacrifice is made by Hawkeye when he intentionally unclasps the hand of Black Widow as they’re attempting to escape Ultron sentries in a Siberian missile silo. Hawkeye then unleashed an explosive arrow at the hoard of drones, destroying them and himself in the subsequent blast, but Black Widow and her benevolent, Arnim Zola AI-controlled drones, make it out alive.
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One Reddit user, callMEmrPICKLES, noted in the Marvel’s What If subreddit that he felted the sacrifice was unnecessary.
“I just don’t really understand why he sacrificed himself when he could have just fired that arrow without killing himself…I know he had lost his will to fight any longer, but they actually had a chance to stop Ultron and he just completely gave up.”
The commenter recognized the sacrifice was alluded to earlier in the episode, with Hawkeye saying that he’s tired of fighting after his family presumably gets killed in the aforementioned nuclear blast. Still, the Reddit user said, “it just seemed like something he wouldn’t have done.”
On the other hand, perhaps the move was done as this version of Hawkeye’s dark spiral of grief, which in the Marvel Cinematic Universe translated to the character slaughtering Yakuza as a sword-wielding ninja after the Thanos snap.
Whether you loved it or hated it, it’ll sure be interesting to see what they cook up next week in terms of remixing the complicated lore of the MCU when the season finale of Marvel’s What If…? comes to Disney Plus on October 6th.