What If…? reached its penultimate episode this week, and it proved to be the animated series’ biggest yet. “What If… Ultron Won?” imagined a timeline where Ultron bested the Avengers and conquered the globe. And that’s just for starters, after making swift work of Thanos (hilariously so, as it happens), the evil A.I. used the Infinity Stones to wipe out the whole universe before setting his sights on the multiverse.
But the exact timeline of episode 8 is hard to pin down, which leads to a major plot hole considering how events played out in Avengers: Infinity War. Though it begins during Avengers: Age of Ultron, episode 8 clearly zooms ahead to Infinity War, hence Thanos being armed with five out of six Stones. However, as pointed out by ScreenRant, the problem lies in the fact that, after acquiring the gems, Ultron faces off against the Guardians of the Galaxy—with Gamora among them.
This should be impossible, as Thanos’ daughter should be dead by this point so that the Mad Titan can have the Soul Stone in the first place. Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame repeatedly told us that the elusive gem could only be acquired if you sacrificed someone you loved, and Gamora was always depicted as the only person Thanos loved. So it doesn’t add up that he could have the Soul Stone in this timeline with Gamora still alive.
It’s important to note we don’t see Nebula in the Guardians’ cameo, so it’s feasible that Thanos may have sacrificed his second-favorite child, and that it turns out he loved her enough to warrant getting the Soul Stone. Alternatively, maybe there is a way around the rule that allows a person to steal the Stone without losing a loved one, and Red Skull was just fibbing this whole time.
Catch up with Marvel’s What If…? now on Disney Plus ahead of its season finale next Wednesday.