What If…?: Episode 1’s Biggest Flaw

Spoilers for Episode 1 of Marvel’s “What If…?”. Now available to stream on Disney+.

Peggy Carter Captain America
Peggy Carter as Captain America

Let us begin by exclaiming one thing: we absolutely loved the idea of Peggy Carter finally being given the spotlight to showcase what a formidable Captain America she could be on screen. For those of you familiar with the comics aspect of the character, you would undoubtedly be familiar with the concept of Carter being personified as The First Avenger, initially introduced in 2018’s Exiles #3 as a spinoff to the critically acclaimed Marvel Puzzle Quest video game.

That being said, while it was certainly an intriguing premise to witness Captain Carter single-handedly dismantling the evil machinations of Hydra and the Red Skull in the episode, we would be remiss if we did not point out the one glaringly evident issue that prevented the Peggy Carter installment from reaching its full potential: the episode’s pacing problem.

It is truly a shame that Episode 1 was given a mere 30-minute runtime to tell its alternate version of what was originally a 124-minute film. This resulted in less of an exploration and more of the highlights of a notion that could have otherwise indeed held its own as a full-length feature film. The problem with trying to cram too many things into a shortened episode is that it made the episode incredibly difficult to follow and thereby appreciate. Before we are allowed to take in the events presented before us in one scene, we are abruptly whisked away to the next, and so on and so forth.

This, therefore, made for a viewing experience that was frankly hard to watch, causing one to wonder why did the writers not simply choose to explore a much smaller and more contained narrative featuring Captain Carter instead of condensing a two-hour film into a thirty-minute offering? After all, the show itself is called What If…?, hence, allowing the absolute freedom to explore other possibilities of storytelling to suit its smaller runtime and subsequently tell a fitting story that would surely showcase Peggy Carter’s indomitable Captain America while not feeling like such a rush.
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