‘What If…?’ is Marvel Studios’ first animated series set in the ‘MCU’ and it takes complete advantage of its setting and the multiverse kick-started by the events of ‘Loki.’ The series created by A.C. Bradley reimagines certain events from the main continuity and through alternate realities brings us compelling stories featuring some of our favorite Marvel Comics characters in unexpected ways.
The show’s fifth episode provides an alternate zombie-infested version of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, and fans were left utterly devastated by its emotional implications. Like the aforementioned film, the episode also ends on a massive cliffhanger leaving a few questions unanswered. Allow us to break down the episode’s events and unravel the answers for you. SPOILERS AHEAD!
What If…? Episode 5 Recap
The fifth episode, titled ‘What If…Zombies?!,’ opens with the return of Bruce Banner to the earth. He is saved from a zombie attack by Peter Parker/Spider-Man and learns about earth’s tragic fate where most of the human population, including the Earth’s mightiest heroes, were turned into zombies by a virus.
Banner meets a group of survivors comprising Hope van Dyne, Bucky Barnes, Okoye, Sharon Carter, Happy Hogan, and Kurt. Okoye meets them and reveals that her search for T’Challa has led to the discovery of a message. They believe that a potential cure has been discovered at Camp Lehigh. On their way there, Happy and Sharon perish while Hope sacrifices herself so that the remaining heroes can get inside the facility.
There they meet Vision, whose Mind Stone can cure the virus and has preserved the head of Scott Lang. Bucky rescues a captive T’Challa but also frees zombie Wanda in the process. Vision passes on the Mind Stone to Peter while Banner turns into the Hulk and fights Wanda. In the end, Peter, Lang, and T’Challa head to Wakanda to broadcast the cure.
What If Episode 5 Ending: Are the Hulk and Vision Dead? What Happens to the Avengers?
Earlier in the episode, we learn that the Avengers tried to help fight against the virus and tried to control the chaos caused by it. However, a majority of the heroes were turned into zombies, including the likes of Hawkeye, Captain America, Falcon, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange. Over the course of the episode, we learn that Wanda has also turned into a zombie and is immune to the cure.
The Vision had been feeding her parts of T’Challa and protecting her. He soon realizes his mistake and separates himself from the Mind Stone so that the surviving heroes can use it to cure the virus. The Mind Stone acts as the soul of Vision’s android body, and he is effectively killed after it is removed.
A horde of zombies attacks the facility making it difficult for the heroes to escape. By this point, Okoye is also dead. Wanda kills Bucky and Bruce turns into the Hulk to fight her. Only Peter, T’Challa, and Lang manage to escape in a QuadJet. The last we see the Hulk, he is overwhelmed by zombies. It is safe to assume that he is dead or turned into a zombie. The episode ends with a zombified Thanos wielding all but one of the Infinity Stones outside Wakanda.
Does Thanos Get All the Infinity Stones?
The cliffhanger ending of the episode suggests that the planet is doomed and its fate is already sealed. With the ranks of the Avengers highly thinned out, it is unlikely that the heroes manage to mount a resistance against the Mad Titan. Assuming that T’Challa and Peter do manage to broadcast the Mind Stone’s frequency on a global scale and cure everyone, they will have to fight Thanos almost immediately. We have seen this scenario play out before, and the Avengers lose. It is hard to imagine they win in this reality with even worse odds.
However, two of the strongest heroes, Thor and Captain Marvel, are unaccounted for in the episode. Plus, it is possible that with the cure, a few of the Avengers turned into zombies can also be revived. Peter and T’Challa’s best chance of defeating Thanos is fighting the Mad Titan in his zombie form. If they do receive help from Thor, Captain Marvel, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, they could defeat Thanos and then restore earth with the help of the Infinity stones.
But perhaps that is wishful thinking. The circumstances are dire, and an ominous voiceover from The Watcher seemingly confirms that the heroes’ attempt to save their planet ends up destroying this universe. So it is safe to say that Thanos collects all the Infinity Stones and becomes the bearer of this destruction.