Marvel’s “What If Thor Was An Only Child?” Episode Recap

Release the foam.

Synopsis:

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) travels to Earth with his fellow Asgardians to party while his father Odin is in Odinsleep and his mother Frigga (Josette Eales) is away on a trip. The epic party puts Earth on the map, attracting a who’s who of the MCU’s intergalactic cast of characters and threatening the safety of the planet.

Key Quotes:

Wait, what?

The Watcher

You’re my brother from another mother, man!

Frost Giant Loki

Mmm, Topaz–what do I always say? I love cake.

The grandmaster

More than battles won or lost, its relationships that truly define a hero.

The Watcher

Required MCU Viewings:

  • Thor: This episode is all about the impact it has on the God of Thunder to not have Loki as a brother, and the first solo Thor film is a deep exploration of their love/hate relationship. This film also first introduces us to Jane Foster and Darcy, who feature prominently in this episode.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: A lot of the cameos in this episode are from characters in this film. Also, while not mentioned by name, Thor traveling to planets to party and bringing about the end of the world is a frat-boy tinged version of the world-ending Ragnarok.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2: Just like the third Thor film, many of the cameos in this episode come from the second Guardians movie.
  • Captain Marvel: The origin story of how SHIELD gained possession of the Captain Marvel beeper and how Nick Fury and Captain Marvel became friends.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: For that bonkers cliff hanger ending.

Defining ‘What If…’ Moment – Odin returns Loki:

In Thor, after a battle with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, Odin finds a Jotun baby and takes him as his own. This baby becomes Loki, and the first Thor film explores how Loki is effected by his parents hiding his true identity from him. In this episode, Odin decides to do the right thing and takes the baby back to his father, Laufey; a true sign of peace between the warring nations. Because of this, Loki and Thor are no longer brothers and Thor becomes a much different kind of prince without his little brother by his side.

Mini-Review:

**SPOILERS**

I mentioned this in last week’s episode, but this show is dragging out the anthology premise for too many episodes now. There are now only two episodes left, which I suppose could be enough time to tie the previously disjointed episodes together, but my overwhelming feeling wasn’t one of wonder and excitement brought on by the open-ended question of ‘What if?”, it was one of boredom and apathy brought on by “So what?”

There’s no question that this episode was an Easter egg-filled treat for fans of the MCU (there were so many cameos), but the plot was silly and not in a fun way. Thor and Jane were one of the weakest plot points of Phases One and Two of the MCU, and they didn’t fare much better here. I’m interested to see how their story is handled in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, but as of right now, I just don’t care about the two of them together.

Also, everyone’s fear of Frigga was just not earned in the MCU. She is talked about as some all-powerful witch, but we never see it in action. She is barely there in the first two Thor movies, and in Avengers: Endgame, we see a sweet and tender moment between mother and son, but no glimpse of why an entire universe of characters would be frightened by her coming to Earth.

Lastly, I know this episode was about Thor not having Loki as a brother… but does that also mean Odin and Frigga never had Hela? We’re just gonna gloss right over that plot hole?

Cast:

  • Actors reprising MCU roles:
    • Chris Hemsworth – Thor
    • Natalie Portman – Jane Foster
    • Tom Hiddleston – Loki
    • Kat Dennings – Darcy
    • Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury
    • Jeff Goldblum – Grandmaster
    • Cobie Smulders – Maria Hill
    • Clark Gregg – Agent Coulson
    • Frank Grillo – Brock Rumlow
    • Taika Waititi – Korg
    • Karen Gillan – Nebula
    • Jamie Alexander – Lady Sif
    • Seth Green – Howard the Duck
    • Rachel House – Topaz
    • Clancy Brown – Surtur
  • New Actors in Existing MCU Roles:
    • Alexandra Daniels – Captain Marvel
    • Josette Eales – Frigga
    • David Chen – Hogun
    • Fred Tatasciore – Volstagg and Drax
    • Mix Mittelman – Fandral

Watching the Watcher:

This was pretty standard stuff for the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright), until the very end when even he didn’t know that Ultron was going to show up. He was totally caught off guard, and that can’t be a good sign.

Changes From the Established Story:

  • Without his brother’s influence on his life, the Thor of this universe is more of a high-school-aged party boy than what we are used to seeing in the MCU.
  • Loki, having been returned to his rightful parents, embraces his place as the prince of Jotunheim.
  • Maria Hill is Acting Director of SHIELD after Nick Fury gets taken out by Korg trying to do a cannon ball into a Las Vegas fountain.
  • Without a vengeful and brooding Loki around to cause mischief, Frigga isn’t killed by Dark Elves as she was in Thor: The Dark World.
  • Darcy and Howard the Duck get married!

Easter Eggs:

This episode was jam-packed with cameos, including (but not limited to):

  • From Thor: Ragnarok
    • Korg and Miek
    • The Grandmaster and Topaz
    • Valkyrie
    • Skurge
    • Surtur
  • From Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
    • Nebula
    • Mantis
    • Yondu
    • Kraglin
    • Rocket (also of note, Thor calling him a rabbit as he does in the films)
    • Drax
    • Members of the Sovereign (the gold-skinned people)

Theories:

The big, season-unifying threat, has to be Ultron in Vision’s body wielding all of the infinity stones. Right? The Watcher didn’t even know that was going to happen. The big question is how is The Watcher going to bring together all of the disparate stories in an effort to stop Ultron?

Were there any big Easter Eggs that were missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Mark Pereira is a staff writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward SwordSuper Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

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