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What If Episode 1

“Not all superheros wear capes. Some carry their flag into their chest.”

Our youth will never be complete without encountering the superheroes that trended during our age. DC Comics and Marvel Comics are known for their comic masterpieces, which later have been given lives in our current favorite television series and movies. Superheroes featuring Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, Thor, Black Widow, and many more left us in awe as they unleashed their superpowers which we may admit to having been imitated during our youth. We also wished to have these supernatural powers to defeat the bad. These superheroes influence us greatly during our childhood. Maybe until now, we have been talking and sharing it from our generation to the other generations.

But here are the questions:
What if we change the superheroes that we know into someone that we may say is impossible?
Would everything be the same?
Would our expectations be surpassed?
Or would it be a total disaster?

The first episode of the “What If...” series features Captain Carter as the First Avenger. Hayley Atwell, who portrayed Peggy Carter in the Captain America films and Agent Carter series, reprises her role. She eventually would become Captain Carter in the episode. In the movies and comic books, we know that Peggy is the love interest of Steve Rogers, the former Captain America.


In this episode of “What If...”, we see how Peggy transformed into a super-soldier. It contradicts the plot of the first Captain America film, where Steve received the serum created by Dr. Abraham Erskin to become a super-soldier. The way the events unfold starts to change when an assailant from Hydra shoots Steve. Since time is running out, there is no choice but for Peggy to take the serum. Because of that, she becomes the first-ever female super-soldier.

Unfortunately, Colonel Flynn is not happy with what happened. After Peggy became a super-soldier, Flynn says, “I was promised an army. Instead, I got a girl.” Since the episode takes place during the second world war, sexism is a crucial issue for women. The episode is able to depict sexism clearly. Peggy, despite obtaining her newly-gained powers, is still a victim of gender discrimination. However, such a derogatory insult doesn’t become an issue to Peggy. Instead, she works hard to enhance her skills to prove that she deserves to become a worthy captain. She knows her value. Anyone else's opinion doesn't really matter to her. Still dismayed by what happened, Colonel Flynn does not allow Captain Carter to join the war because of the fact that she is a woman.

On the other hand, Red Skull begins to pose a threat to the world after stealing the Tesseract. The power of the Tesseract can manipulate time and space, which is essential for him and Hydra to win the war. In pursuit of stopping the imposed threat of Tesseract, Howard Stark secretly gives Carter a costume and a shield made of vibranium. Compared to Captain America, where his outfit is designed with the flag of the USA, Captain Carter’s uniform carries the flag of the United Kingdom. Carter manages to stop the convoy and retrieves the Tesseract and Arnim Zola, a Hydra Scientist. The doubts of Col. Flynn to Carter’s capability vanished. The victorious triumph of Carter is already enough for her to be promoted as Captain.

A mission is held to rescue their comrade Bucky Barnes and the rest of the Howling Commandos. Equipped with a Hydra Stomper designed by Stark, Steve and Captain Carter begin to do the search and rescue operations. They engaged in various attacks. However, a trap was initiated by Hydra on the train. Unfortunately, Steve was caught off-guard and fell in the ravine after the railway was severely damaged. Unlike in the main Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, it was supposed to be Barnes who fell from the train, marking the origin story of the Winter Soldier. Carter and their allies begin to search for his body. He is later presumed missing and dead after the Hydra trap.

Not letting her emotions affect the mission, Captain Carter and allies launch a surprise attack in Schmidt's Castle to stop Red Skull from opening the portal using the Tesseract. Fortunately, Bucky finds Steve in the castle, imprisoned with his Hydra Stomper suit after being captured. On the other hand, Captain Carter is late after Red Skull begins to summon an interdimensional creature known as the Champion of Hydra. Underestimating the power of the monster, Red Skull is killed in action. Captain Carter starts to launch a counter-attack against the beast and tries to push it back to the portal opened by the Tesseract. Together with his Hydra Stomper Suit, Steve offers an assist to stopping the monster from infiltrating the present. With all their might, they try to stop it. Unfortunately, the Hydra Stomper loses its power. It leaves no choice for Captain Carter but to sacrifice herself by pushing it back to the portal.

70 years later. Captain Carter appears at the Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. facility, wherein she meets Nick Fury and Clint Barton. She asks about Steve Roger only to find out that the war had already ended 70 years ago.

The episode has some takeaways, which have been given justice if you are a Captain America fan. The first takeaway of this episode is that Peggy Carter, one of the most lovable and highly appreciated characters in the Captain America franchise, was finally highlighted after being featured in “What If...” Another takeaway in this episode series is the rise of women’s empowerment. Peggy Carter may have experienced discrimination in the past. However, she showed everyone that she could also do what men can do. She can also serve and protect the country by fighting for peace. The third takeaway of this episode is that there are more things to expect as we go on with the future episodes of the “What If ...” series.

We may find the story short. However, the impact of the “What if...: Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” is powerful, especially when we talk about how Peggy Carter, despite being a woman, could carry the world into her hands to stop the evil. She showed what women could do to eradicate sexism and, at the same time, to gain respect and equality from the higher-ups. Looking back into history, it was also during World War 2 when gender discrimination stopped, which I see as the message of this episode. For me, she deserves to have a solo Marvel movie soon. Overall, I want to rate this episode of “What If...” an 8/10. The story's impact has something to do with the history and rights of every person to be respected, whatever the gender is.

If you enjoyed watching this episode and love Peggy Carter, the Agent Carter series is waving!

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