What If...? Captain Carter Review S1E1: Captain Has A Nice Ring to It
Trey: Hello and welcome back to another
episode of MCU Need to Know a podcast
dedicated to the Marvel cinematic
universe and everything you need to know.
I'm Trey and I am riding solo this week.
Unfortunately, Jude couldn't make it.
And instead I will be here and most likely
it will be a briefer episode, but given
that it is the start of a new season
on Disney plus, uh, I definitely wanted
to be here to greet the new listeners.
There always seems to be an influx
of people who find the show,
whenever we start a new season.
like, What If...?
Uh, that's, we're going to be doing today.
And first of all, thank you so
much for downloading and listening.
Uh, even though this isn't the norm of an
episode, uh, we're gonna get through this.
It'll be fun.
I I've, I've helmed some solo
episodes before back when I used
to do another podcast, which
will not be named here, but yea!
So I'm definitely excited, a new
season, new things to talk about,
plenty of things to be excited about.
So, uh, just to give you a brief
rundown of how this works, uh, each
week we will be tackling every episode
that releases for what if, and we
will have pre spoiler thoughts.
That'll be our chance to kind of just
give impressions of the episode without
you having to worry about whether
you've seen it or not, which will
then lead us into the spoiler zone.
So that'll be fair game for all spoilers
in the MCU and you definitely will have
plenty of warning before we get there.
And if you're not already, you should
definitely be following us on social
media at Twitter and Instagram,
with the handle @MCUNeedtoKnow.
Uh, we've been doing a new thing
where if you are a fan of the
endtags, we have been sharing unused
in tags, uh, as a bit of a bonus.
So if you liked this show, if you like
the endtags and you want to hear things
that did not make the cut of the episode,
you should definitely be following.
There's a lot of fun extras there.
We just got it started.
So there's, I think about two or
three that you'll find there and
that'll be the norm moving forward.
So with that out of the way,
uh, let's go ahead and jump
into some pre spoiler thoughts.
So if you downloaded this episode,
you know that we're going to
be talking about What If...?
Season one episode one, what if
Captain Carter were the First Avenger?
So just to get my thoughts out of
the way I got to say Captain Carter,
I think from the word go is such
a great concept of a character.
And a lot of that is thanks in part
to what's come before, uh, with Hayley
Atwell's performance and the drip of
scenes that we've gotten, she's never
really had the focus I think she deserves.
So it was really nice to see Captain
Carter get the focus here and a large
part of that is again, Hayley Atwell
I think nailed the voice role, helming
the lead character of this episode.
And then speaking about the
animation itself, I really,
really enjoyed the look of it.
I was worried at first because a lot
of the social media reaction I was
seeing is that the animation was rough
and I have to respectfully disagree.
I think it's, I think there's a
weight to it that fits so well
with Captain Carter using the
shield as she does in this episode.
I also think the lighting of the animation
is it just makes moments pop in a way that
was very, very aesthetically pleasing.
So, you know, I'm very happy that that,
uh, was the case because given that this
is the MCU's first outing, I guess you
could say with animation, it's really
nice to see that it is so far a success
for me personally, you know, with those
positives, I do want to say this episode
is a lot of fun, but I can't help, but
feel like I watched a Marvel Legends
episode for an alternate universe.
So if you're familiar, Disney plus has
been doing this thing where they have a
series called Marvel Legends and every
time there's a new series, like Loki,
WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter
Soldier, they will do brief recaps.
And generally they run from
like nine to 10 minutes long.
And it's essentially everything
you need to know, like a functional
knowledge of specific characters
before the series starts.
And so given that, What If...?
is on that under 30 minute runtime,
especially if you take into
consideration credits, it really
feels like it's a step above that.
So, you know, I know that that is the
pitch of the series, but I think there
is a feeling of the pacing, just being
a little bit off in this episode, which
is fine because I, I do understand
that you probably have to educate the
viewer a bit before getting too wild.
So I'm assuming that that's
what the case is here.
Again, establish, I think Captain
Carter and Hayley Atwell have been.
Such an established force with the
movies it probably felt like a safe
ground to give us the breakthrough.
I think Captain Carter's character needed
while also being an on-ramp for viewers.
So that's going to do it
for pre spoiler thought.
So, like I said, you're going to hear an
audio cue and on the other side, it'll
be fair game for all spoilers in the MCU.
So we'll see you on the other side
and we're back.
So if you are new to the series, the
way that we do this is we break down the
episode into the most important topics.
This is a way for us to divide the
highlights of the episode while being
able to jump around and still cover
the things that we want to cover.
The first important topic that
we have is simply the choice.
Now, Jude and I did talk about
this whenever we were trying to
structure this episode and we're
very, I don't want to say confident.
I can't speak for him, but all signs are
pointing towards each episode, having
this format where it will highlight the
choice that made the universe split.
So for this episode, in particular,
the choice was Agent Carter
deciding to stay in the room.
Whenever the procedure for Steve
Rogers, super soldier serum began.
Uh, if you recall in the movies,
this was the moment where Dr.
Erskine Almost went to
roll my R on that one.
I don't know why I did that, but Hey,
we're here and we're pushing ward.
Uh, where Dr.
Erskine asked if she would be
more comfortable in the booth.
Now this was the catalyst for getting
everybody out of the room and into
the safety of the booth, which
led to the delay of the explosion.
Now in the show, she
did not decide to leave.
And this left.
A clearer opportunity to steal the super
soldier serum from the Nazi secret agent,
without going too far into that recap,
I'll just go ahead and join it here.
I really enjoy that Peggy deciding to stay
was the moment that changed everything.
It feels like such a small
change with a really huge impact.
And I think that does capture
the spirit of the show.
Uh, I was mentioning it earlier
that there is a level of on-ramping
I think you have to do for the
audience before you go too Buckwild.
And I think this is the perfect case.
So a lot of that is a very superficial
reading of the choice because I don't want
to just relegate what they're doing here
to being like, oh, an easy on ramp for
the audience, because I do think there is
a very, very strong, thematic resonance
in the moment being Captain Carter
staying in the room, agent Carter soon
to be captain Carter stay in the room.
So much of this episode really is
capturing that sexism that women
have faced specifically in the
forties and even still to day.
So whenever they have agent Carter
decide to stay, it is what I like
so much about superhero shows.
They take the micro of a relatable
problem and push it towards the extreme.
A superhero related problem.
And in this case, literally staying
in the room, she was empowered
with the super soldier serum.
And I just think that's really nice.
It's, it's training us for that moment
where we see Bradley Whitford's character,
John Flynn continuously put her down
or just disregard her because she is a
woman, even to the point where he says,
you're lucky to even be in the room.
We eventually get to the point where
she gets to flip that line on them.
And it's such a wonderful moment.
And I think you can trace
it all the way back to the
subconscious reading of her choice.
And so that's, that's really nice.
I liked that they did that this episode
in particular is running on a very, very
tight schedule, uh, under 30 minutes.
And I love that they were able to
do that in it's condensed time.
So, I don't think I set this up
properly, but part of the reasoning for
setting the choice as the first most
important topic is it is a section for
us to really highlight the differences
and some of the secondary characters.
Uh, we're definitely going to come
back to captain Carter because she has
her own specific section, but I want
to take some time to highlight some of
the changes and the other characters.
Uh, I do want to say I found it very
interesting of a choice that this episode
really spend some time on familiar ground.
We have the section where red
skull discovers the Tesseract.
Uh, they really hammered home the
whole finding the right partner story
beat that we saw on the first Avenger.
And it even the structure of disobeying
orders to continue a mission.
To gain respect.
Now, I don't think any of these
are inherently bad impulses to
have within this episode, but I
think it is something that comes
in conflict with the limited time.
Uh, none of the, like, for example,
I think the easiest one to point
to is the whole Red Skull plotline,
nothing too much changes from him.
And it feels like we spend a lot
of valuable time with him when we
could have been exploring some of
the newer things with Captain Carter.
But again, it's first episode, I think
there's a level of on-ramping I'm
assuming that they needed to establish.
Uh, familiarity to be
able to contrast with new.
So, uh, I do want to say, uh, just to
point out, Howard Stark, I think is one of
the standouts outside of Captain Carter.
Uh, the movies really took for granted
the wonderful working relationship
between agent Carter and Howard stark.
And it was something that got to
be explored in the TV shows, uh,
with agent Carter season one,
which is the only one I've seen.
And I'm very happy to see it again,
brought up here in the animated show.
I will say this as much as I was praising
Hayley Atwell's vocal performance.
I got to say, ah, man, Bucky,
Sebastian, Stan, I love you.
But that some of those lines felt really
flat and it, it, it felt like Bucky really
got the short end of the stick here.
I don't know if it's the material
that Sebastian Stan had for
Bucky, because he gets relegated
to a lot of one-liners, but it.
It didn't work for me.
And I wanted to make
sure to point that out.
So, like I said, this is most likely a
brief episode, so those are my, those
are my points here on the choice.
Uh, we're going to go ahead and move
into the next most important topic.
Uh, as I alluded to earlier is called.
So this is really going to be the
section for us to drill down into, uh,
what works so well with captain Carter.
So I gotta say, uh, captain Carter
is a force to be reckoned with.
Love the freedom that the animation
gives to allow her to really
flex that super soldier serum.
Uh, speaking specifically that first
action piece where she gets introduced
as captain Carter is so fluid and it's
really weighty with the impact as well.
Like I found myself like not necessarily
cringing, but just being like, oh man,
like I felt like I could, I was being
hit with the shield and it's just cool
that they were able to convey that.
And with the animation, uh, there is.
Also the ability for her to cover a lot
of ground and it feels a lot more heroic.
And I'm talking about the leaps that she
could take from ground to building, or
like covering distance between enemies
and slamming their face into the wall,
or beating them over with a shield.
And it feels a lot more superhero
ish than the limitations of life.
And, and, and again, I talked about it
in the choice section, but this show is
doing a lot with less than 30 minutes.
And so that moment where she's first
fighting those Nazi soldiers and she's
taking them out with ease and eventually
a larger soldier comes in and mocks
her for being a fragile Fraulein.
And they have a moment where she drops
the shield and she Dukes it out with them.
It really conveys that same sentiment
that we've seen explored with an iron
man, three, uh, Spider-Man homecoming.
Uh, it really is echoed throughout
the MCU, but it's that sentiment
of, if you're nothing without
the suit, you don't deserve it.
Uh, that line definitely comes from
Spider-Man homecoming, but it's, it
is something that is often explored
and they have their own moment here.
Uh, again, very economic.
And, and, you know, we see it echoed
again in the episode, whenever Steve and
Peggy are bonding over the lack of respect
that they face and don't get me wrong.
It's definitely two different
forms of disrespect, but there is
familiar common ground between them.
And so that feels like it bolsters the
relationship they had in the movies and
the relationship that they have here.
But the highlight of it and why I've
put it in this captain Carter section
is Peggy's answer to Steve feeling
like he missed out on the super
soldier serum and that he's still
just the skinny kid in a big suit.
Is she clearly states the suit is
nothing without the man inside.
And I always like when TV shows
can have a central character
in this case, agent Carter.
Offer advice to another
character in this case, Steve.
And it be an example of that central
character learning the own lesson.
And so back to that moment where
she drops the shield and decides
to take on that soldier who has
discredit her ability, it is the.
Verbal communication of the F the
nonverbal feeling in that fight.
So I just wanted to
draw the parallel there.
Hopefully it makes sense.
Uh, like it does to me.
Uh, but if not, Hey, let me know.
Social media at MC you need to
know on Twitter and Instagram,
another superficial thing.
I, again, I'm a big captain America fan.
I was primed to love this episode.
Uh, The shield has never looked cooler.
I mean, the montage of captain
Carter taking out those hydro
soldiers with the music playing
and the different set pieces.
It's just so wonderful.
And I talked about it.
There is a freedom that animation grant.
Captain Carter that you
can't do in live action.
So that entire set piece where she's
jumping off the plane and spinning and
taking out the propellors by hiding behind
the shield as she can and balls through
them and ripping through the cockpit.
Like it's so cool.
And it's a fun way to really
flex those super soldiers.
Now, one of the last things I want to
talk about before leaving this captain
Carter section is I really enjoyed
the personality that this episode was
able to develop for captain Carter
in less time than captain America.
The first Avenger was able to do for
Steve and as a huge captain America fan.
I know that might sound a little
sacrilegious, but it really didn't
feel like until winter soldier and
definitely civil war that you start to
see that personality forum from Steve.
But you get it in such a quick
dose here with captain Carter.
So, you know, Steve is a very funny
character, but a lot of his humor
is dry and reserved, which is fine.
But captain Carter, I think
feels just so much more excited
about being the superhuman.
And it's a fun twist on the character.
For example, you could see that she was
super excited in that first fight where
she was like, wow, are you seeing this?
And just really reveling in
the whole powers that she has.
And another one that really comes to mind
too, is whenever she's running alongside
the Nazi soldier and the motorcycle,
and she's like, Hey mind if I ride and
she just ripped them off and jumps on
the motorcycle, uh, it's really cool.
And I think it speaks to, again,
Haley Atwell's performance, but
also the depth at which this episode
is able to handle story beats
in a very, very condensed time.
So moving along the next important topic
that we're going to be talking about is.
So this is the section for Steve and
everything, dealing with him, getting
the very forties iron man suit.
Again, it speaks to Steve's character
that he is still desiring to continue.
To the cause despite not being the super
soldier, you know, we we've talked about
it extensively here whenever we did our
first vendor review, uh, as we talked
through Falcon and winter soldier, Steve
is who Steve is not because of the serum,
but because that's who he's always been.
And so I liked that that is a continuum.
Plot line, even though he did not become
the super soldier, I will say though,
leading into this, I thought it was a
bit hokey that Steve was basically given
an iron man suit and it was one of those
things that just felt like, wouldn't
it be cool if this and that also cool.
If that, and that's fine.
That again is the pitch of the show.
I didn't think it was
going to work for me.
The thing that does work for me is
it pairs that idea of the suit is
nothing without the man inside and
still echoes a lot of Steve's journey.
And so that just felt a little more
fitting than I expected going in.
So there is a weight to that idea that
I was discrediting, which is on me.
Uh, but I am very
pleasantly surprised to see.
I do want to point out that, uh,
Josh Keaton, who is the voice actor
for Steve Rogers in this episode
does a really fantastic job.
I think he captures that feeling of
Chris Evans from the movies, without it
being an obvious impression, it feels
like a mixture of something, you know,
And familiar at the same time, which
I think is really hard to pull off.
Uh, the only way that I can describe
it is, and this might not be a good
example because I know this is a
polarizing character, but smart hope, a
smart hook doesn't sound like a banner.
And he doesn't sound like
whole, he sounds like a mixture
of the two, at least for me.
And even though that's not the idea of
Steve now being voiced by Josh Keaton,
I think there is an element of blending
between an established and something new.
When did I point that out?
Because that's a very good work.
Well, we're really moving along
and that's fine, but we're going to
jump into the last important topic,
which is simply the new reality.
This section is for us to discuss mainly
the final set piece, but also some of
the things that have changed with them.
I want to start here.
The hydro champion really feels like the
biggest change outside of captain Carter.
I mentioned it earlier, but this
episode really followed a lot
of the movie almost to a tee.
Uh, but this change here at the end,
I think was the most interesting part
of the show because it's, I think the
moment it felt the most confident.
And like I said, again, there's an
element of educating us as we go along.
But once it breaks.
And for example, captain Carter getting
a sh a sword to accompany the shield.
That's where this episode
starts to have a lot of fun.
It just, it it's, it's the moment
where it feels like it starts to
break free from feeling like it
has to be beholden to the movie.
And I've just, I hope there's more, I
have a feeling this might not be the last
of captain Carter we see, uh, definitely
will not be disappointed if she makes
continuous, uh, I do want to say, I am
curious what it means now that captain
Carter has entered the present the exact
same way that Loki did in a vendor's 2012.
Uh, is it like a one-two punch of
low-key arriving and then captain
Carter, or did Loki not arrive at all?
Uh, cause I gotta imagine how befuddled,
uh, fury and Hawkeye would be if they
see Loki, he escapes and the next thing
they know, captain Carter has arrived
and, uh, That's gotta, that's gotta
be a real shakeup of the workplace.
So I don't know what that is,
is all about, but Hey, that's
what this episode is for.
It's for us to speculate,
uh, moving forward.
I think that it got me thinking
about is, is there even a winter
soldier, uh, neither Steve or Bucky
are left captured to my knowledge.
So they most likely live out a
full life without a timescale.
What does that mean as they're never
a winter soldier or they're never.
Secret assassinations, uh, or is there
still a way to get them to the present
through some sort of time shenanigans
that maybe we'll see play out later?
I don't think so, but it
is fun to think about.
And also has me wondering about Steve
specifically, you know, we saw him pick
up the hydro Stomper, uh, even though I
don't think he embraced the title, uh, it,
it is essentially their iron man, Sarah.
Does Steve continue living out
this retro Ironman lifestyle?
Or does he hang up the suit after the war?
Am I missing a crucial piece where
they reveal this answer in the episode?
I don't know, but here we
are in we're speculating.
So if you do know, let me know.
I do want to point out this.
I just, I'm looking through my notes.
I do want to point out this.
Why does the MCU hate reds?
Like maybe it's me and I've just
grown attached to the character, but
I always was bummed that he never made
it out of the first Avenger because I
really would have liked to have seen
him explore it a little bit more.
Uh, pleasantly delighted whenever
he showed up in infinity war as
the keeper of the soul stone.
But even then it was
still a very small part.
Here in this episode,
I thought, okay, cool.
Maybe there's a possibility that we
will see more with red skull or a
possibility that he will find a way
out of this episode to continue being
a nuisance, whether in this timeline
or in the prime timeline, but Nope.
He gets crushed by his hydro champion.
Uh, very, I think it's played for comedic
effect as well, which, you know, I kind
of, I could have gone either way, but man.
Give him some respect.
I want to see, I want to see more
red skull and hopefully we will.
So, yeah, not too much to
really delve in for me here.
Uh, so we're going to go ahead
and move into our stray thoughts.
So this is the catch all for anything we
wanted to talk about, but didn't quite get
to in any of the other previous topics.
So shooting from the hip here,
I'm just gonna lay these out.
Uh, I really enjoyed the opening sequence
with the watcher setting the stage.
It really reminds me of old
nineties cartoons, especially
with the way, you know, time.
Space, whatever, like his whole
monologue as the, what if logo
really comes into frame it?
I don't know it was a title sequence
that just felt very nostalgic for me.
And while we're here talking about
the watcher, I do want to say
his whole, I do not, cannot, will
not interfere as soon as he said.
I was like, he's totally
going to interfere.
And it makes me wonder if we'll
ever get a narrative reason for
why the water is narrating at all.
Like I know as an animation, there's
flexibility to have a certain presentation
style, but I think there is potential
for a narrative reason for the watcher
to be explaining all of this to us.
So I'm curious to see if they
ever do anything with that.
Uh, or if it just continues
to be a product of the.
Either way is totally fine.
I'm not knocking points, uh,
one way or the other, but, uh,
again, I think there is potential.
And I do want to highlight one more
thing before we leave the watcher.
I really love the wording of her
choice gave the multi-verse a new hero.
It makes me feel like captain Carter
isn't stuck in just her universe
after low-key all bets are off.
It's I I've talked about this before.
I don't know if it's
made it into an episode.
I think it did whenever we did
our episode with MCU rewind,
but I'll reiterate it here.
I don't think it is a coincidence that.
What if it takes place after Loki,
where we have just seen the sacred
timeline completely destroyed.
So the whole her choice gave
the multi-verse a new hero.
I think there is a potential, we
will see more captain Carter even
potentially in the live action MC.
All right, going back to
shooting from the hip.
Uh, I do want to say it's funny
how much Ross Markwan sounded so
much like Hugo weaving after the
face reveal moment in the episode.
Uh, I know there's no tangible reason
why they should sound different.
I didn't realize it was Ross Markwan
until after the red skull revealed
to one of the Nazi soldiers.
So that was funny.
Um, another one I, I do want to say,
I never get tired of the trope where
a character is hiding behind a barrier
and another character, his fist burst
through and pulls that person in.
Uh, we've seen it an iron man.
Uh, I'm sure we've seen it
through more in the MCU.
I'm just blanking on right now,
but here in this, what if episode?
It was whenever they were storming
the castle and captain Carter bursts
through the sand pile to pull the Nan
Nazi soldier in, which was really cool.
And, you know, I just want to
highlight it one more time.
I seriously love Howard stark
so much so that I wouldn't mind
having him in a regular series.
I don't think it needs to
be the Howard stark show.
But whatever they do, I hope that they
bring Dominic Cooper in because he just
embodies that era of Howard Starks.
So wonderfully well
bounces off agent Carter.
So wonderfully well that I think
there's room for him to be a continuum.
Yeah, very charismatic, very funny.
Uh, somehow not as sleazy as
he was portrayed in the movie.
So that was a nice, uh,
refreshing change as well.
He just seems like a really good a
sidekick, but yeah, I think that's
going to do it for this episode.
So you just heard all of my thoughts
on this episode, but we want to hear
from you, what did you think of this?
Did you like it?
Did you hate it?
Did you want a little bit more,
whatever the case may be, we would
love to hear what you think over
on Twitter and Instagram, which
you can find us at MCD to know.
Comments replies are even DMD.
We'd love to hear what you think.
And of course, if you want to have
a much richer conversation, you can
always join the discord where there is
a lovely group of people who are just
as excited about the MCU as we are.
We'd love to have you and have even more.
So you can find a link for
that in the show notes.
Uh, and if you'd be so kind to leave
us a rating and review on apple
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platform you may be listening to,
that would be greatly appreciated.
The ratings are really cool, but the
reviews, I think go a really long way in
helping us continue to hone this episode.
So any critiques that you
may have, uh, good or bad.
We'd love to have in the review.
And of course the most important thing
you can do is share it with a friend.
Uh, that'll help us extend
the reach of the show.
And Hey, it'll give you two something
to talk about or three or however
many people you share it with.
And Hey, before I go again,
thank you so much for listening.
We normally don't do one person episodes.
Hopefully this was coherent and
enjoyable and we'll be back to
our regular episodes next week.
But I do want to say there
is more coverage of episode,
one of what if to come.
So not going to say exactly what
it is, but if you made it all the
way to the end of this episode,
make sure that you continue.
By going to our feed and seeing
something else that was prepared
and, uh, yeah, not gonna spoil the
surprise, but uh, go check it out.
Finally, we'd like to thank Nick Sandy
for the use of our theme song, which
is his rendition of the Avengers theme.
You can find more of his work
on a SoundCloud, which is linked
in the show notes as a weapon.
That's going to do it.
Thank you so much for listening
and we'll see you all next week.
Creators and Guests
As always, share with a friend
and shout out Nick Sandy