What If...?: What If... Kahhori Reshaped the World?
December 27, 2023 7:46 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

A different sort of What If...? with a point of divergence in a much earlier time, in a different place.

From the end credits: "Marvel Studios would like to extend our deep gratitude to the citizens of the Kanien'Kehá:Ka - the Mohawk Nation who collaborated on this episode."

From the Wikipedia article: "After Surtur destroys Asgard during Ragnarok, the Tesseract crash-lands in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in pre-colonial America. The Tesseract falls into a lake, releasing the energy of the Space Stone into it, giving it magical properties." Unlike any of the other episodes of this series (and maybe the comic as well), this episode is focused on a new character, Kahhori. Guest-starring Queen Isabella of Spain and (briefly) one of the Stephens Strange.
posted by Halloween Jack (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Spoilerrific review: 'What If...?' Season 2 Episode 6 Recap: A Breath of Fresh Air for the Multiverse [Collider]
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:48 PM on December 27, 2023

Darn it you beat my writeup by minutes.

This story diverges from the standard MCU timeline by having Asgard fall to Ragnarok half a millennium or so early. This means that rather than being neatly tucked into hiding in northern Europe at Odin's leisure, the Tesseract (aka the Space Stone) falls, cracked from battle damage, and lands in Mohawk territory (in our time and timeline that's roughly upstate New York). It creates a place of power which, after war over the spot, eventually becomes forbidden territory because people who approach tend not to return. Rumors of the spot draw the Conquistadors north on the quest for the Fountain of Youth. A young Mohawk woman, Kahhori, sees them attack her village, runs into the forbidden area, and passes through a portal. There, she finds the people who had gone through over the years thriving in a world soaked with the power of the Tesseract, giving the people powers. Kahhori is enchanted by this refuge but is unwilling to leave her people in peril, even though the others assure her the passage is strictly one way. After some of the Spanish soldiers come through, Kahhori manages to force the portal to let her return. She goes alone at first but ultimately the other empowered warriors follow her lead and they rescue their people and rout the Spanish. Sometime later, Kahhori arrives in Spain to confront Queen Isabella to make it clear that anyone who comes across the ocean can come in peace or not at all. In the very last scene, Strange Supreme appears, informing the heroine that he has been seeking her for a long time.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:09 PM on December 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

Notably, this episode is entirely subtitled. Everyone speaks either Mohawk or Spanish.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:11 PM on December 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

There's already a Funkopop.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:14 PM on December 27, 2023

Notably, this episode is entirely subtitled. Everyone speaks either Mohawk or Spanish.
With one exception at the end.
posted by cheshyre at 8:16 PM on December 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

It's weird to still have The Watcher introduce each episode with the big "What If...?" because they seem to have given up on that premise. This isn't changing one key decision or turning point and examining the outcome. This is having a story you want to tell and then jumping through hoops to work backwards to something that happened in the MCU. Same with the cyberpunk Nebula story and whatever the turning point was that lead to Happy Hogan Christmas.

With that pedantry out of the way, this episode was fun I guess? The setting and music were great. Kahhori has no character flaws and her weakness is cannonballs. But it's an origin episode so maybe they will find something more interesting to do with her.
posted by Gary at 1:14 AM on December 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

The original comics series had the wackiest divergence.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

For the proper What If effect I really want to see how What If The European Colonization of (North) America Never Was Allowed A Foothold plays out to the 21st century. Imagine an alliance between Wakanda and the Iroqois Confederacy fighting off Thanos or a Kree/Scrull invasion. You would not even need to change too many place names. Manhattan would still be Manhattan, for example.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:48 AM on December 28, 2023 [8 favorites]

I don't know if I related to what was going on, but I enjoyed a badass heroine fucking with the queen, for sure.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:02 PM on December 29, 2023 [4 favorites]

I liked it quite a bit. The respective second seasons of What If...? and Loki have been high points in a kind of bleak run for the MCU.

W/r/t to this episode, the comments on social media have shifted gears from, "The MCU is just churning out recycled, unoriginal product," to, "The MCU is now just dropping in new characters we have never even seen before and expecting us to be interested."

It takes a certain rhetorical limberness to reverse one's position 180 degrees in mid-breath without losing one's conviction.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:08 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

If you liked this episode, you might also enjoy the best film in the Predator franchise, Prey. They both feature badass indigenous women leads who show extreme competence in their defense of their homes and people from outsiders, and both films are subtitled since the characters speak their native languages (including the invading colonialists). And the Predator, too, although they aren't subtitled.
posted by autopilot at 10:49 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]

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