What If...?: What If... Hela Found the Ten Rings?
December 28, 2023 12:24 PM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

In which Odin sends Hela to Midgard instead of her room own personal dimension.

Odin — having grown weary of his daughter’s bloodlust — opts to teach Hela a lesson by stripping her of her powers and banishing her to Earth. But when she lands in ancient China, the seductive lure of the Ten Rings threatens to awaken the Goddess of Death's villainous appetite.

Remember in Thor when Odin got a good look at the results of his A+ parenting skills and threw Thor down to Earth as a mortal to learn how to be worthy? Well this episode posits that he thought of that idea with his first kid, although in her case he figures she needs to learn mercy. She lands in ancient China and finds Wenwu (called "the Mandarin" in comics until Marvel realized that the whole yellow peril thing is a bad look.) She finds herself unpowered though still badass, and frustratingly unable to lift her headdress. She flirts with Wenwu for a time until she follows a magical creature to Ta Lo, the interstitial land between Earth and a great evil. There she meets Jianyi who leads her through understanding that there is more to being a warrior than unbridled violence. Unfortunately, Ta Lo is outside Heimdall's sight and Odin panics, thinking something happened to his little girl and he comes in hot to her last known location. Hela leaves the pocket world to join Wenwu in defeating Odin. Having learned mercy, she is able to take her power back up but now as a protector instead of a conquorer. We see in the future that Hela has left the nine realms and may be preventing Thanos' rise. Most surprising of all, there is no multiverse crossover stinger at the end.
posted by Karmakaze (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a little salty that the episode gives Wenwu all the credit for Hela's character growth. All he did was hit on her because he can't resist a woman who's willing to bash his head in. Nevermind the whopping amount of emotional labor Jianyu and the other people of Ta Lo put in helping Hela work through her issues.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:33 PM on December 28, 2023 [3 favorites]

The artwork for this episode was exceptional. And Cate Blanchett seemed to be enjoying herself. (You could say she was having a Hela-va good time.)
posted by SPrintF at 6:12 PM on December 28, 2023 [9 favorites]

I really liked this one. Agreed that some credit is due to Jianyu, but overall the episode was great, and has a couple of great lines for Hela: "I guess you're not the first arse I've ever followed into battle" and "I gave peace a chance."

So, by implication, this is the third time this season that we've seen Thanos defeated before he could put together the Infinity Gauntlet. Know who we haven't seen so far even though more than one episode has involved different times and the whole schmear deals with the multiverse? Kang. Isn't that interesting.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:54 PM on December 28, 2023

Hela is clearly having fun here. "What about those fire knives?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:34 PM on December 29, 2023 [2 favorites]

Hela's obviously who you'd get if Galadriel had taken the one ring.

Oh wait, different franchise.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 8:41 PM on December 29, 2023 [1 favorite]

"Enchanted murder forest"

Maybe it was just me, but it looked to me like they were about to kill Thanos.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:24 PM on January 20

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