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"In this universe, Stephen Strange didn't lose his hands... but his heart. Grief-stricken, Strange sought answers across the world and in the mystic arts."
The Watcher

What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands? is the fourth episode of the first season of What If...?.

Synopsis

A grief-stricken Doctor Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto in a dangerous effort to change the past.

Plot

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Stephen Strange arrives to pick up his lover Christine Palmer for a night out at a dinner party, but while driving on the coastline, they are involved in a collision. Palmer is killed, leaving Strange completely heartbroken. Searching for answers, he eventually comes across the Masters of the Mystic Arts and learns their ways. After the Ancient One is killed, Strange acquires the Eye of Agamotto and uses it to defeat Dormammu, saving his reality from the Dark Dimension.

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Despite this, Strange remains haunted about Palmer's death. Using the Eye, he transports himself back two years to the moment he picks up Palmer and tries to avoid any vehicular incidents. However, Strange gets into yet another crash that kills Palmer. Remaining determined to alter the fate of his lover, Strange continues to rewind time, but his efforts are proven futile as Palmer constantly dies in every scenario, in different circumstances. Eventually, the Ancient One approaches the devastated Strange and informs him that Palmer's death is an Absolute Point in time, warning him against changing the past, for that would usher in the end of the universe.

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Strange is defiant towards the Ancient One's warning, demanding more power in order to alter the Absolute Point and save Palmer. But when he attempts to use the Eye to reverse time again, the Ancient One intervenes and blasts a bolt of dark magic at Strange. He wakes up in an unfamiliar land. Strange discovers a temple and ventures inside, being greeted with an enchantment that casts him further into the structure, where he encounters O'Bengh, the librarian for the Books of Cagliostro. As Cagliostro knew how to break Absolute Points, Strange uses his library to research his work on time manipulation.

Reading that the key to breaking Absolute Points is through absorbing the powers of other life-forms, Strange summons a tentacled creature and attempts to bargain for its powers, but the hostile entity attacks him. O'Bengh informs Strange that mystic beings do not bargain, which leads him to forcefully absorb the powers of the various creatures he summons. As Strange continues to attain power, The Watcher continues to not interfere, stating that the sorcerer's love for his lost flame has gone to his head. Strange is able to overhear The Watcher's comments.

Strange freezes himself in time for centuries, bringing increasingly demonic entities to Earth only to take their souls. After killing the tentacled creature he had first encountered, Strange visits O'Bengh, who is dying from old age. Refusing Strange's assistance with the Eye of Agamotto, O'Bengh reveals to him that there was another Doctor Strange in this universe. Indeed, that Strange had refrained from using the Eye to rewind time and reunite with Palmer, deciding to move on from her death.

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The actions of the darker Strange have caused this reality to begin dissipating. As the other Strange watches on, he is visited by a vision of the Ancient One, who reveals that her dark magic bolt had split the Stranges into two, allowing for two times to co-exist in one universe. Before vanishing, she decrees that the only one powerful enough to stop the darker Strange Supreme is Strange himself. A vanishing Wong helps Strange to protect himself with a spell, before the latter is abducted and confronted by Strange Supreme, who claims that the two must merge in order to be able to save Palmer.

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Strange Supreme takes Strange back to the crash site, but the latter refuses to follow his darker self, warning him that restoring Palmer back to life by creating a paradox would destroy the universe. Growing impatient, Strange Supreme attacks Strange, sparking a fight. During this, Strange's Cloak of Levitation sacrifices itself to buy him time to escape. Strange Supreme conjures an illusion of Palmer in a final attempt to turn his alternate self, but Strange manages to see through it. Thus, Strange Supreme manages to chip away his alternate's protection spell and take his soul.

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Strange Supreme unleashes a cascade of energy with the Eye, breaking the Absolute Point and resurrecting Palmer from the dead. However, she begins vanishing as the universe collapses, a direct consequence resulting from the paradox. Finally realizing that made a mistake, he desperately attempts to hold the reality intact, reaching out to The Watcher for help, but he refuses to interfere due to his oath only allowing him to observe the Multiverse. Chastising the sorcerer for not abiding by the warnings, The Watcher thus leaves the universe to its doom. Strange Supreme helplessly watches as Palmer is erased from existence in his arms, her last words was asking him what he had done.

Strange Supreme had ultimately failed to save the one person he dedicated much of his time and energy to, now serving penitence for his reckless actions. As The Watcher gives a grim warning of how one simple action could spell the end of a reality, the universe ultimately comes to an end.

Cast

Starring Cast:

Guest Stars:

Non-Speaking Characters:

Appearances

Locations

Events

  • Skirmish in the Dark Dimension (recap)
  • Changing an Absolute Point in Time
    • Rescue of Christine Palmer
    • Attack on Doctor Strange
    • Attack on the Mystic Beings
    • Duel at the End of the Universe

Items

Vehicles

Sentient Species

Creatures

  • Mystical Beings

Organizations

  • Masters of the Mystic Arts

Mentioned

Music

Song title Artist Location(s)
Doctor Strange Theme Michael Giacchino Christine Palmer is resurrected by Doctor Strange
Manhattan Calling Extreme Music
Midnight Serenade APM Music
Bugle Call Rag
(New Orleans Rhythm Kings cover)
Benny Goodman

Videos

Trivia

  • This is the first What If...? episode where all of the returning characters are voiced by their live-action actors.

References

External Links

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