‘What If…?’ Season 2 Episode 5 Summary & Ending Explained: What if Peggy Lost Steve Again?

what if captain carter fought hydra stomper

We’re now well past the midpoint of the second season of ‘What If…?’, a delightful holiday indulgence featuring a daily release of single episodes spanning nine days. We’ve witnessed some truly extravagant scenarios, such as Nebula joining the Nova Corps and Iron Man toppling the Grandmaster. Today’s episode promises the thrilling spectacle of Captain Carter battling the Hydra Trooper.

Steve Rogers is sort of alive

Peggy Carter once again crosses paths with Steve Rogers in this episode’s opening scene. Black Widow approaches Captain Carter with a mission from Nick Fury, leading her to an apparently abandoned warehouse. There, she unveils the Hydra Stomper, but the focus isn’t on the armored suit itself; rather, it’s on the person inside it. In Black Widow’s straightforward words, it’s akin to RoboCop.

Hydra stomper

Quick to connect the dots, Peggy realizes that it’s Steve inside the Stomper. The Stomper abruptly springs to life, launching an attack on both Natasha and Peggy. Narrowly avoiding its destructive rampage, they find themselves in a high-stakes situation as the flying Stomper reveals Steve Rogers’ face underneath the armor.

Fury and Black Widow Knew About it

Black Widow was aware that Steve Rogers persisted in some form. Peggy and Black Widow then visited Nick Fury to seek an explanation. To their surprise, Nick Fury admitted he had been privy to rumors about Steve Rogers, also known as the Hydra Stomper, being alive and involved in some of Earth’s most heinous terror attacks. Captain Rogers had believed he died in Argentina in 1953, which was accurate. However, it appeared that the Red Room seized control of whatever remained and reprogrammed it for acts of terror. Black Widow had known about this but chose to keep it from Peggy to spare her from enduring a double heartbreak.


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Fury informed Captain Carter that she couldn’t be part of the upcoming strike mission due to her emotional involvement, which could jeopardize the mission. He emphasized that the Hydra Stomper, now a threat to national security, was no longer the man she once loved.

Steve tries to kill Bucky

The Hydra Stomper sets its sights on Bucky Barnes, who currently serves as the Secretary of Defense. Surrounded by special ops teams dispatched to ensure his safety, Bucky initially resists evacuation despite protests. Eventually relenting, he is evacuated from the building. It’s at this moment that Captain Carter arrives, informing Bucky that the person inside the suit is none other than Steve Rogers.

Meanwhile, Nick Fury directs Black Widow to use lethal force if necessary, as the Hydra Stomper is attempting to assassinate a US official. Breaking through the building with sheer force, the Stomper clears a path to reach Bucky Barnes. Bucky, positioned between Black Widow and the target, attempts to reason with Steve. For a brief moment, it appears as though the old Steve Rogers is resurfacing, but the Hydra Stomper powers up its weapons, ready to shoot Bucky.

Captain Carter saving Hydra Stomper.jpg

Captain Carter intervenes at the eleventh hour, disrupting the fight. The Hydra Stomper, now attempting to escape the building, carries Peggy on its back. The airborne struggle continues, and Peggy manages to render the Stomper unconscious with her shield. Black Widow intercepts them mid-air with a Quinjet, saving their lives, while the Hydra Stomper is captured and held in custody.

It looks like Steve is beyond saving

After rescuing Steve and Peggy in mid-air, Black Widow transports them to the secret location of St. Hilda in Scotland, unbeknownst even to SHIELD. This secrecy is imperative as every government, including SHIELD, seeks the demise of Hydra Stomper.

Captain Carter and Black Widow conduct a basic examination of Steve’s body, discovering that he hasn’t aged a day. However, the stark reality is that once removed from the suit, he faces certain death. Captain Carter speculates about a potential cure but is hesitant to involve Stark and Banner. She suspects that the Red Room might hold the key, but Black Widow points out that the elusive location of the Red Room remains unknown. Their conversation is interrupted by an awake Steve Rogers, who claims he can lead them there.

Steve waking up

Though Steve appears to be back to his old self, Black Widow remains skeptical.

It was a carefully laid trap to ensnare Peggy Carter.

Guiding Black Widow and Peggy Carter to an aged Sokovian Military base cleverly disguised as a stereotypical American town from the ’60s, Steve Rogers orchestrates an eerie setting filled with animated statues echoing quintessential Americana phrases. These animatronics, reminiscent of a bygone era, roam the town, uttering phrases like “American Pie.”

Under the guise of needing maintenance, Steve contacted the Red Room, intending to ambush them and find a solution to revert him to his human form. As Black Widow discreetly steps away to provide privacy, Peggy and Steve share moments of nostalgia about a life that could have been had Steve married and had children. However, just as they are about to share a kiss, they are attacked by animatronics armed with Widow’s bites, incapacitating them. Mid-fight, Steve Rogers powers down, and both Black Widow and Captain Carter, depleted of strength, cease their struggle.

Red Room base.jpg

As they gaze at the crimson mist in the sky, revealing the approach of the Red Room, it becomes apparent that it’s a colossal aerial station. Emerging from the Red Room is Melina, accompanied by an army of Black Widows. The revelation strikes: Steve’s apparent return to his former self was a ruse, a meticulously orchestrated trap designed to capture Captain Carter, who is unexpectedly revered and respected throughout Russia and within Black Widow circles.


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Steve Rogers resolves to obliterate the Red Room.

The conflict erupts on two fronts, with Captain Carter engaging Steve Rogers while Black Widow contends with Melina and a group of Black Widows. Steve intensifies his efforts to eliminate Captain Carter, even resorting to toppling a massive water tower onto her. Simultaneously, Melina strategically exposes Natasha’s weaknesses to the other Black Widows to enhance their effectiveness in battling her.

During a pause in the confrontation, Steve ceases fighting, prompting Peggy to express her unwillingness to let him go. She declares her desire for him, regardless of the form he takes. Meanwhile, in a separate struggle, Black Widow finds herself overpowered by Melina, who tightens her grip in an attempt to choke her to death.

Without uttering a word, Steve makes a decisive choice to sacrifice himself by crashing into the Red Room. As he ascends towards the Red Room, Black Widow seizes the opportunity to tether Melina to him, intending to end Melina’s life when he crashes.

red room destroyed

The episode concludes with Black Widow and Captain Carter preparing for a Friday night out. However, the Watcher interjects, proclaiming that Peggy’s journey is not yet complete. In a dramatic turn of events, she is drawn into a crimson portal right before Natasha’s eyes. Peggy awakens in an unfamiliar forest, accompanied by Nick Fury and the Scarlet Witch, who suggest that she is destined to save their queen. This storyline will continue in the upcoming ‘What If…?’ Avengers Assembled in 1602, so don’t forget to catch it and share your thoughts in the comments below!

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