A few months ago, Netflix launched its latest original series What/If – an episodic thriller that centers around how one questionable decision could change the entire course of a person’s life and the lives of those they care about. The first story of this anthology centers on the clash between biotech company Emigem Molecular Sequencing CEO Lisa (Jane Levy) and the ruthless capitalist Anne Montgomery (Renée Zellweger), and the collateral damage of their ensuing battles of wits.
While What/If neatly wraps up its major arcs and conflicts by the end of its 10-episode run, it leaves some lose threads that are either minor inconveniences or major gripes that drills holes into the series’ core mystery and themes. Here are the 11 questions that What/If we still have after its inaugural season.
11 What Happened To The Mendoza Family?
Lisa’s brother Marcos works pro bono as a lawyer who specializes in immigration cases. His latest clients – the Mendoza family – are trying to save their father and breadwinner from deportation, which ends poorly after the case is stayed for the third time in a row.
Despite Marcos’ investment in the case, Hector Mendoza’s actual fate is only implied and never explicitly revealed. Marcos’ hearing may only be delayed, but this risks getting the Mendozas evicted from their home. By the series’ end, none of the Mendoza clan are brought up again and their fate remains unknown.
10 What Happened To Todd’s Dad?
Todd’s abusive father disappoints him for the last time when the son finds out that the only reason why his parent talked to him was in the hopes of getting money. It’s never revealed, but it’s hinted that the father owes a lot of money to some loan sharks.
After a short confrontation, Todd leaves his father for good and never looks back. Neither does the show, since the circumstances surrounding his debt – and his endangered life, for that matter – are never mentioned again outside of Todd’s decision to become the father that he never had.
9 What Happened To Fire Academy?
As a reward for their heroic actions, Sean and Todd are given glowing recommendations to the Fire Academy where they get a shot to ascend from their current positions as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT).
But the moment What/If picks up, their goal of becoming firefighters is never brought up again. Granted, their private lives were obviously more important than promotions but the Fire Academy is ignored after Sean makes it to the top of the class. Qualifying for the academy has been the best friends’ dream, and it’s a shame that it’s all but forgotten by the series’ end.
8 Will Dr. Ian’s Body Be Discovered?
To ensure her family’s safety, Angela shoots an incapacitated Ian in the head. Along with her husband, she buries the deed to keep her name and that of her family clean. While the cover-up is convincing on first glance, it may only be a matter of time before it’s unearthed.
Time will tell if Ian’s death will remain a cold case or if an eager detective would crack it. It’s not as if Ian’s death was undeserved – after all, he may be a serial killer – but the circumstances of his death would raise a few eyebrows.
7 Are Cassidy And Avery An Item?
Despite starting on the wrong passive-aggressive foot, Lisa’s best friend Cassidy and Anne’s former employee Avery finally reconcile after finding a common goal (i.e. saving Lisa’s Emigem) and sleeping together.
Avery reveals his feelings for Cassidy and this is best seen when she’s hospitalized following a failed assassination attempt, but Cassidy never gets to say her piece. The two become friends after the events of the series, but their relationship status (if there is one) is left up to the viewers to decide.
6 What’s The Backstory Between Liam And Anne?
Anne explains that she only became the woman she is with the help of Liam, a man who engaged in incredibly shady business practices that are never fully elaborated in the series. Though bits and pieces of Anne’s origins are hinted at, how exactly she came across the supposedly all-powerful Liam (a businessman who doesn’t have anyone to do his bidding) and became his protégé are never fully expounded. The backstory isn’t a necessity for the narrative, but it would’ve helped fill in a few gaps and properly justify some of the show’s bigger leaps in logic.
5 How Powerful Is Anne?
With her resources, influence, and connections, Anne can have anything she wants. In one telling scene, the cutthroat venture capitalist smugly rubs blackmail material in the faces of her potential investors for her sheer amusement.
Given how Anne is a relatively new player in the business world , her authority seems comically sprawling at times, even rivaling the depths of a super-villain. Even if she may have gotten some aid from an impossibly powerful crime lord and learned how to ruthlessly maneuver through Silicon Valley, just how far her reach goes remains a mystery.
4 Why Didn’t Sean Speak Up Earlier?
When he was blackmailed by Maddie, Sean refused to tell Lisa or anyone about his problem. It may be understandable from his personal perspective, but his secrecy doesn’t make much sense in a practical and even a legal matter.
As Lisa said, his interactions with Maggie – even if spurred by Anne – are not covered by the contract’s dubious clause, making it perfectly legal for Sean to discuss it. If he did, he may not have needed to forge a check for $50,000 while causing more headaches for his wife and her employees in the process.
3 Why Was Anne’s Plan So Complicated?
Near the series’ end, Anne reveals that she is Lisa’s mother. To toughen her up, Anne turned Lisa’s life into a living nightmare. But if this what she had in mind all along, why didn’t she just take Lisa under her wing and mentor her about her Machiavellian mindset?
The plan – which involved a young for-profit company, business deals, forced infidelity, and psychological abuse – may make for a 10-episode series, but it’s still needlessly convoluted. Anne can have anything she wants, and she could have trained Lisa the “right” way by simply taking her in from the start.
2 Was Anne Lying About Lisa?
Anne’s duplicitous nature is made apparent the moment she steps into frame, so it’s not farfetched to deduce that she’s lying about everything. This affects all of the connections she has in the show, especially in connection to her estranged daughter Lisa.
Since Anne acquired everything she wanted and needed through lies and manipulation, it may not be impossible for her to just make up everything she said to Lisa, whether it’s about their professional relationship, her sincerity in grooming Lisa as her successor, or their apparent familial connection.
1 How And Why Did Anne Survive?
What/If is a show built on twists and turns, and it ends with one last major reveal. Despite setting her old apartment on fire and willingly sitting in the middle of a burning room, Anne somehow survives and is shown relaxing in a tropical country, living a new life.
Minus the questionable logistics of how she escaped a burning apartment that’s a few floors above ground level, Anne’s survival feels like a last-minute contrivance that nullifies what could’ve been her tragic redemption-through-death. Since What/If is billed as an anthology, this question may remain unsolved for a long time.