FULL SPOILERS AHEAD
Happy Saturday! The first two episodes of WandaVision dropped yesterday, so here we are! If you don’t know what that is, buckle up! It’s a new entry for the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) from Disney+. Sure, there were the Defenders on Netflix and Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter on actual television, but those shows had minimal (if any) interaction with the films because they were basically run by a separate department. It was a whole thing. But the Disney+ shows not only star characters from the movies, but they–supposedly–will have lasting effects that lead into future movies and/or shows. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Do I need to go over the main characters? I haven’t touched the MCU movies on this blog yet because it’s a hell of an undertaking. Something like 23 films? That could fill an entire month with updates every weekday! But for the sake of this first entry about the first episodes, the story focuses on Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff (Ms. Elizabeth Olsen) and the Vision (Mr. Paul Bettany). Both debuted (outside of stinger cameos) in Avengers: Age of Ultron–Wanda gained powers due to Hydra experimentation and Vision is an android created by Ultron but gained sentience in part due to what is eventually revealed to be the Mind Stone. Her powers are essentially “whatever the writers want her to do right now,” but in the comics she fluctuates between manipulating probability and being able to rewrite all of reality. Vision, meanwhile, is strong, flies, can become intangible, and sometimes shoots lasers out of his forehead. The two became a couple around Captain America: Civil War, but things took a turn for the worse when Thanos killed Vision as part of his quest to collect all the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Infinity War. Wanda got her revenge in Avengers: Endgame but with the Infinity Stones destroyed, Vision remained among the dead. And that’s the lead-up.
As advertised, the first episode has a sort of an I Love Lucy, black and white, 1950’s sitcom look and feel. Wanda and Vision have moved to a new neighborhood and are absolutely in love! But uh oh! What could the heart on the calendar mean? Wanda thinks it’s the couple’s anniversary, while at work Vision finds out it means his boss Mr. Hart (Fred Melamed) and his wife Mrs. Hart (Debra Jo Rupp, who everyone probably recognizes as Kitty from That 70’s Show) are coming to dinner! What a wacky miscommunication! The night is salvaged with help from sassy neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) and Vision manages to impress his boss! Except, you know, for the fact that he can’t get over that no one seems to know what the company he works for acutually does. Or when, during dinner, Mr. Hart starts choking. The sitcom filming style is momentarily thrown out the window the boss is on the floor dying, his wife can’t stop laughing, and Vis and Wanda are seemingly paralyzed. Wanda tells Vision to do something and he phases the obstruction out of Hart’s throat. Then the boss leaves, saying the night was wonderful! Nothing suspicious here! The episode ends revealing some agency (I’ll get to who in a minute) watching these antics on a monitor, as if it really was a sitcom.
The second episode continues the black and white treatment but has an opening theme more reminiscent of Bewitched, suggesting we’ve moved to the 1960’s. The main story is Wanda and Vision working on a stage magic routine to raise money for the local elementary school. Wanda attends a lady’s group run by Dottie (Emma Caulfield, AKA Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) while Vision meets with the men’s neighborhood watch. But uh oh! Vision accidentally swallows some gum and it gums up his inner mechanisms! Get it? Acting like he’s drunk, he demonstrates most of his abilities to the audience, while Wanda magics up some explanations, like ropes and mirrors. It’s all just magic! The final trick involves “Geraldine” (Teyonah Parris) magically appearing, which shakes her slightly. Back at home Wanda is now visibly pregnant as color enters the world. Well, color actually entered the world earlier via a toy helicopter and blood from when Dottie cut her hand but NOW it’s everywhere. Kinda like Pleasantville! We also get more weirdness with a transmission coming through the radio asking Wanda who’s doing this (whatever “this” is), and a straight up rewind when a beekeeper with the same symbol on his back from the end of the first episode (and the colored helicopter) crawls out of a manhole. But nope, that never happened!
Also these episodes have a “commercial” in the middle featuring the same two people. The first was for a Stark toaster with a blinking red light (the only color in the episode), but the second was a Strücker watch with a Hydra logo. Considering Wolfgang von Strucker was the Hydra leader who gave Wanda her powers, that may be important later.
Comic book influences include Tom King’s The Vision series where Vision attempted to create the perfect suburban family and everything goes horribly wrong, but really this is closer to the House of M event. There, in the aftermath of Wanda having a breakdown and nearly destroying the Avengers in Avengers: Disassembled (which involved the destruction of the Vision), she remade reality into an idealistic world where Magneto (her biological father at the time, but that’s no longer the case become comics are dumb) was in control. But cracks kept appearing, and eventually the X-Men and Avengers fight back, leading to Wanda infamously saying, “No more mutants,” and removing the powers from about 90% of all mutants. It was a bad time for the X-Men and they have never let it go. Anyway, Wanda clearly has some sort of control over this… simulation? Alternate reality? She seems confused by the glitches most of the time, but seeing that SWORD beekeeper made her rewind him (possibly) out of existence.
Ah, SWORD, right. You know of the former government agency SHIELD? Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, all that? Well in the comics the space-focused sister organization is SWORD. We may have seen a bit of this at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, but that’s the symbol we keep seeing. And from casting information we know that “Geraldine” is actually Monica Rambeau, grown up from her debut in Captain Marvel. Given the Skrull connection to SWORD it’s highly likely she’s working for the organization in some capacity. Meanwhile rumors circulate that Agnes might actually be Agatha Harkness, a mentor to Wanda in the comics. Also scheduled to appear are Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings, last seen in Thor: The Dark World) and Jimmy Woo (Randall Park, last seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp), so that’ll be fun.
This is certainly an strong start for a new chapter of the MCU! It’s going to be interesting to see where the series goes from here and how closely its episodes will resemble classic TV sitcoms. But like an ongoing show, see you next week for more.
Next: Now in Color
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