Well, the jig’s up now. After last week ended with a shock to WandaVision‘s picturesque sitcom surrealism, the fourth episode of Marvel’s oddball series fully pulls back the curtain on Vision and Wanda’s not so happy stay in Westview. And, maybe, things are all the better for it.
Leaving off with suspicious neighbor “Geraldine” (Teyonah Paris) being forcibly ejected from Westview by Wanda -having “broken character,” as it were-, we find out Geraldine is not Geraldine at all. Revealed to be Monica Rambeau, she ends up being an agent of SWORD (one of SHIELD’s subdivisions, an agency equally impressive in utilizing acronyms) and has been on the trail of Wanda’s dizzyingly dated world. The Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division, founded by Monica’s mother, is made privy to odd occurrences in a little New Jersey town by the name of Westview, and one reunion with MCU familiar Agent Woo (Randall Park, previously of the Ant-Man films) later, Monica is warped into the wacky world…of WandaVision.
The fourth episode’s revelation that the TV show we’ve been watching is, indeed, a television series marks an obvious turning point for WandaVision. I can’t help but feel that, perhaps, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for from the get-go: the kitschy set-dressing was never really fooling anyone and we’ve been plodding along a bit in the TV-world of WandaVision a smidge too long. At least the show is finally starting to become interesting.
With the break from WandaVision‘s TV-world comes a break from the technical limitations and parlor tricks that accompanied that emulation of classic sitcoms. From this point on, the series is starting to take on a full-blown MCU-level of production values, beginning with the disorienting trauma Monica experiences upon her return from “The Snap.” Tying WandaVision in with the traumatic finale of Avengers: Infinity War and the subsequent post-apocalyptic world of Endgame starts to make things clearer as to what exactly is going on here.
Woo and Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), called in by SWORD to advise, are baffled by seeing Vision alive and well in the TV-world: Wanda, the reality-bending, lovesick widow, tends to her sitcom world as it crumbles around her. The jig is seriously up.
Now that the fourth episode has emptied its proverbial bag of tricks, it’s a curiosity to ponder just how WandaVision will stretch out across its remaining five episodes. My initial disinterest in the show’s perpetuation of its gimmick has been quelled now that the plot’s gotten rolling, but the punctuation of this fourth episode, the SWORD team monitoring the Westview situation and realizing, “Oh boy, Wanda’s up to some weird mumbo-jumbo” didn’t hit nearly as hard as it seems to think it would.
It’s becoming an entertaining chunk of high-budget television, yes, but WandaVision still isn’t telling a story that feels like it will be going much of anywhere. Granted, with the fourth episode behind us now it feels as if the show will be diving into the why of Wanda’s Westview fantasy, as she is clearly running the show here.
If you’ve been following along, you’re more likely than not already enjoying WandaVision a decent deal. Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe output is, more or less, dependable. If you like it, you like it. Though short on the chemistry that sustained earlier episodes (this one was all Monica’s show), it’s nice to see characters like Vision and Scarlet Witch get a platform for a story that is ostensibly theirs (until we, inevitably, tie-in with whatever Marvel is cooking up next). The privilege of the MCU’s unprecedented financial success has allowed the churning of these expansive productions devoted solely to individual characters, much in the way the comic books that set the mold have operated. For the longest time I called Marvel’s interconnected movies “the most expensive TV show in theaters,” and with WandaVision, I’m only a little far from the truth.
WandaVision might only just be picking up steam, and who’s to say whether the show will keep audiences occupied now that the sitcom stylings are seemingly being stripped away? But if you’ve been fixing for more superpowers and spandex in a post-Endgame world (yes, I know Spider-Man released after the fact), WandaVision has you covered.