WandaVision: We Interrupt This Program finally brings WandaVision into the broader MCU and begins to shed light on the show’s central mysteries.
Hello friends! We return this week for WandaVision’s fourth episode, perspicaciously titled We Interrupt This Program.
Guys? What’s going on? No laughter today?
Well… that’s unsettling. You all were good company these last few weeks. I guess I’ll have to proceed without you.
So, We Interrupt This Program really stands as a frame shift for WandaVision. We open with the return of Monica Rambeau from “The Blip” a.k.a. Thanos’ snap. Unlike in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the consequences of the return are played straight here. And it’s an unnerving scene, similar in contours to the early chaos of a zombie movie, as folks gradually return to existence after five years away. That it serves as a cold open – sort of a counterpoint to the disappearance of Hawkeye’s family at the beginning of Endgame – gives the episode an immediacy that WandaVision has never before sought.
Soon, we learn that our protagonist – known as Geraldine in the show’s past sitcom episodes – is actually the daughter of Maria Rambeau, Carol Danvers’ best friend in Captain Marvel. We trace her journey from Snap return to her exit from Wanda’s wacky sitcom world last week. It’s the first time WandaVision has felt like an MCU show, and the clearest insight yet into the show’s true format.
It’s difficult to tell what form the next few weeks of the show may take. One thing that’s clear, however, is that this show takes it cues every bit as much from “mystery box” shows like Lost as it does from classic sitcoms. By pulling back the curtain on Wanda’s artificial world – and tying in the various “bizarre” moments in the first three episodes (reviews here and here) – We Interrupt This Program has opened up the storytelling possibilities.
In order to tell the story of this twist, we need a new set of characters. Rambeau is played by Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk), who feels a little uncomfortable in the role this week. I suspect it’s because the show is shoehorning a lot of plot heavy lifting into just 30 minutes of screen time. She’s forced to come to grips with the Snap, introduce the world of S.W.O.R.D., catch the audience up on five years of Federal anti-alien invasion initiatives, explain the orb around Westview, and actually get captured in Wanda’s world. It’s frankly too much material for one episode and one new character.
And that’s before considering the screen time spent on Randall Park (the Ant-Man films) and Kat Dennings (the Thor films). Both are always welcome additions to my airwaves and effortlessly slide back into their old MCU roles. The inclusion of Dennings perhaps makes more sense in universe than Park, but both are clearly having fun with the material.
So this episode was a mythology smorgasbord as much of the speculation of the last few weeks was paid off. Many of the show’s mysteries from the colorized toy helicopter Wanda found outside her house to the beekeeper in the sewers have been addressed with some clarity (drones, and a S.W.O.R.D. agent). It does, for now, appear the beekeeper teasing A.I.M. or M.O.D.O.K. was a red herring. We know the notebook person from the show’s first episode was Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis. The large section of the internet speculating that Memphisto – sort of Marvel’s version of the devil and a key player in many Scarlet Witch stories – was the key to the show’s mystery remains in the dark for now.
Perhaps the most chilling moments of the show pick up at the end of last week’s sitcom episode. When Vision returns to the family home, he is briefly shown in a dull gray with his skull hollowed out from where Thanos had taken the Infinity Stone. Moments later when he’s returned to normal, we see genuine doubt creep across his face as Wanda assures him that the couple is home, where they’re meant to be. The darkest possible outcome where Wanda appears to be forcing her version of Vision to conform to her new reality appears to be in play. You guys have any thoughts?
This is the first episode – mystery box constructs and all – where WandaVision feels like a television show and not a long movie. I know it’s an odd distinction to make after three episodes that have seen our heroes literally emulating television shows, but this is the first time the show has opened up and felt like modern television in structure. The sitcom episodes – delightful as they were! – always purposefully felt like a cover for the main story at play here.
Here’s hoping WandaVision finds time to spoof another few decades worth of sitcoms before Wanda is invariably pulled back into the normal MCU.
WATCH WANDAVISION: WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM
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