Now that the dust has somewhat settled a little, we're able to better see Wanda and Vision as characters in this funky vibes retro-topia, but I'll be honest: this episode didn't do as much for me.
Sure, in terms of pushing the plot forward, it had that. But, there wasn't a lot of time to let things just simmer for a little. I appreciate that Marvel has approached this show as a 4(ish)-hour movie, or at least claims to have done so, but that has some pitfalls. After all, everyone's favourite service Quibi failed for that exact reason. If people wanted a movie, they'd watch a movie. It takes real skill as a studio to make something of movie quality as a TV show, and here Marvel’s inexperience shows. To some degree. I should clarify that while I do have some legitimate criticisms of WandaVision, these come from a place where I feel even the worst episodes of the show are still a few cuts above most other TV shows. So, let’s get into what I didn’t like too much.
I know, I don't want to either, Vision, but it wouldn't be a fair review if I didn't.
Breakneck pace, and for what?
I like a show that moves fast, but it takes a lot of skill to move fast whilst also ensuring your audience is getting the information they need to keep the show interesting. The whole episode feels like it's racing towards something and, whilst we got a glimpse of that something in the final shots, there really has to be some leeway to let the audience catch up a little bit. If I was being a shill, I would lament about how this was an intentional choice by the show runners to make us feel like we're physically in WandaVision; quick progression, no explanation; and that may be the case. But, my biggest criticism of this episode was that it rushed through a lot of moments to get to the birth of the twins.
We just don't know what to expect
While writing this review, I'm at a loss for words because I can sum up the self-contained nature of the episode in one sentence: Wanda has her twins and Geraldine gets expelled into the real world. That's it. That's the whole episode. If they'd combined the first half of Episode 2 with Episode 1, and then made the back half of Episode 2 the transition into colour, with the story continuing as Episode 3, that've been great. But they seem to have many different signposts in the writers' room. They want to earmark each transition in Wanda's life with a decade, and they want to concentrate on giving the audience (us) as little information as possible concerning these.
That's right, Wanda, we don't!
Come on, pretty mama
When Wanda has her babies, the labour scene is really reminiscent of something you'd find in even a 90s sitcom. It was nice. The whole idea of the house and town of Westview going on the fritz as she experiences her contractions; if there's one thing you can't fault the show on, it's the show's ability to fully embrace the premise of a sitcom. One interesting gag is the doctor who, like in most sitcoms, makes home visits to the parents. Of course, the whole "doctor is going on holiday" line is something I feel really familiar with but can't quite place. In a rare moment of lucidity, the doctor states that he won't in fact be going on holiday to Bermuda because "Small towns are so hard to..."
As the poster for this episode indicated, the peeling back of this reality won't be smooth, it'll be a rough one. Like trying to break through the walls of it rather than steaming and stripping the proverbial wallpaper.
The six o'clock alarm would never ring
When ""Geraldine"" (Monica Rambeau) finishes helping Wanda deliver the babies, Tommy and Billy, she snaps out of the trance. Or, at the very least, doesn't play along with the reality any more. Why is this? Well, Wanda's birth of twins makes her realise that she too was a twin. She mentions, in her Faux-kovian accent, that her brother Pietro died. Geraldine seemingly takes the opportunity to converse with Wanda about the mechanics of his death. But, instead of rewinding the narrative, Wanda boots Geraldine out of Westview and into the real world. The Monkees "Daydream Believer" plays as she is swarmed by SWORD agents, tanks and helicopters, whilst the aspect ratio smoothly changes from 4:3 to 16:9.
She came here because...
As Vision returns to his house after walking the doctor back, he catches a conversation that Agnes is having with Herb. They're talking in hushed tones about Wanda and Geraldine, indicating that Geraldine is somewhat of a danger to Wanda. To me, this is all a farce. We all have our doubts about Agnes, so is it any wonder that the only time characters seem to question the nature of their reality is around her? Whilst I am slightly disappointed that my ultimate theory (check it out here) is probably wrong, I am strong enough to admit that the theory that this is all a real town is looking a lot more real.
All in all, this wasn't a horrible episode of television. It was a pretty good one by most standards; even excellent; but part of me wishes they had the episode lengths at a little bit longer so we could get either more of Wanda and Vision within Westview, or more of the outside world.
Until then, happy streaming!