We're doing things a little differently from now on. Because Josh and I have very similar tastes and we don't want to tire you out by having to read two separate reviews, we're combining our WandaVision reviews into one by doing a new format. In this format, we're going to cover 5 key topics and every MCU show from now on will be reviewed with respect to this format.
The 5 topics are:
Overall connection to the MCU
Summary and rating
We'll use titles to make it more exciting though! Spoilers after the ad!
I'm Invested! (Plot)
Mo: This episode starts immediately during the events of Avengers: Endgame, when everyone has been brought back. As it turns out, Monica Rambeau was one of those who was blipped. Mere weeks after her return to the mortal plane, she goes back to work at SWORD (Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division), an organisation started by her mother, Maria Rambeau. Very quickly, you get the feel that this episode is going to be unlike any other we've seen before, and that feeling carries you through briskly to the end. Josh, do you want to go on and explain more about the plot?
Josh: This week saw a major shift in the narrative as our perspective comes from none other than Monica Rambeau. After the Blip, Monica learns of the passing of her mother and returns to SWORD, where she is told she's been "grounded", and instead of returning to the skies just yet has an opportunity with the FBI instead. Monica meets up with Agent Jimmy Woo on the outskirts of a familiar town of WestView... the police officers to the two meet weirdly mention that Westview doesn't exist (ironically whilst the town's sign is placed behind him) Woo mentions the town doesn't want him to go in, so Monica flies in a drone which ends up going missing after passing through the town's surrounding energy field.
We then get a fun scene with Darcy Lewis as she and others make their way to SWORD's Base outside of Westview as they all begin to investigate the ongoing of the town. To summarise Dr Lewis finds a tonne of CMBR (Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation) and then other wavelengths similar to that of a television programme. After connecting up a TV, Darcy finds out that Wanda and Vision are the stars of their own sitcom, whilst this is all going on, Director Hayward sends someone down a manhole into Westview - oddly it is the beekeeper from Episode 2 - but he only becomes a beekeeper when he passes the town's border and his appearances changes to fit the sitcom's aesthetic.
SWORD discover Monica is stuck inside the sitcom and come up with a plan to try and make contact with Wanda via radio. This is an interesting point, as Darcy mentions that "every episode" Wanda does the dishes and there is a radio near her, this tells us SWORD sees more of what we see, but also less sometimes - this happens when Monica is discovered to be Monica and the episode skips in front of them, similar to how it did last episode when Vision started asking questions. They begin to profile all the town folk and link the majority to real-life people as if they were actions minus a certain Agnes...
We later get a call back to the last episode and see what happens to Monica after Wanda finds out about her identity from the necklace. Monica is thrown and literally thrown out of Westview by Wanda using her powers and lands right in front of SWORD's temporary setup. Back in Westview, Vision returns to the house after his chat with Herb and Agnes in the last episode but this time he is the same dead corpse as he was at the end of Infinity War. Now, I reckon Wanda has reanimated Vision's dead corpse but because of the illusion of Westview, Vision appears like his normal self to the town and also Wanda. The episode then ends with a scary line from Monica... "It's all Wanda"
Everything is Legal in New Jersey... (Little Details)
Mo: Little details are what the MCU is about, and whilst I admit my knowledge of more niche comic-book areas is somewhat lacking, my eye for finer details is not. The overall impetus for this episode is catching the audience up to the point of Rambeau's expulsion from Westview. Between rematerialising and getting sucked in, Rambeau goes to the SWORD headquarters where she discusses with the director who, interestingly, isn't Nick Fury. Though, this guy is the acting director, and this conversation took place mere weeks after Endgame, so it's possible that Fury was at Tony Stark's funeral or just simply didn't want to return to work just yet - can you blame him?
We get a brief mention of outer-space, most likely The Peak station but, due to the fact that a space-threat caused 50% of all life in the universe to die, Rambeau is confined to "terrestrial assignments only". There's our central conceit. When Dr. Darcy Lewis and Woo figure out that the people starring in WandaVision are real people whose identities have been taken over, they begin theory-crafting. It's all pretty meta. One thing you may realise, in a few "blink and you'll miss it" moments, is that the only character that doesn't have any identification is... Agnes. Quelle surprise.
Some other nice little details are the fact that Woo learned how to do the card trick from Ant-Man and The Wasp, as well as the news outlet at the SWORD HQ was called "Spectrum News", a nice reference to Monica Rambeau's comic-book alter-ego.
Josh: I do think my favourite easter egg/ reference has to be "Home is where you make it" seen on Westview's sign as you enter the town, as Wanda has shifted reality and made Westview her own home in a way. Similar to Mo, I really liked the magic trick call back too. We also get Maria "Photon" Rambeau, which is another of Monica's comic book alter egos in the comics.
We Got the Full Clown Car! (Overall Connection to the MCU)
Mo: When I say this episode was connected, I mean it was fully connected. I honestly think that this episode works as a standalone prologue to the whole show because it doesn't waste time with explaining character relationships at all. There are callbacks to the MCU's most recent along with some of the older ones. Obviously, having Darcy Lewis in the show fully integrates her character from almost a decade ago into the MCU as it stands now. The tricky thing that the MCU faces is its overall look; the colour palette seems a little flat, but not in a bad way - it's almost iconic. So iconic that, when we got the wides of the SWORD HQ, I felt this weird feeling of coming home.
There are some sprinklings of the word "Avengers" which helps to recontextualise the show as a reminder that this is, indeed, an MCU property. But, if this episode is Part 1/3 of Act 2, I imagine these connections will deepen as the show continues.
Josh: If this series did not feel like what the MCU has felt like already, then today's episode really helped that and I think a lot of the general audience will appreciate that as well after a lot of audiences had mixed reactions to how the sitcoms played out, and they still will for a few more episodes (I expect anyways)
I do believe that this episode also dealt with the un-Blip so much better than how Far From Home did it, with WandaVision showing the pure carnage as people started showing up again.
What a Twist! (Predictions)
Mo: As to where this episode goes, in terms of plot, we didn't get too much forward momentum. This was, in a way, a flashback episode. We moved chronologically about 1 minute forward in time from the end of last week's episode, but I think the show will really focus in on who is really behind this. The reveal that it was Vision's reanimated corpse was super, super dark, and I'd like to see the show go darker. They hinted at someone editing the broadcast so I'd like to see that get revealed at some point.
In terms of my predictions for the next episode: 80s episode. It has to be. I actually kind of miss the sitcom.
Josh: I would love to know what role Agnes is finally playing in all this. We know she isn't a real person (not that we know of yet) but she has been placed into Westview, maybe to monitor Wanda? I still believe that she and Dottie are witches, especially after the lack of a profile of Dottie by SWORD and also the fact that Agnes' and Ralph's anniversary is the date of the Salem Witch Trials (and we know Agnes dresses as a witch for Halloween)
Looking forward to the Family Ties episode and returning to the sitcom and hope we now have a 60/40 split of Sitcom to SWORD in the episodes until the sitcoms end in the latter half of the series
What Kinda Data Are You Getting In? (Summary and Rating)
Mo: I think this episode was the best of the bunch so far. It had a good mix of answers whilst raising more questions. We're being led down the path of believing that Wanda is behind all of this, but is this just a (Big) Red Herring? Either way, I'm excited to find out. I give this episode a 5/5.
Josh: Agree with Mo completely that this episode was by far the best we've had yet, simply because everything is slowly being put together but still so many mysteries remain - I do believe this is the point where more of the general MCU audience begin to watch as the show is no longer a sitcom fully but has those similarities to the MCU we know and love... so I'm giving this episode a 4.5/5 just because I know for a fact there will be better episodes than this, despite it raising the bar for the rest of the season.
Until then, happy streaming!