WandaVision: Episodes 1+2 Review (Josh)
It feels like forever since we last saw a new series debut on Disney+, with it being exactly four weeks since the Season 2 finale for The Mandalorian. However, that all changes today with the debut of WandaVision on Disney+
The series marks the start of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and WandaVision, a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany)—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems
Warning: Spoilers follow for the first two episodes, and also speculation for later episodes - you have been warned!
Our journey into the crazy new world that is WandaVision begins when the iconic Marvel Studios title card shifts from 16:9 Colour to a 4:3 Black and White and we're treated to a 50's-esque theme tune and intro with our titular characters, just married headed to their new home in Westview.
From the moment it starts, the episode feels as if it were a classic, and looks the part as if it were something directly from the archives, accompanied by a live audience - the episode starts off immensely! We're reintroduced to Wanda and Vision, who's chemistry just bounces off each other - you would genuinely believe they are a married couple from how well they get on with each other on screen.
Kathryn Hahn comes into the picture and introduces us to the bubbly, and energetic Agnes, whilst Vision heads to his Computational job and introduces us to his fellow workers and his boss Mr Hart, who later joins the Vision residence along with his wife for dinner. Vision's interest in his job is definitely the first mystery of the series - Vis has no clue about what he's doing there and why he's there, as he tries to figure out the significance of the heart on the household's calendar, worried about a potential anniversary with Wanda, it's soon revealed Vision has nothing to worry about as it becomes known to him that Mr Hart and his wife will be accompanying Wanda and himself for the evening.
We get a nice little Stark Industries reference in the form of a cutaway to Ithamar Enriquez' commercial for a toaster, which features another little reference in the form of a sound similar to one of Iron Man's repulsor beams powering up, when the toaster is turned on. Could this be Wanda remembering past events with these TV idents? Like little memories coming back one at a time... and could the toaster be reminiscent of the bomb which killed Wanda's parents in Sokovia?
The Hart's arrive for their dinner party but are greeted by a Wanda dressed to impress Vision, with no dinner prepared for their guests a small site of chaos begins in the couples kitchen whilst Vision tries to distract the Harts, Wanda tries to put a quick dinner together. The practical effects used in this episode, and also the second are brilliant - they help construct the perfect illusion as if we are watching a classic episode of an old sitcom - it really is spell-bounding. We have a nice fun moment when Vision attempts to distract Mrs Hart as he gives us a little sing-a-long, shortly followed by a lovely rendition of Old Macdonald, which Mr Hart doesn't seem too impressed about. Once sat at the table, enjoying their dinner - Wanda and Vision are both asked many questions about moving, their family life and their relationship. Both are reluctant to answer as they respond with blank answers, as if they forgot or chose to forget... Mr Hart pesters the pair asking why they came to the town of Westview and soon begins to choke on his food - could this be Wanda's doing?
The episode ends with Wanda and Vision deciding on their own anniversary, rebuilding a reality for themselves in Westview, with Wanda producing two wedding bands for the pair as they both say "I do", with Vision even going as far to say "And they lived happily ever after"... the sitcom's credits begin as it is revealed a member of S.W.O.R.D is watching, and making notes in what appears to be a headquarters or remote location for the agency - and I speculate it is either Agent Jimmy Woo or Darcy Lewis who is making notes on what they just saw....
Also, may I add that the credits are awesome!
Episode Rating: 10/10 - a spell-bounding introduction into this whacky new world, and a great start to what I believe will be a fantastic series
The episode starts with a traditional cold-open with the titular couple encountering a mysterious and loud noise disturbing them whilst they attempt to sleep, which is soon revealed to be a tree... theres a great practical effect as Wanda moves the couple's two twin beds together and merges them into one, much larger bed.
We're then treated to a Bewitched inspired opening credits, featuring the many characters appearing in the upcoming episode with a small catchy tune too. Wanda and Vision are preparing a magic act for a talent show within Westview this episode, but before the two must embark on solo adventures! Wanda heads to the planning committee, as Vision heads to the public library for the neighbourhood watch. Its worth noting that the interior of the house has already changed, both representing a new era for the series but also teasing the Wanda could be changing things too. Before she gets to the planning committee, Wanda hears a weird buzzing noise approach the home, followed by a crash. It is later revealed to be a red and yellow helicopter - with the S.W.O.R.D insignia marked on the front - could this be them trying to make their way into Westview. The shot with B/W Wanda holding the full coloured helicopter is really clever and cool too.
As Wanda and Agnes head to the committee meeting, we're introduced to more of Westview - including Dottie (played by Emma Caulfield), and Geraldine (played by Teyonnah Harris) who we know to be Monica Rambeau, last seen in Captain Marvel as a child. One thing I would like to point attention to is the throwaway comment made by Dottie in respone to Bev, where she exclaims "The devil's in the detail", met with a response by Agnes who says, "That's not the only place he is". For some time, there has been major speculation that Mephisto would be appearing as the series villain... could this be a small nod to the character. In the comics, Mephisto is known as a demon, and refers to his domain as Hell - and who reside in hell? Devils! Also it should go without saying that we have yet to see Agnes' husband "Roger" onscreen - could it be that Agnes is connected in some way to Mephisto, another thing that has been heavily speculated with Agnes also being a false name with her true identity being that of Agatha Harkness, a witch in the comics... Monica definitely recognises Wanda and I believe she is inside this reality keeping a close eye on Wanda on behalf of S.W.O.R.D and that she isn't under this false reality like some of Westview's residences - think of them as NPC's in a video game.
I am going to go to make a bold claim here and speculate. Monica tells Wanda that she didn't clap alongside the rotary club as she couldn't move whilst they all say it is "For the children" at the same time. It sounds extreme but the rotary club gave off really cult-esque vibes and it could be that the club is a coven dedicated to Mephisto who are wanting to use the two twins who will appear later on in the series to give Mephisto a rebirth. Quick catchup - in the comics Mephisto's soul was used by the Scarlet Witch to give birth to twin sons, Tommy and Billy. They are later reborn as Speed and Wiccan - members of the Young Avengers...
We hear Agent Jimmy Woo attempting to contact Wanda through Dottie's radio after she confronts Wanda claiming shes heard things about her and Vision, who Wanda assures she means no harm. I believe when the glass in Dottie's hand smashes and it's revealed the red blood comes out of her hand it could tell us Dottie is from the real world, hence the colour shown...
HYDRA makes a nice subtle appearance in another of Ithamar Enrquiez' commercials. This time takes us back to the very first time we meet Wanda, with the Strücker watch accompanied by a little HYDRA insignia. Strucker obviously referencing the HYDRA villain who experimented on Wanda and Pietro Maximoff and gave them their powers using Loki's sceptre. Putting two and two together, I can imagine we see more of these TV commercials with more hints to Wanda's past.
The talent show for the children soon follows and we are treated to a spectacle by Wanda and Vis accompanied with some nice gags as their powers are mocked with practical effects like wires and mirrors. Bettany gives a great performance whilst Vision deals with the consequences of swallowing gum, accompanied with fun animated gimmicks of the gum slowing down the machinery in his body. Worth noting after another comment about Roger, Agnes' missing husband, there is also another character from the first episode missing and that is Mr Hart... who was last seen choking on a piece of food, which may have been Wanda's doing... this could be Wanda slowly removing people from her reality. This could be a pure coincidence, or we could see more and more resident's disappearing
The episode ends with the couple greeted by a male in a beekeeper outfit with the S.W.O.R.D logo on his back, climbing from the sewer. Vision appears terrified and Wanda is quick to shout "No" as the show transitions into a reverse effect and takes us back a few moments as if time had reversed itself. This is proof that Wanda has control over this reality and created it herself... The pair and their surrounds begin to transition into colour, and Wanda's baby bump growing. The closing moments end with Jimmy Woo once again over the radio asking "Who's doing this to you Wanda?"
Whilst I believe Wanda has constructed this reality for herself, there is obviously a larger entity at play. It still could be anyone but speculation leads me to believe that it is Mephisto, however, we shall see how it plays out over the next few weeks.... The MCU is back and better than ever!
Episode rating: 10/10
What are your thoughts on the episode? Did you enjoy it? You can let me know in the comments, or interacting with me over on Twitter (@JoshM_Jones)