So long Star Wars and good bye Mando. The television event of the year is finally here! Announced back in 2018, with several other Marvel programs for Disney+, the show everyone has been waiting for has arrived! Join two of the most powerful characters in the MCU as they travel through different sitcoms in what appears to be a very unique take on the House of M storyline that gave us the famous phrase “Kill all mutants!” Of course, at this point in the timeline, the X-Men have not been cemented in the MCU so we’ll see what iconic line will stem from this Wanda’s mouth. Maybe the X-Men stem from this show? Also, the subtle nod to The Vision comic is always a plus.
WandaVision, debuted on January 15, 2021 with the first episodes. The show opens with our titular heroes in the 50’s living the American Dream life, a la The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Love Lucy. Wanda, Elizabeth Olsen, is the dutiful housewife with magic looking just like Mary Tyler Moore, while Vision, Paul Bettany, is off to work at his nameless, obscure office job. They really are an “unusual couple”. The first episode, follows the common trope of trying to figure out what the heart on the calendar means, is it an anniversary, a dinner party? They go back and forth, hoping the other knows what it is without making it seem like forgot. Wanda receives a visit from the nosy neighbor, Agnes, played by Kathryn Hahn, who perceives the date is the couples’ anniversary. Agnes tells Wanda the ways to woo and keep a husband, while talking about her never seen husband, Ralph.
Meanwhile, Vision goes to work only to discover the heart, represents a dinner party with his boss, Mr. Hart (Fred Melamed) and his wife (Debra Jo Rupp). In a good old fashion sitcom, he calls Wanda only for them to not disclose information, pretending they are both on the same page. Naturally, the dinner party is a mess. Wanda thinks its an anniversary and tries to seduce her husband, only to find out it’s Mr. Hart! Using Bewitched‘s practical effects, we see Wanda trying to make dinner while trying not get caught by either the boss, or his wife. The tone shifts quickly when Mr. Hart begins to choke on his food, with Olsen delivering a chilling “Vision, help him” while Mrs. Hart is staring what seems to be directly at Wanda repeating the lines “Stop it!”. It’s amazing how chilling two words can be.
We see Olsen and Bettany have mastered the art of comedy through their body movements, their speech, and their expressions. For Olsen, it’s like being in a sitcom runs in her blood. Bettany holds his own very well. Who knew he was this hilarious! Together, the two make an unusual couple that would’ve had a very successful career doing sitcoms in the 50s and 60s.
The second episode follows along the lines of I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched, especially with the opening title being shot for shot from Bewitched. This is the episode that really makes you think, and you need to pay attention to the clues. In a black and white world, Wanda begins to see shades of color from a helicopter painted in Iron Man’s red and gold, with the S.W.O.R.D. logo to red blood coming from Dottie Jones’, Emma Caulfield Ford, hand. We start off this episode with Wanda and Vision waking up scared to sounds coming from outside their house to hearing voices calling for Wanda from a radio to Wanda magically becoming pregnant, which may tie in the motif of “for the children!” The big insane moment in this episode is when a beekeeper emerges from the sewers, Wanda gets a strange vibe, utters a chilling “No” causing time to rewind, but instead of going outside, Vision’s face starts to turn red before they are surrounded by a red glow. Wanda may actually be in control of what is happening, whether she is aware not. The next episode seems to take place in the 70s.
Bettany gets to stretch his acting here, by portraying a drunk” Vision when he accidentally swallows gums, which clogs his gears. The animated take on this is what sells it even more. Of course, he still has to perform a magic act for the town. Vision starts to use his powers of flight and super strength leaving Wanda frantically trying to magically turn these feats around, so the crowd doesn’t catch on.
Intercut in both these episodes we see commercials, one from Stark Industries for a toaster, the second a watch by von Strücker with a nod to HYDRA. Both played a hand in the creation of Vision and Wanda, respectfully. In both episodes we see a variety of small easter eggs, if you know where to look and what to look for. In this 9-episode, 30-minute sitcom, things are going to move quickly. The first two episodes do a great job setting a few things up, but it’s going to be awhile before we really know what is going on in the bigger picture and how and why Wanda and Vision are in a sitcom universe.
Like I said above, Olsen and Bettany shine from start to finish, they’re having the time of their lives in this strange out of the box way of storytelling. A breath of fresh air from Marvel. Grab your sleuthing hat and spyglass and enjoy the first part of Marvel’s Phase Four. What do you think is going to happen or better yet, what do you want to see happen? From what we know so far, what are you excited about?
I am excited to see more of “Geraldine” aka grown up Monica Rambeau, last we saw her was in the 90’s in Captain Marvel, played by Teyonah Parris. Let’s see if she suits up! Also, Agnes (possibly Agatha Harkness) is absolutely hysterical and can’t wait to see how she ties into everything. I have some small thoughts, but we’ll see where it goes. Randall Park’s Jimmy Woo (Ant-Man & The Wasp) who’s voice we hear from the radio, Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis (Thor), and Evan Peters (X-Men) will be making appearances at some point, tho I don’t believe Peters will be playing Quicksilver this time around so we’ll keep a close eye.