Major spoilers ahead
Wandavision pulls back the curtain on the mystery and takes a more conventional turn with an episode that focuses on sword
The MCU has made its return with Wandavision and it was nothing short of fantastic. Wandavision is the first Marvel show of many set to arrive on Disney Plus, and it took the MCU into uncharted territories with its first three sitcom inspired episodes. The show committed fully to its setup with gags, a laugh track, a classic aspect ratio, and even a live studio audience. The authenticity is admirable and even more so the risk that Marvel took with Wandavision. Maybe television is where Marvel becomes more experimental. The MCU is finally breaking away from a formula that was so successful yet left individual films open to criticism. Fans have every reason to be excited about the franchise’s future.
The first three episodes were simply nothing like other MCU offerings. There is of course an MCU spin on the sitcom format. Wanda and Vision are desperately trying to fit in in Westview and this means hiding their powers from their neighbours. Then there are the commercials which feature fairly overt nods to the larger cinematic universe. One of the advertised items was Hydra Soak, a clear reference to the evil organisation Hydra in the MCU. However, what viewers lacked was an explanation for the sitcom format and the era. Everything about the show was weird but in a good way. Those first three episodes acted as the first third of the show but now episode 4 has arrived. It is time to pull back the curtain on the sitcom and start unravelling the mystery.
minor characters in the films get their time to shine
The title for episode 4 of Wandavision is “We Interrupt This Program”. This is quite an apt description as Wandavision completely ditches the sitcom format to examine what happened during the first three episodes from the other perspective: SWORD’s perspective. In the MCU, SWORD stands for Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division. It turns out that Maria Rambeau, from Captain Marvel, founded SWORD after 1995.
We are introduced to SWORD from Monica Rambeau’s perspective whom we last saw as a child in Captain Marvel. Monica, now all grown up, was one of the victims of the snap and returns to find out her mother has died. Everything has changed for Monica from when she first disappeared to now. Short as these scenes are, they are the best that the MCU has ever portrayed the Snap and its lasting impacts beyond Endgame. Even after this heartbreaking revelation, Monica has to adapt to the new world and step up as a SWORD agent working with a new director.
And so we are launched into SWORD’s investigation into what is happening in Westview. This investigation sees the return of familiar faces putting the spotlight onto previously minor characters. Darcy Lewis from the Thor films is back and so is Jimmy Woo from the Ant-Man and The Wasp. When Monica Rambeau enters Westview ending up trapped in the sitcom, Darcy and Jimmy are key players as a scientist and FBI agent respectively. Together, they try to find out what is happening.
The main aim of the episode is to provide insight into what was happening during the first three episodes. However, it very much feels like it is going through the motions to get the audience on board before Wandavision moves onto bigger and better things. As essential as this may be, it holds episode 4 back from the heights the first three reached.
an answer to what’s happening?
What is most interesting about episode 4 is what we did not see in the first three episodes in Westview. In episode 3, Monica under the guise of Geraldine name dropped Ultron to Wanda and was suddenly thrown out of Westview. Episode 4 gives us more of the conversation between Monica and Wanda confirming what many suspected: Wanda in rage threw Monica out.
For now the show is acting like Wanda is in control of this world. A brief glimpse of Vision’s dead corpse lends further credence to this theory as it very much seems like this is Wanda’s twisted simulation. Grim Reaper and Mephisto may still appear in the show as has been theorised; however, for now it appears as if Wanda is in control and is sort of taking on the role of the antagonist to SWORD. Even if things are not as they seem, this is a bold move for Marvel since everything hints to the series taking a dark turn henceforth.
Wandavision’s fourth episode ditches the sitcom format to pull back the curtain on the mystery in the first three episodes. Audiences get to see those episodes from the perspective of an intelligence agency, SWORD. We follow Monica Rambeau at first, seeing how she ended up in Westview. Then, episode 4 gives previously minor characters, Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo, a time to shine as they are key to unravelling the mystery. “We Interrupt This Program” is a more conventional MCU offering and that is the point. It is there so that viewers can mostly understand what has been happening all along. However, at points, the episode feels very predictable and it lacks the spark of the first three sitcom inspired episodes.
Where episode 4 does get interesting though is the end which positions Wanda as the one controlling this world. Setting up Wanda as a potential antagonist to SWORD is a bold and exciting move. This is surely indicative of a dark turn for the series. With some answers and viewers on board, Wandavision can hopefully move forward with its weird yet compelling story which made the first three episodes so special.