WandaVision: Episode 1

Once upon a time in the suburbs….

After a lot of delays and reshuffling due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the long-awaited MCU/Disney+ shows have finally begun. Originally slated to be the second series, after Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision is now the first to air. While Falcon and Winter Soldier ties in to the also delayed Black Widow movie, WandaVision is said to connect to the upcoming Dr. Strange and The Multiverse of Madness. Given what has been leaked/rumored, it sounds like there will be Multiverse issues in Spider-Man 3 as well. There will be some spoilers below.

Even before the series starts, there are a lot of questions about what’s going on. Vision, when last seen, was dead as of Avengers: Infinity War. He’s one of the ones the various snaps didn’t bring back. Now, Vision and Wanda (while her comic book codename is Scarlet Witch, she still hasn’t been called that on screen even once) are reunited, in black and white, and apparently living out a life based on 50’s style sitcoms. The opening sequence and design of their house are direct nods to the old Dick Van Dyke show, and they drag in many commonly used plot elements from those shows, like the boss coming to dinner, mistaken identity, nosy neighbor dropping in, and miscommunication.

While the sitcom plot isn’t really much, there are a lot of hints at darker, more serious things going on. Wanda uses her powers a lot, so she clearly remembers she has them, as does Vision. What they don’t have are clear memories. At various points, they realize they don’t know when they got married, where they were living before they were here, or exactly how they got here. There’s an odd choking scene during dinner which has Wanda’s near perpetual smile disappear as she tells Vision to help his boss, blowing the secret of their powers… but no one seems to notice. There’s also a commercial for a gadget that ties in to the larger MCU. When the show ends (these episodes are only half an hour long), there’s a fadeout from their “show” to another scene that indicates there’s more going on than we realized. Clearly, more clues and reveals are ahead.

What I liked: The superhero genre is so wide you can tell almost any kind of story in it, and they take full advantage of that here. The various hints at more going on promise some interesting developments down the road. I have a theory or two about what’s happening, but I’ll hold that to myself for now. They did nods to SWORD, an agency linked to SHIELD in the comics, and the major House of M story, which may also explain some of what’s going on. I also like Vision and Wanda as a couple, and I’m glad to see them together again, no matter how odd the circumstances. Kathryn Hahn did a great job as Agnes the neighbor.

What I didn’t: I’m sure this will be explained, but I feel like they didn’t quite get across what was going on in the dinner scene. Agnes is a distinctive name, and I’m really wondering if she’s the character tied to Wanda in the comics.

Overall, I think this was really nicely done. I’m intrigued, and will certainly be watching the rest of the series. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. On to episode 2!

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