WandaVision: Breaking the Fourth Wall

Darcy isn’t thrilled with her new life

WandaVision has been a constant series of surprises throughout its season (no word on if there will be another for this, or any Disney+ Marvel series), and the big revelations keep on coming. Last episode saw some startling developments with Wanda, Vision, the kids, Pietro, and the “hex” area itself. “Breaking the Fourth Wall” lives up to the title on several levels, between characters (mostly Wanda) spending a lot of time talking directly to the camera, ala The Office or Modern Family, and a huge reveal about one of supporting characters. Some of this is something a lot of people have predicted from the start, but a lot of fan theories about what was going to happen this episode don’t actually take place. There are two more episodes to go after this, and I’m really curious about how they’re going to make it all work.

A lot happened in this episode, and I’m going to be doing my best to avoid spoilers, but that’s a particularly thin tightrope to walk this week. I’ll be skipping some major portions of the show so I don’t give anything away, so just be aware there will be less detailed coverage than usual in this review.

The opening scene sets the tone for the show, as they cut back and forth between what’s actually happening, and some unspecified time when characters are talking directly to the camera. Wanda muses about what’s been going on between bits of her waking up, acting more or less hungover, and even revealing that she’s still wearing most of the Scarlet Witch costume from last episode. That’s probably the last time we’ll see the comic book version of her costume, which the hero geek in me thinks is too bad, but I get it. Conspicuous by his absence is Vision, leaving Wanda to wake up alone. The kids try and get her up, complaining about their game freaking out, and there is, indeed, something very odd going on with what we see of their controllers. Finally, Wanda stumbles downstairs, but clearly isn’t ready to deal with parenting. She wanders into the kitchen for some very easy breakfast, and we start to see bits of the house flickering around her, presumably indicating that her powers are even more out of control now. After some more chatting with the camera, we get another new title sequence, which has some very interesting changes to it, mostly some omissions and a new credit at the end.

At the new SWORD base, Director Hayward is asserting his control over what’s left of his forces. We learn the new encampment is about eight miles away from where the last one was, and that the broadcast signal is gone. I have a lot of questions about that one line. Did Wanda stop sending it out? Was the effort too much for her (she looks utterly exhausted throughout the episode)? Was there something special about Darcy being the one watching it? Unless I missed something, none of these questions are answered this episode. At any rate, Hayward is making vague schemes that don’t sound good for our heroes. Speaking of heroes, Vision wakes up after his extremely painful final scene last episode. He’s in a field by the circus that used to be the SWORD base. He finds the transformed Darcy, and a series of amusing miscommunications occur.

Back at the house, the kids are asking questions Wanda can’t answer. She makes some odd comments about what’s been going on, and starts edging towards some kind of breakdown. After some particularly strange statements about Pietro, and another bit of camera talk, Agnes wanders in again, with some help from Wanda that isn’t even remotely subtle at this point. Seeing Wanda’s on edge (it’s hard not to), Agnes offers to take the kids with her for a bit. They all leave, the house goes nuts around her, and Wanda keeps chanting that she’s fine. It’s not convincing. Monica and Woo finally get to where they’ve been going, and all the rumor and build up about who Monica’s contact is prove to be sort of disappointing. Paul Bettany, who plays Vision, has said that there’s a major cameo in the series, and even recently said it hasn’t aired yet, so whatever trick they have up their sleeves is still waiting in the wings, presumably.

Back at the circus/SWORD base, Darcy keeps being comic relief in the face of Vision’s attempts to make her actually listen to him. Finally (why he waited, I don’t know) he uses the “awakening” trick we’ve seen him do several times, and Darcy remembers herself. After a comment about guest starring on the show Wanda was apparently sending out, Darcy and Vision start working together. Wanda is utterly lost as her reality keeps changing around her, and she questions what’s happening. Much to her surprise, someone else has questions for her, and she looks shocked as that happens. After this it’s time for another commercial. This one is about an antidepressant called “Nexus.” In addition to a lot of allusions to the world revolving around one person, the Nexus bit might refer to the Nexus of All Realities. This is something that’s been a recurring thing in Marvel Comics for decades, usually located in a swamp and protected by Man-Thing. Interestingly, the Nexus supposedly grants access to all possible worlds, which might explain where this Quicksilver came from.

Agnes is caring for the twins, and there are some very interesting comments from Billy. Tommy, the speedster, got a lot of the focus in the Halloween episode, but now he’s mostly just along for the ride. Billy seems to be hinting at his powers growing stronger, and at something being very different with one the characters he’s been interacting with. In another camera/interview bit, Agnes once again refers to her still-unseen husband, Ralph. Monica begins suiting up for her attempt to get back inside the hex, while Woo has worries and the new characters are overconfident. The attempt doesn’t go as expected, but Monica is definitely a hero and perseveres, despite the risk to herself. There’s a very interesting sequence of her fighting through the barrier, with a lot of mini-flashbacks, and she finally gets through. A lot of the theories about what might happen have revolved around what Monica was wearing, and I see the similarities. Now, her look has changed, and it’s a lot more reminiscent of her original comic book costume. We also see that Monica has changed after her several trips through the barrier.

Darcy and Vision are on a long road trip (really, how big IS the hex now, anyway?) and Darcy runs through what she knows of Vision’s past, which is a lot with some very specific detail. Then, the delays in allowing them to get to the Maximoff home become a lot more blatant, frustrating Darcy. Vision has some very big questions, and, while Darcy can’t answer them, she does provide some reassurance on another front. Monica runs through Westview and makes it to Wanda’s house, bursting in and trying to get the former Avenger to listen to reason. Wanda isn’t happy to see her, and, when things turn violent, Monica has a few surprises in store. Monica pleads for Wanda to listen to her, and might be getting through to her, but then Agnes barges in and convinces Wanda to come with her back to her house.

Darcy and Vision continue to fail to make progress. Vision does another faux-interview, then realizes how ridiculous all this is. He both leaves the interview and apparently realizes he has powers while he’s in the truck with Darcy. She gets left behind as he takes off. I know there’s a lot of weird stuff this episode, but the “interview” and the scene of him leaving seem to be duplicative, making me wonder if bits of this are happening in some kind of time bubble, slightly out of synch with the “main” hex world. Or I’m just thinking too much about a goofy little bit they’re doing. The last few minutes of the show hold a series of surprises, none of them good ones.

Agnes brings Wanda home, and Wanda starts noticing some things that don’t seem quite right. Agnes maneuvers Wanda into a certain course of action, and we see there’s a lot more to Agnes’ house than we thought. If you happen to play City of Heroes, some of what we see very much looks like something that should belong to the Circle of Thorns group. We get a big reveal about something that’s been going on behind the scenes this whole time, and even a new theme song (in the style of the Munsters) with new credits and showing a different perspective on certain events throughout the series so far. There’s also a scene that echoes one of the grimmer comic book stories involving the Maximoff family. And we finally get a mid-credit scene where the intrepid Monica keeps trying to help, but gets surprised by someone we haven’t seen in a little bit.

What I liked: There were a lot of surprises, and they pulled them off well. There wasn’t anything that seemed like it just suddenly came in out of left field, the reveals made sense within the context of the story so far. All the acting in the series has been great, but in this one, Elizabeth Olsen and Kathryn Hahn particularly shone. The little detail like Monica’s clothes changing slightly was a great touch. I’m wondering if the big reveal of the villain is their last big shocker, or if there’s something more coming. Monica impressed me with her determination to do the right thing, and what seems like the start of her powered career.

What I didn’t: The big buildup to Monica’s contact was a letdown. I’m very surprised by their choice there, and wondering if there’s more coming. I’m worried about what I think they are doing with the kids. I know something had to give, but I feel like Woo got really shorted on screen time.

This was another great episode. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. Two more to go, and then we get the Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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