WandaVision: 4. We Interrupt This Program
January 29, 2021 5:30 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

A group of familiar faces investigates an anomaly in the town of Westview, New Jersey.

Just a few weeks after returning from the Blip, Monica Rambeau and a team of S.W.O.R.D. agents investigate a set of disappearances.

A break from the regular sitcom format this week.
posted by 1970s Antihero (129 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Real change of pace here! I'm not sure how viewers who like the exquisite retro detail will cope with the regular Marvel universe. They seem to be going with the lighter tone of Ant-Man and Thor rather than the slightly more serious ones.

I'm wondering what's happened with Vision. Has she reanimated his dead body? Or as a robot is he not exactly dead? Or is it all just a hallucination and she just remembered how he really was?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:05 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


damn, the episode just flew by for me.
posted by cendawanita at 6:12 AM on January 29 [6 favorites]


I did not expect the opening at all! Poor Monica.

I want to know more about the inhabitants of this town and who they really are.

Who was Jimmy's witness who vanished, for example. Agnes?
posted by emjaybee at 6:54 AM on January 29


I loved this. It totally got me invested in the show, which I had been lukewarm on up to this point.

The way it made the discussion around the Wandavision the text of the show itself was very watchable and clever.
posted by Rinku at 7:07 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


Well, I'm glad we're getting some background now. And I'm really here for it anytime they want to go back and examine the aftermath of the Snap/Blip. There's so much story potential there, and this little bit of it was intense. I liked the only sort of subtle indication that Jimmy Woo has been practicing his up-close magic over the last few years.

Though she's kind of useless comic relief in the Thor movies, I unabashedly LOVE Kat Dennings' Darcy, and I'm glad she's in this.

Wanda is looking more and more sinister as the series progresses. I think it's fair to say her coping skills are somewhat lacking... or maybe her coping skills are just way too powerful.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:10 AM on January 29 [6 favorites]


So, what happened to beekeeper guy. It doesn't seem like he got ejected like Monica did. So did he get folded in with the townspeople and given a new identity?
posted by wabbittwax at 7:11 AM on January 29


Yeah I'm a little worried about beekeeper guy. Did she off him? That would be dark but not unthinkable. There are still some background characters, like in Vision's office, he could have been stuck in that role.

Loved Jimmy Woo whiteboarding WHY HEXAGONS yes we wonder too, Jimmy.
posted by emjaybee at 7:17 AM on January 29 [15 favorites]


I don't think it's likely that Agnes is Jimmy's missing witness. He would have identified her if she was. And it also seems clear that of all the people trapped in Wanda's fantasy, Agnes seems like she actually wants to be there.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:21 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


i guess it also depends if for MCU-plot reasons, Agent Jimmy is the guy handling the superpowered persons of interest in FBI? They might take the tack he played his cards close to his chest since essentially his case got taken over by SWORD. Still, those two things don't have to go together - it might be MCU-related, and he doesn't know himself. Can't quite decide yet how much should I believe in his gormless characterisation (on par with Ant-Man, but he was still an effective agent, as plot needed him to be).
posted by cendawanita at 7:53 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


That was a excruciating sight, Vision with the stone ripped out of his head. It feels all the more tragic now.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:53 AM on January 29 [20 favorites]


This was a really great change of pace, as we got a lot of answers, without stringing us along too long.

Plus, seeing someone return doing the blip was amazing! I really hope they do a mini series or something about what happened to...wait for it...The Leftovers.

The shift of tone in tone was noticeable and perfectly jarring, especially that image of a dead Vision. There are some darker emotions going on under the surface, just like the sitcom version of American.

The man that Maria bumped into at the hospital, is he anyone important? That seemed like an totally unnecessary scene, unless it leads to something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:13 AM on January 29 [6 favorites]


The man that Maria bumped into at the hospital, is he anyone important? That seemed like an totally unnecessary scene, unless it leads to something.

Yeah, I thought that initially too but I went back and rewatched the scene just now, and we don’t even really see his face. We do see him rematerializing just before Monica knocks him over, so it seem to be just another incidence of the confusion and uproar of the returnees all returning. If it is an important character, it seems a very peculiar way to introduce him, with less screen time and dialogue (that is to say, none) than about six other characters in the scene.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:54 AM on January 29


So, what happened to beekeeper guy. It doesn't seem like he got ejected like Monica did.

Loved Jimmy Woo whiteboarding WHY HEXAGONS yes we wonder too, Jimmy.


I'm as baffled as anyone by this show, but to me the hexagons and especially the yellow beekeeper suit are both flashing red alarms that say AIM is caught up in all this somehow. We haven't seen them since their sorta half realized incarnation in Iron Man 3, so who knows what they got up to between now and then?
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:45 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


The man that Maria bumped into at the hospital

It’s Monica, not her dead mom Maria.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:29 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Ok, yeah, this show is now genuinely good. And not just because of Kat Dennings and Randall Park.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:05 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


There is a very explicit line in the Legends "Wanda character catchup" on Disney+

"I cannot control their fear, only my own"

That's it.

That's the core of the show.

It's such a sophisticated and meta exploration of different kinds of Trauma and it's breathtaking
posted by Faintdreams at 12:38 PM on January 29 [22 favorites]


I'm 100% with Faintdreams here. Hurray trauma exploration that is not Catwoman killing men in a pleather suit.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:45 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Darcy! Jimmy!

Ahem, anyway . . .

Darcy refers to Wanda washing dishes in each episode. And that's between the events of our Episodes 1 & 2. So is it safe to assume that SWORD personnel are getting to see episodes of Wandavision that we aren't?

If so, I have a complaint to lodge.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 12:46 PM on January 29 [26 favorites]


I just have to add, I am really awed at how that flash of Vision really - got to me anyway, and I think it's because...in the sitcom construct nothing bad ever happened, and people were just happy, and although I've obviously known this is Wanda's grief...I think I still engaged with the lighter comedic part of my brain, and then that shot of Vision - it really is the way I have experienced certain losses where it just SPIKES you over and over and over again, at weird moments, and you are expending energy fighting your awareness of loss the rest of the time.

I really like how they have used all the creative tools to achieve that.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:54 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]


At the start of the credits, there's some close-up panning across a television screen, before going through the screen; at a glimpse of the dead grey Vision there, I finally realized that the zoomed-in footage varies from episode to episode.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:20 PM on January 29


As much as I love the sitcom format, I think this was a necessary change of pace and it was a lot of plot-dump while still being affecting and interesting. I love Kat Dennings and I would like to see her in more things (I know she had that sitcom but I'm ignoring that) so it was great to see her show back up as (Dr.!) Darcy Lewis. (I also like when "comic relief" characters are given real things to do -- like Randall Park's Jimmy Woo here too.)

And yes, the vision (er ... sorry) of the dead Vision felt so weird and tonally off from the sitcom world. It's becoming such a great exploration into grief. I think Elizabeth Olson is wonderful as Wanda and while she wasn't in this episode that much, she's so good at balancing the funny with the dark.
posted by edencosmic at 1:23 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Jeff Vandermeer raises the possibility that Wandavision is Annihilation
posted by whuppy at 2:57 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


"So you're saying the universe created a sitcom? Starring two Avengers?"
Randall Park and Kat Dennings taking us through the requisite "here's the story" episode and getting to deliver that line. Aaannd the creative team got to stall for 3 slow-burn epsiodes. I am so here for this - I can't wait to see what comes next and almost don't care. This ride has already been worth the price of admission.
posted by mce at 6:29 PM on January 29 [15 favorites]


My husband is waiting for all the episodes to come out before watching this. Last week, I told him “You probably won’t like it as much as I do*, but you’ll watch it and think ‘Eh, not bad.’” I was wrong. This is the episode that is going to hook him and reel him in.

*Because I take delight in the sitcom tropes in a way he doesn’t.
posted by Ruki at 6:36 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I had to come back after a second viewing and just point out the perspective work in the scene where Monica goes through the walls and then Wanda repairs them and then, as the audience -- after having had the fourth wall shaken a bit by having all our questions put on the whiteboard -- our perspective is that we are INSIDE the living room with Wanda looking at the bookcase.

Totally different than the 60s-era camerawork - reversed from everything else.

Then tight shot on Wanda, then we're out with Monica, tension is high, but we've regained a little bit of the previous episode's perspective, then tight shot on Wanda then a bit out, we're almost at the twins' perspective and again it's evoking the prior episode and then it's a slight pan out, Vision's in the background, and then we're in Wanda's perspective and - pow, dead Vision.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:54 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


In a way, seeing Monica's reintegration after the blip informs us a bit about Wanda's own experience. She successfully destroyed the Infinity Stone, effectively killing Vision, only to see that undone by Thanos, who then murdered Vision in the most brutal and final way, rendering him colourless and lifeless with a gaping hole in his head. She barely had a moment to cry over his corpse before she herself turned to dust. And then, for her, as if no time has passed, she re-integrates in that same spot in the woods in Wakanda. Presumably, Vision isn't there anymore. She's confused, disoriented, has no idea how much time has passed, or what happened to Vision, and all of a sudden Doctor Strange calls everybody to upstate New York to fight Thanos, again.

That... that had to suck.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:42 PM on January 29 [32 favorites]


"Ms. Lewis?"
"Doctor Lewis."

Story of my life.

After last week, the pun in the title finally sunk in: we're watching Wanda's visions. This episode explains it more.
posted by medusa at 7:51 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


If so, I have a complaint to lodge.

I'm preparing a very strongly worded letter.
posted by medusa at 7:56 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Oh, I just realized that the missing Witness Protection person is the actor playing Vision.
posted by medusa at 8:09 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


oh! at what minute did you spot it?
posted by cendawanita at 8:16 PM on January 29


Sorry cendawanita, I didn't see anything in the episode that shows this, it just seems like the obvious direction for the story to go. Wanda needed a Vision, so she got one, and erased everyone's memories (including his). So I guess that's my prediction.

WandaVision Shows the True Horror of Endgame in “We Interrupt This Program” by Emett Asher-Perrin
Typical to these stories, we have to wait a couple years in a completely different narrative to get the full effect of what we see in the major blockbusters. We’ve all wondered about what happened when Hulk unSnapped the initial Snap, but this is the first time that we’ve ever seen it, the first time we’ve been allowed to experience “undusting” in realtime.

And as presumed, it was terrifying.

The confusion, the panic, the onslaught of bodies and voices that hadn’t existed moments before as the universe suddenly doubles in population again. I know the show has a lot more plot to get through, but it really could have just stuck with those first few minutes for an entire episode. Monica’s slow recognition of what she has missed is by far the most affecting moment of this series. And plot needs aside, we deserve to sit longer with the fact that Maria Rambeau died without her daughter, and Monica missed her mother’s death.

In all honesty, I don’t know how to care about anything else. We learn all sorts of important things: that SWORD is Maria’s organization; that Monica has been doing this work her whole life and is now sidelined due to her absence; and that they clearly built this place up in honor and knowledge of Carol Danvers’ work as Captain Marvel. But Monica’s mother died while she was effectively unmade, and focusing on anything other than that feels like a cheat. Monica’s grief isn’t a footnote in this, and it shouldn’t be relegated as such. But it has been, and it’s probably being saved for a moment when it will be most useful in Wanda’s story, so I have to move on from it and discuss the rest of the episode. I’m not happy about it.

Anyway.

...
The only reason this episode works at all is because the characters being used to communicate the events to us are some of the best and most under appreciated the MCU has ever put in front of us—Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis are both funny, sharp additions to the series, and great people to have on the outside. Both characters have made weaker movies shine solely through their presences—Darcy through her banter with Jane in Thor and The Dark World, and Jimmy in Ant-Man and the Wasp. This was the only way to make the sections outside of Westview engaging, so they’ve nailed it on that front. (When did Darcy get her doctorate, did Jane write her recommendation letters, was she there at her graduation, I just have so many questions, I missed Darcy so much.)

It’s enjoyable to watch their efforts line up with the interruptions we’ve seen in the show thus far: the drone, the plea through the radio, the notes being taken on the broadcast, the bee keeper. Watching them piece together who on the show is who in real life is a true nerdly joy, the sort of team effort that I always want more of in sci-fi yarns. Every time people break out a whiteboard and start tacking things to it, I get excited. And I don’t even like whiteboards that much, I just like watching nerds write on whiteboards. There’s meta fun to be had here too, watching them ask all the questions the audience is asking, and plotting them out like genuine scientific inquiries.
With Monica's story of the loss of her mother, they're building connections between the snapture and the pandemic. Interesting.

And I can't resist.
Metafilter: And I don’t even like whiteboards that much
posted by medusa at 8:22 PM on January 29 [16 favorites]


I had a wretched day, but this helped. This was the best episode. I love them trying to figure out this crazy. Darcy is the best. Jimmy is also good.

Still confused at the beekeeper thing though, and what was that about Witness Protection Guy?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:32 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Gosh, I adored how creepy this got. Is Wanda actually puppeting Vision's corpse in some sense? That's... so dark. So, so dark. I love it. I believe she has channeled some true aspect of Vision, and that's why we see him teetering on the brink of realization, and that almost makes it worse than if this was just a willful hallucination. I really appreciated Wanda's desperate expression when she told him they needed to stay there. Elizabeth Olsen really sells that disquieting pathos.

Yeah, I thought [The man Maria bumped into might be someone important] initially too but I went back and rewatched the scene just now, and we don’t even really see his face.

Weirdly, that's what made me think he might be important - it seemed perfectly shot for a later reveal that it was (whoever!) all along. Not sure what the reveal could possibly be, though.
posted by Emily's Fist at 9:35 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


(**My apologies - the man Monica bumped into, not Maria.)
posted by Emily's Fist at 9:43 PM on January 29


I really enjoyed this as well, and I gotta say that Wanda's trauma is showing itself to be pretty violent: Monica was lucky to survive what Wanda did to her.

On the meta side, I'm a bit baffled that only three weeks after the population suddenly doubles, with associated massive civic disruption at all levels of society, Agent Woo gets worried about a single missing dude in the WPP. And that SWORD reacts so quickly. You would think they would have far bigger issues to deal with.

Also, where are the rest of the Avengers? Did they not notice when Wanda disappeared? OTOH, if I recall correctly, the people she was most friendly with were Cap and Vision, and they're both gone. And Natasha and Tony are both dead. It's entirely possible the Avengers & SHIELD haven't really noticed she's gone missing.
posted by suelac at 10:01 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


You're not the only person who felt that the episode had an especially short runtime, cendawanita. It struck me that way too, especially as the end credits are SO long. I swear they feel longer than the show itself.

Speaking of end credits, I'm curious (although enough to go hunting on the Internet) as to how this can qualify from tax breaks and government support from Quebec, Ireland and New Zealand (plus somewhere else) when it seems to be filmed entirely in the U.S. I mean, sure if an American production comes up to Montreal to film some stuff, I can see how the province justifies handing over some cash/tax breaks/etc. but if there isn't any shooting on location and there doesn't seem to be any post-production/special effects/scoring and music work/etc. done in that province (and from a quick skim of the credits, it doesn't appear to be the case--I'm seeing lots of Disney and ILM mentioned)--then what is the qualifying factor?

So, getting back to the show, S.W.O.R.D. popped up after my time ended as a Marvel reader (or maybe it was around, and just not part of the books I was reading). I mean I'm aware of it, but mostly from discussions around what happened at the end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I find it interesting that the MCU is leaning very heavily into women leaders founding both SHIELD and SWORD (even though I doubt that matches the comic origins). It does, however, give me pause about the future and fate of both organizations, given that Hydra took over SHIELD, and we're still not sure if everything is on the up-and-up with SWORD. (I'm with the contingent that beekeepers mean AIM). I have to start asking myself questions like, "Does Marvel believe that things created by women are ultimately corrupt, or will ultimately be corrupted? Do organizations founded my women only work as intended when women are at the helm?" I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I guess I'm just putting it out there as something I've been considering.

One of the earlier fanfare posts about this show had somebody asking about how much Marvel movie backstory they'd need to follow this. At the time, the advice was essentially, "don't worry, Marvel is doing a good job introducing characters and will slow walk you through everything you need to know" -- which was true up until that point.

With this episode, however, I feel like all of the sudden new viewers have been dumped into the deep end blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their backs and with a lead weight attached to their ankles. Now, all of the sudden, they have to deal with Thanos and the snap and the after effects of the snap and knowledge about why Maria was important, and who Darcy is (and why anybody should care or defer to her as an expert) and why its Jimmy Woo who is becoming a central character and not some other person from one of the federal alphabet agencies, and why Vision appeared to have a hole in his head and...the list goes on and on.

I'm really feeling for those viewers who knew they were taking a chance with this show, but were convinced to go along and who are now doubting whether they'll be able to figure out what's happening and how any of this relates to what they saw in the first three episodes. Sure Darcy and Jimmy are there to be the viewer's advocates but that's an awful lot of heaving lifting for those two, and I don't know how successfully they'll be able to pull it off, and not because of any fault of lack of skills by the actors, but because this is a lot of backstory to explain to people who didn't experience it in the first place. And, to be fair, it's a lot for even viewers of the previous movies to remember. At least, I'm finding it so, although that could be because of how bad I found the last two Avengers movies, and how I did my best to put them out of my mind because they annoyed me so much.
posted by sardonyx at 10:08 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


jenfullmoon Still confused at the beekeeper thing though

I think what's going on is while the team tries to get drones through (and it turns into a period-appropriate-ish version of a drone - a toy helicopter), a parallel group gets some operatives in modern hazmat suits to try to get in through the sewer system.

As soon as the first hazmat suit guys passed through the barrier (is it s cylinder or a sphere?) underground, the hazmat suit morphs into something era-specific... and the closest thing to a hazmat suit is a beekeeper's outfit, I guess.

But yeah, Beekeeper is not sinister, just concerned. But no-one in particular.

But yeah, as wabbittwax, I don't think the audience knows what happened to the operative - did they get assimilated into the neighbourhood theater, or did they get ejected from the Wanda-sphere, or did something more sinister happen and they were just annihilated? Or did they manage to escape (but are still in the sphere) and are in hiding?

It's a bit odd to me that Rambeau got in, was transformed into era-appriopriate-ish styling, and maintained that styling after she was ejected back into the "real" world.

I don't think that any of the drones came back out, so the audience doesn't know consistent the rules are (do the drones stay old-timey, or do they revert to modern drones). Then again, Rambeau's drone was a little older-fashioned compared to the Sword micro-quadcopters.
posted by porpoise at 12:19 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


The only other thing we've seen come back out that went in is the piece of Hazmat Agent's line that got transformed into a jump rope, and it stayed a jump rope when they pulled it out.

So Monica remaining transformed is consistent with everything else we've seen so far.
posted by straight at 12:26 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


Monica’s slow recognition of what she has missed is by far the most affecting moment of this series.

Teyonah Parris was fantastic in that scene. After that and her return to SWORD, I decided I'm ready to watch her as Monica Rambeau in the next two Captain Marvel films, a few Avengers movies, Nextwave, and starring in a Spectrum trilogy.
posted by straight at 12:39 AM on January 30 [11 favorites]


You know who could figure all this out? Reed Richards.
posted by Shohn at 5:02 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


I've been reserved on this show precisely because I was holding my breath for the inevitable return to the rest of the MCU and the often-rote action movie emotional structure implied by that. Even a movie as interesting as Black Panther had to do a third act CGI punch-em-up which dulls the emotional resonance of everything else.

This episode has me optimistic that maybe the MCU can actually deal with emotional consequences in interesting ways.
posted by HeroZero at 6:08 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


If this is all occurring 3 weeks after the Blip, does it pre-date Spider-Man: Far From Home? I had the impression that movie took place a few months after the Blip. Either way, in the course of that movie's story, Nick Fury and most of the Avengers are purported to be indisposed, like possibly in space somewhere, with Skrulls filling in for Nick and Maria Hill while they're absent. Maybe by the time this series finishes we'll have a clearer idea of what was going on with that.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:42 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


There's a theory over on Reddit that the beekeeper guy ended up being the ice cream scoop guy in the third ep opening credits but since we didn't see his face who knows.

There are also two promos out for upcoming episodes that have a TON of clues and maybe spoilers, if you're inclined to look.
posted by emjaybee at 6:53 AM on January 30


Interesting comment about Annihilation - we said the same thing last night. “Oh, this is basically Area X.”

Speaking of Annihilation, - if you ever have the chance to visit the St Mark National Wildlife Refuge on the Florida panhandle, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful place even without the ties to the book. The lighthouse is there and everything.
posted by jquinby at 7:29 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


Oh, and us too - when the end credits started rolling we were all "wait, it's over? that's it?"

Most of thought it was just getting started and entire episode was just a long intro scene. The end caught us completely off-guard.
posted by jquinby at 7:34 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


sardonyx: Now, all of the sudden, they have to deal with Thanos and the snap and the after effects of the snap and knowledge about why Maria was important, and who Darcy is (and why anybody should care or defer to her as an expert) and why its Jimmy Woo who is becoming a central character and not some other person from one of the federal alphabet agencies, and why Vision appeared to have a hole in his head and...the list goes on and on.

It's a bummer that you didn't like Infinity War and Endgame, but just a brief reminder about a couple of things: 1) those are the fourth-highest-grossing and highest-grossing films of all time, so I think that probably the vast majority of the viewers remember the Blip (and recognized the effect), and 2) this is specifically a Disney+ show, which means that every one of the viewers (minus anyone watching a pirated copy) has access to the movies that it references, so they can go back and watch the early Thor movies or Ant-Man and the Wasp or whatever if they want to. And it's not really necessary to know who Darcy or Jimmy are, or even Maria, although it adds a lot to the story if you do. Darcy is an expert of some sort, Jimmy is an FBI agent, Maria was Monica's mom, Monica as a grown-up is essentially a new character as the "Lieutenant Trouble" of Captain Marvel hadn't yet grown up, become an astronaut (I think? there was a lot of exposition that went by pretty fast) and a big deal in SHIELD. People can get the Cliff Notes version just by looking them up on the internet, plus find out about SWORD which has been a comics-only thing so far AFAIK.

As for me, I'm just glad that this didn't turn out to be a HYDRA thing after all. (At least at first glance.) Also that they're bringing in people like Jimmy and Darcy who were fun and underused in the franchise thus far. I'm also wondering if Monica will somehow be changed by her experience and become Photon... or Spectrum... or whatever.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:42 AM on January 30 [13 favorites]


Something that I just ran across: fan art that's a Gustav Klimt homage
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:51 AM on January 30 [13 favorites]


Me: this pacing of the show with it being mostly sitcom spoof and only a little real story is annoying.
Also Me: I miss the sitcom! Bring it back!

I'm glad they got to a payoff here. I think it was risky waiting for a 4th episode; I wonder how many viewers dropped out after 3. Judging from my Twitter feed not many and everyone who stuck it out was thrilled by this episode. Delaying the full story reveal this long made the reward all the more delicious, so hats-off to them. And now that we know the shape of the things the show can mix the sitcom and 'real world' more thoroughly in a single episode.

I'm only a casual Marvel fan. I'd expect anyone watching any of these movies to know who Thanos is and what the Snap was. The Blip a little less so, but it was obvious enough. All the rest of it though, it's lost on me. I have no idea who Darcy or Maria are, or Jimmy. I don't need to know, they established themselves pretty fast.

The characters that mystify me most are Scarlet Witch and Vision. Did I, like, miss a whole movie where they had a story? I vaguely remember them popping up for a minute or two in some of the movies but never as full-fledged characters. Reading back through the fandom wiki page I see she's in a lot of the movies, including at the center of Age of Ultron. Somehow none of that stuck with me. That didn't stop me from wanting to watch this show though. In fact I even went back and read some comics as backstory. I always liked the weirder stories and characters.
posted by Nelson at 9:01 AM on January 30


This episode very competently connects episodes 1-3 to the greater MCU, but that's not what I was hoping for from the show. I don't know the difference between the blip and the snap, I know Thanos was a big-bad who killed half of the universe and then it got undone, so I inferred that what was happening in the hospital scene was related to that, and I could tell that some of the people in this episode were minor characters from previous movies, and that's fine, it wasn't confusing. But it did feel like they were making it clear that this is not going to be be a standalone show, it's WandaVision, Important Component #423 of the MCU. Anyway, it's fine, maybe I'll still enjoy this as a standalone, and if I don't, not everything needs to be for me.
posted by skewed at 9:52 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


As for me, I'm just glad that this didn't turn out to be a HYDRA thing after all. (At least at first glance.)

I think there maybe *is* still a possible Hydra component here, just because of the utterly foreboding commercials. Unless Wanda is creating those too and it's all just a part of her processing?
posted by merriment at 9:55 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


I really need a scene where they can interview Monica and ask if she was playing along or actually being controlled while she was in there. Because if she was self-generating all that dialogue, with the mannerisms, damn.
posted by emjaybee at 10:03 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


The characters that mystify me most are Scarlet Witch and Vision. Did I, like, miss a whole movie where they had a story? I vaguely remember them popping up for a minute or two in some of the movies but never as full-fledged characters.

I don't think you did. Far as I can remember, the on-screen relationship up until now has been a couple scenes of light flirting in Civil War, and that time jump scene in Infinity War that has to put up a bunch of yardage about them having eloped or whatever, right before Thanos' goons attack, and the Beard Cap Avengers arrive with all the theme music. I can't remember if they even spoke in Age of Ultron (I can't remember much about Age of Ultron).

Honestly though? What you're pointing to here is a pre-movies difficulty with both of these characters. They've both had their Whole Deal change so many times that even lifelong Marvelheads can struggle to recall the current official biography. I couldn't tell you whether or not Wanda is currently reckoned a mutant at the moment, or where the current comics are at on the question of Vision's soul, not without tabbing over to Google for awhile.

Part of what I admire about this show is how it embraces this difficulty. For certain values of "accuracy," Wandavision might be the truest realization of two comics characters we've ever seen on screen. In spite of existing for decades, neither of these characters have ever quite felt finished. They've had to change for era after era while also remaining something like themselves. This is true for any long published character of course, but these two especially. Whichever Marvel U they exist in, the chaos of it seems to come for them especially hard.

Add to this the fact that Wanda's whole deal has been, from the beginning, pretty weird and often pretty sexist. It's like that the myth of women being bad luck on a sea voyage was the original pitch for her powers. After a couple decades of various writers all trying their various concepts for what's really going on with her, we eventually got to a place where they settled on some maybe not great ideas about mental illness to drive Scarlet Witch stories. It's aggravating, because I do find the hook of "power over reality itself, but not full control of that power" a cool story hook, but I do think it's a little weird that out of all the Avengers, it's the one super powered woman on the core squad that all these dude writers have decided probably couldn't handle the pressure.

Long story short, I've preferred the MCU Scarlet Witch for awhile now. And I don't think anyone would have been bothered, really, if Feige and the gang had decided to just take a long step over the "cuh-raaazy Wanda" years, kinda like they did with Drunk Tony. So I really admire these writers for the job they've done so far in finding a story about trauma, resilience, and (I hope), recovery, from source material so fraught with peril.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:05 AM on January 30 [16 favorites]


I rewatched Age of Ultron last night because it's one of the few MCU movies that I haven't watched more than once, and the first half was better than what I remembered... but the second half was every bit the mess that gave the movie that rep. Anyway, a fair chunk of the movie is about Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver working first for Hydra, then for Ultron, mostly because they've got a mad-on for Tony Stark because of Stark Industries munitions having killed their parents, and then working with the Avengers when they realize that Ultron is Skynet. Another chunk is about Vision's origin; since Marvel may not have had the rights to the original android Human Torch at that point, and it's unclear whether they're ever going to introduce the character Wonder Man, they instead came up with a complicated origin that involved a Korean scientist who can create artificial people (never seen or heard from since), Ultron wanting an android body, the Mind Stone, and his personality being based on J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony's original Iron Man suit OS that's based on Edwin Jarvis, his dad's longtime butler and occasional sidekick for Peggy Carter. (Like I said, complicated.)

Anyway, at some point Wanda sort of mind-melds with the android and finds out that Ultron plans to go Skynet; that may be part of why they're kind of flirting with each other in Captain America: Civil War, although that gets interrupted by their being on opposite sides during the big airport fight. By Infinity War, they're on the run together.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:16 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


Faintdreams & warriorqueen: you may enjoy the Doom Patrol show if the trauma recovery aspects of WV appeal to you. The whole show revolves around those themes.

Content warnings: the language is not kid-friendly, there is a body-horror streak running through the show, and abuse is at least one of the traumas that has been survived.

That said, I remember the “Danny Patrol” episode having an absence of those elements. It also takes a character I thought would be impossible to translate to TV and does something beautiful with it. IMO it’s a better proxy for the show as a whole than the pilot is.
posted by FallibleHuman at 11:43 AM on January 30 [8 favorites]


Reading your synopsis of Age of Ultron, HJ and remembering all over how terrible that film was.
posted by octothorpe at 12:09 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


STRINGS
posted by Nelson at 12:16 PM on January 30


I'm glad they got to a payoff here. I think it was risky waiting for a 4th episode; I wonder how many viewers dropped out after 3.

I heard a lot of talk, here and on podcasts I listen to, about how people were getting antsy about the lack of story reveal. I honestly can’t believe people are that impatient. We’d had what, maybe 65 minutes of actual show up until this week? It’s a Marvel/Disney show, they were going to get to the normal stuff soon enough.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:24 PM on January 30 [9 favorites]


> As soon as the first hazmat suit guys passed through the barrier (is it s cylinder or a sphere?) underground

On the ground, the shape's a hexagon, if I read the whiteboards and displays correctly. (I feel like they should be tracing the shape with sticks or ropes, not sending in drones.) Rewatching the scene in the sewer, the border looks more vertical than angled.


> I couldn't tell you whether or not Wanda is currently reckoned a mutant at the moment

Sadly, I can. The X-Men franchise hasn't been incorporated into MCU, so no mutants... yet. (Nor Fantastic Four.) These could change with a few words from Wanda.


The two references to CMBR ("relic radiation from the Big Bang") make me think they're trying to hint at a newly spawned pocket universe. The way the censoring works, timewise, may need something like that too. (Or, more normally, scene changes.)
posted by Pronoiac at 12:27 PM on January 30 [5 favorites]


Sadly, I can. The X-Men franchise hasn't been incorporated into MCU, so no mutants... yet. (Nor Fantastic Four.) These could change with a few words from Wanda

And might just next episode, for all we know. That's pretty wild. It was her comics status I was referencing though. I thought they might have retconned her into an Inhuman who was no longer Magneto's daughter, but I wasn't sure. I googled a little since typing that, and I'm still not sure. Comics!

Pocket universe is an interesting notion! That could be a good way to get the X-Men and FF into the mix. I'd bet every unstable molecule in my wallet that CMBR will feature heavily in whatever Richards-Storm family origin they go with. This is one of my favorite things in superhero storytelling to be honest - when the writers have to come up with a cosmic explanation for a corporate merger or intellectual property acquisition.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:28 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Huh. In the comics, it looks like she been shown as not Magneto's daughter since... 2014 or so, and was sorta created by the High Evolutionary, which isn't Inhuman-related, but even more niche. I'll note that her parents in the article don't line up throughout, like the wiki editors gave up, or are pausing to catch their breath. I'm really hoping to avoid this wiki article's level of convoluted continuity being inflicted on the MCU.

Good call about the FF; they had "cosmic radiation" in their origin story in the comics.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:59 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


The cosmic background technobabble could also refer to the idea that this universe's Thanos destroyed this universe's Infinity Stones (not to be confused with the Thanos and Stones borrowed from another universe in Endgame then killed/returned to their proper universe by Steve Rodgers).

The stones were the embodiment of Time, Space, Power, Mind, Soul, and Reality, and since those things still exist, the power of the stones is still around, but dispersed and disembodied. Cosmic background?

So maybe that's the power Wanda is tapping into to do all this? What we've seen is consistent with her power level in the comic books but way beyond anything she's done in any of the movies before now. Her (and Quicksilver's) power was either granted or triggered by Strucker's experiments with the Mind Stone embedded in Loki's staff.
posted by straight at 2:01 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


You know who could figure all this out? Reed Richards.

I mean, yeah, if Shuri decides it's not a hard enough problem to be of interest to her...
posted by straight at 2:02 PM on January 30 [26 favorites]


I love that Agent Woo has learned the card trick that Ant Man impressed him with. Darcy got her PhD!

I'm surprised there was no reaction at SWORD to seeing Hydra name-checked in the commercial - we see the beginning of the commercial on the TV Darcy is watching. I didn't notice shifts in camera work like we've seen before, but I loved the slow shift in aspect ratio when Wanda is confronting Monica. It's really clear when sitcom-Wanda is speaking vs Wanda-Wanda - but I'm not sure how much awareness of Wanda-Wanda that our sitcom-Wanda actually has ordinarily.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:31 PM on January 30 [6 favorites]


I daydreamed about them using speech-to-text to generate searchable transcripts, and mind maps and wikis to track everything.

And I'd love it if they turned on captioning and got a side channel for communication, or a glimpse at the uncensored show, like a first draft.

Whee!
posted by Pronoiac at 3:25 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


In a way, seeing Monica's reintegration after the blip informs us a bit about Wanda's own experience. She successfully destroyed the Infinity Stone, effectively killing Vision, only to see that undone by Thanos, who then murdered Vision in the most brutal and final way, rendering him colourless and lifeless with a gaping hole in his head. She barely had a moment to cry over his corpse before she herself turned to dust. And then, for her, as if no time has passed, she re-integrates in that same spot in the woods in Wakanda. Presumably, Vision isn't there anymore. She's confused, disoriented, has no idea how much time has passed, or what happened to Vision, and all of a sudden Doctor Strange calls everybody to upstate New York to fight Thanos, again.

That... that had to suck.


Yes, so in three weeks of time from her point of view, she had to kill Vision then see him restored to life and killed again by Thanos, then dissolve into dust herself, then return in the middle of the night in the Wakandan jungle (along with T’Challa and Bucky Barnes and Groot and Sam), then almost instantly got called to go fight Thanos again. Bit of a conga line of trauma there.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:13 PM on January 30 [8 favorites]


I had to come back after a second viewing and just point out the perspective work in the scene where Monica goes through the walls and then Wanda repairs them and then, as the audience -- after having had the fourth wall shaken a bit by having all our questions put on the whiteboard -- our perspective is that we are INSIDE the living room with Wanda looking at the bookcase.

Totally different than the 60s-era camerawork - reversed from everything else.

Then tight shot on Wanda, then we're out with Monica, tension is high, but we've regained a little bit of the previous episode's perspective, then tight shot on Wanda then a bit out, we're almost at the twins' perspective and again it's evoking the prior episode and then it's a slight pan out, Vision's in the background, and then we're in Wanda's perspective and - pow, dead Vision.


I also liked that in the moments where we see Wanda confronting Monica (while last week we were outside with Vision and the nervous neighbours), the aspect ratio gradually changes from 4:3 to the standard cinematic one, only to morph back when they settling down on the couch to watch some TV.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:20 PM on January 30 [7 favorites]


I still maintain that the single biggest problem with Scarlet Witch and Vision's story in the movies is everything about that damn sorry excuse for chicken paprikash he makes her. A pinch of paprika? Vision, buddy, no
posted by jason_steakums at 5:05 PM on January 30 [19 favorites]


Jeff Vandermeer raises the possibility that Wandavision is Annihilation

He immediately plays it off with a joke tweet but I love this idea and would like to hear an actual deep-dive into it. I think so far Wandavision captures the feeling of the second book in the series, Authority, which dwells on that uneasy "something's wrong beneath the surface of this innocuous space" vibe.

If Wandavision were truly the Southern Reach series, then each character on the show would be played by different people at any given moment, and then perhaps odd amalgamations of multiple people. Meanwhile the SWORD observers would find themselves acting out sitcom tropes as the influence of Westview expands...
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:25 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Youtube Channel Comic Tropes has a deep dive on the references to Wanda and Vision's history in the comics. Some speculation may be considered spoilery. There's some really deep cuts beyond the simple stuff like number references to iconic issues of the Avengers.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:09 PM on January 30


On the meta side, I'm a bit baffled that only three weeks after the population suddenly doubles, with associated massive civic disruption at all levels of society, Agent Woo gets worried about a single missing dude in the WPP.

I don't know about the FBI of the MCU, but for our world, I could totally believe an agency, after the initial WTF, having a number of agents stuck in a sort of holding pattern while management tries to figure out the next steps. I figure Woo went, "well, until I get some clearer picture about what's going on, I might as well do the last thing that was in my inbox before all of this."

Either that, or the missing person is Avenger-related and he's following up on that as a hunch.
posted by pykrete jungle at 10:04 PM on January 30 [7 favorites]


> The cosmic background technobabble could also refer to the idea that this universe's Thanos destroyed this universe's Infinity Stones...

The stones were the embodiment of Time, Space, Power, Mind, Soul, and Reality, and since those things still exist, the power of the stones is still around, but dispersed and disembodied. Cosmic background?

So maybe that's the power Wanda is tapping into to do all this? What we've seen is consistent with her power level in the comic books but way beyond anything she's done in any of the movies before now. Her (and Quicksilver's) power was either granted or triggered by Strucker's experiments with the Mind Stone embedded in Loki's staff.
IANAShowWriter, but after this episode, I suspect that when the original mind stone was destroyed, those energies may have naturally been drawn to the strongest remaining "nucleus" of that power... which would be Wanda. Which, if true, also poses interesting possibilities about the space stone-empowered Carol Danvers.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 12:00 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


One thing that struck me, though this might be imagination, is that when Wanda is interrogating Monica, the camera ... blocking? The way the two-shot is set up and cut. Anyway, it stops being like early 70s sitcom and starts being like early 70s detective show (think Columbo). One of those things I could be making up but if it's true, it's very impressive. Whatever they do certainly changes the tone instantly.
posted by Grangousier at 3:38 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Wanda's powers may have been activated by the Mind Stone, but one thing that I find interesting in the context of this show is that her powers seem to be closest to that of the Reality Stone, which is... red. Like her powers.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:03 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]


For that matter, there's no logical reason why the Mind stone would turn her brother into a speedster. That's more like the Space stone's or the Time stone's domain.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:54 AM on January 31


~ As for me, I'm just glad that this didn't turn out to be a HYDRA thing after all. (At least at first glance.)
~ I think there maybe *is* still a possible Hydra component here, just because of the utterly foreboding commercials.


Take a close look at the Strücker watch commercial in the second episode. The tiny type in the lower half of the watch dial in the closeup...Hydra and the tentacle logo.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:08 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


One more thing (well, for now) about Monica: I also rewatched Captain Marvel this weekend (I held off on getting Disney+ for a while, but I've been giving it a workout since I did), and there's this exchange near the end:
Carol Danvers: I'll be back before you know it.

Monica Rambeau (11 Years Old): Maybe I could fly up and meet you halfway?

Nick Fury: Ah, only if you learn to glow like your Auntie Carol.

Monica Rambeau (11 Years Old): Or maybe I'll build a spaceship. You don't know.

Carol Danvers: He doesn't.
She could, of course, do both.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:13 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


I really loved this episode. I will admit, though, I was thrown a bit by the flurry of re-appearing people in the opening, but I just assumed it was something to do with whatever went on in the MCU movies. But, I really, really hope that’s as close as it comes to my needing to be versed in the movies. I didn’t see the movies, and I really have zero interest in having to sit through umpteen hours of CG mayhem just so I understand what’s happening in this show. This show, so far, has been quirkily entertaining enough to stand on its own without suddenly requiring everyone knowing what went down in some scene in Endgame.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:19 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


It's a bummer that upon rewatching Age of Ultron, Halloween Jack, you found the second half was every bit the mess that gave the movie that rep. It seems that having only watched the movie once (until your recent second rewatch) there was a ton of stuff that, despite apparently being very familiar with the movie (and comic) universe, you had put out of your mind--so much so you thought it beneficial to refamiliarize yourself with it in order to really appreciate WandaVision and the movies that it references. I mean can you image how difficult it would be to come to this with no or very little background in the MCU or Marvel Comic universe? Honestly, I doubt I'd make the effort.
posted by sardonyx at 12:28 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


sardonyx, that's really not true; you're restating my earlier response to you re: Infinity War/Endgamein a way that's factually inaccurate and, sorry, a bit ax-grindy. There are any number of shows/franchises/fictional universes/whatever you wanna call 'em in which you can't just sort of jump in the middle and immediately understand everything that's going on and everyone involved and their relationships to each other; imagine starting at S4 of, say, Breaking Bad.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:43 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Well, your initial response certainly felt axe-grindy and down-putting to me, so...

As for jumping into other franchises with no needed knowledge, yes, it's pretty much always possible, it just that there are different degrees of difficulty associated with getting into each show. I have no idea how easy it would be for Breaking Bad, considering I've never seen the show, or its spinoff. I can say, however, that even with years and years and years of history, it can be done. See, for example, anybody who ever started following soap operas (back when they were actually a dominant form of entertainment and not a dying niche product).

But as I said originally, I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody trying to jump into this particular show, given how much it is going to be tied into the movies and everything that has gone on before. In contrast, I'd say jumping into Agents of SHIELD would have been a much gentler leap (not that I'd recommend anybody going back and watching that cold because it's really not very good, at least for a few seasons--and I say cold because I did actually make a recommendation here in FanFare for somebody who had only watched the first season to jump back in and watch the final one because they would have had enough familiarity with the characters to follow along without too much effort).

Yes, past movies are more accessible than ever before. I just don't know how much effort a new viewer should be required to put in to be able to follow WandaVision, even acknowledging that yes, of course this show, given the characters and their history, was always going to be be heavily dependent upon the foundation created by the previous movies. I just know that it's certainly not a show I would personally recommend to somebody who was coming into the Marvel world for the first time.
posted by sardonyx at 12:57 PM on January 31


The correct solution to introducing new viewers is for Marvel to have a whole series of short "what you need to know" videos that are all done by Michael Peña in character as Louis from Ant-Man.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:07 PM on January 31 [53 favorites]


I don't think anyone needs to know much about previous Marvel history to enjoy WandaVision. They can certainly go looking and ask someone, but it's not needed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:15 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


rmd1023, I would watch those so hard.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:20 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


The MCU isn't some indy show that appeared only a few times in a few remote theaters. These were global phenomena, film wise, and pretty much anyone who absolutely needs some info can find a way to get it.

I'm guessing the sitcom format is from Wanda spending so much time in her hotel room after Infnity War, watching TV. The cheerful tone of a neighborhood to raise a family in has got to sound really good for someone who can manipulate reality. Besides, who hasn't plopped on a TV to zone out after a terrible day?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:23 PM on January 31 [4 favorites]


I don't think anyone needs to know much about previous Marvel history to enjoy WandaVision. They can certainly go looking and ask someone, but it's not needed.

I am not so sure about this, because even if somehow they enjoyed the sitcom recreations, I'm not sure how anyone would deal with episode 4 without some prior knowledge. But - giving people the benefit of the doubt, because this episode is Exposition and it's all clear and makes sense and unfamiliar people might be okay with that, I really feel like the emotional pay off of this series will only really work if you have background. If this is really Wanda dealing with her PTSD, I'm not sure how someone without some knowledge (even just the Capital "A" Avengers films) could really get the impact of what is happening here.

I am happy to be proven wrong, but if this is dealing with the end of Phase 3 while setting up Phase 4, I think Unfamiliar People will find the resolution a bit of a blur.
posted by crossoverman at 2:05 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


There isn't really any reason from Disney's perspective it needs to appeal to someone coming in cold anyways, if they just capture a fraction of the audience that is already familiar with the MCU as a whole they'll be doing very well. And then there are people who simply do not care about jumping into the middle of things - it always surprises me when you see heavily serialized show ratings that gradually sag over their run but then spike like crazy for the finale, and while I don't think I'd enjoy jumping in at the very end without knowing what came before because I enjoy diving into long series, it's totally a thing. If many of my relatives are anything to go by, they'll just constantly ask clarification from the person they're watching it with who already knows the backstory...

There's also just a lot you can glean from context clues that may not be accurate but is good enough. A lot of people disappeared for some reason and came back years later unexpectedly like no time had passed for them because [superhero stuff] but all that really matters here is Monica's reaction to it. Secretive govt organizations are investigating something weird and finding a reality bubble where a superhero couple is trapped in fake sitcoms heavy on symbolism, and one of them may be responsible for it because her powers seem to warp reality and she's dealing with the trauma of the other one's apparent death that happened before we got here. That's all stuff you can get from just this one episode, and the details beyond that don't actually matter that much. You might feel like you're missing something because you don't know the specific details of the backstory but really, it doesn't add a ton of necessary information, mostly just flavor.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:58 PM on January 31 [8 favorites]


I’m ashamed that I missed the close-up magic, even though I yelled “it’s the youth pastor!” when Woo showed up. What did he do?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:58 PM on January 31


rmd1023, I just watched Ant Man and the Wasp, and that was the best part of that movie!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:11 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


You know what this show is *great* for? A household where some people know the MCU references, and others know the sitcom references.

We are watching this eating takeout on Friday nights. My kid tells me when Thor's girlfriend's friend shows up, I tell him about the Dick van Dyke show reference in Vision not tripping on the ottoman. I ask if seeing Vision dead is foreshadowing or what and my husband gives a five-word précis. We've had conversations about the morality of Wanda's actions, about grief (in a year where we, and so many others, have lost family members). It's nice. It's nice to have something new and interesting to talk about. It's possible that the payoff won't work as well for any of us, but at the moment we are all super invested, and I feel like they've built enough trust so far that I am really looking forward to where it's going.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:58 PM on January 31 [21 favorites]


To some degree, I think it's fine if new viewers are a little bit baffled here and there. These are insane situations, I don't think it weakens the work for it to feel weird and overwhelming in places. One of the great pleasures of superhero comics is to be confused by a bit of dialog or a reference to something you haven't read yet, and then go looking for it after you finish what you were reading. I think this option to always dig a little deeper has a lot to do with how superhero universes hook people.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:31 PM on January 31 [4 favorites]


The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking Wanda's powers have increased to the point that she's pretty much a living, breathing, Infinity Gauntlet all by herself. She alters reality. She controls minds. She can move time forward and backward at will. She has tremendous power to just send a person flying through multiple walls and out of the city limits. She apparently can raise the dead (Vision). About the only thing she hasn't done is open portals to distant galaxies. Maybe she's become the new focal point for the energies that once were dispersed in the Infinity Stones.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:58 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Yes, in retrospect I think the cable turning into a rope is an indicator that her powers have fundamentally changed. IIRC she had some kind of mind-control, "energy blast" and telekinetic powers before, but she couldn't actually change one thing into another. Unless her mind control powers extend outside the hexagon.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:37 PM on January 31


She had mind manipulation powers before.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:38 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I really need a scene where they can interview Monica and ask if she was playing along or actually being controlled while she was in there.

It's pretty clear that she was being controlled by Wanda's 'narrative' as enforced by the powers at their strongest, and when the babies were coming Wanda's power control started slipping... which is when Monica suddenly started remembering things about Ultron killing her brother.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:44 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


I had no trouble getting into this show with the entirety of my MCU knowledge being the last two Thor movies, Captain Marvel, and Infinity War.

(Most of memories were: Thor is hot; Captain Marvel was badass; IW had lots of explosions.)

This show is basically a long Twilight Zone episode, and you don't have to know a lot. It's fine.
posted by emjaybee at 8:39 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


I'm ambivalent, because I enjoy this show to a certain extent, but when we left Sitcom World to go into a deep dive into the MCU...well, I don't give a shit about the MCU and haven't seen the movies, and so I was really confused because obviously there was supposed to be lots of emotional weight in certain characters reappearing or in certain moments but I had no clue about any of it.

Like Monica, she's fine and all but so far all I know about her is that she's an MCU muckety-muck who also was in Sitcom World. Like, I was getting invested in Geraldine, because she was fun in the magic show episode, but then it turns out that Monica doesn't even have a similar personality? And Monica's mom dying while she was also somehow missing was sad, but the timeline and even just what was literally happening when was so confusing that I couldn't really follow, let alone feel much about it. And I didn't even know that Wanda or Vision were characters previous to this show, which was fine because I figured that I'd get to know them over the course of this series...except not? Because this whole series is just a reaction to stuff that has already happened in movies from 2-6 years ago?

So I tried to get up to speed by watching Ultron, but it's so boring, I couldn't finish and was reminded all over again why I don't watch these movies. They're not really my thing, no offense to those who enjoy them. And there are SO MANY movies. Like if there were one or two, I would just put them on in the background while making dinner or something, but there is literally a hundred hours of content. So I just don't know.

I want to keep watching the show but I feel like the investment in the zillion hours of MCU "education" might be too much. And I mean, Disney+ can do what it wants, if it wants to create a show for MCU Megafans, that's its prerogative and totally valid, but I'm not sure if I personally have the ability to catch up enough to watch this show or if it even makes sense to watch this show if it's meant to be just a tiny gracenote of MCU stuff, a very intricate Easter Egg, rather than a story or character study in its own right.
posted by rue72 at 9:50 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


Because this whole series is just a reaction to stuff that has already happened in movies from 2-6 years ago?

We honestly don't know yet, so I'd recommend keep watching if interested and if you have questions, there's plenty of us here who can answer any questions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:20 AM on February 1


so I was really confused because obviously there was supposed to be lots of emotional weight in certain characters reappearing or in certain moments but I had no clue about any of it.

Honestly, other than Wanda and Vision there really aren’t any characters who would provoke more than a “hey I remember them!” reaction even among MCU fans. Jimmy and Darcy are fun but not critical characters, so you’re not missing much by not knowing their backstories. This is the first we’ve seen of adult Monica, and while she’ll apparently be important going forward, you know about as much about her as I, an MCU completist, do. So really, don’t worry about it, you’re not missing a ton by not having watched all the movies. That may change, of course, if the show eventually ties deeper into MCU past and future.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:24 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


This show got me to rewatch Age of Ultron, and I remember liking that movie more in the past. I don't have high expectations for MCU movies, but wow does that movie expend a lot of effort trying to look cool in a way that's already dated and very little effort on anything else. It feels like bad MCU fanfic outside of a few standout scenes.

I'd highly suggest just watching the Marvel Legends shorts for backstory unless you're really committed. Or honestly, there are probably a lot of excellent catch-up synopses on YouTube. If you do want to watch Wanda and Vision's backstory, Civil War and Infinity War get you most of it and are more entertaining than Age of Ultron. They at least have significantly less Jeremy Renner giving a performance that seems like it was focus grouped on a bunch of midlife crisis dads who just got into guitars.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:52 AM on February 1


So I tried to get up to speed by watching Ultron, but it's so boring, I couldn't finish and was reminded all over again why I don't watch these movies. They're not really my thing, no offense to those who enjoy them. And there are SO MANY movies. Like if there were one or two, I would just put them on in the background while making dinner or something, but there is literally a hundred hours of content. So I just don't know.

That's 1000% valid. Ultron is so bad, Ultron himself tries to leave about 30 minutes early. I'm not sure I'd recommend any alternatives if you're not enjoying yourself with the sort of core preestablished MCU tone. Not everything is for everybody. It might make more sense to skim a wiki or something but, like you said, it's kind of weird to have a movie or a show that expects the audience to do homework.

That said, I'm not sure how clarifying background knowledge would even be for Wandavision. I have my theories as to what's going on, but I'm not confident in any of them. If anything, all the MC-clues thus far could just as well be misdirects.

As a lifelong reader of these stories, right now I'm pretty excited about where Marvel's at, because most of the stories which they can adapt to the screen as straightforward Tom Clancy tinged punchups have already been adapted. If they intend to keep this franchise going long term, Marvel won't have a choice but to swim deep in the fucking weird parts of their ocean. This show seems to be setting a ton of stuff up for the shows and films ahead, and I suspect that having seen Wandavision will be more key to understanding the immediate context of future Marvel projects than having seen every moment of the franchise up until now.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:53 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Joss Wheadon, writer and director of Ultron, was public about clashing with Marvel brass about what was going to be in the film and it shows.

It's not a terrible film, but a bit muddied with the mix of character beats, action, and trying to set up something for other movies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:55 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Look, I can understand not wanting to tackle the entire MCU movie franchise, and I'll admit Age Of Ultron is subpar, but i'd urge anybody who hasn't to see Infinity War and Endgame. Not only do they provide you most of the backstory you need for this series, but hey're also objectively great cinema (fight me Scorsese!), and well worth the effort.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:20 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I'd recommend anyone watch Thor: Ragnarok. Not because it's at all helpful for understanding WandaVision, but because it's the best movie ever made in the history of movies.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:45 AM on February 1 [33 favorites]


I think the idea that any given entry in the MCU is going to stand entirely on its own has been untenable since the first "Avengers" movie. Basically everything they've done since that film has been, to one degree or another, a new chapter in an ongoing narrative. All the movies, and now all the TV shows, are basically episodes in world's most expensive serial drama. That doesn't mean, though, that "WandaVision" is "just a tiny gracenote of MCU stuff, a very intricate Easter Egg". After all, things are actually happening in this show, things that have an effect on the main characters, things that have a pretty coherent thematic unity, even.
The creators of this show, and the shows and movies that are in the pipeline, are always going to have to find a middle ground between welcoming new viewers on the one hand, and playing out the consequences of earlier events on the other. This show in particular was never going to be able to disregard the previous movies, though, because one of the two leads was dead when we last saw him. I totally understand not being up for the effort of getting oriented to a storyline that's been going on for a more than a decade. But at the same time...that's what you're in for with the MCU. When you see the "Marvel Studios" opening, that's you're warning. Hoping for something else is like going to see "Skyfall" and getting mad that the movie doesn't explain who James Bond is.
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:29 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]


We (coincidentally) watched Ant-Man and the Wasp the day before this episode and (deliberately) Age of Ultron the day after; Ant-Man was a much better time.

(And I should maybe go post this in its own FanFare thread, but hrrm: I haven't found Thor: Ragnarok to be one of the more re-watchable movies. It's incredibly good fun on first watch; on rewatch though its incessant thirsty reaching for every single possible joke gets a bit tiring, and a bit tiresome, in a way that the GoTG and Ant-Man movies don't.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:29 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


*sputters indignantly*
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:35 PM on February 1 [16 favorites]


Loved Jimmy Woo whiteboarding WHY HEXAGONS yes we wonder too, Jimmy.

I'm as baffled as anyone by this show, but to me the hexagons and especially the yellow beekeeper suit are both flashing red alarms that say AIM is caught up in all this somehow.


The Kree also really love hexagons, per the design in Captain Marvel (the platform you stand on to commune with the Supreme Intelligence, the doors in the atmosphere.)
posted by HeroZero at 3:30 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


The hexagon design element was introduced in The Guardians of the Galaxy movies. All the kind of space-jump point thingies, whatever they call them, are made up of hexagons too.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:26 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Despite being very excited for it, I only now got around to watching this episode. I’ll admit to not carefully reading every comment, so I apologize if someone else thought of this first, but my guess is that Woo’s missing witness is just a cover story, and what he’s actually looking for is the stolen corpse of the Vision.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 5:12 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I rewatched this, and was reminded of one thing I really liked the first time around, too.

It pleased me that Darcy doesn't have all the answers, and isn't afraid to say so. But also that she doesn't leave it at that. She proposes a next course of action.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 5:40 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: *sputters indignantly*
posted by medusa at 6:49 PM on February 1 [9 favorites]


I really have zero interest in having to sit through umpteen hours of CG mayhem

Fair enough, Thorzdad (and others): if you're for whatever reason starting to watch MCU stuff here and you're uninterested in seeing anything else, I'd reiterate the suggestions above that the Marvel Legends shorts are a decent bite-sized distillation/primer for the characters and what you need to know (or 95% of it anyway). Only two have been released so far, for Wanda and Vision respectively, and these are seven and six minutes long. I guess Disney+ has realized that continuity lockout is a possibility after two dozen movies.

I gather that as Wandavision ends, Falcon and Winter Soldier starts up, then Loki after that, so I can guess with fair confidence who the third, fourth and fifth Marvel Legends installations will focus on.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:19 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, I didn't see this previously on the site, but here's Kevin Feige talking a month ago about Phase 4 and 5; not just the things we know all about like Black Widow and the Doctor Strange sequel and such, but Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye and other stuff that is brand new or being confirmed -- Armor Wars and Secret Invasion and Fantastic Four and such.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:28 PM on February 1


As someone who hasn't seen almost any of the MCU movies, I was a bit disappointed to have The Prisoner turn into just another facet of that pre-existing narrative jumble. Hopefully they can come up with a new mystery and not have it just be conflict from here on out.

In the meantime, as long as the disappearance remains unexplained in-story, I'll continue to treat this as something of a sequel to The Leftovers, maybe set in the goofy dream world of Season 2.
posted by chortly at 9:13 PM on February 1


So tonight I was going to go to the amphitheater for a recitation of The Illiad, but then someone told me that it takes place in year NINE of the Trojan War! Does this mean I have to sit through the rest of the Epic Cycle so that I can understand the backstory of Achilles and Patroclus?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:34 AM on February 2 [20 favorites]


so that I can understand the backstory of Achilles and Patroclus

Wolfgang Peterson's version says they're JUST COUSINS.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:55 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


As someone who hasn't seen almost any of the MCU movies, I was a bit disappointed...as long as the disappearance remains unexplained in-story...

This is the kind of thing I was referring to above. I complete sympathize with the difficult of making sense of a story that you're arriving at half way through. But it isn't reasonable to expect "WandaVision" to explain the disappearing/reappearing people. They already made two or three movies explaining it.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:26 AM on February 2 [10 favorites]


So it's one thing to expect people to have watched the big summer blockbusters--fair--but it'll be interesting to see how Disney handles catching casual fans up to the canon as the MCU expands across more and more properties.
posted by Emily's Fist at 5:45 PM on February 2


They already made two or three movies explaining it.

One of which was, y’know, the highest-grossing movie of all time.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:23 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the part where they're setting up the TVs and picking up the signal was a deliberate homage to the corresponding scene from Contact. ("Are we recording?" "Never stopped.")
posted by teraflop at 9:48 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


On rewatch, one thing that bothered me was the position of (what I assume was) Agent Woo's car when Dr Lewis arrives outside Westview. Its very close to the physical "wall" of Wandavisionland, its on the opposite side of the street and facing out. Then what he says about how Westview doesn't want them to go in, "can't you feel it?" That felt like a really weird thing for him to say...

So, if you were to get assigned a missing person's case, wouldn't the first thing you'd do be to.... i dunno, drive through the town? Not just stop outside it? Especially somehow facing out, unlike all the other cars? Did Agent Woo go into Westview, get spit back out and that's why he somehow has the feeling they're not supposed to go in? Could that have been the noise caused by the branches on the window in the opening scene of Ep 2 (each unauthorized entry that we've been aware of seems to be accompanied by a loud noise - the drone/Agent Rambeau, the agent in the hazmat/beekeeper suit)? They spent a weird amount of time on that branches scene tbh.

I don't know what that means in the grand scheme of things but its been bothering me...
posted by danapiper at 4:45 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I'm a casual fan of the MCU and my husband has pretty much only seen Black Panther (liked it), Thor: Ragnarok (loved it), Infinity War and Endgame (mostly forgotten). He'd heard WandaVision was weird and interesting so that was enough for him.

Before we began I gave him the brief summary that Vision is a cool AI and Wanda is a traumatised super-powered witch, they were in love but Vision got killed by Thanos. Then I had to explain that Vision's death wasn't part of the Snap, so we don't know yet what movie/comic rules apply about resurrecting him. By this point my husband was all "okay, yeah, yeah, let's move on".

He's loving WandaVision so far. He doesn't care about Sword or Shield or whatever, except as Generic Shadowy Organisations. He's watching a story about grief and denial, and wondering if it makes Wanda dangerous or if it's made her vulnerable to manipulation by others. He loves the Bewitched and Brady Bunch homages, and thinks Emma Caulfield and Kat Dennings and Randall Park are great no matter who they're playing. He cracks up every time Katherine Hahn is on-screen. And why wouldn't you? She's a gem.

Lore is fun, but a good story with relatable elements shines through in any setting.
posted by harriet vane at 10:06 AM on February 4 [17 favorites]


> So, if you were to get assigned a missing person's case, wouldn't the first thing you'd do be to.... i dunno, drive through the town?

Without rewatching it, so, from memory: I thought he got stopped by the police before he got to town.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:18 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I thought he got stopped by the police before he got to town.

Then wouldn't his car be facing towards town and the police behind him, not as if coming away from it on the opposite side of the road as the (also kinda weirdo) "Eastview" police SUV? And, nit-pickiliy, it's so close to the barrier wall between real world and Westview world, he couldn't have just banged a U-ey and ended up there, he'd have to have backed the car up to get that near to the barrier.

Its probably nothing but it's bothering me nonetheless.
posted by danapiper at 11:52 AM on February 4


> Then wouldn't his car be facing towards town and the police behind him

Yup, agreed.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:06 PM on February 4


OK, I rewatched that scene (and got to see the close-up magic). You are correct and his car and the sheriff's car should be in the opposite places. There's a fairly big space between the back of his car and the start of the energy field -- enough to turn around in, I'd guess -- but it would make more sense for him to have stopped facing the "welcome" sign and for the sherrif to be facing out of town.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:14 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I want to know more about the inhabitants of this town and who they really are.

The hex(agon), a beekeper... they’ve become a hive mind, they(/we) will be the solution, if only they manage to connect via some sort of... newfangled web forum, surely?
posted by progosk at 11:50 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


hey dont throw out your old oscilloscopes budding universe watchers
posted by lalochezia at 8:04 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Super late to the party, but I just binged all of WandaVision yesterday and don't really understand why so many people here are so concerned about whether people unfamiliar with the MCU will enjoy the show. I think I saw one of the Thor movies and remember almost nothing about it. I saw Black Panther and loved it, but not for the superhero stuff - for the way it centred people of colour and women and gave them stories that were more than one-note characterisations or stereotypes. I haven't seen the highest-grossing blockbuster blah blah and I don't care to. Honestly, if a film makes a lot of money it's usually (not always) a sign I won't like it that much - especially if it's a superhero movie.

Maybe it's just because I also enjoy shows like the X-Files, Fringe, Lost and Orphan Black with confusing back stories and shadowy conspiracies that become clear(er) over time, but I had no trouble with MCU references I didn't fully understand. Monica is shown re-integrating, it's clear some weird shit happened and they'll go into it or not as much as is necessary to tell the story they're telling now. Which, you know, they did. It was fine. My partner, who is far more well-versed in the MCU, wanted to give me backstory but I said no, WandaVision would either work in its own right or it wouldn't. Spoiler alert: it did.

I still don't want to watch those big blockbuster movies. I'm in here reading for the comments about nuances to the show I missed, like Dick Van Dyke tripping over the ottoman, and camera angles and depictions of trauma that don't relegate women to perpetual victimhood. All of you who are really into the MCU aspects of it, that's your jam, cool. We are allowed to like different aspects, and you don't have to worry so much if there are people who don't like the same things you do.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:35 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


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