The first three episodes ofjumped from decade to decade as Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) lived a lovely sitcom life together in the idyllic (and bizarre) town of Westview. The , streaming now on , gave us a dose of “reality.”
left us with our biggest hint yet about Westview’s true nature when Wanda kicked “Geraldine” (Teyonah Parris) out of the lovely sitcom town for mentioning her twin brother Pietro and (which, to be fair to Wanda, was a bit rude of Geraldine). The show hasn’t revealed Geraldine’s identity, but Marvel Studios hasn’t exactly .
Let’s jump into an idyllic town of SPOILERS.
Full disclosure: I was expecting this episode to push Wanda and Vision’s story into the ’80s and had a big spiel about how much I love the pop culture of that decade ready. Alas, things didn’t getas I was hoping, so we’ll have to wait until next week to put on our leg warmers.
Instead, we get a satisfying info dump about what the heck has been going on.
The real Geraldine
We finally get on-screen confirmation that Geraldine is actually Monica Rambeau (also known as Lieutenant Trouble), previously seen as a child in the ’90s-set. This episode gives us a flashback revealing that Monica vanished in just after her mom Maria had (seemingly successful) surgery to remove cancer.
In the five years Monica was gone, Maria’s cancer came back and she died. It’s the first time we’ve seen the chaos caused by everyone blipping back in— took a jokey approach — and it is brutal. She woke up to find everyone panicking and discovered her mom had died. Jeepers.
Unsheath your SWORD
After teasing us with the logo up to now, SWORD is revealed this episode. The Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division is a US intelligence agency set up by Maria to monitor threats and potential allies from space — except it shifted focus during Monica’s absence to “robotics, nanotech, AI and sentient weapons.” It’s also shifted to sentient weapon creation — what could possibly go wrong?
Darcy and Jimmy
The real stars of the episode are astrophysicist Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), last seen in Thor: The Dark World andrespectively. This pair are basically the audience surrogates, since they try to figure out what’s going on as they watch Wanda and Vision’s sitcom existence on a vintage TV.
Wanda has taken over the town of Westview, New Jersey, and locals have been forced to become “actors” in the show. The town has also been erased from the memories of those in the area (even the people of Eastview, which is presumably the Shelbyville to Westview’s Springfield).
Darcy and Jimmy are totally into the show too, but where we saw interruptions like the radio broadcast and “beekeeper” in, the show just skipped a scene for them. It cuts away when Wanda reacts to any interruptions from the MCU reality, censoring whatever she doesn’t like.
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It’s confirmed that the beekeeper-lookin’ guy — Agent Franklin — in episode 2 was a SWORD agent sent to infiltrate the town, but he entered the sewers in a radiation suit that shifted into a beekeeper outfit as he passed the barrier.
Where did the bees come from? It seems likely that the radiation suit automatically shifted into something that’d fit Wanda’s artificial reality — that’s probably how Monica got suitable clothes too. She likely then went with the show’s narrative to infiltrate it and figure out what was going on.
The SWORD drone shifted color “to go with the production design,” according to Jimmy, but it turned red rather than going monochrome — the same color as Wanda’s chaos energy and the Reality Stone (one of the destroyed Infinity Stones).
The walking dead
After Wanda flings Monica out for trying to give her a dose of reality, she briefly sees Vision as a gray walking corpse, with a big hole in his head from where Thanos ripped out the Mind Stone in the climax of Infinity War. It’s horrifying, and probably hints at how fragile Wanda’s reality is. It also seems likely that Vision is still dead, especially after Vision suggests they should leave Westview.
“No, we can’t. This is our home,” Wanda responds with tears in her eyes, suggesting the Westview reality is the only place she can keep Vision alive.
Monica’s interruption also changes the aspect ratio from the retro 4:3 to a more suitable widescreen, but 4:3 asserts itself with Wanda’s illusion.
“It’s Wanda. It’s all Wanda,” says a shaken Monica after she’s cast out of Westview.
Is it though? Wanda is seemingly getting what she wants, but could she be under someone else’s influence? Most of the townspeople’s identities are accounted for on Darcy and Jimmy’s board outside, but Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) and Dottie Jones (Emma Caulfield) are conspicuously absent. We’ve also never seen Agnes’ husband, but she’s mentioned him multiple times.
It’s possible that one of these people is the puppet master controlling Wanda, and wants her children (who’d presumably be super powerful). In the mainline comic universe, Wanda’s sons Billy and Tommy grew up to join the Young Avengers as Wiccan and Speed.
The song for this episode is absolute ripper: 1968’sby Jimi Hendrix, which includes the iconic lyric “Well I stand up next to a mountain, and I chop it down with the edge of my hand.”
However, the next lines feel even more relevant to Wanda’s apparent deeds: “Well I pick up all the pieces and make an island, might even raise just a little sand.” She’s picked up the pieces of the life Thanos shattered and created an “island” in Westview.
The title “Voodoo Child” also fits the magical nature of Wanda’s twin boys.
Observations and WTF questions
- Monica reports to SWORD headquarters three weeks after blipping back, placing this show right after Endgame.
- When he meets Monica, Jimmy flicks out his card like a magician — a trick he learned from Scott Lang and the Online Close-Up Magic University in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Whether or not you think this move is awesome or dorky may be a kind of Rorschach test (I’m firmly in the former category, but am kinda proud of my dorkiness).
- Why was Monica sucked through the barrier while Jimmy was unable to enter? Could it be because she was dusted by the Snap? We don’t know if he was, but it seems likely he survived.
- Monica’s SWORD jacket is sweet, and I would wear it.
- What happened to Agent Franklin after Wanda noped him out of there?
- Darcy detects Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation around the town, which acting SWORD director Tyler Hayward notes is “relic radiation dating back to the Big Bang.” Since the Infinity Stones were formed around this time, it’s another suggestion that the Reality Stone (or at least its energy) is involved.
- Who is Jimmy’s missing person? They’re in the witness protection program, and presumably he hasn’t seen him in the show — he’d be on the board otherwise. It’s also possible he’s not mentioning it to Darcy, since she’s not a law enforcement agent. Agnes’ mysterious husband seems like a major possibility.
- Jimmy addresses this on the whiteboard of questions, but Westview is in a hexagonal shape. It’s unclear what the significance of this shape is, but it’s the symbol of ethically questionable scientific think tank Advanced Idea Mechanics in the comics and . In the MCU, they were the baddies in .
Come back for more Easter eggs and observations, when episode 5 of WandaVision hits Disney Plus.
CNET’s Caitlin Petrakovitz contributed to this recap.