After watching the first two episodes of “WandaVision,” Disney Plus’ first live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe show, I was very confused and not completely sold on the format, which parodies a different decade of sitcom every episode, starting with the 1950s.
I was told that it gets better by Episode 3, which was provided to critics initially but not the public. What a mistake that was, because Episode 3 proves to be crucial to understanding where the show’s going, and why you should stick with it. I completely get why some people might have dropped the show after Episode 2; not enough was explained, the Black and White format does not look good — with series co-star Vision (Paul Bettany) looking particularly bad — and the show doesn’t prove that it’s worth your time. But Episode 3 gives you a key look behind the inner workings of the show which, while it doesn’t reveal all the show’s mysteries, it teases something profound and interesting under the show’s hood.
Episode 3 “Now in Color” parodies 1970s sitcoms, and centers around the fact that Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) is pregnant, and her babies develop fully in a matter of days as opposed to nine months. Her cramps also set off her superpowers, so most of the episode involves Wanda and Vision trying to maintain the appearance of normalcy despite these extraordinary circumstances, which culminate in her water breaking and Wanda having to give birth at home.
Vision runs off at super speed to get their physician, Dr. Nielson (Randy Oglesby), a kind hearted and witty old man we haven’t seen before. But while he is gone, Wanda’s friend Geraldine (Teyonah Parris) barges into their home, and has to assist Wanda as she gives birth to their first child (she has twins). Thankfully, Vision and Dr. Nielson return in time for the birth of the second child, and that’s basically the sitcom plot of the show.
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After giving birth, though, the show pulls back its mask a little and clues us in as to what’s really going on, with Wanda remarking upon the fact that she herself is a twin. Geraldine points out that he was killed by Ultron in Avengers 2, briefly revealing she is not as she seems, and she’s expelled from the world. Geraldine is listed as “Geraldine” Aka Monica Rambeau, a Captain Marvel character, suggesting she was a SHIELD agent sent to get Wanda back, but the show doesn’t reveal its hand outside of showing Geraldine in the real world, surrounded by military personnel.
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There’s also Vision’s weird interactions with their neighbors, but I won’t spoil that. But nevertheless, you get a sense that something’s amiss in Wanda’s TV universe, which makes the show interesting.
For me, Episodes 1 & 2 didn’t do it for me, but I understand that they had to set up the foundation and internal rules for how this should would function. Having seen Episodes 1-3, each episode thus far has seen Wanda’s TV universe get progressively less stable, and as such, the show has gotten more interesting.
My personal theory is that Wanda, stricken by grief at the loss of Vision, has created an alternate reality in which she gets to live a superficial life with him, and seeing as her understanding of the nuclear family came from American television (my guess), the reality she has constructed mimics American sitcoms. And everyone except for Wanda and Geraldine is dead in the real world, but brought back to life by Wanda. I also theorize that Vision will be brought back to life for real by the end of the show. We’ll see if I’m right in the coming weeks!
“WandaVision” Season 1, Episode 3 gets an 8/10