‘WandaVision’ Recap: Black & White Broadcast (Episodes 1 & 2)
What if Marvel trapped two of its secondary heroes in the suburbs? No disrespect to the A.I. Avenger or the Mind-Bending mutant, but until now they’ve been supporting players.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany lead WandaVision and get some much-deserved time in the spotlight. Today, we’re recapping the first two episodes of the series, expect a new WandaVision recap every week.
*Please note: mild spoilers below for the first two episodes in this WandaVision recap.
Episode 1: What Had Happened Was…
The 1950s cast a spell on the MCU bringing with it tube TV formats and grayscale aesthetics. Episode one sets up the classic sitcom high-jinx with a plot centered around a dinner engagement to impress Vision’s boss, Mr. Heart. Comedy ensues when Wanda gets the idea that the special occasion is their anniversary. From the jump, WandaVision establishes our heroes are new in town and that they also know very little about their shared history.
The entire series feels constructed by Wanda or another nefarious force. Vision’s nonsensical job at “Computational Services” is the perfect example. Many of the characters arrive on the screen when a need for our main characters pops up. Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes has an answer for every problem Wanda experiences and appears right when she needs help.
In the final moments of episode one, Mr. Heart challenges Wanda on her backstory but is swiftly interrupted by a fit of choking. No one at the table rises to assist him, not Vision, not Mr. Heart’s wife, and not Wanda. They stay seated watching him choke with his wife painfully repeating, “stop it”. Vision eventually moves to help, but only after Wanda drops her housewife accent and commands him to do so.
Finally, as the credits roll, we get the biggest reveal. What looks to be a surveillance room showing WandaVision as a TV show on their display. Does this mean that Wanda has created a television world? Why is this world being broadcast for all to see? More on that in a moment.
Episode 2: What Had Happened Was…
Pivoting to episode two, we meet a host of new characters including the neighborhood watch, queen cul de sac, the merry homemakers, and Teyonah Parris (who introduces herself as Geraldine). The main plot of episode two centers around a garden gathering, a magical talent show, and Vision getting drunk by “gumming up the works”. Yes, it is now MCU cannon that a powerful, infinity gem wielding Synthezoid can be felled by a stick of Big Red Gum.
Next, we have the talent show where Wanda is tasked with explaining a boozed-up Vision’s powers with magic tricks. The second episode introduces more of the world and sees many of the townsfolk becoming fans of Vision and Wanda’s weirdness. Throughout the episode, the women of Westview chant “For the Children” and surprisingly that phrase gives Wanda a baby bump by the show’s end. That’s right the tummy just comes out of nowhere.
Manifest baby isn’t the only strange happening. Whenever Wanda is challenged she changes her world. Near the end we see a beekeeper coming in from the sewer. Wanda drops the housewife act again, says “No”, then rewinds the events like they were paying on a VCR.
Earlier in the episode, Wanda hears an odd voice during her face-off with queen cul de sac. The radio voice asks “Who’s doing this to you, Wanda?” she panics, and when the woman who is torturing her goes over the line, her foe breaks a glass but bleeds in full color. Another person punished for ill acts toward Wanda.
Speaking of color, the other major movement in the second episode is the hint that forces from that outside world can manifest in Wanda’s. The first is a red helicopter toy with the S.W.O.R.D. logo appearing in their monochrome world. Is a helicopter outside of TV land attempting to enter? The tree branch knocks and booms from the beginning of episode one could certainly be blasts from another plane. The other major evolution is by episode’s end we’re in glorious Technicolor.
MCU Threads & Marvel Connections
Let’s talk about S.W.O.R.D. since it’ll have the largest implications for the show going forward.
The easiest summary is S.W.O.R.D. is a space version of S.H.I.E.L.D. In various comics, the Agents of S.W.O.R.D. protect the world from universal threats. Their home base is called the Peak and it floats in orbit around earth.
So how do we know it’s S.W.O.R.D. trying to contact Wanda? Well, the surveillance room at the end of episode one had their logo to the side of the view screen and on a journal. The helicopter in episode two also bore their insignia. S.W.O.R.D. entering the story now makes a lot of sense and it could be the answer for where Nick Fury was in the end credits of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The fact that S.W.O.R.D. would recruit people in the MCU that have had experience with heroes clicks as well. It’s very likely that Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis and Teyonah Parris’ grown-up Monica Rambeau are both Agents of S.W.O.R.D.
Both episodes had an easter egg ad. The first commercial showed off a Stark manufactured toaster and the second had a watch bearing the name of a Hydra boss. Strücker a.k.a. Baron Wolfgang von Strucker is a familiar name for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans, but far less relevant in the MCU (so far). He was the doctor from the Captain America: The Winter Soldier post-credits scene and the same man who is seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron experimenting on the Maximoffs.
Aside from the excellent theme songs, the only real-world track we hear is “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters. The song may have no relevance to the overall show but the key line “Don’t Talk Back” struck me as a guideline for all the characters in Wanda’s world. Nothing can challenge her happiness.
Speculation time! Looking into the glass ball, I’d guess that Randall Park’s Jimmy Woo is the voice on the radio. When the presumed Woo asks “Who’s doing this to you, Wanda?” it’s pretty clear that Wanda is doing this, or at least a portion of it. It’s too obvious to say that Wanda is the big bad, but if she was fully in control then where’s Pietro? If you can shape the world and bring back your lost love, then why stop there? Why not resurrect your dead brother? Could we see Quicksilver in a future episode or a therapy session with Thanos?
For now, the biggest mysteries are who or what the Beekeeper is, “who” is in fact “doing this”, and if that baby in Wanda’s belly is one of her comic children (Wiccan/Speed). The first episodes may reveal a larger truth. The “Vision” part of WandaVision has nothing to do with her lost love and everything to do with Wanda controlling her own television world. After two episodes one thing is clear, if you attempt to talk back, you will get whacked.
WandaVision is streaming now exclusively on Disney+!
P. S. We are pouring one out for poor Ralph. From minute one he has been relentlessly roasted. Will Ralph ever stop being a schlubby hubby? Tune in next week to find out. Justice for Ralph!
P. S. S. Where can I buy a lobster door knocker? Disney, make it happen.