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WandaVision: Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience

“Yakety yak! Don’t talk back.”

Well, that was weird. Fun, but definitely weird.

When last we left Wanda, she was coming back from the dead to kick Thanos’s ass. When we last left Vision, he was dead. Vision, lest you’ve forgotten, is a vibranium android who owes his existence to Ultron, Tony Stark’s A.I. assistant Jarvis, and one of the Infinity Stones (the Mind Stone, to be precise). Wanda also got her powers from the Mind Stone via a HYDRA experiment. I’ve always wondered if Wanda and Vision’s romance was due to having the same power source, but I digress.

Now, I’m not at all sure if this is OUR Wanda and Vision. You’ll remember in Endgame there were time shenanigans, the upshot of which means that we now have a Marvel multiverse, which will allow the very dead Loki to have his own Disney+ show. But I’m putting that aside for now.

The premise of this show is…up for interpretation at this point. Wanda and Vision are trapped in TV Land maybe? We’re not meant to know what is going on at this point, so well done show, I have no idea what’s going on.

Important: Wanda and Vis know they’re married (although they never were in MCU reality) but they don’t have rings or any memory of their wedding. When asked where they moved from or when they were married, both stumble and Wanda particularly looks uncomfortable at not being able to recall. In addition, Vision is comically unaware of what his company does which he brings up a few times which is either him questioning his reality or of no significance whatsoever. Also, Elizabeth Olsen’s truly awful Sokovian accent is gone, although this incarnation of Wanda does appear to hail from Sokovia, or at least Vision tells his boss she does.

99.8% of this episode is set in a too good to be real life 50s sitcom complete with a laugh track, where wacky misunderstands ensue and the pair have to hide their superpowers from nosy neighbors and meddling bosses and where everything is resolved happily by the end of the episode. I found it interesting that this episode was so short, the length of a standard mid-century American sitcom. I wonder as we (if we?) transition out of the format if the episodes will get longer.

This week’s escapades see Vision and Wanda hold their very first dinner party, complete with wacky hijinks. Filling out the cast this week are the inimitable Kathryn Hahn as the stereotypical nosy neighbor, and Fred Melamed and Debra Jo Rupp as Mr. and Mrs. Hart.

Inside the main action of the episode, the only thing that would lead you to believe something funky is going on is the moment where Mr. Hart chokes and Vision uses his powers to save him. Mrs. Hart keeps laughing through the ordeal and saying “Stop it,” as if it wasn’t real to her, and Wanda and Vision both drop their cheery 50s personas for a second and treat the situation with the gravity it deserves. No wacky Heimlich maneuvers here.

There was also a weird commercial for a toaster by Stark Industries with the tagline “Forget the past, this is your future.” That definitely means something. Maybe it was the prolonged close up on the thing that doesn’t look like a toaster, maybe the “toaster’s” sinister beeping, or maybe it’s that the woman from the commercial looked like she was in a hostage video. Also, at the very end of the episode, Vision held something like a garage door opener or a TV remote and hit a button that either caused the audience to “Oooh” or triggered the transition to the credits. We zoom out of the TV screen we’ve been watching and are surrounded by monitors and someone taking notes, as if observing an experiment.

Note: I’ve avoided talking about anything revealed in the trailers for the spoilerphobic, but you needn’t be as careful in the comments. It would be great, however, to avoid talking about anything that happens in Episode 2, even though they both dropped together.

Four out of four Samantha Stevens for intrigue

sunbunny

7 comments:

skyemaidstone said...

The toaster had a red light for some reason which was weird in the otherwise B&W episode.

7 minutes of credits for 22 minutes of show? Rather strange.

I'm intrigued anyway. And I like both the leads. I kinda liked her made up accent from a made up place. I thought her American accent was due to it being an American sit-com style... but then Vision spoke with his normal posh English accent thinking about it.

sunbunny said...

@skyemaidstone I TOTALLY didn't notice the light was red!

Billie Doux said...

Yeah, I am completely confused.

For those of you not as old as I am, the set, both living room and kitchen, and the thing with Vision not tripping over the chair looked very much like The Dick Van Dyke Show. Not that it's important, but it's one of the few old sitcoms I'm familiar with.

Mara Fabella said...

Color me intrigued. Very intrigued.

I can see how this pilot alone might not be everyone's thing considering it was very low key and not a lot of "action" happened. But the set up, the immersion in whatever wacky alternate dimension/government experiment/mind-altered reality this may be, and the subtle hints of something beneath the surface really interested me. After watching this ep, I kinda wish I hadn't seen the trailers now and had gone into this fully blind.

Olsen, Bettany, and Hahn were so fun to watch. Olsen in particular stole the show for me. Exciting that we get to go full absurd/unsettling in a way the MCU probably wouldn't do in the movies.

JBA said...

I'm definitely enjoying it so far. It's surreal, almost to the point of being a little terrifying. And I have a feeling things won't be this happy for long.
Billie, they actually brought Dick Van Dyke on as a consultant for this episode! And he had no idea how big the MCU is! But yes, they said they modeled this episode to look reminiscent of the Dick Van Dyke Show and I Love Lucy.
I noticed a number of possible Easter Eggs, but I don't know if they carry any significance. The one I'm most intrigued by was the symbol on the notebook of the mysterious person watching it at the very end. That looked like the symbol of S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department), which is kind of like a sister agency of S.H.I.E.L.D. Basically, where SHIELD protects the Earth from threats here, SWORD protects the Earth from more otherworldly foes. (Of course, SHIELD already pretty much did that in Agents of SHIELD, but we won't talk about that right now.)

Anonymous said...

The theory I've seen floating around is that the toaster symbolises Wanda's backstory. In Age of Ultron she mentioned her and her brother hiding under a bed for days after their house was destroyed by a bombing with an unexploded Stark bomb right next to them. The part about waiting for the toaster to pop is a reference to waiting for the bomb to go off. I wonder if Wanda will ever mention Quicksilver in this show? It kinda seems like the MCU has forgotten he ever existed in everything since AoU.

I think this is a fantasy reality that Wanda has created for herself where Vision never died and they can live happily ever after. Vision is confused the whole episode about what his company does but Wanda just takes everything in stride, and Vision has to wait for Wanda to tell him to save the choking man before he does anything.

Anonymous said...

Also, this was a really nice tribute to the Dick Van Dyke show. I thought they had just re-created the original set when I first saw it, they're so similar. Vision's job also seemed like a subtle reference (Dick Van Dyke's character works as a comedy writer, Vision works as a computer).