“One plus one… it’s familyyy… WandaVision!”
Yes, with yet another catchy theme tune (I’m personally hoping for a vinyl compilation of the series soundtrack, or at least a lyrics sheet) WandaVision kicks off its third (and first full-colour) episode with aplomb – and if you liked the first two episodes, this entry delivers on what they started with spades.
Oh, you like the wacky sitcom hijinks? Enjoy the magic stork and the haywire magic scenes. Enjoy the moment Vision got rewound? Have it again. Oh, you’d prefer creepy glimpses of the world outside Westview? Try the entire final sequence for size.
It’s a big, ambitious episode that really lays out what this series is trying to do – and the cracks are showing even from the opening moments, as Wanda and Vision doing their best to hide the rapid acceleration of their pregnancy from a slightly patronising local Doctor.
Outside, Vision is perturbed by their neighbour Herb manically pushing his hedge strimmer through a wall like a malfunctioning non-playable character in Grand Theft Auto. Inside, his (stunning) puns about being a proud “Papaya” can’t overshadow his growing sense that something’s rotten in Westview.
“With all the close calls we’ve been having, it always feels like the people of Westview are on the verge of discovering our secret,” Wanda said, gamely re-asserting the sitcom premise.
“Yes I know what you mean,” he replies. “But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Mr and Mrs Hart… dinner… outside with Herb… I think something’s wrong here, Wanda.”
A second later, the action jumps back, like a bad cut – and like last week, whoever’s doing the editing really wants to keep these thoughts out of Vision’s “indestructible” head.
“Yes I know what you mean,” he says this time. “But the truth is, we are in uncharted waters. And you know what? I’m anxious too.” Back to (un)reality.
From here, the series slips back to more comforting ground as Wanda and Vision banter over what to call their child (and the names Billy and Tommy may mean quite a lot to comic fans) and Wanda’s powers malfunction in inventive, out-there ways.
Even the obligatory fake commercial is a little less sinister, showing a put-upon mother finally getting a break with some slightly Nazi-themed bubble bath.
“Come with me. Escape to a world all your own, where your problems just float away. When you wanna get away, but you don’t wanna go anywhere… Hydra Soak. Find the Goddess within,” the voiceover says.
Hail Hydra Soak, indeed – though we have to wonder whether Westview is Wanda’s own “world all her own.”
Certainly, the whole simulation revolves around her. As the increasingly British-sounding Vision decides it’s time to “leg it” and fetch the Doctor, Wanda has to deal with her own mini-farce, hiding her pregnancy bump and a slightly menacing stork (presumably come alive as part of Wanda’s malfunctioning powers) from her friendly neighbour Geraldine (Teyonah Parris, introduced last week).
Alas, the best laid plans of Maximoffs and men do often go awry, and it’s not long before Wanda’s in labour, Geraldine has to help and the stork… well, at least she still thinks the stork is an ice machine. But in this moment, at least, the difficulties seem to be over, and Wanda and Vision are delivered of twin boys meaning they both get their preferred names. Awww.
Wouldn’t it have been nice and calming to leave the episode now? Just think how relaxed we’d all feel. Instead, more WandaVision creepiness was set to come our way, beginning with the Doctor noting he found it hard to “escape” Westview and swiftly followed by Vision having another weird moment with the neighbours.
According to Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes and David Payton’s Herb, Geraldine doesn’t belong – and there’s something wrong with the other residents, who are all… who are all… well we don’t know quite what they are. All dead? All under a spell? All trapped together? Herb can’t speak the words, and the tension leaks away. Well, at least outside.
Inside, Wanda is also learning that all is not right with Geraldine, who knows a little more about the Maximoff family tree than anyone realised.
“I’m a twin. I had a brother. His name was Pietro,” Wanda says (remember him?), before launching into a slightly haunting (and presumably Sokovian) lullaby.
“He was killed by Ultron… wasn’t he?” ‘Geraldine’ says – and Wanda’s not happy. Just like when she saw that beekeeper last week (God, what a weird show this is. Who imagined writing seriously about ‘the importance of the beekeeper’ when Iron Man came out?) she rejects any evidence of the real world, facing off with Geraldine (and clocking her SWORD pendant) before throwing her out of Westview for good.
Vision rushes in too late as the creepy music swells, the retro aspect ratio flows outward and we finally get an idea of where Wanda and Vision are… trapped inside some sort of forcefield that fizzes with television static. As Geraldine – really Monica Rambeau – flies out, she’s surrounded by agents and hardware, all part of a burgeoning base that’s apparently monitoring Westview from outside.
After this (so-far) series highlight episode, we still have more questions than answers. To what extent is Wanda behind all this? Did she create this world, and if she did is she aware of what she’s doing? Will Wanda and Vision’s children be as significant (and powerful) as they are in the comics? And how did Monica end up posing as Geraldine in Westview?
But overall, it’s clear we’re getting a better sense of the WandaVision endgame – and what it might mean for its titular characters – by the end. From the looks of things, it could be all change next week.
Want more WandaVision content? Check out our latest WandaVision review, our guide to the WandaVision cast, the WandaVision release schedule, Agatha Harkness and the creepy WandaVision commercials. Plus, we ask: is Wanda pregnant? When is WandaVision set and how did Vision survive?
WandaVision releases new episodes on Disney+ on Fridays. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year.
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