The thing about the character of Wanda Maximoff, as she’s been depicted in comics in recent decades, is that she’s not well. That’s not a criminal offense in and of itself — are any folks well, these days? But where you or i'd answer a depression spiral by eating an excessive amount of or weeping over FaceTime with a lover , Wanda features a nasty habit of destroying and remaking reality at a molecular level. Her metahuman abilities have long been as expansive as they're vaguely defined, and within the mid-aughts, she had breakdowns that revamped the planet not once, but twice — whenever with disastrous consequences for each living being, herself considerably included. Fans of the character are peeved ever since, and with good cause: Wanda, a beloved and long-running staple of the Marvel Universe, has been redefined as an emotionally unstable woman whose personal problems become the issues of everyone else round her . Not exactly a victory for feminism or mental-health advocacy.
I’d held out hope that WandaVision would vary . And, within the first three episodes, that appeared like a possibility: The moments during which weird stuff began to break the veneer of the sitcom world around Wanda suggested that something was being done to her, trapping her during this pocket universe against her will as others tried to retrieve her. But no. within the fourth episode, we learn that it’s far more likely that each one the reality-warping mishegoss is being done to not her, but by her, with thousands of innocent people caught within the fray. What’s more, it seems that she’s doing it all because she’s upset that her boyfriend got killed. Sure, grief may be a powerful emotion, and I’m not saying it’s inherently retrograde or misogynist to point out what it can cause you to want to try to to . But man, I can’t help feeling like Marvel Studios took the straightforward answer with this rich and interesting character.
But we’re getting before ourselves. Indeed, although Wanda is at the middle of the large Mystery in episode four, she isn't the most character of the chapter. That honor initially belongs to Monica Rambeau, whom we first encounter as a cloud of human dust, swirling about while lines of dialogue from Captain Marvel — the movie where she made her debut — echo on the audio track. The dust coalesces into her shape, and that we see that she’s sitting during a chair next to a single bed . Suddenly aware, she notices that nobody is on the bed and rushes into the hall, where people are coalescing within the same way she did, left and right. Anyone who has closely or maybe half closely followed the Marvel Cinematic Universe can instantly tell what’s going on: We’re witnessing the reversal of Thanos’s finger-snap from the top of Avengers: Endgame. The Un-Blippening has arrived.
In expositional dialogue with a doctor, we discover out that Monica had been tending to her ailing mother, Captain Marvel’s old pal Maria Rambeau, when Monica got Blipped. within the intervening five years, Maria died. We then move S.W.O.R.D. headquarters, where we get the primary onscreen unpacking of the acronym (Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division, if you’ll recall from the irritating-that-it-exists online back matter) and where we meet the acting director of the operation, a buttoned-down suit named Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg). He and Monica go way back, and thru their chat, we learn that Maria had been the director until her death and had built the entire place up from scratch. (Why there’s only an acting director, even years after Maria’s death, goes notably unexplained.) He tells her S.W.O.R.D. has dialed back the astronaut missions that Monica wont to participate in and are now that specialize in “robotics, nanotech, AI.” As Monica notes, they’re not such a lot observing and responding to sentient weapons as they're building them.
(A note which will or might not be relevant: As critic Amelia Emberwing has acknowledged , there was a personality within the first season of the loosely in-universe show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. named Brian Hayward, who clothed to be an undercover HYDRA agent. Mayhap there’s a relation, or maybe a shared affiliation thereupon notorious Nazi splinter group? Possible intertextuality! Are you not entertained?)
Tyler tells Monica that, per her mom’s own protocol, she’s not allowed to act as an astronaut (I guess Maria wanted to stop mysteriously disappearing individuals from returning and fulfilling sinister missions?), but that there’s a missing-persons case in New Jersey that has the FBI “in a tizzy” which S.W.O.R.D. wants her to chaperone a drone for his or her search efforts. Skeptical, Monica follows orders and drives to the quaint Jersey town of … Westview.
At the town limits, near the beaten-up sign we saw at the top of the last episode, Monica meets her FBI contact, who is none aside from Ant-Man character Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). He tells her he had someone in witness protection in Westview, but that something went wrong. Long story short: Although you'll still see the town’s houses and buildings from a distance, it's otherwise been erased from reality, with all of its 3,892 (a significant number, maybe?) residents not even remembered by their loved ones. He says he knows he should investigate, but he somehow feels this implacable fear and revulsion; he can simply tell that “nobody’s alleged to enter .” Nevertheless, Monica deploys a drone, which looks exactly like that toy helicopter from episode two. It goes through some quite weird field that appears just like the close-up pixels of an old TV screen and disappears. Against Jimmy’s urging, Monica walks up to the sector , puts her hand through it, and is sucked right in.
Onscreen text informs us that 24 hours have passed, and now we’re inside an armored truck, where four scientists sit within the back. because it seems , one among them is astrophysicist Darcy Lewis, a.k.a. the wry sidekick from the primary two Thor movies, played by the one and only Kat Dennings. First Jimmy, now Darcy … they’re bringing out the medium-sized guns, folks! It seems she got her doctorate since Thor: The Dark World, which is good for her. She and therefore the scientists get out and find themselves during a massive, militarized, interagency area at the town limits of Westview. Inside one among the makeshift buildings, Darcy converses with a humorless agent and notices on a tool that there are enormous amounts of cosmic microwave background , a.k.a. CMBR. Darcy sees an old physio-scope on the bottom (why it’s there's beyond me), turns it on, and sees the vague outlines of Wanda in her 1950s garb. Darcy immediately declares that she needs a TV. “An old one,” she says. “Like, not flat.”
Speaking of flat: Hoo boy, the jokes during this episode really don't land. Like, ever. It’s all sort of a parody of MCU humor: all dumb punch-up asides and “soooo, that happened” buttons. for instance , Darcy asks for coffee repeatedly and never gets it, at one point saying, “Maybe I could get that coffee now? Or not, that’s cool.” Ha … ha? Anyway, we see a S.W.O.R.D. guy during a hazmat suit crawling into a sewer pipe so he can enter the town, and that we immediately realize he must be the “beekeeper” who emerged from the manhole in episode two. Tyler is here now, lecture Jimmy, while they appear at various screens that are brought in to seem at what’s happening . It appears that the CMBR is forming a sign that displays the TV shows of Wanda and Vision that we’ve been watching thus far . “So you’re saying the universe created a sitcom starring two Avengers?” Jimmy asks Darcy; she responds, “It’s a working theory.”
After a montage implying many research, we learn that each one the characters on the sitcom are being played by people from Westview. That is, except “Geraldine” — a.k.a. Monica — whom Darcy sees on the screen, prompting everyone to freak out. After some hand-waved science babble, they plan to plan to contact the TV world by broadcasting a radio wave into the planet of the show. Someone shows Jimmy a photograph of the drone the show, which is in color against a black-and-white backdrop — “To accompany the assembly design?” Jimmy wonders; “Or render it useless?” Darcy adds.
The show has moved on to the 1960s setup from episode two, and the S.W.O.R.D./FBI team tries to talk into the radio from Wanda’s meeting with Dottie at the pool. We hear Jimmy saying what we heard come from the radio therein ep, but rather than seeing Dottie freak out and crush the glass her hand, the show seems to only skip to everything being fine and goes to the HYDRA watch commercial. They then see the beekeeper situation from the top of that episode; again, the weirdest a part of that scene skips over and suddenly they’re at the happy ending. Soon, they’re watching the 1970s episode, where Wanda is parturition . Another skip of the weird spare “Geraldine,” prompting Darcy to take a position , “Someone is censoring the printed .” An alarm pops . The boundary, a voice on the PA says, has been breached.
Then we’re inside the show for the primary time this episode (the ratio for a few reason gets even thinner than it had been for the remainder of this one), revisiting what we saw at the top of the last one. “You’re not my neighbor, and you’re definitely not my friend,” Wanda tells Monica. “You are a stranger and an outsider. And immediately , you're trespassing here. and that i want you to go away .” (Umm, redlining, anyone?) Wanda’s hands get red and magical, and she or he fires a blast that sends Monica through the wall and out of doors , then into the field . Wanda looks perturbed and uses her powers to reconstruct the house, then goes back to her twins in their cradle. Vision walks in and asks where Geraldine is; move Monica on the grass within the world as we saw at the top of episode three. We then see that Vision looks dead, together with his head caved in where Thanos destroyed his Infinity Stone in Avengers: Infinity War. on the other hand he looks fine again.
“We don’t need to stay here; we could go wherever we would like ,” Vision intones.
“No, we can’t,” Wanda replies. “This is our home.”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh, don’t worry, darling,” she says. “I have everything in check .”
We see Monica outside, saying, “It’s Wanda. It’s all Wanda.” Back within the show, Wanda picks up a baby and says, “What should we watch tonight?” Vision looks slightly upset and confused, but keeps it together and smiles in his robot face. They sit on the couch, and while Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” wails, they watch some TV and therefore the credits roll.
So, there you've got it, it seems: A grieving Wanda seems to possess reshaped alittle corner of the cosmos because she was upset. Or something! Mysteries remain, but, especially for comics fans, this choice just seems dull and predictable, to not mention questionable on gender-stereotype grounds. But hey, a minimum of there was some actual plot in the week and not just TV-tribute artifice. Things will likely get weird again next week.