The latest instalment of MCU’s first foray into television propels the plot forward with some thrilling, intriguing moments that threaten to shatter Wanda’s perfect reality
Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, and Randall Park
If it wasn’t already apparent from the first two episodes that Disney+ released last week, there is something massively wrong afoot in Westview. As the end of episode 2 saw, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), seemingly reeling from the unsettling appearance of a technicolour helicopter earlier in the instalment and the arrival of a menacing-looking beekeeper, injected a healthy dose of colour into the idyllic sitcom haven. She also made herself unexpectedly pregnant.
“Now in Color” sees WandaVision careen into a new sitcom decade: the 70s, complete with big hair, bright colours and a brand new theme song and credits that clearly evoke memories of such classic shows as The Brady Bunch. The main sources of comedy throughout this episode derive from Wanda’s alarmingly progressing pregnancy, the panic Vision (Paul Bettany) feels at unexpectedly becoming a father, and Wanda’s powers threatening to expose them to the rest of the community, as her pregnancy sends them spiralling out of control.
Even though Wanda successfully gives birth to twins Tommy and Billy with the help of Geraldine (Teyonah Parris), it seems that there’s a lot about Westview that even Wanda doesn’t know. Vision catches new friend Herb (David Payton) and Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) in the midst of a tense conversation, in which they almost reveal too much, but not before expressing to Vision their concerns about new neighbour Geraldine, who doesn’t appear to have her own home.
Wanda isn’t far behind at realising that there’s something amiss with Geraldine, either. Staring at her newborn children, Wanda experiences a rare moment of recollection of her pre-Westview life, divulging that she herself was a twin. Geraldine, affixing Wanda with a penetrating, meaningful stare, questions, “Your brother was killed by Ultron, wasn’t he?”. Noticing seemingly for the first time the pendant around Geraldine’s neck, featuring the same symbol as on the scarlet helicopter in the previous episode, Wanda’s decision appears to be swift.
The close of the episode sees Geraldine – or, as the audience know, actually Monica Rambeau – jettisoned from Westview. Landing on the nearby grass, audiences briefly glimpse that Westview itself is surrounded by a bubble of energy, while the land around it is filled with helicopters and cars.
“Now in Color” deepens the mystery at the heart of WandaVision without giving too many answers. We now have a clearer idea than before that Wanda has constructed Westview herself. Her ability to throw Geraldine out; her attempts at rewinding the narrative, first when the beekeeper intruded, and then when Vision became suspicious over his conversation with Agnes and Herb; and the instability that besets Westview when Wanda goes into labour all seem to suggest that its Wanda’s powers that have constructed this reality. This is likely the most probably explanation, and is also the most rife for emotional exploration for Wanda, as this is doubtless a manifestation of her profound grief at the loss of Vision in Avengers: Endgame.
Then there’s whatever is going on outside Westview, and the strange continued references to Hydra. Is somebody trying to stop Wanda or control her powers for themselves? Was Geraldine/Monica attempting to convince Wanda to end the imagined reality, or was she trying to manipulate her? Just how powerful is Wanda really? And just how much do Agnes and Herb know? Are they created parts of the reality, like Vision presumably is, or are they just as self-aware as Monica? Are they all inhabiting Wanda’s world with the hopes of ending Westview once and for all? One thing is for sure: it’s going to take a lot more than knowing Pietro’s fate to get through to Wanda, but she is clearly adamant to keep things the way that they are.
With a whole 6 episodes still left to go, WandaVision is off to a spectacularly gripping start, and wholly justifies the MCU’s foray into serialised entertainment. Hopefully this creative decision will really continue to give Wanda the time to evolve and to get to the heart of her grief and trauma in a way that the MCU has been unable to provide before now.
WandaVision is streaming exclusively on Disney+, with new episodes released on Fridays