Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 4 of WandaVision
Well, that certainly took a turn. Up to this point, the brand-new Marvel series has embraced the classic sitcom elements and only briefly acknowledged and hinted at the larger world of the MCU. Episode 4 changes that completely and it is captivating the entire time.
The episode opens with one of the most poignant, relieving, haunting, and bold scenes in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. We see Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) materialize in the exact opposite way we witnessed all the heroes fall apart at the end of Infinity War. She reforms in a chair next to an empty hospital bed, pure confusion on her face as we hear an increasing roar of activity coming from the halls outside. As she moves through the hospital we see people constantly materializing out of thin air, people shouting for their loved ones, it’s utter chaos.
We’re seeing the ground level ramifications of the snap that brought everyone back in Endgame. It’s something I didn’t expect the MCU to ever directly tackle but they WandaVision engages it in an extremely powerful way. This moment should be full of joy; people who have vanished for years are now miraculously returned, but mixed with that relief we see the breadth of impact an event of this scale has on the world. It showcases that even in moments of victory situations are often much more complex. My jaw was on the floor for the duration of the scene.
The episode then follows Monica as she re-enters the world, as a member of S.W.O.R.D. (an organization that her mother, Maria Rambeau, founded) we learn that she has been assigned the case that turns out to be whatever is happening with Wanda and Vision. At first, the FBI thinks it’s a missing person’s case, but when Monica arrives at Westview Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) explains that Westview has never existed, it’s been Eastview. There also seems to be some sort of energy field encompassing the town, barring entrance or visibility inside.
Monica attempts to enter and is then pulled in and lost inside. With no way of knowing what happened to her the rest of the episode focuses on Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and Jimmy Woo, along with the rest of S.W.O.R.D. investigating what is happening at Westview. It’s then that we see the peculiar events from the first three episodes but from the outside. We learn that the helicopter Wanda found in the bushes was originally flown in by Monica, we see Darcy and Jimmy try to contact Wanda through the radio, and we see the “beekeeper” descend into the sewers and up into the neighborhood in Westview. Darcy discovers the transmissions from Westview which turn out to be the first three episodes that we watched, and everyone begins studying them.
Throughout the episode, we learn that Wanda has seemingly created a pocket reality and assigned new lives to every resident of the previously existing Eastview, and created her idyllic life with Vision in Westview. We see more of the altercation from the end of last week’s episode between Wanda and Monica/Geraldine, as Wanda further interrogates Monica about who she is and why she is there. She quickly realizes that Monica doesn’t belong and uses her powers to throw her out of Westview. Elizabeth Olsen is exceptional in the scene, bringing a cold menace to Wanda that isn’t exactly villainous, but more overly protective.
Maybe my favorite shot in the entire MCU happens moments after this, as we see Vision rush back inside asking where Geraldine has gone, just like he did in last week’s episode. This time, however, when Wanda turns to face him we see an extremely dead Vision. His skin looks of ash, devoid of color, his forehead caved in where Thanos ripped out the Mind Stone, and his eyes lacking any emotion. He steps forward and asks Wanda what’s wrong and after the camera cuts from her back to him he’s normal again, with Wanda composing herself after the initial shock of seeing Vision dead. She’s using her power to hold this reality together and she’s absolute in her resolve to keep it that way. “I have everything under control,” she says.
The episode ends with Monica waking up outside Westview muttering “It’s all Wanda…” and Wanda and Vision sitting down to watch TV with their newborn twins. As with the entire series, the production quality in every department remains the highest quality. It was a great change of pace seeing the modern world again and the larger MCU. The use of aspect ratio is another expertly utilized technical element to the show, with the ratio changing constantly to fit whatever reality we’re seeing.
We are beginning to see things escalate at a much more rapid-fire pace as we approach the halfway mark of the season. That mixed with the themes and larger exploration this episode brought is a recipe for success in my book. Though this episode took the spotlight momentarily away from our titular characters, it was a well-paced, expansive, and emotionally resonant entry in WandaVision.