[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for WandaVision, Season 1, Episode 2.]
I hate to start off here on a negative note, but my absolute least favorite part of WandaVision as a show, so far, is that Episode 2 has a very modern and very jarring “Previously On…” segment. For a show that so brilliantly launched us into a trippy world drawn from the history of classic television, one built on darker secrets, this completely world-breaking choice is a genuine disappointment and one of this show’s very few missteps. I suppose it’s understandable why Disney+/Marvel would make this choice, but I just wanted to be on the record as saying I do not like it.
Fortunately, it happens before the signature Marvel credits roll, so we can pretend it never happened and embrace Episode 2 as what it is: Another charming/subversive installment of Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) fairytale romance, this time jumping slightly forward into the 1960s. The fashions are slightly more modern, the implications of sex are slightly more present, and instead of calling them Bolsheviks we’re calling them Communists. Fun for the whole family!
The cold open (because we’re now in an era of television that includes cold opens before the opening credits) features Wanda and Vision in their separate twin beds, shaken out of slumber by a disturbing noise outside their bedroom. While it shakes both of them up, the good news is that it turns out that it was only just a branch — and that because in the heat of the moment Wanda was inspired to shove their beds together, some nookie may commence.
The new opening credits are a very Bewitched-esque animated sequence (no real lyrics of note beyond “Wa-Wa-WandaVision!” And then it’s time for the meat of the episode, as Wanda and Vision rehearse their act for the town’s talent show fundraiser — magic tricks that don’t rely on their actual powers, because as Wanda tells Vision, “in a real magic act, everything is fake.”
Rehearsal ends because Wanda has to go to the planning committee meeting for the fundraiser, and Vision wants to check out the local Neighborhood Watch meeting at the local library. But before then, Wanda hears a buzzing outside, and discovers that a toy helicopter has landed in her bushes — one with a very different color scheme:
It throws Wanda for a loop, but our old pal Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) arrives just in time to whisk her off to the committee meeting being run by Dottie (Emma Caulfield Ford). Agnes warns Wanda that Dottie is “queen of the cul de sac” and so getting on her good side is essential for Wanda’s future success in the neighborhood. But the planning committee meeting doesn’t go great, despite Wanda making a new friend in Geraldine (Teyonah Parris). Wanda does her best, but is awfully awkward with the other girls.
Oh, and when she helps with the cleanup for the meeting, things take a twisted turn after Wanda says that she and Vision mean no harm, and Dottie says “I don’t believe you,” and then the clock radio nearby shifts from the song “Help Me Rhonda” to a male voice saying “Who’s doing this to you Wanda?” and the world feels like it’s falling apart…
Dottie’s glass breaks, the blood shines bright red, and the laugh track returns with a vengeance. And then it’s time for a commercial break!
Vision does somewhat better at the Neighborhood Watch meeting, socially, managing to have a good chat with his fellow fellows of the neighborhood. But despite normally rejecting any offer of food, he does try chewing a stick of gum — and accidentally swallows it. The result for a synthetic creation like him is basically like chugging a bottle of tequila, and he shows up for the talent show barely able to stand.
He does not, however, lose his super-abilities, so when he powers through the magic act by using his powers, Wanda quickly covers for him by using her own skills to make his real magic seem fake. And… it works! (Though Geraldine, who suddenly finds herself playing the role of the missing lady, is a bit surprised.) Wanda and Vision are the hit of the day, winning the Comedy Performance of the Year Award and taking a triumphant bow.
“It wasn’t so hard to fit in after all,” Wanda declares as she and Vision cuddle on the couch, but when she gets up she suddenly discovers that all of that talk about “for the children” might have had an unexpected effect… because she’s now noticeably pregnant. And also there’s a strange man in a beekeeper outfit crawling out of the sewer hole outside her house, with a prominent logo on the back of his jumpsuit… Until Wanda says “no” — and he isn’t anymore.
Instead, we rewind back to a newly pregnant Wanda and Vision happy together in their home — so happy, in fact, that the world turns to color around them. What a good time we’re all having! What a wild show this is! In the words of a great man: FLOURISH!
And Now For These Messages
- The evolving production design is a real treat — building upon Episode 1, here we have a lot more set decoration in general, including a staircase to a second floor!
- Look, we all know that Kathryn Hahn is a treasure beyond words, but the moment when she checks out Dennis the Mailman’s ass in a thoughtful, scientific fashion should win her the Emmy right here and right now.
- Another moment for Hahn’s Emmy FYC reel: “How is anybody doing this sober?”
- No payoff on this yet, but anyone else get a creepy culty vibe off the repeated refrain of “For the Children”?
- Again, more thoughts on the commercials to come, but this episode features Strucker watches — Wolfgang von Strucker, of course, being a character with a lot of significance to Wanda. “He’ll make time for you.”
- Curious about that fellow in the beekeeper suit? You might look into a group known as AIM.
- Wondering why Dottie looks familiar and haven’t gone to IMDB yet? Well, Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans will remember Emma Caulfield Ford (before the Ford) as the delightful and sometimes terrifying demon Anya. Also, relevant to this particular project: She also starred in the 2009 indie sci-fi rom-com Timer, which just so happened to have been WandaVision showrunner Jac Schaeffer‘s very first project!
- Sorry, but just one more time… FLOURISH!
New episodes of WandaVision stream Fridays on Disney+.
There’s a little something for everyone.
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