Beguiling first episodes of Marvel Studios’ ‘WandaVision’ are worth the watch

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Photo by Allison Gillman ’23

“WandaVision” kicked off Marvel Studios’ new bracket of television shows on Jan. 15, with episode five set to air on Feb. 5. Straying from the action-packed genre that characterized Marvel productions for over a decade, the beginning of the show harkens to the era of classic American sitcoms such as “I Love Lucy” and “Leave It To Beaver.”

Allison Gillman ’23, Web Opinions Editor

*This article contains spoilers for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” If you have not seen one of these three movies and consider yourself a Marvel fan, exercise physical and emotional caution.

With the earth-shattering, tear-jerking, adrenaline-boosting and utterly smashing finale to Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have awaited Marvel Studios’ introduction of the next generation of avengers

“WandaVision” kicked off Phase IV on Jan. 15 with three episodes starring Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and her synthezoid boyfriend, Vision (Paul Bettany). The two live an idyllic suburban life in the town of Westview, New Jersey, trying desperately to conceal their superpowers. 

Most, if not all Marvel movies are traditionally intense, action-packed, chilling and have a fairly complex plot. By contrast, “WandaVision” begins with overtures of corniness, and quickly segues into the ominous, intensifying plot that we’re used to. With this, the storyline is perplexing, yet equally enthralling, and the stage is set for the riveting introduction of an entirely different Avengers-level threat. 

Most, if not all Marvel movies are traditionally intense, action-packed, chilling and have a fairly complex plot. By contrast, ‘WandaVision’ begins with overtures of corniness, and quickly segues into the ominous, intensifying plot that we’re used to.”

— Allison Gillman ’23

Unlike anything Marvel has ever produced before, the show is portrayed through a medium of classic 1950s American sitcoms. The theme song is hilariously cheesy and lighthearted with a traditional laugh track accompanying the characters in sequences. 

In the sitcom, Vision works a white-collar job with a patronizing boss, while Wanda settles in as the dutiful housewife struggling to conform to a domestic lifestyle with the other Westview ladies. 

Things start to get weird when a radio, rife with interference and static, calls out to Wanda at a country club luncheon. The voice asks Wanda “who is doing this to [her],” before abruptly going silent. 

An equally strange incident occurs in episode three (which has taken on color and costume to portray a 1970s theme) when Wanda’s late brother, Pietro Maximoff, is referenced. Because Pietro was murdered several years ago in “Age of Ultron” by the Avengers’ robotic adversary, nobody in Westview should know about him…or should they?

The fourth episode, aired Jan. 29, sheds some light on the situation. It centers around a new organization similar to, if not an extension of S.H.I.E.L.D., called S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division). S.W.O.R.D. catches wind of the town of Westview, which according to local law enforcement and people familiar with the area, doesn’t exist. 

As S.W.O.R.D. dives into an investigation of the town, protected from hostile entry by an unknown energy field, we get a pleasant blast from the past with the return of three characters: Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), daughter of Captain Maria Rambeau (Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers’ best friend) who was only a child in “Captain Marvel;” Astrophysicist Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) from the “Thor” movies and FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), who oversaw Scott “Ant Man” Lang while he served time under house arrest in “Ant Man and The Wasp.”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We should first address the concern that should be flashing a red light in any Marvel fan’s head: Assuming the show takes place immediately after the events of “Endgame,” how on earth can Vision be alive after we saw him meet his demise at the hands of Thanos in “Infinity War?”

Among other theories (as Marvel has tactfully played its cards close to its chest concerning the plot), many fans assume that Wanda used her telekinetic abilities to fabricate a world in her own mind in which Vision, alive and kicking, lives a picture-perfect life with her. She would have done this faced with the emotional and psychological trauma of losing first her brother, then Vision and later Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff in “Endgame.”

While this may have been valid in the first two episodes, the events of subsequents three and four make it evident that this show will not remain a fun-loving romantic sitcom. As always, and to the fandom’s delight, Marvel has a few aces up its sleeve.