WandaVision Recap: Marvel Phase 4 Gets a Retro Kickoff With Disney+ Series Premiere — Grade It!

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Rebecca Iannucci
·10 min read
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Marvel Studios has made its way to the small screen, and it’s brought to you in glorious WandaVision.

Disney+ on Friday dropped the first two episodes of Marvel Studios’ inaugural TV series, which brings back Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in their respective MCU roles — only this time, instead of battling Ultron and Thanos, Wanda and Vision are living a life straight outta Nick at Nite’s 1990s lineup, by way of their own sitcom.

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Before you tell us what you thought of WandaVision‘s debut, which officially launches Phase 4 of the MCU, let’s recap what happened in these two installments:

EPISODE 1 | The series premiere, which largely emulates The Dick Van Dyke Show, finds Wanda and Vision sharing a charming little life in Westview: She can repair a broken plate with a wave of her hand! He might look like a classic sitcom husband, but he’s really just disguising his robot face! How novel it all is! But even as they attempt to hide their true powers from their neighbors and blend in with the rest of suburbia, there’s a through-line here that something’s a little off. For instance, when Wanda and Vision notice a small heart drawn on their wall calendar for that day, neither of them can remember what it’s supposed to mean… even though Vision is physically incapable of forgetting any information.

At work, Vision also can’t seem to remember what it is his company actually does; it somehow involves computational forms, and whatever his job is, Vision is amazingly productive at it — but still, it’s strange, no? Meanwhile, at home, Wanda gets a visit from neighbor Agnes (the inimitable Kathryn Hahn) and lies that it’s her and Vision’s anniversary. Yet, she can’t answer when Agnes asks how many years they’ve been together, and Wanda realizes she’s not even wearing a wedding ring.

WandaVision Episode 1 Recap
WandaVision Episode 1 Recap

Vision eventually realizes, with some degree of horror, that the heart on the calendar symbolizes a dinner party they’re hosting that evening with his boss, Mr. Hart, and his wife. But when he calls Wanda to let her know about the event, she interrupts him, saying she’s got everything under control with Agnes’ help; she’s talking about their anniversary dinner, of course, but he’s talking about hosting the Harts. Ah, these two!

(The show-within-the-show takes a break here, which is when we see an old-fashioned commercial for the Toast Mate 2000 toaster… by Stark Industries! “Forget the past — this is your future!” the ad says. Hmmm…)

Unsurprisingly, dinner with the Harts is fairly disastrous at first, not least because Wanda accidentally greets Mr. Hart, and not Vision, while wearing a semi-scandalous (for the ’50s) outfit. Then there’s Wanda’s ill-fated attempts to whip up a multi-course meal in minutes — the rules of her powers seem a little fuzzy here — and Vision’s out-of-nowhere performances of “Yakety Yak” and “Old MacDonald,” all in an effort to never let the Harts witness Wanda’s magic. Finally, Wanda improvises a breakfast-for-dinner meal just as Mrs. Hart’s beginning to feel light-headed… though that’s when things get strangest of all.

As they’re eating, Mr. Hart barrages Wanda and Vision with questions, like when they got married and why they moved to this particular town. Wanda and Vision look at each other, puzzled and unable to come up with any answers. Mr. Hart grows agitated with their confusion, and suddenly, he starts choking on a piece of food. There’s an unsettling minute as Mr. Hart falls out of his chair and lies on the floor, coughing: Mrs. Hart simply says, “Stop it!” over and over — laughing at first, but then a bit desperate, with tears in her eyes — and Wanda and Vision look at each other anxiously, seeming to know they could use their powers here, but unsure if they should.

WandaVision Episode 1 Recap
WandaVision Episode 1 Recap

“Vision, help him,” Wanda eventually says solemnly, and Vision does. Without Mrs. Hart seeing it happen, Vision’s hand materializes through his boss’s throat, easily pulling out the bite lodged in there and setting it on the table. Mr. Hart quickly recovers — and so does Vision’s future at his job, seeing as Mr. Hart now wants to promote him for saving his life. On that note, though, it’s time for the Harts to skedaddle, and after they do, Wanda and Vision make a few quick decisions about their unusual relationship. For one, today will be their new anniversary (of surviving a dinner party with the boss, at least); their song will be “Yakety Yak”; and Wanda whips them up some wedding rings.

“And they lived happily ever after,” Vision says before kissing Wanda, and they smile right into the camera as the WandaVision credits roll… but as they do, we pull back to discover that WandaVision is playing on a monitor somewhere in the present day, surrounded by other screens, buttons and ominous-looking gizmos. Someone jots something down in a notebook that’s emblazoned with the S.W.O.R.D. logo, then grabs a fancy-looking remote control.

EPISODE 2 | We’re now in the ’60s a la Bewitched, and the cold open of this WandaVision episode is just delightful: Both Wanda and Vision are frightened of a banging sound coming from outside — Vision a bit more than Wanda, that is — only to discover it’s a tree slamming against their window. “Are you using your night vision, Vision?” Wanda wonders as her husband checks for the noise’s source, giving us all a pang of nostalgia for this brand of earnest television.

The next day, Vision is practicing the magician act he’ll be performing at the neighborhood’s talent show fundraiser — and in an effort to blend in with the rest of Westview, Vision will be doing fake magic, not the kind that reveals his actual powers. But shortly after Vision heads to a meeting of the neighborhood watch program, Wanda hears a noise outside, like something with an engine suddenly crashing. She finds a toy helicopter in their bushes outside, but it’s oddly in color, while the rest of the show is in black and white. The helicopter — which features the same S.W.O.R.D logo we saw in Episode 1 — seems to rattle Wanda, and she glances back at the tree outside her bedroom as if perhaps that wasn’t the source of the noise last night, after all. But she’s forced to set it all aside when Agnes pops up, eager to get to a meeting of the talent show planning committee.

WandaVision Season 1 Photo
WandaVision Season 1 Photo

At the meeting, while Wanda tries futilely to impress local queen bee and ostensible Stepford wife Dottie, she also meets who we know is the adult version of Monica Rambeau (last seen as a young girl in Captain Marvel) — but when Wanda introduces herself, Monica can’t seem to remember her own name, instead calling herself Geraldine. Meanwhile, at the neighborhood watch gathering at the local library, Vision strikes up a good rapport with the group… only to accept a piece of Big Red gum from one of the men, then promptly swallow it when he gets patted on the back, which messes with his internal gears.

Back at the planning committee luncheon, Wanda tries to grin and bear being on Dottie’s cleanup crew, but Dottie remains icy toward her. She says she’s heard rumors about both Wanda and Vision, to which Wanda replies, “I don’t know what you’ve been told, but I assure you I don’t mean anyone any harm.” “I don’t believe you,” Dottie responds — and just then, the radio playing at the luncheon starts getting some interference, and it’s someone saying Wanda’s name over the static.

“Wanda, can you read me?” the voice asks, sounding a bit like Randall Park’s Jimmy Woo, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent previously seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp. “Who’s doing this to you, Wanda?” An alarmed Dottie asks Wanda, “Who is that? Who are you?” And as the voice keeps calling for Wanda, the radio suddenly bursts into sparks and breaks, simultaneously shattering the glass of iced tea in Dottie’s hand; the blood from her cut, curiously, appears bright red in this otherwise black-and-white episode. And just like that, it’s as if nothing happened. Dottie simply makes a joke about getting a bloodstain out of white linen, then walks away.

(Another commercial plays here, this time advertising a Strücker watch. “Strücker. He’ll make time for you,” the ad declares. Again I say: Hmmm…)

We pick up at the neighborhood talent show, where Wanda is panicking that Vision hasn’t shown up for their performance yet. Just in the nick of time, Vision appears — but that gum in his system has done some damage, and now Vision’s acting like he’s guzzled more than a few beers. He’s stumbling and slurring all over the place as they take the stage for their magic show, and worst of all, he’s now so uninhibited that he’s performing magic tricks with his real powers.

WandaVision Episode 2 Recap
WandaVision Episode 2 Recap

Wanda, with a wiggle of her fingers that’s not unlike Samantha Stevens’ nose twitch, manages to conceal Vision’s powers and pass off his spectacle as goofy, slapstick magic tricks. The audience is sufficiently wowed, and even though Wanda and Vision try to discreetly sneak away from the talent show after their performance — and after Wanda gets the gum out of Vision’s system, quickly bringing him back to normal — they’re called on stage to receive the inaugural Comedy Performance of the Year award, which is also what Paul Bettany should be receiving after his turn as gummed-up Vision.

At home, the relieved couple basks in their unexpected victory — and when Wanda heads to the kitchen to get some popcorn, she realizes she’s suddenly pregnant. (And a couple of months along, judging by her bump!) There are a lot of questions Wanda should ask about this pregnancy, but she merely grins and asks, “Is this really happening?” But just as she and Vision are kissing, there’s yet another disconcerting noise outside. They head to the yard to investigate, and they discover someone emerging from the manhole that’s slightly down the road. He’s wearing a beekeeper outfit with the S.W.O.R.D. logo on the back, and bees swarm around him. And though we don’t get a clear look at his face, the beekeeper turns to look directly at Wanda and Vision, prompting a frightened Wanda to say, “No.”

Suddenly, the scene rewinds. Wanda and Vision are now back in their house like a few moments ago, once again just realizing Wanda’s pregnant. They smile and kiss again — and this time, there’s no loud bang outside. Instead, Wanda pulls away from Vision and is stunned to find he’s appearing in bright color now — and for that matter, in one sweeping motion, their entire black-and-white existence transforms into color. The couple marvels — heh — at their new surroundings, and they kiss as the credits roll. But just as the episode ends, we hear that voice one more time: “Wanda? Who’s doing this to you, Wanda?”

OK, your turn! What did you think of WandaVision‘s first two episodes? Grade ’em in our poll below, then drop a comment with your full reactions!

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