“Breaking the Fourth Wall”
What They Say:
Monica plots her return, Wanda navigates unsettling complications, and Vision forms a new alliance.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The seventh of nine episodes, WandaVision moves into the place where it basically sets the reveals and prepares for the final act with some big things to still be revealed. For a lot of longtime comic readers and those that are familiar with the structure of such projects, there aren’t any real surprises here. Watching this with those who have no comic knowledge is incredibly fun because it’s not a constant comparison or, as some end up going on with, boring experience because they saw it better and decades ago in the comics. Not everyone is like that but we all know the type. WandaVision does a lot of what it needs to at this stage all while playing in “my” era of sitcom dramedies and the like of the modern day.
With an opening sequence that blended The Office with Happy Endings, WandaVision spends a lot of its in-show time playing to the Modern Family style aesthetic that a number of shows have worked in the years since. It looks like there’s a secret message in the opening as well which is a delight. The main thrust of what we get throughout the show, however, is that Wanda is definitely on the verge of a breakdown as the strain of maintaining everything, already a problem before she expanded it by a few more miles, is now really taking shape. The kids are noticing how things are changing to different versions over the decades and Wanda’s home is definitely doing the same thing. She’s trying to brush it off but it’s becoming more and more difficult to ignore, which is why she’s glad that Agnes takes the kids away for a few hours to give her some time by herself.
This opens up the show to allow a couple of different things to happen before it comes back together with Agnes drawing Wanda into her own house for the first time and exposing herself to be more than she’s seemed. Yes, all us comic fans knew this from the start. It’s not a big surprise to us even though the show makes it out to be. But it is new to the millions of people watching the show for the first time with no knowledge and while they knew she was up to something, it’s wrapped in the right mystery and payoff that leaves you wanting more. Especially as she gets her own theme song in the being of The Munsters and we still aren’t sure of her place in everything. But it’s wonderful to see her place, the creepy aesthetic, and the combination of pieces with it – including the commercial that that plays up the Nexus medication for depression, reminding us comic fans that Wanda is the unique Nexus-being in the books that’s the same from reality to reality.
The middle part of the show is a lot of fun for a lot of different reasons. Vision ends up unlocking Darcy fairly quickly as he saw her on the outside and she’s done up for the circus here as an escapologist. The two work together well enough to get out of the circus and to try and get back to Vision’s home, but Wanda is throwing up a lot of comical roadblocks. The time is useful as Darcy’s able to fill him in on the background of what’s happened since his creation as he’s still not able to bring it all back to the surface in a clear way. The way the two talk definitely makes for some fun, especially mixing in the sitcom interview pieces, until Vision realizes he’s not constrained by the walls of the sitcom anymore. He can break not just the fourth wall in talking to the camera but also those around him to just go to Wanda directly.
The outside of the zone has some decent material as well as we see Jimmy and Monica meeting up with a military contact of hers that works with SWORD and has a vehicle she designed years ago ready for use. It looks like a typical futuristic Martian landrover with the idea that it would be able to get through the hex wall and maintain its integrity. It’s amusing with all the buildup to it but the thing basically gets trashed along the way with Monica only barely escaping before half of it gets transformed into a pickup truck. But this just reinforces Monica’s intent to break through more and she does it on foot, leading to a struggle through the wall where we get more voices that have defined her life, from her mother to Fury to Carol. And it shows that the third pass through has definitely changed her as she’s seeing things in how the Hex magic/energy is working this world, something she can modulate through her eyes so she can see normal as well. That WandaVision was going to double as our introduction to Photon isn’t a surprise but it’s something that I really like as it helps to expand the larger cast, ties to the past, and sets her up for a potentially good couple of roles in the films in the future, especially if SWORD really is respectable by the end.
There’s a lot to love about this show in general and the cast that’s been assembled, most of which came from the film side but obviously all through Marvel Studios, but credit where credit is due: Kathryn Hahn is absolutely the star of this show in a lot of ways. Elizabeth Olsen has been fantastic here but I knew she was capable of great things from her non-MCU work. She’s getting to really make Wanda become more well-rounded and engaging in all sorts of ways. But Hahn has been able to bring in some really great work here with her expressions, the nods to the camera in this episode, the hell turn moment, and oh my god that theme song sequence she gets that’s just pitch-perfect. Hahn’s long been a great talent from silly to serious, but she works some real magic in this episode and has me excited to see more of her character’s truth revealed.