Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 3 of WandaVision
The third episode of the brand-new Marvel series on Disney+ has arrived a week after the two-episode debut. WandaVision premiered with an overwhelmingly positive reception, and for good reason, the first two episodes position the show to be one of the best things Marvel Studios has produced. With this week’s episode, we see the trajectory of the season continues to point upward.
The first two episodes, now titled “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience” and “Don’t Touch That Dial” respectively, introduced us to Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) trying to fit into suburban life in the small town of Westview. The series immediately established a classic 50’s sitcom feel but not everything is as it seems and there is an almost sinister, eerie undertone to the events. This feeling of uncertainty and horror is brought to the forefront when Vision’s boss Mr. Hart almost chokes to death at dinner, when Wanda finds the fully colored toy plane (with a S.W.O.R.D. logo on it) standing out amidst the black and white bushes, and when a voice is attempting to break through the radio and get Wanda’s attention.
With episode three the series diverts from the 50’s sitcom style and leaps into the ’70s. As with the first two episodes, this one has a special stylized intro matching the era on display, showcasing Wanda and Vision engaging in stereotypical 70’s lifestyle activities around Westview. The episode then picks up essentially right where we left off last week. With Wanda having transported them into the full-color world and now sporting a baby bump. We join Wanda and Vision in their new home as a house doctor visits to check on Wanda’s pregnancy.
The first two-thirds of the episode continues to highlight how strongly written the series is and how well it holds up as a pure sitcom. We follow Wanda and Vision as they traverse the tribulations of pregnancy in an expedited and extraordinary way thanks to Wanda’s powers. The timeline of her pregnancy is greatly accelerated, with the babies being born by episodes end. The episode also explores how Wanda’s powers impact the experience to great comedic effect, with a dazzling amount of practical effects used featuring props moving all around the house.
The show continues to be genuinely funny with multiple laugh-out-loud moments and tremendously clever writing. While most of the first twenty minutes hit that 70’s sitcom vibe in stride, bar a few intense moments, the remainder is almost pure unease. Geraldine (Teyonah Parris) arrived earlier in the episode and was there to help deliver the first baby, Tommy, with Wanda. Having joked previously about not knowing why she’s there and with an occasional look that she’s not sure what’s happening, Geraldine immediately adds tension to any scene she’s in.
As Wanda and Geraldine watch over the newly born twins, the second of which is named Billy, Vision runs the doctor home and then stops to talk with his neighbors Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) and Herb (David Payton) after he sees them talking in hushed tones at the fence line. Earlier we saw Herb cutting straight into his brick (stone?) fence without a care in the world, now the cut line can be seen to go even further down. The next few minutes are constant suspense as the episode cuts back and forth between Vision and Wanda. Wanda makes a comment that she was a twin and mentions Pietro, to which Geraldine says “He was killed by Ultron, wasn’t he?”. This instantly ramps up the tension as so far the show has actively avoided directly addressing the real-world history of its characters.
As this happens the show intercuts with Vision inquiring about Geraldine. Agnes and Herb say that something is off about her but refuse to elaborate. “She’s here because we’re all-, “ Herb says before Agnes cuts him off with a look of pure terror on her face. We then see Wanda notice the necklace Geraldine is wearing, a sword. Wanda presses Geraldine on her comment about Pietro as the two begin to argue, “I think you should leave now.” Wanda says as we cut to Vision running back into the home. Wanda stands alone above the baby’s crib with Geraldine nowhere to be found. Vision asks where Geraldine went and Wanda replies, “Oh she left, honey. She had to run home.” In a cold and distant voice. We then see Geraldine fly through what appears to be a forcefield of some sort past a derelict “Westview City Limits” sign and onto a grass field. As she lands a troop of armed men in SUVs and a helicopter surround her.
The ending of this episode, along with my favorite moment continues to expand upon how powerful Wanda is. As we saw in the second episode when Wanda and Vision see the beekeeper and Wanda simply whispers, “No” to then literally rewind and redo the scene, she takes similar action in this episode. After her powers (though I’m not entirely convinced it was her powers) knock out the power in the neighborhood Wanda wonders if the neighbors are close to uncovering their secret. Vision then goes on a rather serious monologue, ending with him saying something isn’t right here. Wanda has a look of fear on her face before the scene abruptly jump-cuts back in time to the start of Vision’s monologue, only this time he transitions into a more upbeat ending. Wanda seems to be quite literally editing together the perfect life for them.
On a technical level, this series continues to excel. The set design, costumes, and cinematography completely change the feel of the series to fit the 70’s and it is pulled off seamlessly. The score and sound effects also work to hit that tone. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany continue to shine as the titular characters, excelling with more space to work in the extended narrative format this show provides. WandaVision continues to impress, escalate, and excite as the MCU dives further into new territory.