WandaVision Episode 4: Not Blipped, Dead


R E V I E W – S E R I E S


Shudipto Dip


One moment, please…We interrupt this programme to bring you this special bulletin: It’s a nice day outside. The captives of Westview can now experience the chilliness of the gentle MCU breeze for the first time in three decades.

 

The fourth episode of WandaVision, titled We interrupt this program, is an ode to Charles M. Schulz’s The Complete Peanuts Vol. 14. published between 1977 and 1978. It’s hard to pass off this year of release being a metaphor of drawing the curtains to 30 years of laughter tracks as a mere coincidence. Puns apparently levitated to a level where it infected the episode title too. And frankly, we do not want any more of that. The paradigm shift, however, was quite phenomenal. The buildup from the past three episodes aided in creating an introduction we desired, but certainly were not ready for. The truth bombs of the actual MCU reality may hit Wanda hard, but instigated in our hearts — euphoria.

As the sneak peeks, extended clips, and promo videos promised us with familiar faces, it did spoil the anticipation by trumpeting all the new arrivals. Nevertheless, they made sure we have enough to distinguish Monica from Geraldine in the very beginning. We see her working for another state-of-the-art facility with a forced acronym just to complement the word S.H.I.E.L.D. The writers did a satisfactory job at understanding the character based on her brief pre-teen screen-time from Captain Marvel.

The other Phase-3 character we are introduced to is Jimmy Woo. And with another laudable piece of screenwriting, we are made to love him instantly — as he flicks his ID out — a subtle throwback to his curiosity for Scott’s card tricks in Ant-man and The Wasp.

The episode was all about character development, with Darcy Lewis putting a cherry on top of it. Her development from outright naïf to endearingly edgy is salient. Calling out their own tropey attributes has been a primary source of MCU humour for quite a while now. Darcy blending it with science jokes implies to her growth from assistant to astrophysicist. And the grounded, non-quantum scientific jargon in this episode just might place it at the top of an otherwise indiscernible sci-fi universe.

Exposition, no matter how despised in the art form that is cinema, is of paramount importance in sci-fi and detective genres. Some might find that the only take away from this exposition based episode is a QnA session. And up till the last five minutes, it did feel like a bunch of detectives having their moments, explaining all the mystery to us. But the use of a background score, though very mainstream of Marvel, hit a sweet spot as we were convinced that the characters in question are no less muddled than we are.

The transition to Wanda’s reality through a TV screen felt commonplace. However, a reversal of screen-time introduced intensity to Wanda’s world as well. And with a wondrous but short-lived moment of death stare, Elizabeth Olsen surely made a statement about her acting skills.

Episode 5 promo

Now that we are relieved to have finally found some answers, this is the first time we don’t have a clue as to what will come next. And with a new still from the episode 5 promo, we sure hope for a treat. As for the pace of this episode, we are led to question the earlier ones. The pace of the first three episodes, as compared to this one, might feel draggy now. And we are led to think that those experimental sitcoms could be squeezed into 20 minutes of screen-time.

But is this evident backlash a product of what Marvel created over the past 13 years? A constant desire for promptly progressing storyline? A “theme park”, if you will. And maybe a sudden drag in momentum is just to have WandaVision qualify as a miniseries? That is for the audience to decide, alongside other mind-bending theories and speculations. What we have to latch on to for this week is Jimmy Woo’s theory — that the universe created a sitcom starring two Avengers.

 


Shudipto is a replicant with the emotional range of a labradoodle.

 

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