The first rule of Westview is you don’t talk about Westview. The second rule about Westview is you don’t talk about Ultron. Let’s talk about episode 3 of WandaVision! What did we learn? How did the episode grade out? Let’s break it down!
WARNING!!! This WandaVision episode 3 review contains heavy spoilers and theories about the direction of the series and Phase 4 of the MCU. Click here for my spoiler review of Episodes 1 & 2!
This week’s episode of WandaVision was ripped straight out of the 1970s, leading off where episode 2 had ended. Episode 3 centers around Wanda’s pregnancy while the two love birds quickly learn how to handle and prepare for Wanda’s upcoming delivery. Wanda and Vision are clearly excited about parenthood, but nothing can prepare them for the stresses of a 2-day pregnancy.
“I have a feeling we’re not in Westview anymore”
Much of this week’s comedy is derived from Wanda and Vision attempting to keep the pregnancy a secret amongst their friends and neighbors. Overall, the dynamic between Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany made it effective. As a first time father myself, I appreciate a good “bad Dad joke” like anyone else. “I can’t wait to be a proud papaya,” says Vision, who is comparing the size of their baby to a papaya. Did it produce an eye-roll? Of course, but the 1970s, Brady Bunch-vibe really helped in it’s delivery.
The idea of trying to leave the town of Westview took center stage this week. “Small towns are hard to escape,” says the doctor who struggles to go to Bermuda for vacation. Fortunately, we’re given another commercial that centers around an overworked mother. We see a bath powder called Hydra Soak, which promises luxury without leaving the house.”When you want to get away, but you don’t want to go anywhere” is a tagline with huge implications. This was our first real tease of who is pulling the strings (which we’ll get to very soon).
This week’s episode truly began to soar when the sitcom antics had ended nearly halfway through its 30+ minute runtime. As much as I loved the concept of the sitcom themes in episodes 1 and 2, it quickly grew tiresome. WandaVision gets really fun when we see the characters understand that something darker and very wrong is going on in Westview. With that said, let’s discuss what worked in Episode 3.
Let’s start out with the goods, and it’s a laundry list of positives. Episode 3, directed by Matt Shakman and written by Megan McDonnell, provides a major reveal for the series moving forward. The episode makes it very clear that Wanda is the one who created the false reality, but might not exactly be the one pulling the strings behind curtain.
There were a lot of Wizard of Oz parallels in this episode regarding reality vs the challenges of the real world. Wanda is very clearly afraid to pull the curtains away from her sitcom reality. While we’re only 3 episodes into the series, it’s a painful realization that Wanda is truly struggling to deal with her loss. Throughout the series so far, we’ve seen that Wanda will make sure nothing can break or undermine her dreamworld. We see her reset Vision when he starts to question what is happening with the pregnancy. We also see her kick out Geraldine when she realizes that she knows too much.
It even adds speculation that this reality might not only be created in her head but a reality manifested physically in the real world
This reveal is shown as we see Geraldine tossed out after bringing up Wanda’s deceased brother. Episode 3 also adds layers of intrigue this week, making us question how much Wanda’s neighbors truly know about what is going on.
What are the resident’s doing in Westview? How much do they truly know? I think it’s made very clear that there is a lot more going on than we see on the surface. Are all of Wanda’s neighbors working for SWORD or is there something else, much more ominous, working behind the scenes? We see that Geraldine (Monica Rambeau) and Agnes are certainly working some kind of angle, so let the speculation begin!
I think it’s clear that SWORD is infiltrating this false reality to help Wanda
But what are they trying to protect her from? Is there something more sinister going on? As I predicted during our Suit Up Geeks podcast from last week, all signs point to Kathryn Hahn’s character Agnes having a huge role in this series moving forward. I think it’s clear that Wanda’s twins are very much the focal point of whatever is happening in Westview.
Which leads right into my prediction that Mephisto is the true villain benefitting from Wanda’s sorrow and grief (I think Agnes’ husband Ralph will be revealed as Mephisto in the near future). It’s truly exciting that WandaVision is going to give us our first taste of the supernatural. This will certainly tie directly into Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. As a villain, Mephisto is a force to be reckoned with.
It was incredibly fitting to have “Daydream Believer,” a song by The Monkees, play as the end credits rolled at the end of the episode. The song is about a starry eyed romantic and his bride who move past their honeymoon period as husband and wife. Similar to the Wizard of Oz, there is something incredibly magical about that song that truly relates to Wanda’s current false reality.
“Daydream Believer” is also about dealing with the hardships of reality. We’ve seen time and time again that Wanda is clearly doing her best to bury her trauma deep down into her subconsciousness. The signs of struggle are everywhere and her false reality is crumbling all around her. Wanda’s perfect world has a shelf life, and it’s crashing sooner than later.
One of my favorite scenes comes towards the end when we see Wanda change the aspect ratio change from 4:4 to standard film. It’s not only our first confirmation that Wanda is the one manipulating her reality, but she’s also doing so to avoid the pain of Vision’s death in the real world.
What didn’t work:
This was top to bottom a great episode. One of my nitpicks from episodes 1 and 2 was that it relied too heavily on distancing itself from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The sitcom concept is fun, but the novelty of it quickly fell flat. Episode 3 was a great sign of things to come. In my opinion, this was the most MCU-feeling episode to date because it truly pushed the needle forward in story telling.
Final Thoughts & Grade
Wanda’s arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of tragedy. Wanda is living her best days inside her perfect world. She is finally safe living amongst a world of sitcoms when every issue is non-threatening and can be resolved within a 30 minute episode. Wanda has two amazing children and the love of her life at her side.
WandaVision thrives when it’s addressing the darkness within Wanda’s life. I think we’re going to see those things surface and we’re just starting to see that make an impact. Episode 3 put more pieces of the puzzle on the board but also took some off for fans to speculate. For me, this week’s episode was the best so far this season. Buckle up MCU fans, we’re in for a trippy and emotional ride.