Friday, February 26, 2021

Recap: Welcome to Westview in ‘WandaVision’ Season 1, Episode 1 “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”

It’s finally arrived, the premiere episodes of WandaVision, the first of the Marvel Studios series slated for release on Disney+. Excitement for the series has been buzzing since its announcement at San Diego Comic Con in 2019, but does it live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

Welcome to Westview in the 50s! A newlywed couple just moved to town, a totally regular husband and wife … or not.

The series opens with our newlywed couple, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) still in their wedding attire, driving up to their new home in the quaint little town of Westview. Wanda wastes no time in utilizing her reality-bending magic as she plasters a SOLD! over the FOR SALE sign outside their new home, and as Vision in all his chivalrous glory sweeps his new bride off her feet to carry her over the threshold, he forgets that Wanda cannot travel through walls as he can … even if he’s carrying her. Oops.

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Image courtesy of Disney/Marvel

Flying saucers and indestructible heads, oh my! Wanda still has no qualms about using her powers, and it’s making her quite an exceptional housewife. Except for that plate she sent crashing over Vision’s head, but it’s fine, he can take it. That shattered ceramic is no match for either of them, however, as Wanda easily waves the shards back together and places the plate where it belongs — on the shelf. She offers her doting husband the option of a hearty breakfast, but he refuses. He doesn’t eat food, after all.

Vision catches sight of the calendar on the wall and is immediately perplexed by a heart over today’s date, August 23. What could it mean? We get what seems to be a tiny blip in the facade as Wanda tells Vision she’s wearing her apron to do her best to “blend in.” Does she know they don’t belong there?

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The two banter about the importance of the date, neither able to land on its significance. Before he heads off to work, Wanda has to remind Vision to uh … put a smile on. A smile, of course, being a face that doesn’t look like a red robot’s.

A knock sounds through the house, and Wanda is greeted by her neighbor to the right, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), who comes bearing a house warming gift. Agnes asks what a single gal like Wanda is doing in a big ol’ house by herself, cuing Wanda in to her lack of a wedding ring. She assures Agnes that she is indeed married, to a human man no less, and that he’ll be home later that night for the two to celebrate a special occasion. But what is the occasion? Wanda still can’t figure it out.

Agnes rattles through all the possible moments to celebrate in one’s life, and Wanda agrees on an anniversary, but she doesn’t know how many years they’re celebrating. She responds with, “Well, it feels like we’ve always been together.” Nice save, Wanda. However, the struggle for Wanda continues as Agnes prods how they’ll be celebrating — celebrating? Agnes heads home to grab a magazine so the two ladies can get to work on creating a spectacular scene for the momentous occasion.

Vision has head off to work at Computational Services inc., and he’s quite the superstar employee, despite not knowing exactly what it is that they do there. Productivity has skyrocketed 300% since Vision joined the staff in their production of computational forms (what?); it’s almost as if he’s a walking computer! How preposterous! Vision is a regular carbon-based employee made of entirely organic matter, thank you very much!

The struggle of the importance of today’s date is still plaguing Vision as well, and he recruits a co-worker to help him uncover its significance. But they’re quickly interrupted by the big boss, Mr. Hart (Fred Melamed), who tells Vision he’s looking forward to dinner at his house that evening. Of course! A heart for Mr. Hart! Mr. Hart tells Vision about the dismal five-course meal he’d had at Jones’ home (Jones who is now packing his things to find gainful employment elsewhere), and Vision gets rightfully nervous as he realizes his job at Computational Service inc. may be in jeopardy. Mr. Hart asks if there are any unsuspecting skeletons in Vision’s closet, which is impossible, because Vision doesn’t have a skeleton.

Back at the Vision residence, Wanda and Agnes are in full-fledged planning mode. They run over a few seduction techniques as outlined by the magazine, and boy oh boy what’s more romantic than the statistic that the death rate of single men is twice that of married men. Get us a fan, it’s hot in here.

The phone rings, and it’s Vision. He’s panicking about tonight, but Wanda assures him she has everything under control … Wanda takes Vision’s nervousness over Mr. Hart for flirty and romantic and it’s great to see they’re both on the same page. Except …

A small commercial break — need a new toaster? Perhaps you’d be interested in the Toastmate 2000 from Stark Industries? “Forget the past, this is your new future.”

Image courtesy of Disney/Marvel

Vision, Mr. Hart and Mrs. Hart (Debra Jo Rupp) arrive for dinner, and the setting is a bit … romantic? Candles illuminate the sitting room as the harsh light from the table lamps is dimmed with draped sheer scarves. Vision runs off to the kitchen to find Wanda to inquire about the bizarre setting, but Wanda isn’t in the kitchen. She sneaks up behind Mr. Hart, dressed in a luxurious, feather-trimmed robe, and covers his eyes. Guess who? Vision emerges from the kitchen and finds the unusual situation before him, this hasn’t started well. In a nod to Wanda’s Sokovian roots, Vision introduces his European wife and her exotic manner of hospitality and attire.

The couple retreats to the kitchen to regroup in private. They bicker about the meaning of this day again, Wanda offended Vision doesn’t know what they’re celebrating (does she?) before Vision clears up what the heart was an abbreviation for — Mr. and Mrs. Hart coming for dinner.

You move at the speed of sound and I can make a pen float through the air. Who needs to abbreviate?

-Wanda

Vision assures he’s is very appreciative of Wanda’s efforts (and her dress) for him, but right now he needs to impress his boss, and no Wanda, that single chocolate covered strawberry won’t do. And in a snap of her fingers, Wanda is out of her robe and dressed to impress. She’s got this under control.

It’s time to create a diversion, so Vision talks shop with Mr. Hart in the sitting room, and he still doesn’t get the purpose of the company. At all. Meanwhile in the kitchen, Agnes arrives with a lifeline: ingredients and supplies so Wanda can create an unforgettable dinner for their guests. Mrs. Hart, getting more and more irritable by each starving moment, offers to go and assist Wanda. Wanda shoos Agnes out, not paying close enough attention to Agnes’ planned courses for the night and again causes a ruckus. Mrs. Hart, in her hangry impatience, opens the shades to the kitchen and there’s dinner … floating in the air. Quickly, Vision breaks into “Yakety Yak” song to turn their guests’ attention away from his wife delightfully magical dinner preparation skills and onto his dismal singing voice. Thankfully, it works and Wanda snaps the shades closed again.

Even with her powers, Wanda turns out to be a pretty terrible cook. One snap overcooks the chicken, and the next turns it right back into a basket of eggs, thank goodness Vision has broken out his ukulele and is entertaining at least Mrs. Hart with a rousing rendition of “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” Ee i ee i o …

Wanda and the kitchen are still not agreeing: “The chicken is no longer a chicken, and the lobsters just flew the coop.” Wanda has to head out to find those dastardly lobsters, and she leaves Vision in charge of tenderizing the meat. Vision, who has seemingly forgot his own super-strength, goes a little overboard with tenderizing and more … pulverizes it. In the sitting room, Wanda gets ambushed on her way out the front door by her very irritated and starving guests, so of course what’s a better way to calm tempers than with a fun fact! “Were either of you aware that married men are killing single men at an alarming rate!” Recalling her seduction technique lesson from earlier with Agnes, Wanda tries the first suggestion of feigning a fall, forcing Mr. Hart to catch her.

Another knock at the door, who could that be? It’s Agnes, delivering a pineapple for the upside-down cake. This night is going great. Mr. Hart is getting angry as Mrs. Hart confesses that her head is getting spinny, time is running out! Dinner is finally served. Breakfast for dinner. “How very European,” Mrs. Hart announces.

Dinner begins as most dinners would, with Mrs. Hart inquiring into the history of the lovely couple who is hosting them, and they don’t have the answers. Mr. Hart finds this bizarre, and his patience grows thin. In his irritation, he begins to choke on a sausage. That’s when things get really strange.

Mrs. Hart repeats “stop it” over and over as Wanda and Vision look on confused, Mr. Hart eventually toppling from his chair to the floor. In a noticeably different tone than any other we’ve heard thus far in the series, Wanda commands Vision to help him, and he obeys, as if he’d been waiting for her to instruct him to do so. Using his intangible abilities, he reaches through man’s throat and pulls the lodged food straight out. Mr. and Mrs. Hart make a quick getaway after the incident, Mr. Hart impressed with the evening, promising a chat about a promotion first thing Monday morning.

Vision reverts back to his normal form as he and Wanda settle after their guests leave, and they address the things they seem to be missing — an anniversary, a song, and wedding rings. A quick solution comes to Vision’s mind: today is their anniversary, their song is “Yakety Yak,” and well, why can’t Wanda just make them some rings? So she does.

And they lived happily ever after.

Image courtesy of Disney/Marvel

The credits roll, which Vision flicked on with a remote, onto a television playing at S.W.O.R.D., the Sentient World Observation and Response Department (S.H.I.E.L.D.’s galactic counterpart), who are keeping watch over the bizarre happenings at the Vision residence in Westview …

The main question episode 1 left us with is who’s in charge? Who’s trapped Wanda here — herself or someone else? When Vision had to be commanded to save Mr. Hart’s life, it would seem that Wanda held the remote to this new reality, however in the final scene Vision is seen with a remote in his hands as he turns the credits on. Does he have some control over himself in this sitcom? Also, who from S.W.O.R.D. is watching? And why?

Episodes 1 and 2 of WandaVision are currently streaming exclusively on Disney+, episode 3 will arrive next Friday, January 22.

Kaity
Kaity
Kaity started with Harry Potter in second grade and it’s been a losing battle ever since, or maybe a winning one ... She lives in New England with a small herd of cats, two dogs, three chinchillas, and one daughter. Her main fandoms are Marvel, The Umbrella Academy, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, with special emphasis on one vibranium shield-wielding Super Soldier. Contact: Directors@Nerdsandbeyond.com.

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