“We Interrupt This Program” disrupts the perfect sitcom universe we have grown used to. Still, it also provides the necessary context to explain the twisted reality of what we have been watching.
The Fourth Episode of WandaVision Gets Meta
The fourth episode of WandaVision breaks the mold set by the previous trio of episodes. It opens mere seconds after the Hulk reversed Thanos’ snap during the events of Avengers: Endgame. Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) returns and learns that her twenty-minute nap was actually five years in “the Blip,” which saw millions of people vanishing into thin air. In her absence, she discovers that her mother, Maria Rambeau, has died.
If you are not well versed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the sitcom character Geraldine is actually Monica Rambeau, the eleven-year-old girl we were introduced to in Captain Marvel. Her mother was an integral part of developing S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Department) which we learn Monica also works for.
- (L-R) Randall Park as Jimmy Woo and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studio's WandaVision exclusively on Disney+
Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg), the acting director of S.W.O.R.D., gives Monica an assignment in New Jersey. The episode sets off in the direction of giving us answers about what’s happening to Wanda and Vision. On the outskirts of Westview, New Jersey, Monica meets with FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and discovers that it's not just a missing person they’re dealing with, but a missing town.
Monica gets pulled through the town line, and we, as an audience, know where she’s gone. But with Captain Rambeau missing in action, S.W.O.R.D. sets up a joint-force base to get to the bottom of what’s happening in Westview. The best of the best get called in to begin researching the anomaly, which introduces another familiar character to the mix. The Thor alum Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) arrives on the scene and ends up figuring out what is going on. To an extent.
- (L-R) Randall Park as Jimmy Woo in Marvel Studio's WandaVision exclusively on Disney+
If you have spent the last three episodes with a whiteboard theorizing how Wanda and Vision got into this sitcom situation, then you are in good company because Jimmy Woo asks the hard questions on his own whiteboard.
“So you’re telling me the universe created a sitcom starring two Avengers?”
Fans of WandaVision have been speculating about how the show would feel once the sitcom tone was broken, and today’s episode came as a surprise to most of us. I saw people rewatching 80s sitcoms last night in preparation for an 80s-rewind today, but instead, we were treated with something new.
We got to watch Marvel characters, watching Marvel characters in a television show, while commenting on the fact that they were watching Avengers on television. It was gloriously meta and something so unlike any other superhero show we’ve seen before.
The biggest shocker in today’s episode came in the final moments as we learned the truth about just who is orchestrating this idyllic sitcom universe. If you theorized that Wanda Maximoff had created an entire world to keep her dead android boyfriend alive, then it would seem that you were correct. The second that Monica broke the fourth wall and brought reality into Wanda’s fictional universe, Wanda sent her flying back into the real world, and things began to slip.
To answer the question on Jimmy Woo’s whiteboard, yes, it would seem that Vision is still dead. When he came back into the house, Wanda was met with the startling reality of his dead eyes and ruined forehead from where Thanos ripped the Mind Stone out of him.
To some extent, Vision seems aware that Wanda is doing something, and it wasn’t the first time that this has happened. Of course, Wanda quickly shuts it down each time and clings to the world she created for them.
If it is true that Wanda is the mastermind behind the TV Land universe, who can blame her? Stark Industries killed her parents; her twin brother was killed in The Age of Ultron, she was forced to kill Vision only to have it reversed, so she had to witness Ultron murdering him, and then she lost all of the Avengers that she was the closest to. I, too, would create an alternate universe where my only concern was an unexpected dinner guest.
I am unnecessarily hard on the Marvel Cinematic Universe so trust me when I say that WandaVision is one of the best superhero shows in the past decade. Over the course of four episodes, it has left me desperately wanting to learn more. The performances are layered, the production design is wholly unique, and the scripts are consistently good. With a long list of future Marvel series headed to Disney+, they will struggle with matching the perfection of WandaVision.
Hopefully, we’ll also learn if Darcy ever got her coffee.