Disney+ shows off it’s new sci-fi superhero show guest starring continuity and lots of familiar faces…It’s not an episode that can be discussed without substantial spoilers, so be warned!
No sitcom this week, instead we go into the widescreen Marvel Cinematic Universe and catch up with some side characters.
Because I watched Star Trek: Lower Decks and because I’m revisiting the history of the Puppy Debarkle, I decided to re-read (or listen to for the first time) John Scalzi’s Redshirts. This week’s episode of WandaVision is sort of a reverse version of the underlying metafiction idea. Both stories feature side characters discovering that a television show has it’s own separate physical reality. However, WandaVision has them on the outside looking in.
We meet Monica Rambeau (aka Geraldine – last seen being ejected from sitcom-land) as she blips back into existence following the events of Avengers: Endgame. The episode tracks her return to the post-Thanos world at her job with S.W.O.R.D. — Marvel’s hi-tech space agency, which I don’t think we’ve seen before in the MCU (although hinted at in earlier episodes of WandaVision.
Her first return-to-work/don’-over-exert-yourself mission leads her to FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park, last seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp) who has a missing person case…which rapidly turns into a whole missing town case. From there we start seeing the outside world events that have been intruding into the earlier sitcom episodes. The toy helicopter? A surveillance drone Monica sent in to try and get visuals of the town that has been encased in a mystery energy field.
Enter as well, Darcy Lewis — last seen in Thor: The Dark World back in 2013. As part of a bevy of experts, her experience with weird cosmic physics leads her to discover a TV signal emitting from the missing town, which leads to…the people in this episode getting to see the sitcom we’ve all been watching. Which in turn puts Darcy Lewis into a kind of viewer insert character, discussing the very kinds of theories and plot observations that we’ve been doing while watching the earlier episodes.
It’s serious fun but no wacky Paul Bettany antics or new sitcom pastiche. There aren’t many answers either about the whole “why” of the situation. However, we do know a few more things:
- Wanda is definitely in a place and that place has it’s own alternate reality.
- It’s not a case of her being unconscious or in a virtual reality.
- The setting is post Avengers: Endgame.
- In ‘reality’ Vision is definitely dead.
- Wanda’s powers are involved.
The episode manages to maintain some of the playfulness of the earlier episodes but it’s very much an assertion of the series as part of the broader continuity.