‘WandaVision’ Lifts the Curtain on Life Outside of Westview (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for WandaVision Season 1, Episode 4, “We Interrupt This Program.”]
For the first three episodes of WandaVision, we’ve had questions layered on top of questions, with a side of more questions. Is Westview real? Who’s controlling it? Was Monica (Teyonah Parris) a spy, or did she really not know what was going on? Did Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) remember her past, or did it just come back to her in snippets, such as when Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) was mentioned?
“We Interrupt This Program” does exactly that — it (mostly) leaves the sitcom world of Wanda and Vision (Paul Bettany) for a peek at what’s happening out in the “real world.” As such, it also answers some of our questions, but, in true WandaVision style, we’re left with different ones as the episode ends. Here’s how it happens.
The Snap — & the Blip
The episode opens in the recent past, in the aftermath of “the snap” — the event from the Avengers movies when half the world disappears. Monica Rambeau awakens in the room where, as far as she knows, her mother and founder of S.W.O.R.D, Maria (Lashana Lynch) had been before undergoing surgery. The bed is empty and the hospital is in chaos, but she finds a nurse, who tells her horrible news: her mother has been dead for years. During the time in which Monica — along with half the universe — disappeared, her mother’s cancer had returned.
Of course, as Marvel fans know, those who disappeared come back in the Blip. So, a few weeks later, Monica is together enough to go back to work at S.W.O.R.D., which stands for “Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division.” She’s not fond of her assignment to babysit a drone being used for a missing persons case, but since landlocked missions are in accordance with her mother’s protocols for vanished agents recently returned, there’s nothing she can do about it.
Her mission gets more interesting, though, when she shows up outside the town of Westview, New Jersey, to meet up with FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). He briefs her on what he knows so far: His missing person (who is unnamed, but is in the witness protection program) appears to have vanished, and his close contacts have no memory of him. Furthermore, the local law enforcement sitting outside the town doesn’t even remember it existing: They say they’re from Eastview. “This isn’t a missing persons case,” Jimmy explains. “It’s a whole town.”
The Time Suck
Monica tries to send in her drone, and it disappears. She discovers there’s an energy field around the town, and when she presses her hand against it, she gets sucked in (hello, “Geraldine!”). The story then switches to her colleagues trying to find out where she went.
That’s when another Marvel character, Darcy (Kat Dennings), shows up and gets to work. She figures out how to translate the radiation wavelengths emitting from the town so they’re able to see what’s going on inside…aka, they can “watch the show.” And here comes the “beekeeper suit guy,” as S.W.O.R.D. sends him in through the storm drain to try and find out what’s going on with Monica.
The leader of S.W.O.R.D stops by to monitor their progress, and he’s treated to a few seconds from the WandaVision premiere, which Darcy has figured out how to watch. She doesn’t know if it’s being broadcast live or if it’s even real, but she knows there’s high levels of radiation dating back to the Big Bang outside the town. “You’re telling me the universe created a sitcom starring two Avengers?” Jimmy asks, incredulous. Sure seems like it…?
The next step is to identify who the “real” people are living in Westview and sticking files about them on an identification board. Vision’s boss and his boss’ wife are both real, as are plenty of the townspeople… interestingly, Emma Caulfield’s “Dottie” isn’t on the board.
Darcy and Jimmy then try to get through to the town via radio, as in Episode 2, but as Darcy watches, the program just skips. She thinks it’s a failure — but viewers know they did, indeed, reach Wanda. “Someone is censoring the broadcast,” Darcy realizes.
We then go back a bit in time to a WandaVision sitcom moment only alluded to in Episode 3: Wanda kicking Geraldine out of house. Here we see how it played out: When Geraldine insists she’s Wanda’s neighbor, Wanda, getting upset, doesn’t believe her. “You’re not my neighbor, and you’re not my friend,” Wanda says. She uses her powers to shove Geraldine through the wall, through a fence and, ultimately, through the energy field surrounding the town, where she lands in the field.
What Should We Watch Tonight?
Meanwhile, fast forward a bit to Vision returning from his chat with the neighbors about Geraldine. When Wanda turns around to see him, Vision is dead, the Infinity Stone ripped out of his forehead. She’s frightened, but when she looks away and back again, Vision is once again alive and well. He asks her if she’s sure this is their home and says they don’t have to stay there, but Wanda insists they do. Probably because Vision wouldn’t be alive anywhere else…
Things end with Monica just shoved out of Westview. She tells her colleagues. She conveys the info they’ve all been waiting for: “It’s Wanda. It’s all… Wanda.” While inside Westview, Wanda sits down with a confused (but still happy, how can you not love him?!) Vision and asks, “What should we watch tonight?”
- Well, this episode certainly doesn’t disprove the “Dottie-is-Mephisto” theory, given that it doesn’t appear she has a real-world identity.
- Here’s all the neighbors who have real-world identities, by the way: the boss and his wife, Norm, Herb, Jones, and Beverly. No mention of the mailman, though…?
- Olsen was tremendous in the scene where she kicks Geraldine out of the reality. I’m still not convinced this is all about Wanda (after all, how would Monica have known if it wasn’t?), but the grief and pain she displayed in those moments makes it possible it could be, and that everything happening in Westview is a side effect of her shattered heart.
- I don’t usually love “break-from-the-main-story” episodes, but this was key to understanding what was happening. Part of me wishes they’d woven it through the sitcoms, but then those would lose their “nostalgic TV show” feel.
- Wanda turning around and seeing dead Vision was legitimately scary. That’s not sitcom material, Marvel!
WandaVision, Fridays, Disney+