***Note: The following may contain spoilers for major events in the WandaVision series. Read at your own discretion***
I’ll admit. When I saw the first two episodes of WandaVision, I thought, “Pleasantville did this so much better.”
Luckily, that wasn’t really the point. While that film and this series share a few common themes, WandaVision focuses more on grief compared to Pleasantville’s commentary on personal and political oppression.
We knew walking into this series what to expect: pretty much nothing. Marvel chose to focus solely on mystery and intrigue, a major first. Each episode drew us in and slowly unraveled the central tragedy of the story.
We knew something was incredibly off with Wanda. We simply didn’t know how deep, which was thrilling! As a fan of creepypastas, I saw the symptoms. A missing frame here, an extended pause there. We were in for a treat to say the least.
Episodes 1 and 2 had a job to do. We needed to be immersed in this creepy sitcom universe. Of course Episode 2 featured much more comedy than Episode 1, but both got the job done. The dinner table scene in Episode 1, in particular, scratched my creepy itch.
Still, it was just a promise of what was to come, not necessarily a fully-realized narrative arc. Of course, the promise would be kept as time went on.
Each episode became a journey into the future as we arrived in increasingly modern sitcom realms. We learned that the outside world and SWORD knew about Westview and had their own plans for its residents.
New characters (old comics characters) showed up such as Monica Rambeau and the villainous Agatha Harkness. Agatha’s entrance, in particular, was the standout performance of the entire show.
Then there was the “Pietro” red herring, which I wasn’t a fan of. Ralph Bohner? Bohner? Evan Peters could have honestly just played himself if they were going to go that route. Looking back, we really didn’t even need him at all to progress the story.
Monica Rambeau’s insistence on making excuses for Wanda and trying to save her at all costs gave me Magical Negro vibes. Though, it wasn’t enough to completely write her off. The writers made sure to draw the connection between the two concerning grief. This, in turn, made her motivation a lot more believable.
The finale devolved into the standard Marvel fare. There’s a climactic battle, the big bad shoots out a few sarcastic one-liners, etc. I hate to call it a de-evolution as it was visually fantastic for a web series, but alas. We’d seen it before.
However, none of that takes away from the emotional ending we were “gifted” with.
Wanda’s universe wasn’t meant to last. Her children, Vision, the mental chokehold she had on the Westview residents. She could only find her way out through acceptance. We were never going to get a happy ending. The first wonky frame clued us in.
At its core, WandaVision is a show that explores the stages of grief, with almost each episode being a different stage. Grief and trauma can be unsettling and horrifying. WandaVision succeeds when it fully embraces these concepts.
Overall, the series serves as an outstanding entry into the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even outside of the MCU, there’s no show quite like it, an exploration of grief that manages to be timely in its ironic usage of old sitcoms.
What did you think of the series? Are you excited for what’s to come in future Marvel releases? Sound off below!