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WANDAVISION 1×04 “We Interrupt This Program” Review

WANDAVISION’s third episode, “We Interrupt This Program,” excels as the series’ best episode to date. Read Neil’s full review right here…

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WandaVision (Disney+)

Synopsis

WandaVision peels back the curtain to reveal the real-world events taking place outside the town of Westview.

Review

Over the course of its first three episodes WandaVision did a brilliant job of setting up this strange new Marvel reality. It kept a tight grip on its central mystery, never loosening to give away more than the viewer needed to know. But rather than frustrate the audience or confess its true meaning, WandaVision instead saved that gratification for episode four.

“We Interrupt This Program” opens with a fantastic scene set within the Infinity War/Endgame period of the MCU. The cinematography is frenetic and disorientating creating a really anxious and immersive moment. The MCU initiated will instantly understand the context of the scene. But even for the most knowledgable it still adds some weighty emotional context to “The Blip.”

In this chaotic moment we meet Gabriela (Teyonah Parris) and learn her true identity. It will come as a surprise to nobody as Parris was previously announced as the adult Monica Rambeau. But the scenario of how we learn her identity here has some great emotional stakes tied in. It also allows WandaVision to circle back to Captain Marvel, paying homage to Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau.

From the outset this episode makes it clear that it won’t be following the WandaVision format. Set almost entirely in the outside world it serves to unveil plenty of the facts. Without spoiling it too heavily, “We Interrupt This Program” leaves the viewer with an understanding of what’s really going on. There are some strong hints as to why Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) is in the situation she’s in. But we’re no closer to understanding how the story will bring itself to a satisfying resolution.

This is a much more straightforward episode. Written by Bobak Esfarjani and Megan McDonell its much more of a classic MCU episode. Any viewers pining for the days of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be happy to see the presence of S.W.O.R.D. looming large this week. Marvel Studios is absolutely using this as a vehicle to lay the groundwork for the future landscape of its movies. In doing so WandaVision is instantly elevated to becoming a worthy cinematic entry to the franchise.

The episode is anchored by a trio of returning characters. The aforementioned Monica Rambeau (Parris). The brilliant Randall Park as FBI agent Jimmy Woo, last seen in Ant-Man and The Wasp. Finally we get the long awaited return of Kat Dennings as the now Dr Darcy Lewis. Dennings was a standout in the ensemble cast of both Thor and Thor: The Dark World, it’s great to see her character stepping out here. Marvel has cleverly allowed likeable characters from its past to develop off screen and return in a new capacity. Rather than working as Jane Foster’s assistant, this new Darcy is (mostly) in control.

These characters offer three very different anchor points to the wider-world of the MCU. With Rambeau we have ties to Carol Danver’s and the space exploration aspect of the movies. With Lewis it harkens back to Phase 1 and the formation of the Avengers. Then with Woo we get more of the comedic aspects which have risen to the fore in movies like Ant-Man. It’s a greatest hits of Marvel movies past returning to help further the franchise.

Suffice to say that after three weeks of relative comedy WandaVision hits a dark spot this week. A highlight moment in this episode serves up the culprit of Wanda’s predicament but also a reveal of how Vision (Paul Bettany) exists in this scenario. The moment itself is unexpected and shocking. Played beautifully by Olsen and Bettany it’s just further proof that these two were born to work together. It also showcases the versatility of WandaVision and the Marvel franchise. If the series continues to be littered with moments like this it will prove that tonally Marvel knows exactly what it’s doing.

Verdict

“We Interrupt This Program” excels as WandaVision‘s best episode to-date. Dark twists and wider MCU connections help bring a new level of context to the sitcom-style reality.

WandaVision stars the returning Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as Vision. Joining them are Kathryn Hahn, Kat Dennings, Randall Park and Teyonah Parris.


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