Recap & Review: ‘WandaVision’ Episode 2: the 1960s start to open up some possibilities

Last time we had an episode of a 1950s sitcom, this time we get one from the 1960s. WandaVision continues to be super weird and super fun.

WandaVision

Seriously. Spoilers galore are coming. You’ve been warned.

As the story begins, our heroes (still in black and white) are in separate beds, and there is a noise outside that wakes Wanda. Vision gets up to check on what the noise might be an just as he is saying that he can’t see anything, another noise scares him back into bed. Vision remarks that his work colleagues have mentioned some new unsavoury characters in town and Wanda mentions that maybe it’s them! Wanda uses her powers to put the beds together at the next noise, and she opens the curtains to see it’s a tree branch. As she turns the lights out with her power, it cuts to a 1960s style animated credits sequence.

After the credits we join Vision practising a magic act for “the talent show fundraiser”, casting himself as Illusion and Wanda as his novel assistant Glamour. Vision questions why they are doing this and Wanda lets him know that it’s important to her for them to fit into their new home and new lives, and to seem as normal as possible to their new neighbours.

Looking at the time Wanda realizes she has to leave to head to the talent show planning committee meeting and Vision wants to join the neighbourhood watch meeting at the library. As Wanda prepares to leave she hears another bang, and when she goes outside to investigate she finds a small radio-controlled helicopter. This helicopter stands out because unlike the rest of the world, it is brightly coloured in red and yellow. Also noteworthy, it has a S.W.O.R.D. logo on it, but more on that later. Wanda looks up at the house worriedly just as Agnes shows up with her pet rabbit for Vision to use in his magic act.

They proceed to the planning committee meeting, and Agnes lets Wanda know that if she wants to fit in in the town, she’ll have to make friends with Dottie, the head of the committee. At the meeting itself, Dottie (Emma Caulfield) is revealed to be a queen bee; you know the type who belittles people with a smile on their face. At one point she remarks that the devil is in the details and Agnes quietly says “that’s not the only place he is” while opening a flask. Next to Wanda is a woman who introduces herself as Geraldine. When Dottie remarks that the whole event is “for the children” all the other women repeat it in unison, which is …. creepy.

Meanwhile at the neighbourhood watch meeting Vision joins the local men and asks a flurry of questions before being told that “new business” means they have another round of danishes, which Vision declines because he doesn’t eat food. The rest of the meeting turns out to be just a gossip session, and when Vision suggests that his neighbour Norm is a communist, it cracks up everyone at the table. One of them offers him a stick of gum which he agrees to chew, but when he accidentally swallows it we get an animated clip of gum literally jamming up the gears on his inside.

Back at Dottie’s house Wanda has stayed behind to help clean up and Dottie mentions that she has heard things about Wanda and Vision. Wanda assures her that she doesn’t mean anyone any harm, and Dottie replies “I don’t believe you.” At that moment the radio clicks on and The Beach Boys “Help Me Rhonda” comes on, but it’s “Help Me Wanda”, and a voice in the background is asking if Wanda can here him, and “who is doing this to you?”

“Who are you?” Dottie asks before the radio shorts out and she crushes a glass with her hand, cutting it deeply and revealing crimson red blood.

Cut to a commercial for a luxury watch, a Strucker. More on that in a bit, too.

Cut to backstage at the talent show, and Vision is nowhere to be seen until he shows up acting incredibly drunk due to the gum he swallowed. Wanda tries to tell him something strange happened at Dottie’s, but Vision is too out of it, and they are slated to go on stage. The next sequence with Vision using his powers to perform magic and Wanda using hers to cover up his powers and make it seem like everything he is doing is a poorly executed illusion is legitimately hilarious, especially with Bettany doing some really funny drunk acting and yelling “flourish!” every time he does a flourish.

The show appears to be a disaster but at its climax they make Geraldine appear out of the cabinet of mysteries, and the show is praised as the most hilarious thing anyone has ever done at the talent show. Wanda is able to remove the gum from Vision’s inner workings and they receive an award for best comedy performance.

They bring Geraldine up ons take with them to accept the award and she asks how she went from being backstage one moment to in the box the next, but “a magician never reveals his secrets”.

Back at home they comment on their day and how they are a good couple, and when Wanda gets up to make popcorn it’s revealed she’s suddenly pregnant. Before that can be explored further there is another bang outside and Vision goes out to see what it was. Not the tree this time, a man in a beekeeper outfit with a S.W.O.R.D. logo on the back emerges from a manhole cover in the middle the street. When he looks right at them (his face obscured in darkness) Wanda says “No” and time rewinds back to the moment where they notice she is pregnant. “Is this really happening?” she asks. “Yes, my love, this is really happening,” he responds. They kiss, and the black and white world becomes colourized.

Another period accurate title card and more of the voice asking “Who is doing this too you Wanda?” before it cuts to the credits.


There are a few more things to unpack in this episode than the last, namely that while both Wanda and Vision seem confused at their surroundings, Wanda seems like she must know something about what is going on. Is she in this world perhaps by choice? The rest of the series will ultimately tell, but for now, we’ll have to be content with the mystery.

One of the biggest clues in this episode is the logo for S.W.O.R.D. In the comics S.W.O.R.D. stands for Sentient World Observation and Response Department, and is a sister agency to S.H.I.E.L.D. that monitors for threats from space. Apparently, the name will be changed to Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division in the MCU, and I’m guessing by that name they’re set up to monitor for beings like Vision and Ultron, but maybe also for incredibly powerful people like Wanda herself. Time will tell on that one, but her seeming to have more knowledge about this constructed reality seems like it could be an indication that she created it, and maybe that scares the hell out of them. That would fit with some of the Scarlet Witch centric comics, like House of M, where she creates an entire alternate reality in a moment of despair.

Also of interest, the person in the Beekeeper suit had a S.W.O.R.D. logo on his back, but in the comics the uniforms worn by the people of Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.), aka the bad guys from Iron Man Three. In the comics A.I.M. were responsible for creating the Cosmic Cube, a reality warping object at the heart of many Marvel stories. I had thought they turned that into the Tesseract in the MCU (the Cosmic Cube is often associated with Red Skull) but writers can do what they like so maybe A.I.M. have tried to recreate the Tesseract and ended up with the Cosmic Cube? I dunno, just spitballing here.

In the comics A.I.M. was a splinter group of Hydra, and the commercial in the middle of the episode is for a luxury watch, The Strucker, which you may remember is the name of the short-lived MCU bad guy played by Thomas Kretschmann. Baron von Strucker only appeared in a post-credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and as the minor antagonist in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but in the comics, he is a big deal in Hydra and has been around for decades. In case you didn’t remember that the watch face literally has a Hydra logo on it. The MCU version of Strucker is (at least) partially responsible for Wanda getting her powers too, so there is a lot to mine there. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. already did a long arc involving his family and Hydra, but I honestly don’t know if that show counts any more.

There are at least two more Marvel characters in this episode, too. Geraldine is played by Teyonah Parris who we already know from the marketing of the show to be Monica Rambeau, who first appeared as a child in Captain Marvel (Daughter of Carol’s best friend Maria Rambeau, she helped Carol choose the colours of her uniform). It is an easy leap to make that she is an agent of S.W.O.R.D.

Eagle eared listeners will recognize the voice of actor Randall Park as the voice on the radio, who is reprising his role as Agent Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man and the Wasp in this series. He was an F.B.I. agent in that movie, perhaps he’s moved to S.W.O.R.D. for this series, too?

So yeah. S.W.O.R.D., A.I.M., and Hydra all potentially in the mix here.

The first episode had a distinct 50s sitcom aesthetic, and this episode takes us into 60s sitcom, episode 3 will take us into the 70s. I’m looking forward to unravelling this mystery more; what do you guys think?

Other Thoughts

  • Red, against black and white, is always striking.
  • I loved the little animated clip that shows the gum gaming up literal gears in Visions stomach.
  • I also loved Paul Bettany’s perfect drunk acting. I really do think that we’ve all been sleeping on what a funny guy he is lately.
  • We already know that this series will tie into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Captain Marvel 2, but I wonder how far-reaching the consequences of this series could be? Kang the Conqueror is set to be in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, and he comes from a possible far-flung future, and the quantum realm leads to anywhere that the writers want it to. Ok. I should stop thinking about this. That’s a whole other piece.

WandaVision Coverage:

  1. Review of episodes 1-3: ‘WandaVision’ is delightfully weird and intriguing
  2. Recap: Episode One: “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”
  3. Recap: Episode Two: “Don’t Touch That Dial”
  4. Recap: Episode Three: “Now in Color”
  5. Recap: Episode Four: “We Interrupt This Program”
  6. Recap: Episode Five: “On A Very Special Episode…”
  7. Recap: Episode Six: “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!”
  8. Recap: Episode Seven: “Breaking the Fourth Wall”
  9. Recap: Episode Eight: “Previously On”