If you are not familiar with “The Dick Van Dyke Show” or “Bewitched,” the first two episodes of the new Disney+ Marvel show “WandaVision” will seem very unrelatable.
Wanda, aka Scarlet Witch and Vision, played again by Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, move from the events of “Avengers: End Game” to the small screen, so the audience is set to believe.
Wanda and Vis are reintroduced as a married couple in a 1950s black-and-white homage to “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” living out life in suburbia with a special day marked on the calendar. Vision goes off to work as Wanda stays home and the pair prepare for their big night. Wanda is led to believe it’s their anniversary as Vision will be bringing home his boss and wife.
While their powers are present, they are used to setup the comedic elements of the sitcom as the evening is a disaster.
Only at the close of this first episode does the audience get a quick glimpse at the evil lair of individual behind this charade.
Episode two was also released and repeated the exercise of presenting Wanda and Vision in a classic sitcom, this time with a more “Bewitched” themed episode.
The small town, Westview, is having a talent show and Vision rehearses their act as a Magician and assistant. Wanda is faced with the gossip and backbiting elements of the wives’ clique in town, while Vision accidentally swallows a piece of gum, quite literally “gumming up” his inner, mechanical parts.
Vision glitches, due to the gum, and Wanda secretly uses her powers to turn their magic act into a successful comedy routine.
As color is first introduced, with Wanda finding a drone helicopter and then her seeing blood as red, breaks the barrier to the audience, confirming the obvious – the superhero is trapped inside this world.
During this episode, there are a few moments of a message coming through the radio: “Wanda, who is doing this to you?”
The close of episode two involves a beekeeper crawling out of manhole, more on that below.
Color arrives in WandaVision as the show ends episode two looking like a setup for a “Brady Bunch” inspired romp and the big news that Wanda is pregnant.
The problem with these first two episodes is that they probably needed to just be one as clearly they setup a large narrative that Wanda is trapped in this world, possibly due to her mourning the loss of Vision.
By the middle of episode two, I felt ready to move along.
Audiences are deeply invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but creators want to dabble with artsy messages and tropes that most viewers don’t enjoy.
At face value, “WandaVision” is boring and the characters are distant and boring. Disney may be ok with fattening up their library with the unnecessary 30 minutes, but we’re clearly not in “Pleasantville.”
Viewers will be told about the hints, metaphors and symbols that they missed then later episodes air.
There is a ton of fan service in “WandeVision,” like the SWORD logo on the beekeeper’s suit.
SWORD (Sentient World Observation and Response Department), which is basically SHIELD with aliens. It seems believable that SWORD is trying to communicate with Wanda (she may be in a coma) and the audience is watching what SWORD is watching.
Critics and analysts will certainly discuss the allegories, layers and layers of symbolism, but on the surface, this is more of the prologue to actual condition of Wanda and the show at large.