Warning: This WandaVision episode 2 review contains spoilers. If you have not watched the Disney Plus show yet, then bookmark this page and come back when you're all caught up...
Let’s all be thankful that WandaVision launched with two episodes on Disney Plus. The first dives headfirst into its sitcom stylings while offering little clue as to what’s coming next. Without a second episode, there would be no telling where the show would be heading, such is the discombobulating nature of this surprisingly delightful Marvel show.
However, with the sequel already here on launch day, we know a few things: yes, we’re really going to be revisiting a different sitcom era with each episode, and yes, things really are about to get very, very weird for Wanda and Vision as this TV world implodes around them.
We’ve now seen a red-coloured helicopter interrupt the black and white setting, a strange beekeeper coming out of a manhole, and the radio ask, “Who is doing this to you Wanda?” From the looks of it, we can probably guess that the agency SWORD – they’re like SHIELD, but deal with extraterrestrial issues – is attempting to rescue Wanda and Vision from this strange setting.
It’s also worth noting that Teyonah Parris makes an appearance here as Geraldine, who's not a Geraldine at all but Monica Rambeau; a younger version of the character appeared in Captain Marvel, and, in the comics, Monica herself inherits the Captain Marvel name. While she plays coy here, pretending to be another citizen of the idyllic American town, we can expect her true motives to soon become clear. And that leads us to wondering, who is keeping Wanda’s mind hostage? My money’s on Wanda somehow doing this to herself, in hopes of staying with Vision a little longer – lest we forget, Vision should be dead – but there’s no doubt much more to this conundrum.
That central mystery is all very well and good, but that’s not what’s enjoyable about WandaVision. Where the first episode took inspiration from the Dick Van Dyke Show, the second looks to Bewitched, copying the same animated opening as that ‘60s sitcom. Bewitched follows a woman who’s actually a witch pretending to be an ordinary American housewife – sound familiar? The homages, including the entire neighbourhood talent contest fiasco, are wonderfully played, and there are enough references to have any sitcom lover floating to TV heaven.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are once again superb. In the movies, there’s little meat to the pair’s relationship, but within just two episodes, it’s hard not to feel invested in the romance, making the intrusions from the outside world feel even more obtrusive. Bettany is the standout this time around: the running gag of Vision trying to blend in with his fellow not-robots is funny, but not overplayed, and gummed-up drunk Vision brings a lot of laughs during a talent show-gone-wrong. Indeed, Illusion and Glamour’s magical performance is a stand-out set piece and not one you would ever expect to see in a Marvel series: a year ago, if someone had said the superhero studio’s first Disney Plus show would feature an entire episode spoofing Bewitched and ending in a talent show, I would not have believed you.
That’s the beauty of WandaVision, though. Within two episodes, it has been remarkably bizarre, especially for a show meant to launch Marvel Phase 4. Grounded by two pitch-perfect performances, there’s a lot to love, and this episode has the perfect balance of intrigue and fun sitcom antics – let’s hope they don’t overdo either aspect in the weeks to come. Whether Marvel fans who want an action-filled series will be satisfied is another matter altogether…
Episodes of WandaVision are being released weekly by Disney Plus. Check out the full WandaVision release schedule for when to expect the next episode. For more Marvel coverage, check out our primer on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.