Warning: The following article contains spoilers for episode 5 of WandaVision. For a catch-up on all that’s happened previously, click here.
After an exposition-filled episode four, WandaVision returns this week with stellar plot development. Episode five picks up immediately where four left off. After finding out what has been going outside of Wanda’s bubble, we get an episode mixing events both inside and outside it. The first four episodes left us in the dark in regards to some aspects of the story, however, this week’s episode of WandaVision seems to embrace the larger narrative.
On Wanda’s side of things, we have the sitcom setting changed to an 80’s backdrop. In the vein of Family Ties, Wanda stresses the importance of family to Vision and her children. Speaking of, Wanda’s children seem to age in the blink of an eye; they’re young boys at the episode’s halfway point. The intro and production design is as always entertaining. The exploration and homage of different decades of sitcom television is where WandaVision’s strength lies. The eeriness and atmosphere breaking tension from knowing something isn’t right engages the viewer.
WandaVision takes the comfort and safety sitcom television exudes, and turns it on itself. The result is some disturbing dramatic cues that tear down the comfort and melancholy it tries to build. The way this reflects Wanda’s own mental state and her means of coping with loss is a testament to the shows writing. Even the way the episode deals with the high high’s and grim lows of an 80’s sitcom is clever.
However, the story development on the outside of Wanda’s bubble is a bit lacking. Agent Woo, Monica Rambeau, and Darcy are the focus on this end. These segments of the episode do more of the exposition-heavy lifting. It is more of what was seen in the previous episode, though its screen time is shared with Wanda’s sitcom world. These less experimental parts of the story delve into typical MCU storytelling. Moreover, it grounds the story in the reality of the world. Watching everything accounted for and answered away takes some of the fun out of it. Nevertheless, the chemistry between the characters in this section more than makes up for the flaws. There is also an intriguing backstory involving Wanda that is hinted at that makes me look forward to it being answered in future episodes.
Also seeing Wanda show signs of her older self from the previous films helped re-immerse us in the MCU of old. Moving from the experimental and odd from the first few episodes and reverting to the more familiar works better in this aspect of the episode, and the show as a whole.
As the reality is slowly but surely collapsing on itself, Vision also begins to take action in investigating. Paul Bettany is the highlight of this episode thanks to this. He clearly begins to feel uncomfortable and scared about where he and Wanda are. Their connection and love for each other was the only constant that kept him ignorant to what was going on around them. Only when someone else is in danger does he decide to confront Wanda. What follows is one of the most emotional and intriguing moments of the show thus far.
Vision finally confronts Wanda on the facade that surrounds her, and the people they are putting in danger. Wanda and Vision finally have their moment of truth together. It’s a beautifully tragic moment as Wanda is confronted with the harsh realities of her past that she does not want to acknowledge. Vision is also on full emotional display, a desperation we haven’t quite seen from the android before. Sure, he is comfortable facing his own creator, or death at the hands of a mad Titan. However, being unsure of and not in control of his own fate is when Vision faces fear.
Overall, WandaVision marks a strong halfway point with Episode 5. It is the best of the series yet, showcasing some amazing acting, as well as some great storytelling. While bogged down by some exposition and world-building outside of Wanda’s bubble, episode 5 of WandaVision manages to be an emotionally thrilling time with an ending I’m sure no one saw coming. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 9/10