Someone please sit J.J. Abrams down to watch the first four episodes of “WandaVision”. Because this is how you build a mystery and then provide some answers while providing new questions for the audience to chew on. “We Interrupt This Program” provides some of the answers to the mysterious goings of the first three episodes, the out of place moments that didn’t fit the sitcom-style narratives that were on display, particularly the identity of Geraldine and who the ultimate cause of this strange phenomena really is.
Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.
First, the opening few minutes of the episode were harrowing in the extreme, as we get to see first-hand how the return of everyone from Thanos’ snap occurred. Monica Rambeau, played Teyonah Parris, returns in a hospital room, thinking mere moments have passed and desperately tries to find out what happened to the person that was in the hospital room with her. Pandemonium has engulfed the hospital as people who were snapped out of existence suddenly return. No one knows what is going on and everyone is frantic. The tension, dread, elation, and fear of everyone in the scene is palpable, but most especially for Monica once we discover why she was in the hospital to begin with: her mother, Maria Rambeau, had been in surgery for a cancer treatment and was recovering. We then learn that Maria died in the intervening five years from the snap to the return (the “blip” is the official term used in-universe but I really don’t like that name).
We learn that Maria Rambeau (the best friend and pilot from Captain Marvel), founded SWORD, which is revealed to stand for Sentient World Observation and Response Department. Monica grew up in SWORD, eventually become a pilot and seeing the stars, like she promised that she would in Captain Marvel. But she’s grounded due to the protocols put in place by her mother shortly before Maria passed away from cancer two years after the snap occurred. Teyonah’s performance throughout the episode’s flashbacks is quite good. You can see there are moments where she puts on a brave mask but she’s clearly discombobulated from her return to existence and learning that she’s lost her mother without the chance to say goodbye. And then she’s given a mundane assignment that turns into something entirely strange and unusual.
It’s established early on in the episode that the series is taking place three weeks after the ending of Avengers: Endgame. Monica is sent to Westview, New Jersey to assist with a missing person’s case. When she arrives, she meets FBI Agent James “Jimmy” Woo. I didn’t realize this while watching the episode but this is the same Jimmy Woo that was in Ant-Man and the Wasp that spent much of that film haranguing Scott Lang about his house arrest and being impressed by Scott’s simple sleight-of-hand tricks. When Monica gets pulled into the energy field distortion surrounding Westview, SWORD descends on the small New Jersey town, which brings back one of my favorite side characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Darcy Lewis, now a Doctor of Astrophysics (which makes sense given the amount of work she probably did with Jane Foster and Erik Selvig after the two outings with a certain blonde Norse god), arrives as part of a team SWORD brings in to investigate the area. Kat Dennings is a treat to watch and you can see the growth she’s made with her comedic timing since her time on Two Broke Girls. Darcy is still snarky as hell, which is always an endearing trait when it’s written correctly, which this episode is. It’s Darcy that is able to find and tap into the television signal emanating from Westview, allowing SWORD to see the episodes we’ve been watching prior to this point. And we are able to quickly establish that all of the characters we’ve seen up to this point are actual residents of Westview who have been “recast” as sitcom foils for Vision and Wanda.
As Darcy, Jimmy, and the agents of SWORD try to figure out what is going on inside Westview, they are recording the “episodes” to review and Darcy is the first to notice the odd changes that occur whenever something of the real world begins to creep into this odd, sitcom-style reality constructed around the town. We get some answers as to some of the strange occurrences, such as Jimmy being the voice that comes through the radio to reach out to Wanda during the second episode; the toy helicopter Wanda found in the bushes is a SWORD reconnaissance drone; and the man in the beekeeper outfit was really a SWORD agent sent through the sewers to check out the town (and we still don’t know what happened to him).
More importantly, we got to see what exactly happened between Monica and Wanda at the end of the last episode. When Monica fell “out of character” and revealed her knowledge of Ultron and Pietro’s death at the hands of the genocidal ASI (Artificial Super Intelligence), Wanda forcibly removed Monica from Westview, revealing a sinister (I’d say downright villainous) streak. It appears that the theory of Wanda being in control of this environment to a great extent is correct. But the question remains: is Wanda doing this of her own volition? Or is she being controlled by an outside force? And then we get the wham shot of the episode: Vision, head caved in, skin bleached of all color and vibrancy, and Wanda’s reaction shows that she sees it as well before Vision shifts back to being “alive”. I wonder if the other residents of Westview see Vision for the dead puppet that he is or if Wanda’s power allows them to see Vision as do the rest of the time.
“We Interrupt This Program” kicks the series away from a homage to the sitcoms of yesteryear in to a proper MCU story. This episode was a lot of fun to watch and I’m eagerly awaiting more revelations as the series continues.