WandaVision 1×01: Season Premiere Review

Wanda and Vision in WandaVision Episode 1
WandaVision Episode 1: Wanda and Vision together as a happily married couple (Source: Marvel Studios 2021)

WandaVision episode 1 brings back the power of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a spectacular, reality-warping adventure!

I have been excited for WandaVision ever since chatter about a potential TV show revolving around the characters of Scarlet Witch and Vision began to spill out onto the internet. This was back in 2019, back when the series hadn’t even been properly named yet. The working title for the series was “The Vision and Scarlet Witch” and the only information in regards to the series’ potential storyline consisted of nothing more than fan speculation. But fans of the characters, much like myself, couldn’t help but look to the legacy of Scarlet Witch and Vision in Marvel Comics and theorize what cool stories might get adapted for live-action.

Right off the bat, WandaVision episode 1 cements the series as a fun oddity. It is a complete separation from the overall tone of other works in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, I don’t think there is anything else from the MCU that even comes close to rival what the creative talents have done with this show. Even more humor-heavy titles in the MCU, like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok have nothing on the zany theme of WandaVision. I suspect that fans might be split in terms of how they feel, considering WandaVision doesn’t yet seem as though it’s going to be battle-heavy with choreographed fight scenes. 

WandaVision mimics the tone of classic sitcoms. We know from previously released information and the official trailer for the show, that WandaVision will leap through popular settings and tropes from sitcom history. The first episode takes obvious inspiration from shows like I Love Lucy, I Dream of Jeannie, and Bewitched—wherein goofy hijinks just can’t help but fall into the laps of the main characters no matter what they try to do to avoid it. The sets and costumes are designed specifically to fit the era and the entire episode is filmed in black and white. 

The first episode of the series introduces the audience to Wanda and Vision, who are seemingly entirely unaware of their pasts. There is no mention of them being part of the Avengers, nor is there any mention of superheroes, S.H.I.E.L.D, Captain America, etc. They exist entirely inside of a sitcom, which to them, is their reality. In fact, they both live normal and stereotypically 1950s lives.

Vision works down at some unnamed office filing papers, while Wanda stays at home, runs the house, and gossips with the pushy neighbor. The only problem is that neither Wanda nor Vision are normal. Vision must hide the fact he’s an android and Wanda must hide that she has magic powers. 

Wanda Maximoff
Wanda Maximoff in WandaVision (Source: Marvel Studios, 2021)

Classic sitcom hijinks begin almost immediately when the two notice that the 23rd on the calendar is specially marked with a heart. Neither Wanda nor Vision can remember what the heart on the calendar is meant to represent and they both cleverly attempt to get the other to reveal what the special day is about without letting the other know that they’ve forgotten.

Wanda arrives at the conclusion that the 23rd is her marriage anniversary with Vision, despite having absolutely no recollection whatsoever about marrying Vision. Meanwhile, Vision finds out at work that the 23rd is the day he is supposed to host his grumpy boss, Mr. Hart, for dinner, which will mean getting fired if things don’t pan out too well. 

Naturally, Wanda and Vision’s expectations for how the night is supposed to operate clash when Wanda surprises Vision and unexpected company with romantic candles and a seductive nightgown. While Wanda zaps herself into more suitable attire and dashes into the kitchen in an effort to put together a meal that will impress Vision’s boss, Vision remains out in the living room on a metaphorical high-wire, trying to keep Mr. and Mrs. Hart entertained and distracted enough to ignore their hunger and the fact that there are loud crashes coming from the kitchen. 

Wanda’s powers seem to be barely any help to her as she accidentally overcooks the chicken dinner, then tries to course-correct by accidentally turning the burnt chicken into a basket of eggs. Eventually, Wanda manages to scramble something together—as in she literally scrambles the eggs and serves breakfast for dinner. But then things get weird. As Wanda, Vision, Mr. Hart, and Mrs. Hart sit down to finally enjoy some dinner, small talk seems to become somewhat of a serious problem for Wanda. 

Mrs. Hart begins to ask Wanda and Vision questions, specifically about why she doesn’t have any children, and Wanda seems to freeze. Wanda begins to realize that she doesn’t have any knowledge about her life with Vision. She doesn’t know where they come from, why they didn’t have a wedding, why they have no rings, no vows, no couple’s “song”, and no children. As Wanda dissociates, Mr. Hart starts choking on part of his meal. As Wanda zones out and Mr. Hart chokes, Mrs. Hart lightheartedly jokes with Mr. Hart, telling him to simply stop, almost as if she’s not really concerned with the fact that her husband is choking to death. 

Wanda then snaps out of her fog and tells Vision to fix the problem, which he does by fazing his hand into Mr. Hart’s throat and pulling out the piece of food that caused him to choke. And then, as if nothing odd had happened, everything snaps back to normal. Mr. and Mrs. Hart announce that it’s time they leave and head out, leaving Wanda and Vision to lovingly talk about their relationship together. She materializes wedding rings on both of their fingers and everything seems to be perfectly perfect again until it’s revealed that an ominous and shadowy organization had been watching the entire “sitcom” of Wanda and Vision from some kind of dark lab.

The WandaVision episode 1 was incredibly fun to watch. It was well worth the wait. Now, WandaVision isn’t just some cutesy sitcom. It’s clever and creepy. Despite how charming everything is, from the setting to the costumes and the humorous dialogue, you can’t help but feel on edge because you can tell that everything is not perfect. You are constantly reminded that there is something wrong with the picture, despite how perfect it may present itself. 

Wanda in WandaVision
Wanda tries to keep track of dinner recipes (Source: Marvel Studios, 2021)

One of the most unsettling moments in the first episode was the “commercial break”. No, don’t worry… Disney+ hasn’t added commercials to their streaming shows. But in typical 1950s sitcom fashion, the episode includes a commercial for a relatively innocent household product. It’s a commercial for a new and improved toaster from Stark Industries that can cook bread in many different ways, but here is where things get weird. The actor and actress in the toaster commercial seem to stop reading their lines as the toaster they’re presenting begins to blink and beep in pulsed tones, almost sounding reminiscent of an EKG machine. Is it possible that Wanda is in some kind of coma dreaming up all of this stuff? 

Another unsettling moment in WandaVision episode 1 was the dinner scene where Mr. Hart chokes. It’s unsettling because it’s both hectic, yet calm. Mr. Hart is choking to death and Mrs. Hart is joking telling him to cut it out. All the while, Wanda seems genuinely lost in a fog as she tries to figure out why she doesn’t have memories of her life with Vision before that very moment. This scene, in particular, is clever because it presents the idea that everything that’s happening is nothing more than a dream or simulation. After all, it feels like a dream, where things both simultaneously make sense but also don’t. And where events can magically invent themselves to fill in blanks or problems with ease. 

Now, there were two things in particular that really stuck out to me throughout the episode. The first being the runtime of the episode. It was approximately 22 minutes in length, discounting the credits. And despite the fact that this is the typical length of a sitcom you would find on TV, I can’t help but feel cheated. I mean, this is a show on a streaming service and it’s content from Marvel/Disney. I expected the episodes to be an hour in length or at least 45 minutes, considering previous Marvel shows on streaming, such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix, were typically an hour per episode. I’m worried that the lack of runtime will lead to rushed writing in terms of story and character development. 

At the same time, it’s possible that the runtime is short because it wants to emulate the classic sitcom structure. Or, and what seems to be the more likely explanation, these shows are considerably more expensive than previous Marvel streaming shows. I don’t quite know what the budget for these Disney+ shows will be, but I can figure that they will cost considerably more than standard TV shows, or even shows you’d find on Netflix. 

The second thing that stuck out to me, which is less of a complaint and more of just something that I found interesting, had to do with the depiction of Wanda’s powers. So, Wanda was introduced back in 2015 in Avengers: Age of Ultron. And while that movie has many things wrong with it, one thing that definitely stuck out was the confused depiction of Wanda’s powers. In the comics, Wanda can cause the unlikeliest of events to happen, as well as warp reality. However, the MCU treated her powers more of just simple telekinesis and telepathy, with some fancy red glow. WandaVision, however, seems to be diving headfirst into the “reality-warping” era of the Scarlet Witch, as it seems that Wanda is somewhat in control of the reality around her. 

Of course, it’s not yet confirmed that Wanda is entirely in control of her surroundings. In fact, the ending of the episode hints that perhaps somebody else is pulling strings from behind the curtain. Regardless, I can say that I am incredibly excited to see where the rest of the show goes. 

What did you think of the premiere of WandaVision? Are you planning on watching more episodes?

Tell us what you think about WandaVision episode 1 in the comments below!

Author: Rodney

Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.

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