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WandaVision episode 1.03, “Now In Color” tacks on more sitcom hijinks while also exposing the emotional framework of a very real prison for the mind.
OK people, let’s get weird.
WandaVision is starting to come into it’s own, and not just because
Monica Geraldine has been voted off sitcom island.
These are the lyrics to “Daydream Believer” which was played at the end of the episode:
Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings
The six o’clock alarm would never ring
But it rings, and I rise
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes
My shavin’ razor’s cold and it stingsCheer up, sleepy Jean
Oh, what can it mean that
To a daydream believer
And a homecoming queen
The Monkees may be closer to this side of Weird Al Yankovic than Bob Dylan on the sliding scale of serious performers, but I will say that “Daydream Believer” is a perfect fit for the current confusion and assured trauma Wanda and Vision will be enduring sooner rather than later.
“Daydream Believer” is about a man who blankly stares into a bathroom mirror, while subtly contemplating the dissolution of his once happy marriage. Instead of reveling in romance, his marriage — populated by a daydream believer and a homecoming queen — now only thrives on the love of the material and money.
Wow, that’s actually kind of terrible when you think about it. And sad. So, so, sad.
This is apropos for the current state of Wanda and Vision’s relationship. Not necessarily because they are reduced to the love of money, but because the entire foundation for their current relationship is based on a GIGANTIC lie. Vision is absolutely dead. While there has not been a one hundred percent confirmation on how he has been re-animated for the sake of this tv show, there is no two ways around the fact he is a dead man walking and his very consciousness is being manipulated by Wanda.
If you want you make the argument that Vision is the daydream believer in this scenario, then you are probably right. He literally stares blankly at Wanda and freely admits, “something’s wrong here.” Instead of fessing up, however, Wanda resets the reality and everything transitions back to Wanda’s picture perfect sitcom – all while Vision continues on, under the thin veil of self determination. It’s one of the first intellectually honest, emotionally true, and viscerally revealing moments WandaVision has given the viewer to-date.
Wanda’s actions are wrong. They are reprehensible. In fact, I would probably argue that they are unconscionable. Under normal circumstances there could be an argument made that there is no coming back from the actions to which she subjecting the residents of Westview, and most of all, the love of her life. As noted at the end of the episode, Westview is not just some made up TV Land environment that exists in only a theoretical space of Wanda’s head. (By the way, I was very prepared for Wanda to be in some kind of torture chamber at a S.W.O.R.D headquarters and Westview was a completely disassociated plane of thought which allowed her to escape their treatment) Oh no, this town is real, it’s people are real, and Wanda is forcing them –possibly against their will — all to play a part in her happily-ever-after daydream.
Then again, when everything you love in this world is ripped from you, there is no amount of clinical diagnosis that can appropriately quantify that level of depression and devastation. Which is why it’s fair to say Wanda’s actions are unconscionable under normal circumstance. But everything has been ripped from Wanda – her life, her husband, and her mental health – all in one fell swoop by Thanos. I reference Thanos in this episode only because, yes he did murder Vision, but because I believe Wanda’s scene with Thanos in Avengers: Endgame is way under appreciated.
WandaVision is good television because it’s expertly dressed, directed, and a fun twist on a normally formulaic genre of film. Though, it’s more accurate to say WandaVision is excellent television because it builds on Wanda’s trauma of having everything she loves in her life ripped away and it explores what happens to someone with immense power who suffers a catastrophic collapse in their mental health.
Imagine having the moment of revenge on the one person who has destroyed every tenet you hold dear right at your infinitely potent fingertips, and he says, “I don’t even know who you are.” Hell, it’s only reasonable that Wanda authors a world where she can live happily ever after.
Vision, however, is not the only aspect of Wanda’s life that has been torn away from her grasp – it’s also Pietro. Good on showrunner Jac Schaeffer for bringing Wanda’s brother into the mix because his death in Avengers: Age of Ultron is also an underplayed aspect of Wanda’s life in the MCU.
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Pietro’s acknowledgement and inclusion allows for some real texture to Wanda’s presence in WandaVision by opening up a previously unexplored avenue into her grief. Yes, in Ultron Wanda grieves, but the films had no time to allow for that continued storyline. It was as if he died and the Brothers Russo were only too happy to ground her presence by jumpstarting a romantic relationship with Vision which seemed to appear out of nowhere in Captain America: Civil War.
In a continuation of last episode’s theme, we see Wanda struggling with control over the push and pull of her fantasy and her reality. When the very real contractions start to take effect, the power goes out in the town. When her water breaks, Wanda makes it rain in her house. These are little slip ups, or glitches in the Matrix (for you uber-nerds) when Wanda loses her solid footing in her show. So it seems only natural that while Wanda is lost in the grief of Pietro’s memory as she mournfully sings a Sokovian lullaby, she also appears to loosen her authoritarian grip on the towns façade. As if having a subtle moment of clarity,
Monica Geraldine remembers her own reality as well as the history Wanda is so desperately trying to erase. Ultron existed. Wanda’s brother died. And something’s wrong here.
Whether or not
Monica Geraldine falls back under Wanda’s spell once Wanda regains control over her illusion is certainly a debatable point – but I’d like to think Monica Geraldine had a moment of clarity, only for it to be clouded over and be genuinely confused about Wanda’s response to that brief moment. Then, of course, once she is forcefully evacuated from Westview back into the hands of S.W.O.R.D, she has a sudden awakening of consciousness and reality once she is removed from Wanda’s sphere of influence. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though because we do know that there is some clarity for particular characters in Wanda’s sphere and they are Agnes and Herb.
Agnes and Herb are fascinating. Yes, Kathryn Hahn is incredible in every way – her wink sings to my soul, and it should to yours as well. So, enjoy it with me for a second 🙂
This scene is important because it alludes to the notion that both Herb, and Agnes, are well aware of their actual realities outside of Wanda’s influence yet they still play along. Agnes always seems to pop in at the right moment with whatever Wanda needs – ingredients for dinner, or in this case, a little warning for Vision to watch out for
Monica Geraldine. Agnes knows Geraldine is not part of this shared story, but she also wants to spare Vision the truth behind his faux reality too. But her plea to Herb is not one of anger or disgust, but rather, it seemed as if it was out of pity or regret. Is it possible that Agnes helped Wanda create this reality and Agnes is doing whatever she can to help facilitate Wanda’s mental health? Are they both damaged souls who require each other’s assistance? We shall see.
Speaking of waiting to see, Wanda’s children seem to also be real too. They may be a manipulation of matter, but their sudden growth does seem to be out of Wanda’s control. Wanda’s pains with contraction and birth suggest her reality mixing with her story and it will be interesting to see if their growth remains independent of Wanda’s abilities.
APROPOS OF NOTHING FOR WANDAVISION EPISODE 1.03 “NOW IN COLOR”
- In three episodes of television we have moved from influences like The Dick Van Dyke Show, to Bewitched, and now The Brady Bunch. Please please please be Full House next and all the meta commentary that is necessary with Elizabeth Olsen and her sisters which were the child stars of the actual Full House.
- It may be gimmicky, and certainly flashy, but the aspect ratio changing from 4:3 to the more modern film/ MCU style of 16:9 at the end of the episode was a nerdgasm to end all nerdgasms. I love when television shows get creative with their visual language and WandaVision is knocking it out of the park.
- More insight into Vision’s slow recognition that not all is right — he wants to name his son Billy after William Shakespeare because “all the world’s a stage…”
- The Commericial for Hydra Soap seems to be more of a commentary on Wanda’s current condition as opposed to her past. Take a break, get some rest, “escape to a world of your own” and find your inner goddess with Hydra. You know, the group that gave her godlike powers.
- Westview’s slogan is “Home, it’s where you make it…” Is this another reference to The House of M?
Are you happy they acknowledged Pietro?
Follow along with every episode review of WandaVision:
1.01 – Filmed Before A Live Studio Audience