Captain Monica Rambeau reappears to a whole new world.
WandaVision Episode Four “We Interrupt This Program”, directed by Matt Shakman, returns to a more normal serial episode story where Monica and F.B.I. Agent Jimmy Woo tries to solve the mystery of the missing town of Westview, New Jersey. I loved the funny kookiness of the plot mixed in with the severity of Wanda’s takeover of Westview. After reappearing in her mother’s hospital room, Monica realizes that she lost five years of her life, and her mother, Maria Rambeau, the founder of S.W.O.R.D., is now dead. She is grounded from space travel by her dead mother. S.W.O.R.D Acting Director Tyler Hayward assigns Monica to a missing person case down in New Jersey. But when Monica and Jimmy start to investigate, the force field surrounding the town pulls her in. Now an inter-agency task force has to solve the mystery of the lost town and Monica’s disappearance. The episode takes place during the first three episodes of WandaVision.
“We Interrupt This Program” is filled with Easter Eggs. The first one is that the episode begins at the end of Avengers: Endgame when Thanos’ “snap” is undone. When Monica reappears at the hospital, you can hear Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) calling out for Lieutenant Trouble. In Captain Marvel, Lieutenant Trouble is Carol’s nickname for the young Monica. When Hayward and Monica walk through the agency’s headquarters, there are a 1980s Maria photo on the walls. Astrophysicist Dr. Darcy Lewis is one of the scientists assigned to the Westview taskforce and figures out that the forcefield is broadcasting “universe” radiation and “Wanda’s sitcom.” Darcy was Jane Foster’s assistant in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World. Agent Jimmy Woo is a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and was in An-tman and the Wasp. Lastly, there are references to Vision and Wanda being Marvel superheroes when Hayward talks about the Universe broadcasting a sitcom starring two Avengers.
There are some meta elements to the fourth episode. Darcy uses an old-fashioned television to view Wanda’s 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s sitcom. Hayward instructs everybody to figure out all the “characters” in the show’s real identity. As Darcy, Jimmy, and other task force members find out everybody’s names; they call it out like they would name an actor playing a specific T.V. character. Darcy says, ” Mr. and Mrs. Hart. Played by Todd and Sharon Davis”. Jimmy words it as “We got Isabel Matsueida cast as Beverly.” These two comic relief characters also watch the sitcom-like it’s a fictional television show. Darcy gets excited when Wanda gives birth to twins calling the event a plot twist. They even eat chips and popcorn as they monitor events. Jimmy and Darcy parse out each “episode” into the sitcom decade its style fits into, showing WandaVision‘s awareness of all of the tropes.
The audience is trying to solve all the mysteries along with Darcy, Jimmy, and Hayward. We feel connected to the story since we are all taking part in the mission. Sometimes the audience knows more than the characters do. In episode two, “Don’t Touch the Dial,” Wanda and Dottie hear the voice asking what is going on broadcasted from the radio. That turns out to be Jimmy trying to speak with Wanda with the help of Darcy. But Darcy doesn’t see the scene where the two women hear Jimmy’s voice on the radio. The “episode” skips to when Dottie schools our heroine in housewife etiquette. Darcy thinks they failed to make contact. I like that we get some answers in ” We Interrupt This Program”, but not all. At the end of the story, we see what happened when Wanda figures out that “Geraldine ” doesn’t belong in Westview.
It’s confirmed that Wanda is the one who’s creating this alternative Westview where Vision is still alive. There is no red force field surrounding Scarlet Witch’s hands in the sitcom world when she casts her spells. Either everything goes haywire around Wanda, or one flick of the hand and flour pours into a bowl like Samantha from the 1960’s Bewitched. But when she figures out Monica doesn’t belong in Westview, the Avenger’s hands are surrounded by a red force field. Wanda tells the S.W.O.R.D. agent that she is not her friend, neighbor and needs to leave. She casts a spell that throws Monica through multiple houses, then out of Sitcom Westview. Then Wanda quickly redraws this reality, so there are no human-sized holes in any of the homes. When Vision comes back into the house, she sees him as a corpse. Either Vision is a re-animated corpse, or Wanda has created him from her mind. She closes her eyes and opens them. Wanda’s husband is back to normal. Vision questions if the couple should stay in Westview. Wanda calms him down by saying that they need to remain in the suburban town because it’s their home. The Avenger swears that she has everything under control, proving that she is the one running the show. Wanda can’t deal with Vision’s death. This Sitcom Westview reality is how Wanda can stay in denial without anybody calling her on it.
While “We Interrupt This Program” answers many of my questions, the episode leaves me with even more. Did Wanda purposefully create this alternative Sitcom world? Agnes and Herb appear at least be partly aware of what is going on in Westview. Are the other residents aware of this alternative reality? Is part of Vision alive, or did Wanda entirely create him? Can Monica get through to Scarlet Witch, or does she need to be physically stopped?
If you want to see Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff) grapple with grief in a more realistic television show check Facebook Watch’s Sorry for Your Loss.