MCN Commentary & Analysis

WandaVision: Episode 3 (Spoilers)

This will be brief.

Episode 3 is “The Brady Bunch” Birth episode. I see a lot of the “Easter egg” conversations online. Fascinating, but not my thing. Twins. The looming threat of Mephisto continues. Agnes is still hanging around, talking about her evil husband, Ralph. The little girl from Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) is all grown up and knows stuff. Once again, as in all three films, Wanda stops reality from coming into her manifested sitcom world.

I keep reading writers talking about how the show isn’t going fast enough. I don’t get that. It seems like anticipatory criticism, engaging one’s expectations before engaging the work itself. As always, this doesn’t mean that I expect an agreed-upon response, thumbs up or down. But when a show is using specific, detailed sitcom history as part of telling a tale that is clearly not a sitcom, the question is, “Why?” not “Why isn’t the sitcom funnier?” This is not unlike looking at Bridgerton and questioning the literal truth of racial history, as opposed to investigating the intention of making that choice. Or as someone once said to me, “Give them their fucking premise!”

What fascinates is the end of the episode, when Ms. Rambeau is expelled from Wanda’s vision by Wanda and we can see the military base and off to the right, the electronically created sets for WandaVision zapping along. We are getting closer to that mystery being exposed.

Also… the way Disney+ is managing the show for press. I’m on the list to get all the episodes, but I am not the NY Times. So I don’t know if there are variation in this… but so far, we were given the first three episodes… but there was only a 48-hour screening window, just before the public release. Episode 3 was put back on the press site at the same time it was released on Disney+. In fact, the first and only early look at the show noted, “Screeners will be available after the episode premieres on Disney+.”

Studios release content to press in a million different ways. But this seems unusual. For a show that has an online feeding frenzy, I was (happily) surprised that there was little writing about Episode 3 before it arrived. There was no embargo on reviewing Episode 3 in initial pieces… but I didn’t find anyone screaming, “Twins!” before last Friday.

The question, really, is whether Disney is protecting spoilers by keeping critics from writing early or is it is a philosophy about how to roll out content in 2021 or if this is specific to the early episodes of this limited series?

Amidst the endless conversation about how films/TV will be delivered, there is the question of how it will be marketed. Controlling the flow of the conversation is a big part of this, for sure. This is one of the most interesting elements of WandaVision in television history, if not Marvel history.

Earlier: Disney, WandaVision & The Future of The Industry

2 Responses to “WandaVision: Episode 3 (Spoilers)”

  1. Hallick says:

    I’ve only seen the first two episodes of WandaVision, and my complaint isn’t “Why aren’t these fake sitcoms funny?” (they aren’t funny, except for the magic show scene, which is as much due to me being a sucker for a drunk act as it is Bettany’s wonderfully silly performance of a drunk act) as much as “Why am I sitting through the bajillionth satire of this era of television?” Whatever is going on beneath the surface of this show (wayyyy beneath the surface, somewhere banging its head against the bottom of the water table) isn’t going to make the other 99.5% of the show playing sitcom drag while cherry picking “Pleasantville” and David Lynch any less tedious in retrospect whenever the great reveal makes an entrance.

    The central, self-neutralizing defect of the show is the fact that the audience knows from 0:01 that the setting is a complete sham, and that Wanda is living inside some kind of VR world (with or without Vision), maybe against her will but then maybe not, making curiously intense attempts to conform to a litany of domestic/suburban tropes while a strange alternate reality keeps seeping into the proceedings. So the experience of watching the show is a sigh-fortified exercise in waiting for the central characters to catch on and catch up to you. The accomplishment of which only promises scant relief at best.

  2. Pete B. says:

    “WandaVision” reminds me of Noah Hawley’s “Legion, “another visually stunning comic book property that was glacially paced. Things move much quicker in “WV,” but it’s still debatable on whether the payoff will be worth the investment. Episode 3 was an improvement, and we’re almost to the halfway point. It may be a slow burn to amazing finale.

    I think some folks will be more happy once Wanda shows up (even briefly) in the actual Scarlet Witch outfit that was teased in the trailers.

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