The strong start of ‘WandaVision’

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Marvel Studios’ new Disney+ miniseries “WandaVision” is now five episodes into its run, yet there is still much unknown about the premise of the series. This is definitely one of Marvel Studios’ most ambitious projects (which is saying a lot) because of the large departure from their regular story structure and tone.  

Conceptually, “WandaVision” is an adventure through decades of American sitcoms, except with superhero leads Wanda Maximoff and Vision. However, as the series progresses, more is being revealed about the true nature of the series and what is behind the ever-changing sitcoms. 

Though each episode introduces new expository information, there is still a significant gap between what viewers know and what is actually going on within the series. The reasoning for this gap is clearly to set up a massive payoff in the later episodes of the miniseries. 

The third episode in the series put this set up front in center for the first time, revealing more and more information on the show’s suburban Westview setting. The ending teaser of this episode turns the series on its head, showing us the answer behind something hinted at in the second episode.  

The fourth episode expands on this teaser, creatively delivering a different episode structure while relating to the previous three. This episode also helps explain a few phenomena from the first three, but still does not answer our biggest questions. 

The fifth episode is a sort of combination of the third and fourth, delivering the best of both in what may be the strongest episode of the series yet. 

Though they are quite different in structure, each episode shares similar strengths. 

The series’ writing has so far been very impressive, with some great dialogue sequences, character development and comedic scenes. Every episode has veiled hints at future developments through intelligently written lines that have hidden double meanings. 

The direction has also been quite strong. The series has brilliantly shifted between modern cinematic direction styles, and 60s, 70s and 80s sitcom multi-camera direction. In doing so, the series is able to effectively create visual dichotomy between certain situations and circumstances. 

The acting has also been brilliant thus far in the series. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, if they can keep it up, will be surefire contenders in the Emmys miniseries acting categories. Kathryn Hahn and Teyonnah Parris have also been fantastic, as have many other supporting cast members. 

All that being said, the series’ success is hinging on its payoff to all of its set ups in these first five episodes. If the payoff is underwhelming or disappointing, these episodes will be consequently poorly looked back on. That is the nature of television, the finale may be the most important episode of them all, other than perhaps the pilot. If the ending fails, often the series is viewed as a failure. “WandaVision” has had a stellar start, being a well-executed continuation of both Wanda, Vision and the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe’s storylines, but it must hit these next four episodes out of the park to be considered a success.  

Episode Three Rating: 4.60/5 

Episode Four Rating: 4.70/5 

Episode Five Rating: 4.75/5 

Thumbnail image courtesy of @wandavision on Instagram.

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