We are now five episodes in and, as the sitcom moves into the 80s, the answers are starting to come thick and fast. After last weeks reveal of what was happening outside the town of Westview this week we spend equal amounts of time in both realities.
Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) is now back in the real world, after being eject by Wanda from Westview, and S.W.O.R.D are starting to unravel the mystery. The government agency is also starting to show a split in their agenda. There are those that are pro-Wanda lead by Rambeau, Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and then there is the majority that are anti-Wanda lead by Director Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg). Rambeau has discovered that Wanda’s grief has triggered the events and is looking for a way to save her but Hayward sees her as a military threat. He shows everyone footage of Wanda breaking into a S.W.O.R.D facility and stealing Vision’s corpse. This is the most damning evidence against Wanda so far.
Inside Westview it is clear that Wanda (Elisabeth Olsen) is feeling the pressure of creating her false reality but there is a question about who else knows what she is doing. Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) stops by to help out with Wanda’s new born twins. Half way through the scene she asks Wanda if she wants to stop and take it from the top thus making it clear that Agnes is aware the she is in a sitcom. Vision is shaken by this and by Wanda’s refusal to admit what happened. He knows Wanda and himself have powers that they need to hide but does not know why.
There is also the mystery of the twins. Outside of Westview there is the question of whether they are real or not. They don’t correspond to any known resident of the town so are they an illusion or has Wanda physical manifested them. Inside of Westview the twins have the ability to age themselves up on command. Both times it happens it is witnessed by Agnes without question meaning she is clearly involved in what is going on in some way.
The most important event of the series and the MCU as a whole happens in the last scene of the episode. Vision has worked out what is going on and confronts Wanda about it and why he has no memories before the town. Wanda tries to cut him off by running the credits on the Sitcom but she has lost control of Vision and he carries on. While Wanda is trying to explain and convince him he is wrong there is a knock at the door. Wanda opens it to reveal her brother Pietro but he is not Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played the role in ‘Age Of Ultron’, it’s Evan Peters (Darcy refers to this as a recasting in a great cutaway) who portrayed the character in the ‘X-Men’ films. This is the first acknowledgement of the Multiverse in the MCU.
What’s great about this show is it doesn’t feel the need to explain itself. It’s telling it’s story at the pace it needs to and is relying on the audience’s knowledge of the material to fill in the gaps. It’s making references left, right, and centre and has the faith that the viewers will understand them. The creators are not embarrassed by the source material, like certain films and shows have been in the past (we are looking at you X-Men), and is embracing everything tightly.
The show also has the ability to change tone at the flick of a switch which adds to the tension and leaves the viewer unsettled. It’s the quality of acting that sells this. Olsen and Bettany were, up until now, just bit players in the MCU but are now get their time to shine. Their performances and those of the supporting cast (people are crying out for Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy to get their own show) are laying the foundations for what is to come. It is now clear why this was chosen to restart the MCU.
After the COVID-19 enforced break, everything that was old feels new again.