clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

‘WandaVision’ Episode 3 Recap: Don’t You Dare Say “Ultron”

A rapid pregnancy, a mysterious neighbor, and the arrival of MCU lore defined the series’ third installment

Disney+/Ringer illustration

After beginning in a haze of mystery, the world of WandaVision is quickly coming into focus. Last week’s two-part launch introduced us to the black-and-white television reality that the Scarlet Witch and Vision have made their home, but it did so with little context to piece together the bigger picture.

In the premiere, Wanda and Vision fumbled around trying to impress Vision’s boss, Mr. Hart, but one odd moment at the dinner table showed that there was something more to the 1950s-style domestic sitcom that WandaVision was imitating. As the episode’s fake credits sequence began to roll for what had apparently always been a TV show within the TV show, someone with a notebook bearing a sword symbol could be seen watching along with us. The second episode saw the outside world infiltrating the suburban bliss of Westview, disrupting the suddenly 1960s-style domestic sitcom while bleeding color into it in the process. And this week, Westview merged with the MCU.

Through two episodes, WandaVision had strayed far from the traditional formula that Marvel has built a cinematic empire off of. It took a decidedly different approach to the superhero genre by bringing the extraordinary powers of the witch and the Infinity Stone–wearing robot from the movies and placing them in the ordinary setting of decades-old sitcoms. But while the deep colors of Vision’s synthezoid skin pop off the screen in the third episode, as our newlyweds enter the realm of the colorful Brady Bunch–era ’70s, the world of WandaVision is darkening. The chorus of the laugh track goes quiet at some point, and Wanda’s sitcom charm fades into something much scarier.

As WandaVision starts to look more and more like an MCU property, let’s break down what’s actually going on in the sitcom society of Westview, and where the series might be heading.


What’s Really Happening?

Screenshots via Disney+

Beyond the very sudden birth of Wanda and Vision’s twin boys, several surprises were neatly packed into this week’s half-hour episode: Though previews of the series indicated as much, Geraldine is not who she says she is; the neighbors—or at least some of them—are aware that they’re not simply living in a peaceful town called Westview, carrying out the plots and tropes of old sitcoms; Westview is not really a peaceful town at all, and external forces are attempting to put an end to its existence—whatever it may be. And Wanda, at the center of it all, is living out her greatest fantasies, and no one is going to stop her.

After Wanda’s pregnancy was revealed at the end of last week’s episode, Wanda and Vision are preparing for parenthood in record time. By this point, we’ve seen Wanda alter the fabric of their reality enough to know that she’s essentially the all-powerful god of Westview, but it’s become increasingly clear that she is not fully in control either. This plays out again and again for comedic effect throughout the third episode: Wanda’s contractions cause her coats to shape-shift (while also manifesting fires and a stork), a fluttering in her stomach summons actual butterflies, and when her water breaks, rain begins to fall in her living room. Even the nature of Wanda’s accelerated pregnancy appears to be unanticipated to a certain extent, as baby Tommy arrives in less time than it would take to watch a couple of end-credits scenes. And baby Billy, who is born shortly after his twin brother, wasn’t even expected at all.

Yet despite those uncertainties, Wanda seems to know a lot more about the strange happenings of Westview than she lets on. Just as she did in the last episode when that creepy beekeeper guy emerged from a manhole, Wanda rewinds time in order to prevent Vision from realizing something is off with their new lives. (That’s going to be a tough look when Vision finally figures out that he’s dead.) Between the dinner with Vision’s boss, the town’s talent show, and an unexpected guest arriving at their home, Wanda has playfully tried to disguise her and Vision’s superpowers. But when things get a bit too real and their entire sitcom reality comes into question, Wanda’s finished playing games.

This all leads us to the episode’s dramatic conclusion. After Geraldine helps deliver Wanda’s twin boys, and Vision walks their misogynistic doctor out of the house, Wanda mentions to Geraldine that she, too, had a twin brother. Geraldine disrupts Wanda’s lullaby to dig a little deeper. “He was killed by Ultron, wasn’t he?” she asks.


(OK, quick aside: What a truly terrible question here by Geraldine. Like, what in the world are you thinking? Besides bringing up Ultron, you’re also wearing a necklace that has your secret agency’s symbol on it? That’s like if Leonardo DiCaprio just decided to start wearing a police badge around his neck when hanging out with Jack Nicholson in The Departed. I know Wanda’s a scary witch, but this is some pitiful undercover work by apparent S.W.O.R.D. agent Monica Rambeau; I hope she has a good explanation.)

Wanda, of course, does not appreciate the question about the killer robot who ended her brother Pietro’s life. Now suspicious, she notices Geraldine’s necklace, which bears the same sword symbol that appeared on the beekeeper suit, the toy helicopter, and the notebook in the previous episodes. Then Wanda decides to simply erase the problem. And by “simply erase the problem,” I mean Wanda launches Geraldine so high into the sky that she literally flies out of the TV show and into a different reality:

As Geraldine hurls through the air and tumbles onto the ground, helicopters and cars arrive for her within moments. And in the background, we see Westview for the first time, though in place of physical houses and buildings, all that’s there is an invisible forcefield with towering pylons sending electric currents through it.

The finer details still need to be hashed out, but that final scene sets the stakes for the rest of the series. Though it still hasn’t been formally introduced, the secret intelligence agency known as S.W.O.R.D. is attempting to infiltrate the world that a disturbed Wanda Maximoff has created for her and her dead robot husband to exist together in. Now, it’s just a matter of how long the Scarlet Witch can hold onto her suburban dream before Monica Rambeau and Co. can put a stop to it.

Who to Watch Out For

Vision

Though it may be a bit obvious to say to “look out for” one of the two characters named in the title of the series, WandaVision is, above all else, a story about Wanda. This is, quite literally, Wanda’s teleVision program; like Agnes, and even (potential communist) Norm, Vision is ultimately a supporting actor. But against the odds, the robot is slowly piecing together the unnatural nature of Westview, and no matter how many times Wanda stops him just as he’s nearly solved the puzzle, Vision may be the only one able to end Wanda’s dangerous fantasies.

Early in the third episode, Vision’s suspicions begin to grow after he witnesses Herb aimlessly cut through his fence with a hedge trimmer—which, I mean, that alone should be enough to come to the conclusion that something’s off in the world. Then, after one of Wanda’s “fake contractions” blows out the power in the entire neighborhood, Wanda worries that the neighbors will know it was them who caused it. “With all the close calls we’ve been having, it seems the people of Westview are always on the verge of discovering our secret!” she tells Vision.

“Yes, I know what you mean,” Vision responds, with a puzzled expression. “But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Mr. and Mrs. Hart at dinner, outside with Herb … I think something’s wrong here, Wanda.”

Even after Wanda rewinds time to ensure that scene has a different outcome, Vision’s suspicions continue. As he later dwells on the fact that their doctor tells him that small towns are “hard to escape,” Vision sees Agnes and Herb huddled together, whispering to each other. After he approaches, Agnes begins to ask Vision about Geraldine. She and Herb proceed to tell him how Geraldine mysteriously has no family and no home in Westview. “She came here because … she came here because we’re all—” Herb begins to tell Vision, before stopping himself.

As the series progresses, Vision’s story within Wanda’s sitcom reality could be the key to uncovering the entire mystery. But will she keep wiping the slate clean every time he confronts her? And more importantly, since this is all a world of Wanda’s making, is Vision even actually Vision—the same Avenger of the MCU films—or is he just a simulacrum of him based off of Wanda’s memory?

Agnes and Herb

Until the third episode, it seemed as if the citizens of Westview were completely unaware that they were living in a retro sitcom. Power-hungry town committee leader Dottie was the one exception, as her unpleasant chat with Wanda after the talent show meeting revealed her distrust in the Scarlet Witch, and led to the radio transmission of a man attempting to contact Wanda. But even then, Dottie still seemed to be trapped in her character, unaware of what was happening around her.

Now, Agnes and Herb have shown that there’s more to the neighbors after all. Agnes and Herb were well aware of the fact that Geraldine was an imposter, and they know enough about Wanda to be extremely afraid of her. It’s also curious that Agnes went out of her way to ask Vision about Geraldine, knowing that this would likely draw suspicion from him, but then made sure that he never got the full story. Are they the only ones who realize that they’re essentially living in a simulation, or is everyone in Westview just cautiously playing along with their roles out of fear of Wanda? And again, are they even real characters or just manifestations of Wanda’s mind, suddenly starting to malfunction?

There are still too many questions and gaps left to uncover about the truth behind Westview and how it came to be, but we now know there are at least two neighbors inside Wanda’s twisted world that are in on the secret.

A Deeper Dive

Pietro Maximoff

Aside from Vision joking about Wanda’s Sokovian greeting to his boss in the premiere, there weren’t many callbacks to the events of the MCU through two episodes. In fact, if you hadn’t seen the Infinity War movies, there’d be no indication that one of the two main characters was actually already dead. But this week, along with another Hydra-themed advertisement, Ultron, Pietro Maximoff, and the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron were directly referenced.

In that 2015 film, Tony Stark—in one of his countless acts of self-destruction—accidentally creates a robot that kind of wants to wipe out all of humanity. Wanda and her twin brother Pietro, two Sokovian natives who had been orphaned by destructive Stark Industries tech, turn to Hydra scientist Baron Strucker, who gives them powers harnessed from an Infinity Stone. Wanda becomes the reality-bending witch we’re seeing in full display on WandaVision, while Pietro gains superspeed. Together, the Maximoff twins use their new powers to team up with Ultron to get revenge on Stark and the Avengers, but before long they switch sides, and Pietro ultimately sacrifices himself to save Hawkeye.

While Wanda joined the Avengers and became a part of the greater MCU, Pietro quickly became a footnote as Marvel moved on from one of its more forgettable films to date. Even Wanda seemed more concerned with her new paprika-loving, sweater-wearing synthezoid boyfriend. Now, after several more world-ending situations have to come to pass, Wanda has lost Vision too. She’s already somehow recreated her dead husband in Westview, and it seems as if her connection to her twin brother could have resulted in her magically creating two twins of her own. Who knows: with Wanda’s abilities, she may even bring back her brother in the flesh soon enough. If the third episode was any indication, the already blurred lines between MCU’s television and cinematic properties will soon be indistinguishable.