WandaVision: Episode 8 “Previously On” Review

I hope by episode 8, you kind of know how things work on here, but just in case this is your first time stopping by (hi, by the way!), the following post is intended to be read after watching the show, because it includes SPOILERS! (If you haven’t seen it yet and you can, watch it with tissues!)

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Agatha takes Wanda on a trip down memory lane to discover how the Westview anomaly was created.

My thoughts?

When WandaVision calls an episode “Previously On”, they do not mess around. For the longest time, we have been waiting to find out what happened, how Wanda got into Westview and how the hex started. Well, this episode delivered in every possible way.

Before we get into Wanda’s history though, we learned a bit more about Agatha. The episode starts all the way back in Salem in the year 1693. You might presume that it’s part of the witch trials, with last week’s reveal about Agnes/Agatha’s real identity, but on the contrary. Agatha isn’t on trial because she is a witch, she is trialed by her coven sisters because she is using dark magic. In an intriguing show of power, she absorbs her coven members energy, remaining the sole survivor instead of the victim, showing that despite her claims of wanting to be good, she has great potential for evil. As a final act before stepping away from the corpses, she grabs the (to us) now all too well known brooch from her mother’s coat.

Fast forward a couple centuries to modern day Westview and Agatha is still as power hungry as ever. She is amazed and intrigued by Wanda’s sheer power, but also confused by her lack of knowledge and training. Agatha is sure that Wanda is a witch too, an unwilling one who doesn’t want to share her secrets, but a witch nonetheless. So, in order to learn how she created the Westview hex in a matter of moments, when it took Agatha ages to learn even simple transformation spells, they start exploring Wanda’s memory (again, unwillingly, since Agatha is holding the twins hostage).

credit: Marvel Studios

What follows is a walk through the years, bits and pieces of Wanda’s life that shaped her. A lot of Marvel fans know about these moments, as they have been discussed in previous movies, but they have never been shown with such detail. While I understand that maybe not everyone was interested in seeing this breakdown of her life, I think it was necessary to portray that the true villain in Wanda’s life is grief and her inability to deal with it and/or catch a break from it. Let’s take a look at what we learned:

  • We start with Wanda’s childhood in Sokovia. They didn’t have much, but they were a happy little family, finding an escape in Western media while being on the brink of war themselves. This is what confirmed where Wanda’s love for sitcoms comes from – nothing bad ever happens in them, or at least it’s all good by the end of the episode. The trauma from hiding under a bed for two days because they thought the Stark Industries missile would go off, while the TV was still running in the background was powerful imagery. The loss of her parents in the process the start of all of Wanda’s grief.
    Agatha already suspects that Wanda had powers at that age, but if so, they were dormant and didn’t have anything to do with the missile not going off.
  • Next comes the Hydra complex that gave Wanda her powers. Her and Pietro were the only ones who could survive the tests, even if no one in the facility understood why. When faced with the infinity stone, she saw her future self (at least it looked like a typical Wanda costume) and it awakened and amplified her internal powers. Since Pietro is not a witch though and also gained powers, it could mean that the infinity stone triggers latent mutant genes? Just like Wanda’s magic (fueled by the infinity stone) triggered Monica’s powers? If we are going by the comics, this is a wrong assumption, as Wanda and Pietro are not technically mutants, but the MCU has treated their backstory differently, so who really knows?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • After losing her brother, Vision was her comfort at the Avengers complex. I found Wanda’s accent to be very slight in that particular memory, considering that the Sokovian incident had just happened and she was still new to the team, but memories can trick you like that, I suppose. I always adored their little moments in the Avengers movies and this was another example of why their interactions are so precious. Vision could pull her back from the brink of despair, which is foreshadowing for why losing him as well was so harrowing for her.
  • The next memory seemed like the most key one to me. Hayward has spun this narrative of Wanda going on a bender and stealing Vision’s corpse, when none of that is the truth. He LET her into the S.W.O.R.D. headquarter, he denied her simple request of giving Vision a proper funeral and antagonized her by insinuating that she had ulterior motives. Vision is nothing but a weapon to him and I did not appreciate his tone towards Wanda.
    But what is most important is, Wanda left without Vision’s body. She was distraught at seeing him dismantled, but when she touched him, she couldn’t feel him. Another beautiful and heartbreaking callback to Infinity War, where both Wanda and Vision stated that the magic/powers of the other could never hurt them, because they always said “I only feel/see you”. But now, there was nothing of her Vision left to feel. If your heart didn’t break at that, I don’t even know what to say.
    Afterwards, she calmly left, the footage of her going rampage in the lab clearly being faked. Instead, she went to Westview, where Vision had previously bought property for them to grow old on. I wish they had had a chance to do that. As she drives through town, we see the many faces of the “characters” of her own sitcom, the real citizens of Westview. The town is quaint, but it’s just a town, nowhere near the paradise we got to see before. And then Wanda can’t hold in her grief any longer and she does not just create her perfect little world, but she also creates Vision – a massive show of power and another answer to one of our many questions! Vision’s corpse is not pupeteered by Wanda, instead she re-made him.
credit: Marvel Studios

It’s only after that display that Agatha finally lets her leave this maze of memories. It’s the cries for help from her twins that bring Wanda back to reality, her children the one thing she still cares about more than anything. They are held hostage as Agatha says the words I have waited for for the longest time! We finally, finally, finally get the official name reveal for Wanda, when Agatha explains that the power Wanda possesses should be impossible. It should be nothing more than a myth. But Wanda wields chaos magic and that makes her a SCARLET WITCH!!!

credit: Marvel Studios

I hear the people who think this episode included a lot of information that was already previously covered in the movies, but when did we ever get a chance to see it with Wanda’s eyes? To feel her pain penetrating ever cell of our bodies, drowning us in the sadness she feels with her? I thought that this was an incredible show of how powerful emotions can be. How dangerous they are if not dealt with. Even Agatha said that Wanda was dangerous and that woman was holding kids hostage while saying that.
But is Agatha really a villain? In the opening scene, she said she could not control these dark powers when she pleaded with her coven. Maybe, in the years since, she found a way to control it and is now not willing to let another powerful witch go rampage on the world. While she was accompanying Wanda through her memories, she was sympathetic, albeit still very straight forward with her comments. She seemed more curious in figuring out what she was dealing with rather than wanting to do any of this herself. Sometimes it even sounded like a tinge of worry for Wanda. I’m sure it will be resolved like many other things next episode.

Now that we know real magic is involved, it seems all the more logical to have a Doctor Strange appearance in the finale, ultimately tying this show to the Multiverse of Madness. I cannot wait!

Lastly, it looks like post-credit scenes are back for good! Once again, I just really want to punch Hayward, because he is such a massive liar. All this time, he had Visions body. All this time, he made Wanda out to be the villain when he was truly the evil one. Bringing the Vision’s body back online worries me. It can’t have his mind, that’s in Westview with Wanda … I think? Who’s to say that Hayward has any kind of control over this version of the Vision’s body? Danger lies ahead.
It also eerily feels like all those theories thinking that Hayward is Ultron or controlled by him make sense. His animosity after Wanda’s betrayal understandable, his lack of faith in humanity and heroes also very on brand. It would be in tune with the animated version, so I’m curious to see if that will actually be true.

credit: Marvel Studios

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What did you think of this week’s episode of WandaVision? Can you believe that we only have one more to go? I will be devastated when the show ends …

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #54

It’s not been two weeks yet, but I still wanted to talk about a couple things I watched, because I didn’t want the list to get too long. It’s also a decent mix of shows and movies at the moment, so I gotta seize that opportunity to hopefully create a well rounded post!

Lupin (Part 1)

I’ve always been a fan of Omar Sy and not just because of the Intouchables or whatever it was called in English, but because he is a fantastic actor. Seeing him as the lead in this gentleman-thief-esque story had me so excited and the show did not disappoint. Everyone I know enjoyed this and even though I warned my parents about the massive cliffhanger, they binged it too. Well, at least we can all be happy to know that the next part in the series is coming this summer already! (I have a sneaking suspicion that they filmed more and then split it up)

Please, do yourself the service of watching it in French with subtitles. I know dubbed versions exists, but the voices are just so much better in the original.

For fans of: Omar Sy, international Netflix content, heists, thieves, revenge stories

Equinox (Season 1)

When I first saw the trailer of Equinox, it felt like a Danish Dark in a way and … that is a fairly accurate description of the show, just adding more of a mythology aspect to it. I should probably mention that this is based on a Danish podcast “Equinox 1985”, which was super popular and sounded like a true crime podcast, but was actually fiction. I’d be interested to see more podcasts turned into shows.
At times a bit too slow for my taste (and I usually like slow, but if I can skip 30 minutes and not miss a thing … eh, time to overthink that scene), it still had me interested in its mystery.

I know I shouldn’t compare it to Dark so much (and it’s not Dark and nothing will be as good as Dark, but yeah, here we are anyway), but it had that same generation-spanning, “who is behind this?” and time-warpy feeling. I also didn’t like any of the characters really, which much reminds me of the beginning of Dark too, but it was still such an interesting ride. You get some, but not all the answers in Season 1. To me, it felt like it could be a limited series and end there with some things in the air, but I think they might continue the show. (nothing is renewed yet)

For fans of: international Netflix content, Dark, the OG podcast?

Onward

I was unsure because some of the voice-actor-casting, but eventually, I just wanted another emotional animated movie and I really liked it. I enjoy when stories focus on family and grief, as you probably know if you have been a long-time reader of this blog. I thought that especially the brother-relationship was done so well and I ended up crying. As I often always do with Pixar movies. This is definitely one for the whole family!

For fans of: movies about family and magic

To All the Boys 3: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Okay, so … I wasn’t sure if I should read the book before or after the movie. I have done it both ways already and I always liked the thing that I read/watched first better, which is also the case here with me having read Always and Forever before watching it. I liked some of the improvements in the movie, like Margot not completely hating Mrs. Rothschild and the Lara Jean and Gen growth was magnificent, but there were also some bits and pieces I really missed.

I thought the dad-storyline with Peter felt rushed and his mother never even appeared in this one at all. She was kind of elemental in some ways. I also did not grasp why Chris dated Trevor? I will never object to having Ross Butler on my screen for however little time, but I did not feel their point exactly. The family issues on the Covey-Song front just fell a bit short for me as well, although they attempted to include parts of it.

In general, I believe that choosing between what’s right for your own future and wanting to be with someone is a decent premise. It’s also a bittersweet and cutesy ending to this series. I still believe that the first one was the best movie though and I whole-heartedly believe it’s because it was directed by a woman and like in so many other cases, the sequels were directed by men who definitely let Peter shine more than Lara Jean (this is more of a dig towards movie 2 than 3 …).

For fans of: the previous movies, the cast, the books, cutesy romcoms

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

My brain tells me that this was an average movie, but my heart really really loved it. Much alike to Palm Springs, this feels like a not-so-tired version of the groundhog-day-scenario, just targeted at teens.

I thought that the casting was really charming, it never felt too long for me and had a way that made you cherish the small things as well as some deeper things in life. Maybe the logic doesn’t work out entirely (because … is that really how it all started?), but it still feels sweet and warm and sad. I cried, but not ugly-cried, so this was a good kind of sad.

For fans of: Palm Springs but make it teen, groundhog-day-scenarios


Did you watch any of these as well? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

WandaVision: Episode 6 “All-New Halloween Spooktacular” Review

You know the drill by now! These reviews/recaps are all full of SPOILERS and meant to be read after you have watched the episode in order not to ruin any surprises.

Disclaimer: I watched the episode and wrote this under the influence of sedatives and painkillers after my wisdom tooth removal, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

While Wanda and her newly arrived brother celebrate Halloween with the twins, Vision does some investigation of his own. In the meantime, Monica, Darcy and Jimmy get kicked off the S.W.O.R.D. site.

My thoughts?

I loved that the recap for the episode clearly showed how Quicksilver is supposed to look, just in case anyone missed the change in cast the last time. But even more so, I enjoyed the very Malcolm-in-the-Middle-intro and the twins narrating their day, just like Malcolm would have – we have arrived in the 90s!

The setting being Halloween, offered the possibility for so many easter eggs, aside from the fact that the first Vision and Scarlet Witch comic book issues took place around that time of the year. Everyone, including the twins, who have just discovered their powers (Speed and Wiccan confirmed – yay!), got a chance to show off their retro comic book outfits in the guise of the festivities.

credit: Marvel Studios

As I mentioned above, I am a little under the weather, so I am gonna try and keep my observations brief. Let’s once again start with what’s happening outside of Westview:

  • We don’t know Hayward’s backstory, but he really lost all faith in Earth’s “heroes” after the snap it seems. Why he would be allowed to head an organisation that mainly deals with non-normal individuals, I do not know, but he seems very bitter – leading him to kick out our favourite new trio (Monica, Jimmy and Darcy) after they’ve clearly stated their allegiance to Wanda.
  • Who else was pleasantly surprised by Jimmy Woo’s fighting skills? Just me? Okay.
  • As Monica, Jimmy and Darcy continue their investigation on their own and learn that Hayward is hiding the extent of knowledge he has about the hex area, Monica again mentions someone who will help her out with a vehicle that can get them into the area. I can’t help but wonder if we get to look forward to another fun cameo.
  • Monica being inside the anomaly has altered her DNA on a molecular level – will this be the trigger for her superpowers and turn her into Spectrum or whatever iteration they choose?

Obviously, there was something else and very important happening, but let’s get into that in the next section.

credit: Marvel Studios

Now, what has been happening inside Westview:

  • There are now children in Westview! We still don’t know where they were kept this entire time, but my theory that the adults were playing along “for the children” (as mentioned in episode 3) could work. Then again, we did find out that Wanda kept families and couples together when she created her own world.
  • I am so confused about Pietro Maximoff! He does seem to have some of the MCU’s Pietro’s memories as well as the same look when he uses his powers. However, his personality does seem to be closer to the X-Men one. But, what if he is neither?
    The longer I watched him, the more I could see him being someone different entirely (Mephisto? Nightmare? Both of them combined??). He does call the twins demon spawns, which might seem like a fun joke, but would be a fitting reference to Mephisto. Also, he just knows too much? Whenever Wanda tests or questions him, he does seem to have an answer. His “jokes” are often cruel, which does not feel fitting to either iteration of Quicksilver, and most of all he didn’t think there was anything ethically wrong with what Wanda was doing, he just wanted to know how she did it.
    Also, during one of the 4th wall breaks of the twins, he looked directly at Billy (maybe he is not affected by the TV world constraints?). His interest in the twins in general is a bit disconcerting if he isn’t who he claims to be.
  • If you noticed Wanda and Pietro saying “Kick-Ass” is a noticeable way, it’s probably because Aaron Taylor-Johnson as well as Evan Peters were in that movie and it was a really nice nod to both of them.

Ad Break: This ad was very strange and morbid. A kid on a desolate island gets Yo-Magic yogurt from a shark, but due to being too weak and hungry, can’t open it and dies. This could have several meanings, one is that the people who are not close to Wanda’s magic (e.g. those living at the edge of town, barely moving) are bound to die OR that someone is feeding off of Wanda’s magic (because she felt all alone in the world after Vision passed).
The definite meaning is still unclear, but I did notice a trend with each ad, which is that they all focus on a different infinity stone. If my theory is right, we’d have one more stone to go.

  • toaster: looks like Visions head therefore the mind stone?
  • Strücker watch: time stone?
  • Hydra Soak: soap is a blue cube like the teseract – space stone?
  • paper towels: red liquid reminiscent of the reality stone?
  • lonely island with skeleton (Red Skull on Vormir) – soul stone?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • While Wanda is off testing Pietro and spending Halloween with the kids, Vision gets to the outer edges of town and sees that people are looping there, barely moving and visibly in pain. He also encounters Agnes there, who got lost on the way to the town square and got stuck as well.
    When Vision let’s her real persona surface, she asks if he is here to help as part of the Avengers, which he doesn’t remember, and then reminds him of his own fate. He eventually lets her return to her TV persona, but is ever more determined to help the people of Westview.
  • Vision ultimately ends up crossing Wanda’s border. When he exits the force field, he struggles to move forward and gets pulled back and falls to his knees. The imagery is very similar to when Wanda had to destroy the mind stone in Infinity War, killing Vision in the process. Both times, Wanda’s powers are the cause of his demise.
  • S.W.O.R.D. just stands by as Vision gets torn apart, cuffing Darcy rather than letting her help. When Billy’s powers get triggered by his father’s pain and he lets his mother know about what is happening, it is clear how little Wanda cares for this current version of Pietro – throwing him across town square when he tries to interfere. She then, likely due to a lack of time, doesn’t go to Vision and pulls him in, but rather expands the border of the town to include him and in the process also the S.W.O.R.D. operational site (which funnily enough turned into a circus with clowns and everything).
credit: Marvel Studios

The implications of the town/hex field expanding once again open up so many new possibilities. Will this be a strain on Wanda’s powers, as she has to stay in control of ever more people? Did Monica and Jimmy escape the expansion or are they now sucked in like Darcy? Will Darcy maybe get powers too? So many new questions!

I think it’s fair to say that the stakes are getting higher with each episode. We only have three more to go in the series and, at least I don’t, have a clue what is going to be the resolution to it all, but I am excited to find out!

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What did you think of this episode? Are you as excited for next week as me? Let’s talk!

WandaVision: Episode 5 “On a Very Special Episode …” Review

I know I say this at the beginning of every WandaVision post, but better safe than sorry! This is a reminder that the following review heavily includes SPOILERS and is meant to be read after watching the episode!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Inside Westview, Wanda and Vision struggle as new parents, especially as Vision’s suspicions grow. Meanwhile outside Westview, the assembled team comes closer to finding ways to communicate with people inside the anomaly. 

My thoughts?

After last week, it was clear that we could not simply go back to the sitcom style of the first episodes. We now knew too much and therefore, I quite enjoyed the split perspective of seeing both worlds/storylines unfold. On the one hand, we are now squarely in the 80s, but with an ever fracturing facade, and on the other hand, the S.W.O.R.D. agents outside of Westview are doing their best to figure out what happened and how to free the townspeople. It’s very clear that one of my new favourite trios (Monica, Darcy and Jimmy) are not as judgmental and hostile towards Wanda and still believe that this was not premeditated, whereas the current director of S.W.O.R.D. believes her to be an imminent threat. That can only backfire …

I found it a bit hard to sort through my thoughts this time, so I will share my observations and a summary of what we learned outside of Westview first:

  • We have now learned that things from the time period Wanda’s show currently takes place, can go into the anomaly unchanged. Why you would send a drone with a missile to strike Wanda without really engaging in any other way first is beyond me, but hey, I am not in charge of S.W.O.R.D.
  • At one point, Wanda actually leaves Westview to return the (now damaged) drone and is welcomed by a lot of guns pointed at her. I feel like, for the first time in a while, her accent was really strong in this scene. She was dressed the way she used to be as an avenger, seemingly not in her 80s outfit, even though Monica kept her sitcom clothes when she left town. Wanda made it very clear that she is not about to give up on what she has created and that her powers are still in full effect.
  • Wanda stormed the S.W.O.R.D. headquarters to get Vision’s body nine days prior to our current time in the show. I don’t quite understand why she would not be allowed to have his remains, even if his last wish included that he didn’t want to be used as a weapon. I cannot imagine Wanda ever using Vision in a way like that. The fact that he was in a laboratory and not a safe or something suggests to me that they were not honoring his wishes at the agency anyway …
  • When someone mentioned Captain Marvel in front of Monica, she suddenly became real cagey. I can’t help but wonder what happened there?
  • As mentioned above, there’s a sort of schism forming inside the team tasked to handle the Westview matter. Some people still believe in Wanda, whereas others just want to get rid of her.
  • I thought it was a fun little play with the dialogue, when Darcy called Hayward a dick just as he called Wanda a terrorist, the two words being spoken at the same time, making it sound like he could be part of the real danger.
credit: Marvel Studios

Now, let’s talk a little bit about what is happening inside Westview! First of all, the twins kept growing as rapidly as they did inside the womb. First they are babies, then five years old and suddenly they are ten. They seem to have a modicum of power over their growth, however, were apparently immune to Wanda’s attempt at using her magic on them when she wanted to get them to sleep as babies.

Even more notable though is the fact that no one seems to care about the strange things that happen in the WandaVision household. No one mentions anything odd about the twins growing up so fast, or being there in the first place. Especially Wanda herself becomes quite reckless with using her powers in front of the townspeople (mostly Agnes), which makes Vision feel very uncomfortable.

Again, we learned quite a lot here, so, I am trying to gather my thoughts in a hopefully conclusive way. So, here are my “inside Westview” observations:

  • Several people have now openly mentioned that Wanda is in charge. Whether it be the mailman assuring the twins that Wanda would not let their beloved dog stray far, because she is in control, or Agnes openly asking if she should redo a take, because it wasn’t quite right. It seems people really are aware what is happening to them, but maybe because of the pain the spell seems to bring along (Monica described it as being drowned/held down by grief) keeps them playing along.
  • 5 episodes in and despite Agnes (which I still believe stands for AGatha harkNESs) mentioning her husband Ralph, we still have not seen him? Who is he? Where is he?
  • In the comics, Vision actually has a dog called Sparky too (he is a synthezoid). The dog belonged to the neighbors, but died by digging up the Grim Reaper. That would be the second time that the show made a reference to the Grim Reaper, because in episode 3, Agnes wore a brooch that eerily looked like it featured the character on it if you looked really close.
  • Vision isn’t the only one questioning their reality, as the twins keep finding holes in Wanda’s logic as well, when days didn’t add up.
  • Throughout the entire episode, Wanda tries to teach her fast-growing boys some life lessons, including the following (slightly rephrased):
    • “Taking care of a living things is a big responsibility”
    • “You can’t run away from grief by aging up”
    • “You cannot reverse death”
  • All of those life lessons seem very relevant to Wanda’s situation and hugely contradictory to what we believe to know (and yes, I just phrased it like that deliberately, because what do we really know for a fact?).
  • But back to Vision, he actually made quite the significant discoveries this episode! At work, they now have computers, which seem to get interference/e-mails from the outside world, as he manages to read a report from Darcy about the Maximoff anomaly and the radiation. It prompts him to question Norm, letting his true self surface for a brief moment. I was a bit surprised he could do that, but then I never fully grasped the extent of Vision’s powers … especially considering that he technically doesn’t have the mind stone anymore.
  • Vision later confronts Wanda, asking why she is doing this to the people of Westview, what is outside of town and why there are no other children besides their twins. All very valid and observant questions, because I didn’t notice that there were no other kids around, which is suspicious considering the whole “for the children” fundraiser a couple episodes back.
    He also made it clear to Wanda that she couldn’t control him, which she threateningly questioned, but later assured him that she wasn’t behind all of this. The thing is, I believe her? Wanda can lie for sure and Elizabeth Olsen is a fantastic actress, but in that moment, I honestly thought she was telling the truth. And then the doorbell rang and she again said this wasn’t her doing. I am still in shock of what happened next.
credit: Marvel Studios

Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff is BACK! The funniest thing in that moment was Darcy proclaiming “Wanda recast Pietro?”, when we as an audience know that Evan Peters is ALSO Quicksilver, just in the X-Men franchise. This further strengthens my theory that we are already dealing with the multiverse at the moment. Wanda didn’t seem perplexed by Evan as Pietro, but just by the fact that he was here and alive in front of her. This is a huge maybe, but maybe we are dealing with more than one Wanda? Endgame messed up a lot of timelines and worlds, it was bound to have repercussions eventually. I adore how many new possibilities this opens up and that we might one day get a similar scene to this again:

We are back with another ad! This time it was for Lagos paper towels, suggesting they clean up any mess you make. Clearly, Wanda has created quite the mess now, but this was a heavy reference to her mission in Lagos where she accidentally killed several civilians and relief aid workers by redirecting an explosion too close to a building. It caused her severe distress at the time, questioning the destructive nature of her powers, while also causing one of the major discussions about the jurisdiction and accountability of the Avengers as a whole (ultimately leading to the Sokovia accords).

This was actually one of the longest episodes so far and I really think that WandaVision has found its groove with its pacing. You keep learning new things, but you are never overwhelmed with information. As the plot thickens, I am curious to find out what is truly going on, because I think we have only scratched the surface.

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Before I leave you here with a lot to think about, I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to watch and review next week’s episode in as timely of a manner as I did so far. Unfortunately, I am not sure I will make it on Friday at all, but I hope you will still stop by once I do (and that I will be able to avoid any potential spoilers until I can enjoy it myself)!


What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you excited for next week? Only four more episodes to go!

WandaVision: Episode 4 “We Interrupt This Program” Review

Once again, I’d like to reiterate that this review of mine is filled with SPOILERS and should only be read after having watched the episode! Proceed at your own risk.

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

In a look back, it is revealed how S.W.O.R.D. and other organisations are involved with the monitoring of Westview and the information they have learned.

My thoughts?

This was definitely a change of pace. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the disruption of the storytelling style, but I can understand why they wanted to provide background information as well as a different perspective.

First of all, we learn that Monica Rambeau was one of the people who were snapped out of existence by Thanos. Upon her return, she discovers that Maria Rambeau, her mother and vital founding member of S.W.O.R.D., had passed in her absence because of cancer. Despite the heartbreaking news, she returns to work right away, although being grounded and only cleared for terrestrial cases. This puts her in the way of Jimmy Woo (former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who now works for the FBI and who we have met previously in Ant Man and the Wasp), who is looking for a missing person, someone who is in witness protection.

That person was supposed to be in Westview, a town no one knows or remembers. The 3,892 people inside forgotten by everyone they once knew … except that Jimmy does remember the missing person. And he can also see the town, just like Maria. It is not clarified why they aren’t affected by the selective amnesia, except for not having a personal connection to the town.
In an attempt to investigate, Maria gets sucked into Westview, prompting S.W.O.R.D. to step in and hiring a couple experts. Enter Doctor Darcy Lewis (known from Thor), who finds the broadcasting waves that let the agents watch the Wanda and Vision show.

credit: Marvel Studios

In general, I feel like this episode answered a lot of question, even if it opened up some new ones in the process. We now know that things/people that pass the threshold to Westview forget who they are (except for rare moments of lucidity) and get transformed to fit into whatever time period is currently the most recent one.
We also have confirmation of Wanda’s awareness of the situation. Not only did we get to see how exactly she threw Geraldine/Monica out of town, but we also see her reassuring Vision that she has “everything under control”. As sinister as that already sounded, it is yet again verified when Monica comes back to herself and tells S.W.O.R.D. “It’s Wanda. It’s all Wanda.”

One of the things I adored was that Jimmy Woo had pretty similar questions to those we as viewers had the past couple of weeks as well. Let’s take a look at what he put on the whiteboard:

  • Why hexagonal shape? – good question! That shape has been present everywhere and could be an indication of so many different things. Is it just hex as in magic? Does it have something to do with Hive? All still very unclear.
  • Why sitcoms? – they sure are entertaining, but why indeed? With their silly logic and happy world, they might just be a comfort for Wanda. Who knows?
  • Why the different decades? – this is similarly unclear as the previous question. However, S.W.O.R.D. also asked themselves whether the broadcast was live, which I could not tell. It was hard to know how much time had passed outside of Westview and if they saw more/less than what we did. It seemed to me like they only had access to “episode 1” for a long time before things changed, but I could be wrong about that.
  • Is Vision alive? – I think the answer here is no. For a brief moment, we saw Wanda acknowledge that Vision’s death happened, but it wasn’t enough to startle her back to reality. I think, in part, this just might have made her more determined to stay in Westview and keep everything neat and tidy, especially after Vision suggested they could always leave. However, he does seem to question the world they are living in, which might hint at part of his mind having been preserved before Thanos took the mind stone from him. Otherwise, why would Wanda allow him to question the perfect little world she made for them?
credit: Marvel Studios

All in all, I believe this episode might not have been as much for the casual viewer as previous ones. It required a lot of information on what had happened in the Marvel universe before and if you wanted any kind of connection to the characters introduced, you would have had to watch a variety of movies (from Ant Man and Captain Marvel to Thor) to have known them from before. I personally love the connection to all those previous works, but I am still not sure how I feel about the POV change. If it’s only for this episode, I think I can live with it, but it was still quite the info dump buffer episode.

If you have missed my previous reviews, you can check them out here:


How was this episode for you? Did it catch you off guard or did you enjoy it? Let’s chat!

WandaVision: Episode 3 “Now in Color” Review

As promised, I am back with another WandaVision review! As with the previous post, I would like to point out that this is meant to be read after watching the episode to avoid any kind of spoilers. I will not hold back!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

After discovering Wanda’s fast pregnancy, the pair tries to prepare for the imminent birth as best as possible, all the while fighting off their growing suspicions of something being off in Westview.

My thoughts?

As we are hurtling through the decades with WandaVision, now squarely in the 70s, I adore how easily recognizable they make their inspiration in terms of intro and style of the episode. This time we clearly got an homage to the Brady Bunch, which seems fitting as it was the birth of the (at least to Wanda and Vision) unexpected twins.

In the comics, their sons William and Thomas (on the show only lovingly called Billy and Tommy for now) mirror the powers of Wanda and her late twin brother Pietro. It will be interesting to see where they go with the boys on the show as their lore in Marvel history thus far is quite scattered. It does, however, point to the much suggested involvement of Mephisto in whatever is happening to Wanda. Since it has been said that WandaVision will also heavily tie into Doctor Strange’s Multiverse of Madness and Mephisto is a main antagonist of Doctor Strange (and often Spider-Man too) as well as Stephen Strange being a big part of the twins’ lives, things are shaping up to go even more into that direction. We shall see!

credit: Marvel Studios

I do enjoy the general progression of the show! Much of the appeal is due to the dichotomy between fun, silly sitcom tropes and the complete tonal shift to dread and more serious matters. Both, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, deserve a tremendous amount of praise for how quickly they manage to switch between these contrasting emotions and portrayals. It’s often quite chilling to go from discomfort to bliss in an instant. I wasn’t sure how soon they would get into the nitty-gritty of their world, but I thought there were some incredible revelations this week.

I’ve mentioned before that I believed that important moments were shown mostly through Wanda’s eyes, but this week had an interesting shift to include major moments with Vision alone. He seems to be more plagued by whatever is off about their town and neighbors than Wanda is, which makes sense in that we believe she is partially responsible for what is going on. Once again, he got cut off by Wanda when he started asking too many questions (prompting me to believe my internet wasn’t working right, when it really was some smart editing choices). It shows an awareness and consciousness on his part that I probably did not expect in a character that is supposed to be deceased and possibly only imaginary.

This time, I have no useful theory about the “commercial break”. It was obviously a Hydra reference again, prompting the potential customers to find their inner goddess. If my suggestions last time had been correct, with the ads pointing to significant events in Wanda’s life in chronological order, there should have been an Ultron or Quicksilver reference, but we got that from Geraldine instead.

UPDATE on Hyrda Soak and it’s possible connection to previous Marvel content:

credit: Marvel Studios

While Vision was off on his own, getting warnings about Geraldine having no home, family or husband in Westview, Wanda also had a confrontation with the very same woman. If the final scenes of the episode are anything to go by, it looks like Westview is a very real town, but shut off from the rest of the world and suspended in old-timey sitcom bliss. Whoever lives there is bound to it and cannot leave. It looked like Wanda was not pleased to have her possibly self-made reality disturbed by a S.W.O.R.D. agent and therefore kicked Geraldine/Monica out, once again confirming that she has tremendous power over what is happening.

Now that we know all that, I simply have to wonder why Agnes and Herb showed concern about Geraldine’s presence in Westview and why Agnes stopped Herb from saying anything more to Vision. Clearly, they are stuck in that town as well, but do they not want to get out or are they worried that confronting Wanda (and Vision) with reality would end up putting them in danger? As Agnes is rumored to be Agatha Harkness, a fellow witch and potential villain, she might also have her own interest at heart in keeping Wanda put. It’s fair to say that I am curious! While the episode definitely answered some questions, it also opened up an onslaught of new ones!

I have to say, I wish they would continue with airing two episodes each week. On the one hand, I am glad that I am forced to be patient instead of binging it all in one go and then being miserable it’s all over, but on the other hand, 30-minute-long episodes are just not enough. This show is so much fun and so brilliantly intricate, I just want more.


Are you all caught up on WandaVision? Did you enjoy their take on the 70s? Let’s chat!

WandaVision: Episode 1 & 2 Review

Back in the day, and I say it weirdly like that on purpose even though I mean only a mere three years ago, I used to do weekly reviews of single episodes of certain shows. More accurately Doctor Who, because that was really the only show I did that for (check out the last review here). But, something about WandaVision, along with a little poll on Twitter, has compelled me to take up the weekly reviews again. So, I want to warn you that these posts will not be spoiler-free, but rather my unfiltered thoughts right after the episodes have aired!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Wanda and Vision have moved to the lovely town of WestView. They try their best to fit in and seem as regular as they can, however, it does not take long before they realize that something is off. Strange things keep happening, but are Wanda and Vision prepared to face reality?

My thoughts?

I have waited for this show for what feels like forever. WandaVision was the very reason I got a Disney+ subscription in the first place and I am so very happy that it is out now and that I LOVE it. With Marvel’s entire slate moving to the Disney platform, I was worried about the content a little bit, but with WandaVision they have proven they are not afraid of going into a weird direction.

Modeled after 1950s to 60s sitcoms such as Bewitched, the first two episodes of the new Marvel series take you on a ridiculous ride full of laugh-tracks, tailored theme songs and animated intros. Everything our two leads do is both extremely over the top and very in character for who they are supposed to be. It is fun to watch, but at the same time they keep the viewer wondering what all of this is about. Much as the trailer was confusing, you do not get a lot of insight throughout the first two episodes. They do, however, manage to create a wonderful feeling of dread on top of the silliness and jokes. Something is off and you are very aware of it, it’s just about figuring out what that something is now.

credit: Marvel Studios

Well, here is where it might get really spoiler-y, because these are some of the most important observations I have made (at least I think they are important):

  • Both episodes had short interludes of what looked like old-timey commercials. One was for a Stark Industries produced toaster, which also featured the first time color was shown on the show. Previously, it had all been black and white. The second episode showed a Strücker watch with a clear reference to Hydra. I don’t know if they maybe just want to hint at important parts of Wanda’s life (her home getting blown up by Stark weapons and her powers stemming from experiments done on her by Hydra – even in chronological order) or if it is something different entirely.
  • Another occurrence that was notable in both episodes was a human getting hurt and that being a huge part of Wanda’s awareness that something about her life was off. I found it interesting that these instances mainly involved Wanda and not Vision (although he did save his boss using his abilities in the first episode), because people were turning to her to DO something.
  • We do know that Wanda is in some form of simulation, as it is shown that someone is monitoring her and Vision and the life they are trying to create. There are credits shown for WandaVision’s life within the episode that do not correlate with the actual writing, directing and producing team, although the names didn’t mean anything to me. However, to stay in world, it seems Wanda has more control over her environment. At the end of episode 2, Wanda is confronted with something she does not wish to face, so, she reverses time to change events in her little TV world. Through that color is introduced to the entire scenery as Wanda and Vision learn they are expecting a child (or rather children, I suppose. You know, do it for the children).
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Most notably in all of it though was the symbol/logo shown on both the colored toy helicopter Wanda found in her black and white hedges as well as the beekeeper who came out of the canals. (Edit: also on the folder of the person who was monitoring Wanda and Vision on the screen) While the red and gold coloring may have been a misdirect to Stark again, the logo of a sword can quite simply only mean a connection to the S.W.O.R.D. organisation. In the comics, it was another counterterrorism and intelligence agency along the lines of S.H.I.E.L.D. just with a focus on extraterrestrial threats. Reports suggest though that the Sentient World Observation and Response Department has a new name and purpose on WandaVision, since the acronym now stands for Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division. All of this makes a lot of sense in the context of WandaVision, as they are both basically sentient weapons.
  • In conjuncture with the last point, we need to talk about the magnificent Teyonah Parris. She introduces herself as Geraldine in episode 2 of WandaVision, but we already know that she is slated to play Monica Rambeau (Carol Danver’s friend Maria’s now adult daughter), which leads me to believe she is a S.W.O.R.D. agent and working on the WandaVision case.

I think that is all for now on my part. I am sure there was much more to observe, especially since Agnes will likely play a vital part as well and I haven’t even touched on her yet. I am so looking forward to exploring more decades, styles of television and just plain story with WandaVision! Also, if you noticed in my post that I am referring to Wanda more than both, her and Vision, it is solely because something tells me he is not quite real. I would love for them to be able to be together again, but I am not sure Marvel is that charitable towards my feelings. I think a lot of this is possibly just all done for Wanda.


Have you watched the first two episodes of WandaVision? What are your thoughts on it? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #50

So, here it is, my last update on what I’ve been watching in the year of 2020. I really tried to pack in as much as possible, but some things just didn’t fit in (e.g. I only made it halfway through the final season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina so far). Now, I honestly have to say that I am rethinking this format a little bit. I’ll likely always watch as much, but to continue the numbering will be … interesting, as we are so high by now. I am open for title suggestions!

Bridgerton (Season 1)

Bridgerton is based on a book that I have not read and cannot make a comparison to, but I enjoyed my binge of the show very much. It’s not without fault and I can see certain moments being problematic even, but this is basically Gossip Girl during regency times. (I hope we all know that the people in GG were not it)
I liked that they changed history and did not mean to completely portray the reality from back then. Instead they put people of color in ruling positions and honestly, why not? Also, I thought it was funny that the showrunners called this season “the education of Daphne Bridgerton”, because she really does have her sexual awakening. Be aware of many sex scenes!

For fans of: Gossip Girl in regency times

Hilda (Season 2)

I don’t often talk about animated shows, so, I just wanted to make sure that I include the ones I actually really enjoy. I like the Scandinavian vibes of Hilda and how it explores family and friendship packed into fun magical adventures. Simple as that.

For fans of: cute animation

We Can Be Heroes

This is not a serious recommendation or anything. I haven’t even seen Lavagirl and Sharkboy in full, so I am not even a fan of that movie to justify watching the sequel, but Pedro Pascal. As a dad. That’s my weakness.
Maybe, if I was a kid, I would have enjoyed it more, but it’s tacky and over the top and not exactly acted very well. I can’t blame them, cause they are kids and that is totally okay. It had fun bits. But it was also ridiculous.

For fans of: Lavagirl and Sharkboy, Pedro Pascal as a dad

Wonder Woman 1984

I wanted to like this so much, but I only found it mediocre. The thing is, there’s no way the movie had to be two and a half hours long. It also felt tonally different in the first and the second half and I much preferred the first.
It’s hard to explain, because I understood the motives of the villains. I completely got the point of the sacrifices that were made. I definitely think I comprehended the message they were trying to convey, but … I just didn’t buy it. While Diana had some great and frankly emotional scenes, I also just didn’t buy into others. Some things were resolved too quickly, others left in the air. I don’t know if I just expected too much.

For fans of: Wonder Woman, Pedro Pascal as a dad

The Midnight Sky

This movie did not need to be more than two hours long. Aside from the storyline seeming very familiar to anyone who has watched any movies set in space as of late, there was just a legit 10 minutes of the crew repairing a ship. I do not need to see that for such a long time and it might have felt more dynamic and engaging with a different cut. On top of the predictability and length, it was just very choppy, with three different storylines finding their way together. The “solution” to their problem didn’t even make sense to me in the end. There’s no way I would recommend this as a worthwhile watch.

For fans of: space movies, slow pace, George Clooney as director and actor

Sylvie’s Love

Jazz enthusiast will surely love the soundtrack of this movie. It was beautiful and warm and such a nice watch. Obviously, the cast is top notch. The styles incorporated fit the decades depicted so well and all the costumes are to die for.
It has an “old Hollywood” kind of vibe, but with a black cast that might not have been able to see themselves in a sincere love drama like this back in the day. I fully support this revival of something that felt a bit old-fashioned, but I also have to say that it had its lengths. While I am sure people will fall under the spell of the impeccable mood depicted, the story stilted sometimes and some moments felt too planned and/or convenient for the narrative.

For fans of: anyone on the cast, jazz, music, sweet love stories that span decades

Soul

Soul is just a really lovely, inspirational movie. All criticism, especially that black characters either get turned into animals or blobs for the majority of movies, is completely valid, but I also enjoyed myself so very much. The music was fantastic, everything was jazz-infused. I loved the animation style that made so many objects and lighting situations feel so realistic. I really don’t know what else to say other than this was a work of art and is definitely worth the watch.

For fans of: lovely heartfelt animation movies, Pixar


Have you watched any of the show or movies above? Do you plan to? What are some of the last things you binged in 2020?

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #49

As mentioned already, at least I think I’ve said it before, I now have designated binge-days on Friday where I really tear into new releases and then finish them over the weekend. That way, I feel super up to date and can share my thoughts on a lot of things with you in a quick fashion. If you ever want more detailed reviews again, please let me know! I just figure that these short mini-reviews get more done, but maybe you’d want to know more!

The Wilds (Season 1)

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, because I really don’t want to spoil anything for you. Suffice to say, this show is very character-driven and what brilliant characters they are. Maybe you won’t always like everyone right away, but they are complex and authentic and will inevitably grow on you.

There’s a couple good “WTF!?” moments, even if I found some of the twists and turns predictable because I watched too much similar content. It’s all very twisted and disturbing and deals with heavy subject matters such as mental health, predatory relationships, body image issues, adultification and judgment of gay relationships. Add to that that they are teen girls stranded on remote islands and I think the potential for conflict is clear.

For fans of: Lost, the Maze Runner but with girls, female-centric plots

Tiny Pretty Things (Season 1)

I have not read the book this is based on and cannot tell you if it is a faithful adaptation. I saw a lot of people in the book community excited, so I’d like to think it’s close to the source material, but I also saw that names of main characters were changed, so … I don’t know.

The promotion for this show was very misleading. It made it look like Neveah would be the lead character, therefore having a focus on a black ballerina, which would have been cool but is not actually the case. However, in reality, Tiny Pretty Things is very much an ensemble show and Neveah’s character gets sidelined a lot. I thought it was important to mention that.

Having said that, I watched Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (a brilliant short documentary about Debbie Allen’s dance academy) before this show and it introduced Kylie Jefferson, who plays Neveah, to me ahead of time. I grew quite attached to her and didn’t mind that the acting wasn’t always top notch. This show hired dancers rather than actors and sometimes that’s quite obvious, but the dance scenes are all the better for it.

I am not going to say that it’s the best show out there, but I did enjoy myself. The relationships kept changing and I really enjoyed a certain bromance and some ships, despite the ones I wanted to happen not happening.

For fans of: Black Swan, Flesh and Bone, Center Stage, ballet, the book this is based on

The Mess You Leave Behind (Season 1)

Not gonna lie, I started this show solely because of Aron Piper, who you might know from another Spanish hit Netflix show – Elite. The Mess You Leave Behind also deals with the unraveling of the death of someone in a tight-knit community and an “outsider” coming in and figuring things out. However, this is the more “adult” version of Elite I suppose. Anyway, Aron can play the biggest douchebag and I’d still enjoy his face on my screen.

The Mess You Leave Behind seemed like a limited series to me and I don’t think I would need/necessarily want another season. The characters were sometimes hard to root for, but eventually they do grow on you. Although, I still don’t agree with a lot of stuff that happened, it was an aesthetically pleasing show.

For fans of: Spanish Netflix content, Aron Piper?, thrillers, mental health examination

Home for Christmas (Season 2)

I love this show! The main character, Johanne, is so messy, but you simply want her to be happy and find that person she is looking for. Episodes are very short, so, you kind of blink and the new season is over again, but it still leaves you with a happy feeling. This time around, there is no cruel cliffhanger, but instead you see her ending up with someone you might not have necessarily guessed in the first season. I adored the ending and would love maybe one more season to see them make it work.

For fans of: Norwegian Netflix productions, messy adult love life

The Mandalorian (Season 2)

This season was so good!

The Mandalorian has quickly proven to be far better than the sequel trilogy and restored a lot of people’s faith into the Star Wars franchise, including myself. They weave characters from the past into the storyline so effortlessly and brilliantly, it’s just a joy to watch. You never cease to get that giddy feeling when a familiar face pops up and they don’t mess up the integration of the character. I am genuinely happy we will get more seasons of this.

For fans of: Star Wars?

Safety

You know that I have a thing for sports stories, American Football alongside Baseball and Ice Hockey in particular, so this movie would have been interesting to me anyway. The fact that Hunter Sansone, from Stargirl, had a role in this as well and kept promoting it a lot and me being happy that he was getting more roles had me downright pumped.

Safety was such a nice movie! In true Disney fashion, it does not get as dark as the real life circumstances probably were and yes, this is based on someone’s life and I am sure it wasn’t always easy. But it had you invested and rooting for everyone to be successful despite ridiculous rules. Definitely sweet and inspiring, something for the whole family. 

For fans of: inspiring sports movies, tight family, found family trope


Did you watch any of these programs as well? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #48

I really watched all over the place in these past days, but seemed to have especially found some kind of nostalgic streak with reboots and the era things were set in. Let’s check it all out!

The Hardy Boys (Season 1)

I have never read a Hardy Boys book (or Nancy Drew book for that matter) in my whole life. When I asked my parents, neither of them had every even heard of them. I do know they mean a lot to people, but my country just did not have them and focused on local groups of book-kid-detectives instead. I’m telling you all this so you know that I have no nostalgia for the books (or even previous TV shows/movies) when it comes to the Hardy Boys. I just like watching them the way I like watching Nancy Drew adaptations.

When I first saw the trailer, I expected this to be hulu’s response to CW’s Nancy Drew, which I like very much despite it being far more supernatural than I expected. It has a darker look, but The Hardy Boys are still squarely set in the 80s. I think it’s funny how you really need to take a hard look these days, because so many shows have established an 80s/90s aesthetic without being set in that decade. I like those vibes coming back, but I was also intrigued by it actually being set at the time.

I really enjoyed myself throughout the entire season even if I wasn’t exactly surprised by any of the twists. It is nicely paced and I was really impressed by the acting even from the younger cast. I think they would do well in continuing this show!

For fans of: The Hardy Boys nostalgia

Saved by the Bell (Reboot – Season 1)

Just like above, I have never watched a Saved by the Bell episode in my life. I went into this out of boredom and then watched the entire season in one sitting. I have to say, and again, I have no reference point for comparison, this show is A LOT. Like, if you want authentic teens, this is not it. It’s so overacted and weird sometimes, but after a while these characters grow on you anyway. I can’t give it any points for nostalgia due to obvious reasons, but I had fun.

For fans of: Saved by the Bell???

Fierce

This is a movie made in Poland about a girl whose father is a big time musician and never wanted to have anything to do with her, so, she makes it onto the music competition show he is a judge on as a sort of revenge? The plot says it all? Kinda?

I think this wasn’t the best possible iteration of a story we’ve all seen in some shape or form before, but I liked it well enough. It was a good vied on fame and sticking to your true self, even though it got VERY dramatic sometimes.

On a side note, I know the English dubbing is bad … I watched it with German dubbing, which was better. But I’d also recommend just checking out the subtitles?

For fans of: music competition shows + family drama

Godmothered

Do you remember the movie Enchanted? This totally gave me similar vibes. We have a character from an actual magic world placed in our much harsher reality, but instead of them needing to find true love, they want to help others. And that, does not look the typical fairytale way, so don’t worry about it being too cliché.

It’s a really heartwarming and funny tale, one that works for the whole family. Maybe the humour won’t always hit home 100%, but I think in general it’s a sweet movie and even very fitting for the Christmas time! I definitely came out of it utterly enchanted.

For fans of: sweet fairytale style fun that’s for the whole family

Uncle Frank

This movie. I loved it so freaking much!

Don’t get me wrong, you need to go into it with the right mindset and be prepared for the trauma involved, because this is both a happy and incredibly sad coming out story at the same time. From the trailer and premise it does not look as deeply sad as it is sometimes, but then again, it also does have these amazing moments of humour.

This movie is so many things. I don’t know how it could have been so simple at it’s core, yet also so smart and complex. But I just hope everyone has an Uncle Frank in their lives to open their eyes, but even more so, I hope that everyone meets a Wally and lets them into their hearts! Also, this was a deeply personal movie for Alan Ball and it’s worth it checking out why he made the movie.

For fans of: coming out stories, family centric stories


Have you watched any of these shows or movies? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!