Loki: Episode 2 “The Variant” Review

So, as I’ve mentioned last week, I won’t be able to post reviews or recaps of Loki as soon as the episode airs each time, but I will always post on the day it releases. I hope you’ll all bear with me on those days and beware of spoilers moving forward!!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Loki is integrated into the TVA as a special consultant. No one trusts him, but can he still weasel his way into their hearts?

My thoughts?

I’m having a blast with this show. I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to keep up these episodes that are on the long side or not, but I think it really works for the format. There’s a lot of new information, considering the timelines, variants, new characters and so on, which makes me glad they aren’t rushing it or making me, as the viewer, feel overwhelmed. Yes, there is always intrigue and a bit of a cliffhanger, but that is only suitable for a show that airs weekly and needs to keep people hooked.

Let’s break down what we learned and found out this episode:

  • Loki did a little TVA training session with Miss Minutes and got to watch more educational videos. I think it’s funny that they put so much effort in him, considering that they don’t have any faith in him. He’s a smart guy though, so even if he was bored by most of it, he clearly understood the key teachings and information.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • After the Variant has struck again and taken a hostage for the first time (C-20, as all hunters seem to only have designations instead of names), Mobius takes Loki to the scene, where he tries to cause chaos. He clearly has ulterior motives in helping the TVA, but Mobius sees through him. I continue to really enjoy their dynamic, because Loki needs someone in his life who doesn’t buy into his bullshit and knows how to counter his behavior effectively.
  • During a meeting with Ravonna, Mobius has to justify why he wants to keep Loki on. He feigns to not care, but I, just like Loki, can’t help but wonder what sparked that intense interest in the trickster. He really is a specialist on him and I don’t know if it’s because he had to deal with so many of his variants (which were hilarious by the way) or because this Loki is his favorite and he actually feels a hint of sympathy. Either way, it’s fun to watch and try to figure out.
  • Loki is tasked to study the previous variants and that’s when he finds out about the destruction of Asgard. He is such a familiar character to me and I keep forgetting that he doesn’t know about most of these events. Even in the memory theater, he barely watched any scenes, but you could see the genuine emotion in his eyes, despite him covering that all up real quick. I don’t, in general trust Loki, because he is arrogant, deceptive and always has a hidden plan, but I love it when Tom gives us these moments of vulnerability with Loki.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Through the research, Loki comes up with the theory that the variant they are looking for hides within apocalypses, because whatever you do there won’t be noticeable as a time disturbance. He tests that theory with Mobius in Pompeii and I was kind of bummed that this wasn’t a bigger scene. Sometimes I think back to the trailer and how they showed so many things that turned out to be just tiny moments in episodes. It was still fun, but brief.
  • After getting the theory confirmed, Mobius and Loki try to find where the Variant could be hiding. They have a very interesting bonding moment together, as they take a break, where they talk about actual deep life questions. Loki clearly has his quarrels with the blind faith people put in the TVA and the Time-Keepers. I think it’s fair criticism, because as he said “No one bad is all bad and no one good is all good” and there must be a catch. They both ponder their lives and how ridiculous their existence sounds if you spell it out, but yet they do exist. It really makes you think about your own life, despite not being a magical person at all.

Fun fact: Roxxcart has been mentioned several times within the MCU before and seemed to have been some sort of evil corporation. Considering that they now seemed to have caused the apocalypse in 2050, they really did proper foreshadowing with it before.

  • Eventually, Mobius gets an idea and a mission quickly forms. They get to go, but B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) is still there to babysit Loki, because there is no way that woman will ever trust him (as she shouldn’t).
credit: Marvel Studios
  • During the mission, the team splits up!
    • Mobius and some hunters find C-20, who was taken hostage and seems completely out of it. She claims she gave away how to find the Time-Keepers, which peaked my interest. Mobius, a presumably quite high-ranking analyst, has never even met them. Do hunters know where the Time-Keepers are? Ravonna is supposedly in contact with them, and they are very eager to get the Loki matter resolved, but all the information on them is highly classified.
    • Loki “meets” his Variant, who can possess people and move from one body to the next by touch. I’ve never seen “our” Loki do that, so it was really interesting to see a different power. They talk, they fight, they clearly both think they are the superior Loki. Eventually, my suspicions from last week were confirmed though and the Variant was revealed to be Lady Loki. (Although she doesn’t bare much resemblance to her comic counterpart and doesn’t like to be called Loki. Maybe there’s still more there!) She sets off all the reset charges she collected over time at once and therefore bombs the sacred timeline, causing it to split into multiple streams all at once. In short, this means we are definitely getting a multiverse. I think?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • In a final scene, we see Lady Loki disappear through a portal and Loki contemplating whether he should follow her or not. Mobius comes running and doesn’t want him to go, obviously, but I could have sworn I saw actual hesitation on Loki’s part. It seemed to me he was warring with himself on whether to earn the trust the TVA had put in him, or seize his chance at whatever ploy Lady Loki was involved in. He chose the latter and followed Lady Loki through the portal just as the episode ended. 

The show continues to juxtaposition deep existential questions with bouts of humor. I think Loki is the perfect character for that kind of content and the TVA the perfect setting. I honestly didn’t expect them to reveal the whole Lady Loki thing so early on, but it was massively satisfying to have been right on the matter. I can’t wait to see what happens next week and the rest of the season, because they just unleashed pure chaos. I’ve tried to keep this review a bit shorter, as I’ve really just recapped most things in previous posts and they got a bit out of hand, but I hope you still enjoy them and I’ll see you again next Wednesday!

Ravonna Renslayer insert: Last week, I mentioned that Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character was not mentioned by name, but a couple hours after the episode aired, it was confirmed she was portraying Ravonna Renslayer. I thought it would be fun to imagine her bigger part in the MCU based on comic information, even if she supposedly is quite different here.
The thing is that Ravonna definitely isn’t a purely “good” character, so it’s fascinating to me that she is a judge within the TVA. Through tumultuous events, she was often associated with Kang the Conqueror, who is scheduled to appear in Ant-Man 3 (Quantumania), which could mean a link for future appearances for her outside of Loki!

credit: Marvel Studios

PREVIOUS LOKI REVIEWS


What did you think of this week’s Loki episode? Are you enjoying the journey? Did you guess the reveal? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #61

I’ve been going through some shows and thought I’d better update you all before the list becomes too long. I’ll also start getting busier again come next week, and I just wanted to make sure I have some content out there for you! Let’s take a look at what I’ve watched!

Sweet Tooth (Season 1)

Sweet Tooth is the adaptation of a DC/Vertigo comic of the same name by no one other than the Downey Team. While RDJ may not have starred in this show, he really made this a passion project of his. I was lucky enough to get to attend an exclusive (virtual) preview screening of the first episode before its official release and I was really positively surprised and binged the rest of the show soon after it was out in the world.

While this show follows 10-year-old Gus, it is by no means a show for kids. Oftentimes quite dark, it poses a lot of moral questions, while maintaining that incredible undercurrent of hope and resilience. I was a bit hesitant when it all started with a deadly virus going around (speaking about timely and possibly not wanting to reminded of that), but the heart and emotion drew me in. It’s a curious story and I hope they get to continue to tell more about it, because they really stopped at one of the most interesting crossroads.

Love, Victor (Season 2)

I was so looking forward to the return of this show and liked the themes they went with during this season. Of course, we still have the endless romantic teen drama, but there was a heavy focus on parenting that I quite enjoyed. It’s hard to unlearn things that have been ingrained in you since you were a kid and sometimes we need outside help to get our act together. Shown through various scenarios with almost all different characters, we see how it’s not just the teens having a tough time, but also the adults. I always appreciate when shows manage a balance in those departments.

Most of the time, these days at least, people expect that coming out isn’t a big deal anymore, when there’s still a lot of communities that places that don’t have happy coming out stories to tell at all. I like that the show didn’t shy away from showing struggle in that regard, without making it entirely hopeless and soul-crushing.

My favorite storyline of the season was probably Felix’ and his mother’s, but I’m biased, because he is my favorite character in general.

Ragnarok (Season 2)

The way I was excited for this season and then kind of disappointed with what I got … I don’t really know if I have the words to describe how I feel.

On the one hand, I was so happy to see all those characters that had grown on me again, but on the other hand, I felt like a lot of them were acting out of character this season. They really leaned heavily into Norse mythology and added a lot of additional gods, but I can’t say I enjoyed their involvement. In general, there were some really wild storylines and even though there were still beautiful themes about family and destiny and morality, I thought it was all a lot more muddled and less clear than during the last season. I was way more confused about the motivation of some people than I should have been.

Bo Burnham: Inside

This is not a comedy special. I’m sorry, I just can’t call it that.

Inside made me feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic, while it was also relevant and meaningless at the same time. I know that Bo Burnham is a genius, but words are failing me with this special. I literally don’t know how to describe what I watched, but I hope he’s okay.


Have you watched any of these? Do you plan to? I’d really like to know your thoughts!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #60

Before the end of the month, I definitely wanted to do another of these posts to showcase what I had been watching. As I’ve gotten back into network television and I don’t tend to mention these shows on here (but feel free to always assume that I am up to date with most of the weekly releases), this post won’t be super long. Enjoy!

Panic (Season 1)

Panic is an Amazon Original show based on the YA novel of the same name by Lauren Oliver. I actually read this book years ago (I think all the way back in 2014???), but I honestly can’t remember much about it and I know that to be true, because I was genuinely shocked by some of the twists on the show.

Where the book was written from a dual POV (Heather and Dodge), the show focuses on even more key players of the game Panic with a clear bias towards Heather and her perspective though. Having so many characters the audience is supposed to care about can be tricky and I don’t think it fully managed to make us invested in all of them. I found a couple performances really intriguing and even liked minor side characters, but definitely not all of the mains. The relationship between Heather and Ray was something that kept me interested. I have a soft spot for the boy who is always presumed to be the worst, but who actually really cares.

As for the premise in general, I find it hard to judge these teens for playing a game as stupid as Panic. First of all, this wouldn’t be the first time a really upsetting tradition was created in a small-knit and poor community, no matter how reckless participating is, and secondly, I truly believe that these characters thought taking part was the only way out for them. Of course, the thrill-seekers of the bunch are morons for playing a potentially lethal game, but if you had nothing to your name and all you wanted was to escape a place and your circumstances … maybe you would consider it too?

All in all, I really enjoyed the show. I binged it in one go and liked the thrill that came with some of the challenges. The acting was wooden in part, which didn’t help me connect to the characters, but as I said above, there were a couple performances I really enjoyed. The game in itself is something you just have to believe in no matter the plot holes for this work. A lot of the mystery is just for the mystery’s sake and the viewers know even less than the characters while watching, which can be frustrating at times. Still, I would watch another season.

Special (Season 2)

I had a great time watching Special when it first released on Netflix. I think they managed to get to do longer episodes this season (even if it was only by a little) and it helped strengthen their narrative. We weren’t stuck with last season’s plot at all, but naturally evolved with the characters. So much of it was finding out who you want to spend your time with after you’ve learned to love yourself, which isn’t an easy feat to begin with, but you might not want to compromise or settle. Kim’s love life was a highlight for me, because I adore that she just had men worshiping her. I love to see big girl love.

Army of the Dead

Not going to lie, this isn’t my genre at all. I’m not into zombie movies in general (Warm Bodies being the rare exception), but I genuinely wanted to see how Matthias Schweighöfer would fare among these other Hollywood actors. He must have made a great impression since his character is getting a prequel movie, which he will also direct and I found his character a really good comic relief.

In general, this movie was much more fun that I thought it would be. It has some weaknesses, but the zombies were different than the ones I’m used to and I felt entertained, which is the most important part anyway. I can see how this would lead to an entire cinematic zombie universe of its own, because there is definitely potential for sequels, especially some that are set outside of the US.

Doors

I don’t know why I felt to watch an anthology horror movie with extraterrestrial doors in the middle of the night, but I did. It weirdly gave me annihilation vibes and everything about the sound design and the visuals is specifically made to make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I was a little put off by the way writing was incorporated in the movie, but it definitely added to the unique style. I didn’t end up loving it, because it made me feel super off and wasn’t a very satisfying watch in my opinion, but I don’t regret checking it out.


I’m currently watching the second season of Ragnarok, so you can be sure that I will talk about that once the next post rolls around. What are you watching? Do you plan to view or have you already seen any of the things I mentioned?

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #59

I watched some stuff and they thematically all felt like they were in a similar realm, so I thought it was time to share all of that. I tend to forget that I do these posts and then content piles up, but not today. Two shows and two movies, that’s a decent amount. Here we go!

*I noticed that I scratched the “for fans of” section in the last post and don’t know if anyone is missing that bit, but I’m leaving it out here too. If you want me to bring it back, let me know in the comments!*

Jupiter’s Legacy (Part 1)

TW: suicide, gore, violence, substance abuse

I’m a huge sucker for all superhero content. Where other people moan and whine about networks and studios releasing more and more of these kind of projects, I relish them and Jupiter’s Legacy was high up on my excitement list. I have not read the comics the show is based on, but because it’s a Mark Millar one, I was prepared for it to be violent. Compared to other shows out there (e.g. The Boys), it was actually alright on that front though, but let’s start at the beginning.

One thing you will have to look past right from the get go are the terrible wigs and the make up etc. that is supposed to make the cast look aged. It’s just ridiculous and lacks authenticity, but I understand why they wanted the same actors through all the stages of the show. The pilot immediately drew me in and set up an interesting premise. Split into two distinct timelines, you have the main characters in the late 1920s on their journey to getting their powers as well as the struggles they now face in the present day. Personally, I thought that the balance between those storylines could have been handled better, because I had a hard time connecting (and liking) some of the new generation characters. In the beginning I was frustrated with how long it took us to accompany the characters in the past, but looking back, every bit of that was needed and I got chills when they finally go their powers.

These heroes live by a code! They don’t kill and they don’t govern, because they need to inspire humanity to do better and not rule them instead. Overall, I think that’s a beautiful sentiment and I was impressed to learn that the old guard had never killed anyone in the 90 years they were active. None of the Avengers or the Justice League could claim that … but it’s also not a practicable code in some situations that simply are life or death, which ultimately sets up one of the biggest conflicts of the season. As a viewer, I didn’t even know what side to take, because I want to believe that situations can be solved non-violently, but at the same time I’ve never been in a “it’s you or me” predicament.

Overall, this season won’t answer all your questions, but is a really good set up for the world and the problems ahead. I was left to wonder about so many characters and needed more info on quite a lot of them, but this is part 1 of a much larger story and I, for one, am excited to see more.

Invincible (Season 1)

TW: gore, violence

I don’t watch many animated shows, but so many people hyped it up and the voice cast is absolutely amazing, I just waited until all episodes were out and binged it in one go. Ultimately, I’d say Invincible definitely deserved the hype it got.

I always enjoy a bit of a different look on a show about superheroes and don’t mind it when they get a bit jaded. I find this show difficult to review without spoiling anything, but I loved the twists and corrupt morals. Mark still has a lot to learn, but they set up amazing storylines for him in the future. All throughout the season, the stakes just got higher and higher, but in all honesty, the people who are coming for Amber on social media can miss me with that bullsh*t. How anyone can claim that a teenage girl who was able to communicate her boundaries clearly was the true villain compared to the actual one who committed genocide and mass murder is beyond me.

Season 2 and 3 are already approved, so people can be sure to get more Invincible content!

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

I was surprised by just how much I loved this movie, but oh boy, I did.

To say that the animation was like nothing I had ever seen before might be a bit of an overstatement, but it felt fresh and unique and engaging. There’s a lot going on in terms of visuals and I would not recommend it to people who struggle with flashing images, but I had a grand time with it, although it really is borderline too much sometimes.

The story revolves around family and growing up and pursuing your dreams, but is set in a ridiculous scenario that just ups the fun tenfold. The generational divide was so well handled and made some really good points. I laughed so much watching the movie, but it also brought me to tears and I just can’t deny that Sony is really stepping up their game when it comes to animation movies these days. Definitely something for the whole family, even with older kids.

This movie *almost* made me want to adopt two broken robot boys, even if they might try to take over the world with the wrong software update.

Bliss

TW: homelessness, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, mentions of undefined mental illness

I was interested in this movie, because 1.) my former roommate’s husband was the cinematographer for it and 2.) the trailer looked really interesting, but I’m sad to say that I did not love it.

Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek are an odd choice for the leads here. While they are both capable of great performances on their own, I didn’t buy into them being soulmates at all. Their chemistry together was just off, which made scenes awkward and less credible. However, I will say that I love Nesta Cooper getting roles in big productions and I wish she had been in this movie even more than she was. She will always be a highlight for me.

Aside from that, I just really struggled with the story as a whole. I didn’t know if it was all part of a depressing metaphor for mental illness, or if it was supposed to be about an actual multiple-reality-story like so many great sci-fi movies and shows have done before. Even at the end, I was not sure and it bothered me? On the one hand, I liked the end, but on the other hand, I didn’t find it satisfying at all. Maybe I just really wasn’t the right viewer, because I did not understand it.


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

My Thoughts on the Shadow and Bone Netflix Adaptation!

It has been no secret just how very excited I was for the Shadow and Bone series (as well as the Six of Crows duology) to be adapted by Netflix. While the streaming platform doesn’t always get it right, I was really optimistic early on and the trailers looked fantastic. Before I watched it, though, I caught up on all the books as to really know what I am talking about (only Rule of Wolves is missing for me now, but that’s irrelevant for the show at the moment) and even before going into details on my thoughts, I think they did a great job!

Obviously, the Grishaverse is huge and vast and has quite the fanbase because of the books series. But not everyone has read those and Netflix offers a platform that exposes the material to millions of people all over the world. Not everyone will be happy with everything, but I would like share my personal opinions in the following post.

*I could not do this without going into detail on some topics, so this might not be for you if you want to go into the show with as little knowledge as possible. SPOILERS ahead!!!*

THINGS/CHANGES I DIDN’T LIKE

I want to get the “bad” things out of the way, because some of it really irked me. It did not overshadow my enjoyment entirely, because I binged the show in a day, but I find it necessary to point them out regardless.

  • Casting Jessie Mei Li as Alina was a beautiful choice. Jessie is a ray of sunshine and hence amazing to watch as the sun summoner. They have great chemistry with on screen partners and I’m so very glad they got cast for this role. In the books, Alina wasn’t biracial though. This was a choice made to bring more diversity to the on screen adaptation, but where they went wrong (in my opinion) was by adding anti-Asian slurs and racism to portray the treatment of people from Shu Han. Nowhere in the books was this kind of racism ever present and we are dealing with a Fantasy world where Alina already faces enough struggles and could have dealt with a number of different circumstances that made her feel othered if that was what they wanted to portray so badly. Every time they inserted a slur such as “rice-eater” or “half-breed” it felt forced and unnecessary and I imagine hurtful to certain audiences. The problem is that they never contextualize this behavior, because they simply claim that being at war with Shu Han is enough to warrant the hostility, but that’s really not the take they thought it was.
credit: Netflix
  • Amplifiers in the books, while still kind of barbaric, are jewelry made out of bones/scales/claws/etc. and can be anything from a necklace to a bracelet or ring. Grisha can only have one amplifier in their lifetime (yeah, I know exceptions exist) and can never take it off. The Grisha who killed the animal the amplifier is from has the power over it. I think that’s all pretty cut and clear, so, why did the show change them into some kind of body horror?
    When the Darkling puts the antlers on Alina, she does not get a badass necklace, but rather the antlers fuse into her collar bone, making it an extremely uncomfortable scene to watch. I worry about this change, not just because she eventually absorbs the antlers into her body entirely and they are not visible anymore at all, but also because it makes me feel that the producers thought putting a literal collar on a person was not horrific enough and they needed another violation of Alina’s body to showcase the Darkling’s evil nature. Apparently, people wouldn’t be put off enough by his disregard for consent and need to control everyone around him.
  • Speaking of the Darkling! Due to budget constraints and everyone adoring Ben Barnes (he is a great actor), they opted to not show the Demon in the Woods short story as part of a flashback, where the Darkling would have been only 10 years old, but rather showed a grown up Darkling. In that tidbit from the past, he seemed enamored with a Grisha called Luda, who did not exist in the books, but came across as a love interest in that scene. Her death causes the creation of the Fold, making it feel like fridging (where the girlfriend/wife/love interest of the male protagonist dies in order to propel his story). In an interview with Insider, the showrunner explicitly said they weren’t trying to do that and even actively tried to avoid it, but nothing in that scene told me they weren’t romantically involved. (You can read the interview here!)
    Also, I keep calling him the Darkling, because that’s how I knew him for 7 books. Yes, his first name is Aleksander, but in the books that’s revealed very late. His name is a mystery and Alina is the only person in that world to know it, which felt special, but here he just throws his name around like it means nothing. The show really humanised him a lot.
credit: Netflix

GENRAL STUFF I ENJOYED OR NOTICED

The following points that I will mention were neither huge mistakes nor masterful choices. I just collected some of my thoughts that I found interesting or necessary to mention to give you all a complete picture.

  • As someone who has read all the books, short stories and anthologies (Language of Thorns and Lives of Saints), I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the Grishaverse. However, had I been someone who didn’t have that prior knowledge, I could have easily seen myself struggle with some of the concepts. They really barely explained anything to do with Grisha orders, amplifiers or something as simple but vital as the belief systems (Fjerdan god vs. Ravkan sainsts etc.). I doubt that anyone could understand some of the important components to their full extent having none of that knowledge and background info. Whereas I understand it’s difficult to include, a little more would have been appreciated from my side.
  • While waiting for the show to release, I always said that I did not care about the faithfulness of the story, but rather about the accurate representation of the characters and their personality and I still stand by that. Yes, Jesper should have been played by a dark-skinned actor, but Kit Younger has his personality DOWN. And not just him, EVERYONE either behaved exactly like I imagined they would (even if they didn’t all look like they had in my head) or even improved on the characters by playing them softer and with more nuance and vulnerability (e.g. Matthias Helvar). I cannot wait to see who they will bring in for the twins, Nikolai and Wylan next season.
credit: Netflix
  • The overall pacing and the amount of story they packed into this first season was well handled. From what I heard, the showrunner has a three-season-plan, which would correlate nicely with the three Shadow and Bone books. I really hope that the next season would also start implementing the Six of Crows plot, because this was a nice prequel to their characters, but I need to see the big heist happening. However, since everything is more interconnected, they might change things up further and I’d be excited to see what that looks like.

SOME IMPROVEMENTS

In some cases, I even think that the show did better than the book. Having the ability to show several points of view, whereas Shadow and Bone the book only offered Alina’s side really gave them the chance to explore the characters some more. Also, it probably helped that the producers already knew about all the later books Leigh Bardugo wrote as well. Here’s some changes I thought worked well:

  • When I first read Shadow and Bone, I hated Zoya. She literally broke Alina’s ribs and just treated her terribly, because she was jealous. Early on in the books, there are few redeeming qualities to Zoya and while she improves over time, I always felt a grudge until I got her side of things in King of Scars. While she starts out similarly in the show, I was grateful that they allowed an insight into her backstory earlier in the season than in the books. She is such an important character, but I think audiences would have struggled later on, just like I did while reading, if they hadn’t softened her up.
  • I think I am part of a small group of people who actually liked Mal in the books, but I think Archie and the writing on the show made the character so much better. They scratched unnecessary and childish jealousy scenes (which was annoying but fine in the books, because they were younger) and genuinely made his connection to Alina seem sweet and fated. I’m so happy people are now actually rooting for them.
  • Milo the goat is the real MVP.

VERDICT

I loved seeing some of my favorite characters brought to life on the screen. My expectations were high and I could have easily been disappointed but I was really pleased with how everything came together. Shadow and Bone is by no means flawless, but the effort they put into wanting to do the material justice came through. I honestly didn’t know if I would understand the involvement of the crows before watching, but it was integrated beautifully and they provided some of the best parts of the season. If you enjoyed the books, I think you will like this as well. Even if you weren’t a huge fan of the Shadow and Bone books, but only enjoyed Six of Crows, I can easily see you liking this better. 

credit: Netflix

Previous Reviews from this books series and Leigh Bardugo’s work:


Have you watched Shadow and Bone yet? Do you plan to? What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments? Let’s talk!

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 4 “The Whole World Is Watching” Review

As I say every week, here is your little Spoiler warning for the following post, which is a review/recap for episode 4 “The Whole World Is Watching” of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Proceed with caution if you haven’t watched yet!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Bucky buys some time with the Dora Milaje in order for Zemo to help them find Karli. All the while, John Walker and Lemar Hoskins are also on their trail.

My thoughts?

This episode – there’s a lot to unpack!

When Sebastian Stan said that episode 4 was one of his favorite episodes (please don’t make me look up that particular interview, there’s been so many), I thought it would be full of banter and fun, but this episode was really dark. I’m not sure if it was just me, but even some of the one-liners that were put in for comedic relief didn’t hit home as much as in previous episodes and just felt out of place at times.

With only two more episodes to go, the narration is getting tighter, although I still feel like we are far from being able to tie things up. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has brought up so many different topics and while they start to all come together instead of being separate stories, it’s still a big undertaking for the remaining screentime. I’ve thought about this ever since WandaVision ended, but I am not sure The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will end on a real conclusion either. I could see them using these shows to set up future movies in a more elaborate way, especially since they are so hell bent on making all the content one big universe and interconnected.

credit: Marvel Studios

After last week’s appearance of Ayo, which really shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering that Wakanda would never let Zemo just walk free (Sam warned Bucky), we start off this week with a little flashback. Six years ago, Ayo (alongside Shuri and possibly other members of the Dora Milaje) was instrumental in freeing Bucky from the grasps of the Winter Soldier. I don’t think anyone could feel untouched at Bucky’s smile when he finally realized he was free. He owes so much to the people of Wakanda, for giving him a refuge when needed, restoring his arm and mind and you can see he does not enjoy having to barter for Zemo’s life, but he needs him. Ayo grants Bucky an 8 hour extension until they come for Zemo, therefore setting the timeline for the episode.

Side note: Marvel has not been great at featuring a lot of LGBTQIA characters so far. I am not saying there are none, but they are few and far between, so, please don’t ship Ayo with Bucky? I know it’s tempting, but Ayo is a canon lesbian in the comics and I’d really love it if they didn’t erase her sexuality.

So, let’s try and break down what all happens:

  • Sam, Bucky and Zemo visit a GRC camp of internationally displaced people in order to get some information on Donya Madani. Sam suspects that since she was such an essential mother figure for many people in the camp, there would be a wake or funeral with Karli in attendance.
    While no one really seems to trust Sam or Bucky, Zemo made some new friendships with children by offering them Turkish delight. Not going to lie, I was very conflicted about how to feel. For one, don’t let strange men give your kids candy and second, it just had very odd White Witch of Narnia vibes for me. Ultimately, he did get the information they needed, but ever since Zemo’s return he has always made sure to stay useful.
  • While Sharon is still in Madripoor and not a huge part of the episode, Sam remains in constant contact with her, after asking for some more help. She uses her resources to be the eyes and ears of the team via some surveillance. Sharon also mentions that the power broker went “apeshit” when he heard about Nagel’s death. Despite last week’s episode title, we still don’t know much about who the power broker is. Sharon having taken on that mantle was just one of the theories, but there have been many indications that we have not met all the players yet. With only two episodes to go, I hope they won’t take until the last minute to reveal the identity.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • John Walker and Lemar Hoskins unfortunately intercept Bucky, Sam and Zemo before they can get to Donya’s funeral and therefore Karli. However, the scenes that follow are the beautiful proof of why Sam Wilson should be the next Captain America instead of John Walker.
    While Walker is eager to just grab Karli and fight, Sam can sympathize with her struggle and would rather want to talk. During their scene together, you can clearly see Karli opening up and realizing that her actions could be perceived in different ways than she intended and that Sam has a point. If it hadn’t been for John waltzing into their conversation, Sam might have actually gotten through to her and a lot of the coming pain could have been avoided.
  • In the ensuing chaos, Zemo manages to shoot Karli (not fatally) and destroy the serum she had kept safe until then. That is, all except for one syringe, which John Walker pockets for himself.
  • Back at Zemo’s hideout, things escalate further. When Walker and Sam almost go head to head (without the shield), the Dora Milaje interrupts to take Zemo. Like so many times before, Walker makes an utter fool of himself and starts a fight with the Dora Milaje. Time and time again, he proves that he does not know when to stop or when not to fight. His first go to response is violence, even when he cannot win, maybe because it is the only thing he has ever done.
    Eventually, Bucky and Sam step in because Walker and Lemar thoroughly get their asses kicked, which Zemo uses to his advantage and flees. A noteworthy observation from that fight is that the Dora Milaje knows how to disarm Bucky (quite literally, by removing his arm), which he wasn’t aware of prior and seems like a huge deal to me. For those wondering what she said to him in Wakandan after the arm fell to the ground, she said “Bast damn you, James”. Bast is a Wakandan deity.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Karli, trying to regroup with her fellow super-powered Flag Smashers, realizes that she can’t fight on several fronts at once. Not only is the power broker after her, but also the new Captain America, so she makes a decision to contact Sarah Wilson and suss out if she can get Sam on her side. I think contacting and threatening Sam’s family was not only a bold but dangerous move. There’s no way he would have ever taken to that threat lightly.
  • The meeting gets interrupted by the fact that Walker found the Flag Smashers hideout and is attacking them, sending Sam, Bucky and Karli on their way to help. While Lemar gets taken in order to separate him from Walker, it turns out that John already took the serum to be on an even playing field with the other super soldiers. As everyone fights to support their side, Lemar eventually gets free and jumps in to have his friend’s back. Karli, possibly underestimating her strength, but maybe just trying to win, deals a fatal blow to Lemar. This is the final drop for Walker, who had been on edge for a while now and cannot take the loss of his friend. In a frenzy, he pursues one of the Flag Smashers and publicly executes him with the shield. This scene is all the more darker when you think back to the fact that this particular Flag Smasher was a fan of Captain America when he was a child. As I watched on in horror, the people witnessing the scene filmed it in shock, making the episode title come true in this devastating moment.
    Not only was this scene a gruesome reminder of real life footage of police and other people committing violence against people on tape, but it was also a direct cinematic parallel to Civil War. Steve Rogers once held that shield up to crash down on Tony, but instead of decapitating or killing him, he disabled the power source of Tony’s suit instead.
  • I am furious that it was Lemar who died. That viewers once again had to see a black man brutalized on TV (just like it was really unnecessary to show Monica get shot in slow motion in the finale of WandaVision), but the show set it up this way, so that it could not be any other character. He was the only one Walker would care about so much that he would snap. And while I do not like John Walker, who has forever disqualified himself as a worthy Captain America, I think Wyatt Russell is playing the nuances of the character great. As much as it pains me to watch him.
credit: Marvel Studios

A lot of this episode talked about whether the super soldier serum should be taken at all. I loved Sam’s quick answer to never wanting the serum compared to Lemar’s immediate opposite response when asked the same question. The episode showcased different opinions, such as Zemo’s radical belief that all super soldiers are a form of supremacy, the Flag Smasher’s need for action and their conviction that superheroes no longer have the luxury of keeping their hands clean, but also the thought experiment that it might just amplify your inner self and with that who you truly are. There was a lot of talk about how it never corrupted Steve Rogers, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if they squandered the chance of others doing great with the serum. People like Isaiah Bradley for example.

In general, while I do enjoy the emotional depth this show has given Bucky, I hope they will refocus more on Sam in the final episodes. We know there’s more coming with him and the shield as well as in his hometown with his family, but he deserves the spotlight. His name comes first in the show title and in terms of depth, he has taken a bit of a backseat so far, even if some seeds have been sown about his personal struggles. Mostly though, he has just been worrying and wanting to take care of others, be it Bucky, Sarah, Sharon or now also Karli. He cares a whole lot, as a true Captain America would, but I also want him to be taken care of.

It’s not often that I have to sit with an episode for a while and I am not sure I found all the right words to express myself in this recap. Something about an unhinged John Walker just terrifies me apparently, because I felt sick by the end of that last scene. The end credits, while I didn’t see any changes in the imagery, also reflected my dampened mood with a more somber outro song. It’s the little details that Marvel takes care of that I appreciate so much.


Fun fact: Marvel has set up a tourism website for Madripoor, which you can visit under exploremadripoor.com. It will let you click through several pages with hidden images and wanted posters. If you need passwords to enter certain areas, I also got you!

The art auction can be entered with the code “sharoncarter” and the docks with “powerbroker”. When you are in the container area, you may also search for any random container you like by entering a four-digit-number. E.g. 1273 will show you Sharon’s wanted poster, whereas 4261 was the container Dr. Nagel was in and will show footage from episode 3. Allegedly, some containers used to show names of X-Men such as Mystique, but have since been removed.

AND the string of numbers on the wanted posters for each character feature the date and issue the characters made their comic book debut. As I said, Marvel and its little details.


PREVIOUS THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS


How do you feel about the events of The Whole World Is Watching and the progression of the show? Let’s talk!

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

PREVIOUS WANDAVISION REVIEWS


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 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.

PREVIOUS WANDAVISION REVIEWS


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!