blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

WandaVision (2021) s01e02 – Don’t Touch That Dial

When this episode started—again in black and white, with a glorious animated title sequence (homage to “Bewitched”), I was a little confused because I thought they were doing a different sitcom style every episode. But it turns out it’s part of the narrative, which is rather a nice turn of events given the alternative is they’d be doing a painful Pleasantville rip. But they are not and it all works out, which is kind of “WandaVision”’s thing… it just works out.

This episode gives Elizabeth Olsen the better part (between her and Paul Bettany); it’s the neighborhood magic show, just like neighborhoods have—we also establish Bettany’s coworker Asif Ali lives presumably on the same block, ditto boss’s his Debra Jo Rupp—and Olsen and Bettany are doing a magic show.

But they’re not going to be using any of the actual magic they can do, because they don’t want the normies to know they’re special. Actually, thanks to rewatching Olsen and Bettany’s Avengers outings, I know continuity would have them be “enhanced,” not “special,” but we’ll see if they bother with that one.

Except Bettany starts malfunctioning and so Olsen’s got to save the magic show and her burgeoning relationship with the neighborhood’s society boss, Emma Caulfield Ford. It all works out in fine sitcom fashion, getting to a somewhat surprising (though also very foreshadowed) conclusion. And a save on that Pleasantville concern.

There’s a good subplot about Bettany and Olsen being scared of loud noises, leading to some fine sitcom moments. Less successful is Bettany’s outing with the neighborhood watch group, though David Payton’s good as the group leader and Bettany’s new pal. Kathryn Hayn’s awesome in her scenes, no surprise, and Olsen gets another friend in Teyonah Parris, who seems just as discombobulated in the sitcom setting as Olsen.

And, once again, a very nice sense of the uncanny when they’re forecasting eventual reveals (which seem to have something to do with the in-universe—in-universe-in-universe?—TV commercials).

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