WandaVision (2021) s01e03 – Now in Color

This episode does an excellent job changing the tone—first with color (the show looks and sounds very “Brady Bunch,” but without the kiddie antics), then with a big reveal in the finale. Director Matt Shakman has been doing a good job with the show so far, with this episode the first time where he’s been downright impressive. He got close last episode, but so much of “WandaVision” has been keeping the show on the rails, this time it jumps at least two tracks and Shakman keeps it in place. Especially once there’s a lot of suspense action while never leaving that “Brady Bunch” setting.

However.

It’s also the point where I’m getting concerned—again, going to be hard to maneuver through talking “WandaVision” without talking expected spoilers—but the show makes some big changes and it’s going to need to really come through for it to work out. Especially for Elizabeth Olsen, who does get to do a bunch of comedy this episode, but usually playing off someone else (mostly Teyonah Parris). Meanwhile, Paul Bettany once again gets to be a comedy superstar, including using his superpowers in front of people (while Olsen’s jokes revolve around her having to hide hers), and even getting the de facto protagonist slot when it comes to investigating the reveals.

It starts with him worrying neighbors Kathryn Hahn and David Payton are gossiping about he and Olsen, but it turns out to be something far more peculiar and potentially sinister. If my suspicions about “WandaVision”’s source plot line are correct—and they certainly seem to be after the cliffhanger—they’re walking an extraordinary tightrope and Olsen’s the one who’s going to make the biggest splat if it doesn’t go well, which really isn’t fair.

Also it’s a bummer the stylized opening titles promise a lot more fun than the episode turns out to be, particularly for Hahn, who plays second-fiddle exposition to Payton in her single scene. She and Payton are both good and all, they’re just under-used.

Nice supporting turn from Randy Oglesby as Olsen’s bewildered doctor.

“WandaVision” is getting close to its make or break point, rushing towards it with a whole lot of bravado. Hopefully it’ll make it. But whatever it’s going to do… even a successful (albeit cast underutilizing) episode like this one doesn’t presage overall success. Fingers crossed.

Also the detail of neighborhood social grand dame Emma Caulfield Ford being married to goofball David Lengel is great.

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