The most important success of this episode of “WandaVision” is not Randall Park not just returning as Jimmy Woo—he previously appeared in Ant-Man and the Wasp—but the show “fixing” his character (he was incompetent comic relief in Ant-Man 2), thereby laying the potential ground work for an Agents of Atlas adaptation; it’s probably not even the second most important success. It’s just my favorite one because Agents of Atlas is a sublime comic and Jimmy Woo is a great character in it.
The most important success is also not Kat Dennings coming back from Thor 2 and running the literal show with complete ease. After the episode gets caught up a bit—however the present action of this episode works versus the previous three episodes… some of it’s just going to have to be “well, it’s magic,” or Soul Stone energy or whatever. It’s fine because it means better material for Dennings and Park, but the hinky timeline stuff is just going into a cart with the other potential series problems; this episode, which resolves the previous one’s cliffhanger, does nothing to get the show out of its biggest possible problem (the spoiler-y one I’m not talking about)…
But it’s an excellent lead-up to that big potential problem. Every minute of We Interrupt this Program is spot-on, starting with getting to see Teyonah Parris come back after five years when they un-Thanos snapped everyone. Parris, who’s been fine and likable on the show in a decent but limited part, is a great lead. Parris is playing a character from a previous Marvel movie and they reference all the pieces but it’s never explicitly stated. It’s done in Easter eggs, which is fine. Maybe even appropriate. It’ll depend on what happens with Parris.
But it definitely works.
Parris goes back to work at S.W.O.R.D., which is like S.H.I.E.L.D. but doesn’t have a terrible ABC show dragging the brand down, where she now works for previous underling Josh Stamberg (who reminded immediately how much I like Josh Stamberg). He sends her off on a mission where she has to liaise with FBI agent Park and they pretty quickly find themselves in a major situation, with Parris missing and Park calling in the calvary.
Dennings is in the calvary—she’s part of the Andromeda Strain scientist crew put together to figure out what’s going on—and pretty soon they’re all sitting around watching the same “WandaVision” episodes we’ve seen. Only they don’t get them on Disney+, they get them over old style low-def TV broadcast.
By the end of the episode, which starts at least three weeks before the previous one’s cliffhanger, all the timelines are in sync and the show’s had a couple big reveals for Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen.
Based on how well they do with this episode, I want to be super confident everything’s going to go fine or better but… we’ll see.
Excellent direction from Matt Shakman again; it was impressive how he did the sitcom riffs and was able to change tone, but his handling this science fiction thriller episode is even more so.