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WandaVision Episode 5 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode five of WandaVision series from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus, how does it move the story forward, here’s our review.

While Episode four really picked up the pace of WandaVision, Episode five is the one that has blown the series wide open in every sense.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It showed a major schism in Wanda’s artificial reality. She’s confronted by people openly telling her that the WestView she lives in isn’t real. This happens to such a degree that she feels forced to leave her reality, temporarily. This is to confront S.W.O.R.D. and the FBI. It’s also blown the MCU wide open as we see actors who are in the Marvel Multiverse enter as plot points rather than a cameo.

We return to using classic sitcoms as a device for moving through the timeline in this episode. We’re now in the 80’s so Family Ties is the sitcom used as a basis for the title homage. Given that this was the show that catapulted Michael J. Fox to stardom, it seems appropriate that we go back to the future constantly in WandaVision. I’ve bemoaned the lack of laughs in the first few episodes, and this episode was no different. Yet, the plot is now moving at such a pace with so much drama, the comedy aspect is almost redundant. That said, it’s lovely to see the attention to detail in recreating these sitcoms. I particularly liked the stained glass windows in Wanda & Vision’s house. The one in the door appeared to be a recreation of Captain Marvel or Iron Man’s suit.

Ad break

There was also the return of the mid-episode advert. This one was for the ‘Lagos’ brand of kitchen towel. The name Lagos was an obvious reference to the capital of Nigeria. This was the location for The Scarlet Witch accidentally killing numerous civilians in Captain America: Winter Soldier.

The Hex

Episode four acted as a catch-up for what was happening outside of Wanda’s reality. Or ‘The Hex’ as Darcy is attempting to nickname it. The Hex is a term used to describe The Scarlet Witch’s reality-warping powers in the Marvel comics. It’s fair to say that this series is an appropriate point to bring it into the MCU. This means Episode five is the first one where everything we see happening inside The Hex and outside is taking place in parallel. Presumably, this will be the case for the four remaining episodes. But given the number of twists we’ve seen so far in this series, you wouldn’t rule anything out!

Man’s best friend

Wanda is actively challenged by almost everyone in her orbit in this episode. Her sons Tommy and Billy (aka Wiccan and Speed) want to age themselves even further so they can cope with their grief at losing their dog Sparky. Even though in the comics Sparky is a synthezoid dog, created by Vision, in WandaVision he appears to be a real dog. Sparky apparently dies after eating too many of Agnes’ azalea leaves. But, we never actually see the body, so maybe Sparky is still alive somewhere in WestView? Wanda tells them not to age themselves up & change reality to outrun their pain, and that they must face it. This becomes a prophecy for what happens at the end of the episode.

She is then challenged by S.W.O.R.D. who fly a drone into The Hex, at Monica Rambeau’s suggestion. But she is crossed by S.W.O.R.D. Director Tyler Hayward. He attempts to kill Wanda with a missile, but she exits her reality to confront those who are trying to destroy her WestView. Her Sokovian accent returns & she is dressed in her Avengers costume. Hayward sees her as a threat after we discover that she stole Vision from S.W.O.R.D. HQ, in contravention of his living, will. But Jimmy Woo, Monica and Darcy Lewis are more sympathetic to her situation.

Wanda’s biggest challenge is saved for the end. Vision angrily presses her on what is happening in their world. She attempts to roll the credits on the episode. But he breaks her concentration and continues the conversation which results in a mid-air stand-off between them.

Recasting Pietro

As things calm down, the doorbell rings, much to Wanda’s surprise as she isn’t controlling this particular happening. She opens the door to be confronted by her brother Pietro aka Quicksilver. But in WandaVision he is played by Evan Peters. Peters played him in the X-Men movies, rather than Aaron Taylor-Johnson who played him in Age of Ultron. He immediately starts cracking jokes and is dressed like Jesse from Full House. Full House was the sitcom which featured Elizabeth Olsen’s twin sisters Mary Kate and Ashley. Don’t be surprised if there are more references to Full House in Episode six. The fact that it’s Evan Peters rather than ATJ is addressed by Darcy Lewis. She amusingly notes that Pietro has been recast.

The multiverse

Does this mean that we’re going to see more crossover between the MCU and the Marvel Multiverse in Phase four and five? With the Fantastic Four joining the MCU in Phase Five and now this, it looks very much like that may be the case.

Every time you wonder whether Marvel can surprise us any more, they come up with some new way of making our jaws drop. This episode was a Wandaful (sorry!) example of that.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 10/10


Thank you for reading our review of WandaVision episode five. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our WandaVision episode four review HERE.

Read IMDB information about WandaVision HERE.

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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