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WandaVision Episode 4 – Review

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Monica Rambeau WandaVision image
Marvel Studios

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

Well, NOW we’re off to the races! The first three episodes of WandaVision have been gradually picking up the pace as we’ve weaved our way through the sitcoms of the 50s, 60s and 70s. But, this episode has brought us screaming up to the present day. It has also answered a number of huge questions from the first third of this nine-episode series.

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

Recap

Episode four essentially replays the entirety of the first three episodes. But it replays them from the other side of an alternate reality that Wanda (aka The Scarlet Witch) has created. It also sets up how crucial Monica Rambeau is going to be in the next phase of the MCU. She is a central part of the hierarchy of S.W.O.R.D. Whose inner workings we get a great look at in this episode. Her mother Maria, Captain Marvel’s best friend, was the Director of this sister organisation to S.H.I.E.L.D.

If the MCU follows the storyline of the comics, then Monica could become the new Captain Marvel. This may even be in Captain Marvel 2, which is scheduled for release in 2022.

S.W.O.R.D

Returning to WandaVision for now though, she is the first person from S.W.O.R.D. to penetrate Wanda’s ‘reality’. She’s also certainly the first person to confront her about the happenings in Age of Ultron and Infinity War. This results in Wanda throwing her through walls and out of her reality back into ours, as we saw at the end of Episode three. Clearly affected by this, Wanda’s control of her reality slips for long enough that we get to see Vision as he was at the end of Infinity War i.e. dead. Quickly though she snaps back. Vision then returns to his ‘normal’ appearance as she chillingly utters “I’ve got everything under control.”

The blip

Monica ‘awakening’ from ‘The Blip’ that occurs in Endgame at the start of this episode, confirms that the entire series takes place after the events of that movie. The whole episode felt much more ‘classic Marvel’ than the opening three episodes of this series. It was certainly a much more enjoyable watch. But, I was excited about which 80’s sitcoms would get the WandaVision treatment. So I was slightly disappointed none were paid homage to in this episode. But hopefully, we’ll continue our trawl through sitcom history in Episode Five. I’m hoping that Cheers and Diff’rent Strokes will be the touchstones for that episode, simply so someone can say “Wha’choo talkin’ about Wanda?”

Darcy

It was great to see Darcy Lewis finally appear on screen after only seeing her arm in the pullback at the end of Episodes One and Two. It’s pretty obvious already that she is almost as crucial to this series as Monica & Wanda. She has already struck up a comic partnership with Jimmy Woo. Both Kat Dennings and Randall Park have got comic chops from starring in 2 Broke Girls and Fresh Off The Boat respectively. Hopefully, we’ll see more of this in upcoming episodes. After I bemoaned the lack of humour in what were supposedly sitcom episodes, this instalment was full of the wit we’ve come to know and love from Darcy in her appearances in the first two Thor movies.

Wanda’s WestView ‘reality’ was systematically dismantled in this episode. It was revealed that all the supporting characters are in fact S.W.O.R.D. agents masquerading as WestView residents and friends of Wanda and Vision. Presumably, this is to keep an eye on them, but a question that hasn’t been answered is how did they all get there? No doubt, all will become clear in the next five episodes. The beekeeper from Episode Two was also revealed to really be a S.W.O.R.D. agent in a Hazmat suit, but Wanda had warped reality to make him appear to be a beekeeper. The helicopter from that same episode was also warped by Wanda to make it appropriate to the 1960s. This was after it was sent in as a drone by Monica and Jimmy to scan WestView in the present.

Hendrix

There was something telling in the use of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile in this episode as well. The Marvel movies are renowned for their brilliant use of music, which is something DC has understandably tried to ape in some of the DCEU movies. Although for DC, things can only get better after the complete mess that was Suicide Squad. That film used great music, but with all the subtlety of Thor tenderizing a steak with his hammer.

The choice of Voodoo Chile is a great choice of song in any instance. But it’s also in keeping with the use of the likes of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC in the likes of Thor, Iron Man and Deadpool. It’s also a clear reference to Wanda controlling the reality around her with her powers. Not only that it’s a teaser about what we can expect from her sons Tommy and Billy as they grow up and become Wiccan and Speed.

What next?

This episode has unquestionably set up the rest of the series and given a number of spin-off points into other upcoming Marvel series and films. Episode Five is now as eagerly anticipated for us as Darcy’s coffee is for her!


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


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


Read our WandaVision episode three review HERE.

Read IMDB information about WandaVision HERE.

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Loki Episode 6 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode six of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the series finale. Here’s our review.

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

More to come

The post-credit scene showed that a second series has already been ordered, meaning this finale is essentially the end of Part One. Thank goodness it is. Because if this was the denouement of the entire Loki story then there’s a good chance it would go down in television infamy as one of the more unusual series endings.

Introducing the big bad

We pick up from Sylvie and Loki’s defeat of The Alioth as they look at the citadel upon the rock at the end of time. They make their way to the entrance, and upon being invited in they’re met by Miss Minutes. It’s been widely predicted that ‘she’ would be an agitator in this series. And at last her role has been revealed. She is an emissary of Kang The Conquerer, embedded within the TVA.

She offers Loki the earth, almost literally, as she tries to coax him to betray Sylvie. Her offers of infinity stones, defeating Thanos etc. Happily, Loki rejects all the trinkets that she offers. Instead, he and Sylvie head into the lift where they meet ‘He Who Remains’ aka Kang The Conquerer. A 31st-century scientist and the true timekeeper.

Loki fight

Sylvie attempts to kill him but he quickly demonstrates some of his powers by dodging and weaving her before she gives in and the three of them sit down for a very long discussion. To sum up what was a lengthy and occasionally fairly tedious scene. He Who Remains (HWR) asks Loki and Sylvie to kill him and take over the role of controlling the timeline. Loki is extremely reticent but Sylvie, angry at what HWR’s meddling has done to her life, is desperate to do so.

Meanwhile, back at TVA HQ, Renslayer is informed by Miss Minutes of HWR’s plan. Showing her dual role and playing on Renslayer’s desperation to keep the TVA active and relevant.

Loki and Sylvie get into a physical fight over what to do with HWR. With Loki recognising how the timeline will fragment with branches springing up all over the place. But Sylvie is consumed by her rage and eventually overpowers Loki, sending him back to the TVA and then kills He Who Remains.

Setting up season two

Loki finds Mobius and tries to explain what has happened. But then discovers the terrible effects of what Sylvie has done by apparently killing HWR. Mobius has no idea who Loki is. This situation is then made worse when Loki looks out to see a statue of He Who Remains adorning TVA HQ. Loki realises that he is in a different timeline branch. One where HWR or Kang is in control of everything. Sylvie has been manipulated into apparently killing him which has enabled him to increase his power further.

Jonathan Majors was masterful as He Who Remains. Which is what you’d expect from someone with a Masters in acting from Yale. He was flamboyant, powerful and mesmerising, which is exactly what you want from a major villain. He will be back in AntMan 3 as Kang The Conquerer and is set to be the key villain in the next phase of the MCU post-Endgame and Thanos.

I have been extremely positive about this series, as I think it has been the strongest and most cohesive of the Marvel series so far this year. But I can’t disagree with anyone who felt short-changed by this finale. My 11-year-old son was pretty vocal in his disappointment the moment the credits rolled, and he was absolutely right. He is one of the most obsessive Marvel fans around and if he was underwhelmed, I feel pretty sure he was reflecting the majority view. Nothing I’ve seen online since has dissuaded me from that either.

Phase 4 groundwork

It seemed that the finale was essentially an exercise in introducing He Who Remains or Kang to our screens ahead of AntMan 3. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it meant that the focus shifted away from being the climax of this series. Instead of being a prologue for the next phase of the MCU, which does seem a peculiar decision.

There are those who feel that the series original premise of Loki and Mobius teaming up to find Variants dotted around time and space was dropped after the first two episodes. Instead, it was replaced with a love story between Sylvie and Loki and a voyage of discovery with Mobius reduced to a bit part for the rest of the series.

But, the cliffhanger at the end of the series as Loki returns to the TVA does give me hope that Series Two will be an even better follow up.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


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


Read our Loki episode five review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.

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