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WandaVision Episode 2 – Review

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Bewitching or bewildering?

WandaVision Episode Two Image
Marvel Studios

Episode two of WandaVision series from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus, how does it compare to the first episode, here’s our review.

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

Releasing episode two of WandaVision at the same time as episode one is a savvy move. Although with the amount of Marvel content in the pipeline for the next two years, they could have released entire series each week and still have shows and films in the bank.

The reason it has made sense is that it adds some context to the somewhat disjointed first dip into the supposed ‘reality’ of Wanda and Vision. This episode feels much more comfortable with being a pastiche of a sitcom. While I found this episode more amusing than episode one, which isn’t saying much, I still haven’t laughed.

60s American TV

This was much more in keeping with the gentle humour of its sitcom touchstones – Bewitched and The Dick Van Dyke Show. The loving recreation of the Bewitched opening titles was a lovely touch. There are also heavy nods to The Twilight Zone as well. They dovetail nicely with the entire concept of everything in WandaVision not being as it appears.

The growing references to ‘The Children’ are setting us up for the birth of The Scarlet Witch’s twins from the comics. Aka Wiccan and Speed. This became even more obvious as Wanda’s pregnancy was revealed at the end of the episode. Whizzing through several decades of sitcoms allows the children to grow up to the point that they can then feature in sooner. It’s a clever idea and looks like being a central plot point of the series. Especially given that there don’t appear to be any children at all in WestView.

The disconnect between Wanda and the reality around her is cracking rapidly. Firstly, she was the only one at Dottie’s meeting wearing trousers. The scrambled radio messages on the clock radio show that someone from outside her reality is trying to contact her. Those radio communications return at the end of the episode as the infinity stone shaped sign marking The End appear on the screen. Those communications via the clock radio caused Dottie’s glass to smash in her hand, cutting it. The Blood from that gash was only one of two things in colour in the episode.

The logo

The other colour item was the helicopter that Wanda finds in the hedge outside their house. It’s painted in classic red and yellow Iron Man livery and has the S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) logo on it.

Then the ‘beekeeper’ appears at the end of the episode. He climbs out of a manhole cover and wearing a beekeeping outfit with a S.W.O.R.D. logo on his back. From that, it’s pretty clear that they are the ones trying to break through the reality. Hence the banging we hear during the episode. It’s also a safe bet that he wasn’t a beekeeper at all. He was in fact a S.W.O.R.D. agent in disguise. As any animal lover knows, it’s only Ninja Turtles that live in sewers.

We also get our first Hydra reference with the mid-show 60’s style advert for the Strucker watch. It came complete with Hydra logo and is named after Baron Von Strucker, who kept Wanda and her brother prisoner in Age Of Ultron. The quickening ticking of the watch is another reference to the bomb from the same film that destroyed Sokovia.

A familiar character

Monica Rambeau who appears as a child in Captain Marvel, is central to this episode. She quickly allies with Wanda at Dottie’s meeting. She is then transported into the wardrobe by Wanda as the big finale of her and Vision’s magic act at the talent show…FOR THE CHILDREN. It’s worth noting that the wardrobe also has an infinity stone motif on the front of it. Monica is now a S.W.O.R.D. agent so we will see whether she is stuck in this same reality as ‘Geraldine’. Or whether she has infiltrated it to befriend Wanda in the next few episodes.

Wanda has no option but to use her magic to try and cover for Vision’s erratic and revealing behaviour. This after he accidentally swallows gum at a neighbourhood watch meeting. The gum affects his inner workings to the extent he acts as if he’s drunk. But in covering for Vision, Wanda drops her guard momentarily. Dottie’s husband Phil, the guy who looks like a cross between David Schwimmer and Inspector Clouseau, notes that Wanda has turned his grandmother’s real piano into a cardboard cut out. She does this as Vision ‘drunkenly’ picks up the original piano, thus revealing his powers, and to try and cover, she uses hers to keep up the pretence.

Episode two really felt like the series has properly started, with plot threads developing. The change from black and white into colour at the end of the episode showed the series is really moving at pace. It also gave a glimpse into the fact we’re moving into the sitcom era of The Brady Bunch and All In The Family.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10


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


Read our WandaVision episode one review HERE.

Read IMDB information about WandaVision HERE.

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Cobra Kai Season Four image
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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