WandaVision Episode 4 Puts The Show Right In the MCU Timeline
For the first episodes of WandaVision, all we got were two episodes of a 1950s and 1960s sitcom, respectively. WandaVision episode 3 was a 1970s sitcom, akin to The Brady Bunch, complete with kids (kind of). However, WandaVision episode 4 is the proper sequel to Avengers: Endgame fans hoped for. We learned a lot this week about Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau, including some heartbreaking details about her backstory. We’re not going to get into spoilers right away, but if you are expecting the WandaVision take on Family Ties, you’re in for a wait. Instead, episode 4 places WandaVision squarely in the MCU timeline. We know how long after Avengers: Endgame it is, but we don’t have all the answers just yet.
This episode also introduces Kat Dennings’ Dr. Darcy Lewis. When we met this character in Thor, she was the unpaid, graduate student intern working with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. We also saw her in Thor’s sequel, but nothing since. In the time she’s been off-screen, Darcy became a doctor of astrophysics. And, since she’s got some experience, she is on the US Government call sheet for matters of the weird and super-powered.
We know the episode count for WandaVision got extended, and now we have a better idea of what we’ll see. We’re probably going to get at least three more sitcom-style episodes. They will likely traverse the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s-era formats. We will also get two more episodes like this one, hopefully with extended runtimes. The sitcom episodes are important, but we’ll get the MCU story and its place in the timeline from these episodes where the characters also watch WandaVision.
Spoilers to follow.
The MCU Timeline Is Actually Very Important to This WandaVision Episode
Image via Disney+
The beginning of this episode is, in an MCU way, graphic. While we learn how “the blip” worked in Spider-Man: Far From Home, we didn’t really see what happened. The opening three minutes of this episode shows us in a visceral way what it was like when the Hulk brought everyone back. In fact, Monica herself was blipped away. She came back into being fully unaware of what happened. But there was more tragedy. Her mother, Maria, was in the hospital to remove a cancerous tumor. The surgery succeeded, but she ended up dying while Monica was gone. So, it seems that Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff is not the only one grieving.
The events of the series take place about three weeks after everyone came back. This puts it earlier than the Spider-Man film, which took place about eight months after Endgame. Perhaps the cut Vision scene from Endgame Paul Bettany talked about would have hinted towards Wanda’s unprocessed grief. Because, according to the characters in the show, everything that’s happening is because of Wanda. Now, as this would be the start of the “second act” of the six-hour movie that is WandaVision, things may be more complicated than they seem.
So, the key takeaway here for the audience is that Wanda and Monica have been “back” for the same amount of time. They are both dealing with loss. And they both appear to be in control, but it’s a fair guess that they are not. Wanda (and, probably, the world) haven’t had nearly enough time to process what Thanos did to them. Though, at least Wanda got to beat the crap out of him.
Is Wanda Really the Villain in the Show?
Image via Disney+
Other than the show’s place in the MCU timeline, this episode of WandaVision shows us the other side of the events of those episodes. One of the characters caught up in the sitcom story is actually a member of the FBI’s Witness Protection Program. Randall Park reprises his role as Agent Jimmy Woo, and he discovers the problem. (He also learned close-up magic!) The people around the town of Westview, New Jersey, don’t seem to remember it ever existing. We learn what the helicopter Wanda found was in real life. In a way we were correct in our WandaVision episode 3 spoiler discussion podcast, the helicopter pilot was Monica Rambeau. Only, instead of a helicopter, it’s a SWORD drone.
SWORD, a space-threat focused organization started by Maria Rambeau (among others), fills the role of SHIELD in this story. But, in this episode, we get to see more than they do. We see what happened to Monica at the end of the last episode. (Another case of the story being spoiled by the marketing.) And it seems like Wanda is very much set up to be the antagonist in this story. Yet this feels a bit like a red herring. If one looks at Wandavision from a trauma theory perspective, she may be causing some of the problems but she’s not a villain.
Wanda and her powers are definitely the engine behind this strange illusion. Yet, it does feel like there are other forces at play. In fact, it feels like Wanda may have made a deal with another entity or power because it means she gets Vision back. Wanda sees Vision as he was in Infinity War after her confrontation with Monica. While it might signify a crack in the façade, it also could serve as a warning or a reminder. Wanda’s insistence that she has “everything under control” sounds like she’s trying to convince herself as well as Vision.
How Far Down the MCU Timeline Will the Future Episodes of WandaVision Take Us?
Image via Disney+
For all the answers we got about the timing, there are still plenty of questions. It appears that the events inside Wanda’s reality are not unfolding in real time. For example, Darcy sees an “extended scene” that we only saw in montage. The three episodes we’ve seen have all taken place over a little more than a day. Agent Woo sends his message the same night as ‘Geraldine’ is kicked out. Days have passed for Wanda, Vision, and company, while only hours have passed in the real world.
The other interesting detail is that the events inside that reality are being “broadcast” as old-school television signals. It’s not clear how or why this is happening. Also, these broadcasts are being censored whenever something threatens Wanda’s immersion into the lie. Jimmy and Darcy don’t see Dottie breaking the glass or Geraldine being expelled from the reality. It’s possible that Wanda is doing the censoring, but if so then why broadcast it at all? I think it’s clear that she wants to stay in there to have a “perfect” life with Vision. Yet, this doesn’t seem like something Wanda would (or could) do on her own.
The one question I have lingering after this episode is whether or not this is going to last longer than a few days on the outside. When we next check in with Darcy, Jimmy, and Monica, will it be mere hours after her expulsion? Or, will days or weeks or months have passed in Wanda’s reality? I expect the former, but since this is almost certainly going to have a bad end for her, part of me hopes Wanda gets the latter.
WandaVision airs on Fridays on Disney+.
What did you think about the latest episode of WandaVision, and where it fits in the MCU Timeline? What are your burning questions about the episode? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image via Disney+
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.