After watching the first three episodes of “WandaVision,” I was just about to check out and say that it just wasn’t for me. The deliberate confusion of the premise was wearing on me, and I just didn’t care enough about the central characters, both of which were established in films I hadn’t seen, to stick around much longer.
The ambition of the show’s design — to parody different eras of television with each passing episode — was its main draw, but even that was a little stale with no context for what was happening. I was looking for some bigger bread crumbs on the bigger plot so that I could grapple with the rapidly changing tone, but these crumbs were mostly absent after the first three episodes.
And then came the fourth, entitled “We Interrupt This Program.” The fourth episode of “WandaVision” wasn’t just giving bread crumbs; it was a full loaf. Most of my questions up to that point in the season were given satisfactory answers, and so I was able to refocus and enjoy the show and appreciate the surprises and tonal shifts much more. In retrospect, holding off on some of these answers was probably the correct move. In real time, the decision to withhold critical context was frustrating, but the payoff ultimately made the wait worth it.
Part of what makes the slow start a little frustrating in the moment is that there is little reason to believe a second season of “WandaVision” will ever happen. There’s a meta urgency to make the show more interesting faster because there isn’t a lot of time to dilly-dally when the show has a preciously small lifespan. Something like “The Mandalorian” can afford to take its time because it can conceivably go on for years. Shows that take on a more mini-series approach to the action don’t have such a luxury.
One way to know your dealing with an excellent episode is when it elevates the episodes that come before it. That’s what the fourth episode of “WandaVision” pulled off. I can see the show having great rewatch value in the months and years to come, and those people who know where the story is going will likely be able to appreciate those early episodes a lot more. Not to mention, the craving for answers serves as a distraction when watching any show. With satisfactory answers solidly in place, viewers will be relieved of the initial confusion and will instead be able to appreciate the entire season as a cohesive unit, constantly building and hinting at the glories to come.
Sam Zavada is a copy editor with The Standard-Speaker in Hazleton. He previously served as the news clerk at The Standard-Speaker, working with the obituaries and the community and lifestyle pages. Sam’s work in print dates back to his time at King’s College, where he spent two years as the editor in chief of the school’s newspaper, The Crown. Earlier in his time with The Crown, he worked as a staff writer and the entertainment manager. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.