Warning: This article contains spoilers for “WandaVision” and other MCU movies.
Welcome back to “Wondering about ‘WandaVision,’” where I will recap WandaVision episodes as they are released weekly and theorize about what’s to come in future episodes. For episode 4, we have a lot to unpack, as this episode finally reveals the central plot. Let’s get to it!
Episode 4, “We Interrupt this Program,” is an interlude episode that focuses on the “real world” outside of the sitcom. In regards to the chronology of the series, we go back in time, slightly before the events of episode 1 and ending in-sync with previous episodes. Here, we meet Captain Monica Rambeau, member of S.W.O.R.D. and daughter of Maria Rambeau, a S.W.O.R.D. founder. Marvel fans last saw Monica in “Captain Marvel” (2019) as a little girl. This episode reveals that Monica was also Geraldine, a character in episodes 2 and 3 that shocked viewers last week.
We begin with Monica re-materializing in a hospital during the events of “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) as one of the many affected by Thanos’s snap in “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018). Amid the utter chaos as people return to the same locations they disappeared from five years prior, Monica finds a nurse and asks about her mother, whom she was with before the snap caused half the world’s population to disappear. The nurse reveals that Maria Rambeau passed three years ago due to a cancer recurrence, two years after “the snap.” This news arrives to Monica’s horror, as the five years since her disappearance felt like only 20 minutes to her. In her mind, the surgery that removed her mother’s tumor was just performed.
Three weeks after her return, Monica heads to S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters to get back to work. She begins by meeting with S.W.O.R.D. acting director Tyler Hayward. To Rambeau’s disappointment, the organization’s focus has shifted from observing and interacting with extraterrestrial forces to creating machinery and tech. Also during this meeting, Hayward implements the “grounded” policy Maria left before her death: Those “snapped” would not execute traditional extraterrestrial operations. Hence he assigns Monica to chaperone a drone for an FBI missing persons case.
Monica travels to none other than Westview, New Jersey and meets Agent James E. Woo, last seen in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (2018). Here, Woo informs Monica of the case’s severity: The missing person’s relatives have selective amnesia, local law enforcement doesn’t have knowledge of Westview’s existence and Woo is unable to investigate due to the energy field surrounding its perimeter — a warning not to enter. It is not a missing person; it is a missing town. While Rambeau and Woo ponder their awareness of Westview, Monica attempts to fly the drone into the town, but it disappears into a void once it hits the border. (The drone is the helicopter found in Wanda’s yard!) Bewildered, Monica moves closer and discovers an energy field buzzing with electricity. When she puts her hand on the field, a force pulls her in, and she disappears.
Twenty-four hours later, S.W.OR.D. positions a pop-up base just outside Westview and calls on a team of scientists to determine the cause of the disappearances and the mechanisms of the energy field. This team includes Darcy Lewis, the astrophysicist seen in “Thor” (2011) and “Thor: The Dark World” (2013). With her equipment, she is able to detect a colossal load of CMBR (cosmic microwave background radiation) and longer wavelengths. She projects the wavelengths onto a monitor and, low and behold, the first episode of the series appears on screen. Following, there is the shot that we saw before the end credits of episode 1.
The rest of the puzzle then comes together. S.W.O.R.D. sends an agent in a hazmat suit to investigate further via the city sewer. When he reaches the barrier, his grappling hook becomes unattached and his suit transforms into that of a beekeeper. We see the “moment” (a term I introduced in my previous recap) from episode 2 through his perspective shortly after.
In the next scenes, S.W.O.R.D. uses facial recognition to identify the side characters of the sitcom as the missing Westview residents. Shortly after this montage, Darcy and Woo catch a glimpse of Monica/Geraldine at the country club. They attempt to reach Wanda while she speaks with Dottie in episode 2 via a radio signal, and for a moment it seems as though Wanda can hear Woo’s voice. However, the screen Darcy has been projecting onto suddenly glitches, and when the footage returns, Wanda and Lottie have carried on as if nothing happened.
The picture is complete when they reach the end of episode 3 and are able to hear Monica ask about Ultron. The scene again cuts for them; however, we, the audience, see the scene in which Wanda uses her powers to launch Monica out of the pocket. Monica appears outside of the S.W.O.R.D. base shortly after, tying the plot back to the end of episode 3.
What comes next?
I previously theorized that Wanda used her powers to tear a new universe in the web of the multiverse to live out a romanticized life with Vision. While I still believe that she made the choice to trap Westview in a sitcom out of grief, this episode disproves that she tore a brand-new universe. Rather, Wanda created a pocket universe within the real world. I’ll give myself half-credit.
This episode answered other questions too. Wanda is holding a real town hostage to live out her dreams with Vision. S.W.O.R.D. and the F.B.I. are trying to stop this and save the townspeople. This episode did not, however, answer how Vision is aware of the “moments.” It is probable that his presence is an illusion, but I predict there’s more. Maybe Wanda was able to salvage the data from the AI J.A.R.V.I.S. — the AI used to create Vision in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) — but did not have Tony’s tech or the mind stone to recreate him.
Now that we know who was behind the “weird moments” and the circumstances, how will this impact future episodes? Will the show remain in the sitcom style, and will we thus see more of these “moments” in the same format? Or will scenes from the outside world cut back-and-forth with the sitcom with clearer transitions? Maybe we’ll watch the sitcom from the perspective of these characters!
If my theory about Dr. Strange being the only one able to fix this mess is true, when will he appear? I assume during the finale. But how will the other characters manage in the meantime? If they continue with the sitcom format of previous episodes, who will appear in these “moments?” Will Monica be able to get back into the pocket? And what will happen if she does? Will S.W.O.R.D. be able to overwhelm Wanda to a point where she cannot control the universe? What are the ramifications of this universe and its disintegration, given the radiation detected by Darcy?
Overall, this interlude was a great addition to the series and intrigued the audience with its clarifying points. I can’t wait to see what comes next with episode 5, the season’s half-way point. Until then!
Contact Kyla Figueroa at kylafig5 ‘at’ stanford.edu.