It took me a solid minute to catch onto what was happening in the prologue to this week’s episode. Once it clicked, I was actually pleasantly surprised. This introduction shows us the moments after Bruce Banner snapped half of life back into existence. It’s actually mildly grotesque and unsettling…
Unlike in Spiderman Far From Home, the people don’t comically “blip” back into existence. They slowly reform from the ashes and awaken startled as though nothing had happened to them.
Our new lead Monica Rambeau (last seen as a child in Captain Marvel) is revealed to be a captain in SWORD. While we don’t get much of an immediate explanation for the group, it quickly becomes clear that they’re the interstellar alternative to SHIELD that focuses on supernatural threats to Earth.
Episode 4 ends up happening in tandem with the events of the first three episodes but adds the wrinkle that these events are set just three weeks after the end of Avengers: Endgame (which canonically is set in 2023).
WandaVision ends up playing a lot of its cards relatively early in its nine episode run starting with this episode. If the first three episodes were Act 1, Episode 4 crosses the threshold into the real world and starts exposing the truth about why two Avengers are trapped in a 1950s sitcom.
That said, most of the realizations are still outstanding. The only huge realizations that come out of this episode are the facts that technology that enters the space reverts back to a 1950s equivalent, the citizens in the bubble are all government agents and that Wanda seems to have an outsized amount of control over the scenario that she doesn’t reveal to Vision.
The episode very much affirms that Vision is a puppeteerd corpse that we last saw having his brain ripped out in Avengers: Infinity War (scars and all).
The contrast with the pleasant tone of the tv shows definitely made this feel like the darkest episode yet. This episode made it very clear that the cutesy artificial facade of the show’s premise is entirely a cover for something sinister and disturbing.
In terms of overall canon preservation, lots of minor MCU characters ended up showing up! The FBI agent from Ant-Man and the Wasp as well as Kat Denning’s character from the first two Thor films. The specific focus on Monica Rambeau would suggest she will have an important role in the franchise going forward!
(For context, she’s the second person to use the name Captain Marvel in the comics)
What remains to be seen for the last five episodes is just why this scenario is playing out, what inspired it and how they will break Wanda out of the bubble willingly.