By Owen Quinn author of the Time Warriors and Zombie Blues
The initial trailers and episode of this new show from Marvel were a bit of a culture shock. Anyone expecting super villain and massive battles in the vein of Infinity War and Endgame is going to be sorely disappointed. Indeed what we get is a parody of Bewitched and all those old sitcoms where life is perfect in a white picket fence stance. Women were the consummate housewives and men were the working husbands in grey suits trying to get that promotion from their angry bosses. The acting is exaggerated and the values are those of the 50s literally jump from the screen. Wanda and the Vision are the new couple in the neighbourhood trying to fit in while masking their true identities. Simple household chores are sorted with magic and Vision hides his true form in a human guise.
We get comical situations lifted straight out of that genre like having the boss over for dinner to impress him enough to get that elusive promotion and taking part in a magic show to gain favour from the head honcho of the neighbourhood, Dotty. While this concept is jarring at first, it soon becomes clear something else is going on. Mysterious beekeepers emerge from the sewer and Wanda hears a voice from the radio asking her who is doing this to her? Doing what?
Suddenly she is pregnant and reverses time back to the beginning. Is this Wanda having a mental breakdown over the Vision’s death? Grief is a veil of grey yet the scene ala Pleasantville where the black and white world suddenly floods with colour may be her grief cracking to remember happier times. Has she created this world to prevent a mental breakdown? We have the themes of having the perfect life, fitting in and just being able to do all the things other people do like having babies and being accepted. Note the scene where they sleep in separate beds like the old sitcoms yet something forces the beds together as it is acceptable to see couples sleeping in the ame bed in this era. Everyone sleeps in pyjamas and the wife is pristine to greet her husband coming home from work. It is clear some external force is affecting things or is it Wanda herself? Or could it be she is being held in this false world as she has something in her head that someone else wants? Is that connected to the Vision?
By the end of episode two my skepticism was gone and there is enough intrigue to keep me coming back. Knowing Marvel the real answer is probably nothing that we have come up with. It seems Pleasantville has just become Twin Peaks with the Scarlet Witch and the Vision right in the middle of it all.