[Please note: there are FULL spoilers for the entire fourth episode of season 1, as well as all preceding episodes.]
Awakening in an empty, modern hospital room, “Geraldine” hears screams from the hallway and begins to search for her mother. Amidst the panic, a doctor refers to Geraldine as Monica, and tell her that her mother, Maria Rambeau, had died three years earlier, two years after Monica disappeared. Some three weeks later, Monica reports to S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters (Sentient Weapons Observation Response Department), where she meets with Acting Director Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg). Hayward tells Rambeau that the world has changed in the last five years, and that she is grounded from any space missions for the time being. However, there is a matter she can oversee.
Monica meets with FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) outside of Westview, New Jersey, where the local police have never heard of the place, despite standing in front of a signpost for the town. Rambeau suggest she and Woo head into the town to investigate, but Woo notes the town “doesn’t want him to”. Rambeau sends out a small helicopter-style drone, but it disappears in front of their eyes. Approaching an almost invisible forcefield, Rambeau touches it and is pulled inside, much to Woo’s shock and horror.
Twenty-four hours later, a team of various specialty scientists are transported to a new field base outside Westview, including Astrophysicist Dr Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). At her workstation, Dr Lewis discovers that the town is giving off huge amounts of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, but more importantly other frequencies broadcast over the top. She requests an old CRT TV. Nearby, Director Hayward sends biohazard suit-clad scientist through the sewers to do some recon on the inside of Westview. Hayward discovers Darcy watching the Wanda TV show, and Hayward, Darcy and Agent Woo theorise what might be happening, including how Vision could be alive.
Soon after, Agent Woo begins attempting to identify the individuals inside the “Westview anomaly”, including their appearances and notes on each subject. Mr Hart and his wife, Herb, Norm, Jones and Beverly are all identified, though no information is found on Agnes’ true identity. Darcy and Agent Woo soon see Rambeau inside Wanda’s sitcom world, where she is going by the name of Geraldine. They are alerted that Wanda found Rambeau’s helicopter drone, now modified to look like a 1960s version, and Darcy hooks up a radio broadcaster for Agent Woo to potentially be able to speak to Wanda. In the sewer system, Agent Franklin passes the barrier, and his hazmat suit transforms into that of a beekeeper, though his safety line is severed.
While bonding over the happenings of Wanda and Vision’s lives, Darcy and Woo witness Geraldine helping Wanda give birth to her twin boys, before Geraldine/Rambeau accidentally mentions Ultron. Darcy’s screen flickers and seemingly cuts to the credits. Inside Wanda’s world, Wanda violently expels Geraldine/Rambeau from her home, before realising what she’s done and repairing her house. Vision returns inside, but Wanda sees him, dead, with a hole in his forehead where the Mind Stone was. Outside the barrier, Geraldine tells S.W.O.R.D., “It’s Wanda. It’s all Wanda.” Vision and Wanda relax on the couch with their children, as Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” begins to play, as the audience applauds.
+ most, if not all, of the big teases so far get explained! From episode one, who was watching Wanda on the CRT TV; from episode two, where the helicopter came from, and what it was, as well as who the mysterious voice on the radio belonged to, and who or what the beekeeper was, and; from episode three, why Herb and Agnes told Vision “Geraldine” had “no home” – if you were waiting for this all to make sense, then you can’t possibly be disappointed here. I’d almost argue too much was given away, though I imagine the rest of the series will be the fallout from Vision finding out the truth, sooner rather than later
+ this episode tied into the entire MCU, not just Wanda’s personal history. Monica Rambeau was a victim of The Blip (aka Thanos’ snap, and the subsequent reversal in Endgame), Captain Marvel’s history with humanity including Maria and Monica Rambeau, the FBI monitoring superheroes as seen with Jimmy Woo in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Thor character Darcy Lewis making a return
+ I like that we finally know more about S.W.O.R.D., though the slight change to their acronym from the comics is interesting (the comics version is Sentient World Observation and Response Division, while this TV version is Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Department). However, in universe they really haven’t done a very good job. Between Thor coming from (what is essentially) space and The Chitauri invasion in the first Avengers movie, not to mention historical cases such as that of Peter Quill’s disappearance all being handled by S.H.I.E.L.D., this new and apparently long-standing organisation is not looking good
+ Jimmy Woo used the card trick that Ant-Man was trying to teach him!
+ Director Hawyward’s knowledge of “relic radiation dating back to the big bang” is super interesting, as that’s how a certain fantastic group of heroes infamously got their powers…
+ after Wanda spazzed out on Rambeau and yeeted her from the town, it almost looked like Wanda literally looked at the letterboxing on the screen. Even if that wasn’t intentional, I got a kick out of it. I like the idea that “high definition = bad, CRT TVs = good” in Wanda’s mind
+ having Monica return from The Blip (which by the way is still garbage as an official term for Thanos’ Snap) as five years “younger” that she should otherwise be is a clever way to cast a younger actress. Well played, Marvel
+ I can’t help but notice that the frame of Wanda’s world didn’t go widescreen at the end, as it did at the end of episode three. Whether that is because Wanda doesn’t want to keep progressing forward in time, or just an oversight I don’t know, but it has some fun implications if it’s the former
+ we never found out what happened to the Beekeeper/Agent Franklin, did we? I’m sure he’s just rotting in the sewers somewhere, no big deal
+ and how interesting that there is just no information on Agnes. Agnes and her thus far unseen husband sure are an intriguing pair
– as much as I loved the way people came back from The Blip in the opening scene, it does directly contradict the instantaneous “pop back in” that Spider-man: Far From Home already showed. This kind of inconsistency annoys me so much
– the nature of this episode meant that there was neither a fun, period-appropriate opening, or an advertisement Easter egg, which are two of the things I have been enjoying the most
– I’m not entirely sure how Darcy’s astrophysics knowledge allowed her to know all about radio broadcast signals and rig up a backdoor broadcast system, but I’ll roll with it because I’m a fan of Kat Dennings
– thank gosh the Monica Rambeau reveal has happened, because anybody reading any other recap and review posts has had it spoiled for them from week one. I intentionally avoided saying that Teyonah Parris was cast as Monica Rambeau because that is a big old spoiler, people! Wait until it’s said on the show before writing it in a review
> the note on “Norm’s” character profile reads: “Abilash expreses concern for his father and sister. This information was obtained when Vision awakened him. Is Wanda controlling a whole town? Physical safety of residents is now in question. When Vision releases him, Abilash becomes Norm again.” I’m not sure I understand what that means
Final thoughts: This halfway episode of the season was full of big reveals, and the exact kind of thing I think many people were waiting for. While I do think almost too much was explained in one big exposition episode, I’m not complaining, because it just means we are going to get to the juicy conclusion so much sooner.