About this episode
– Episode 3 (of 9), ‘Now in Color’
– Written by Megan McDonnell
– Directed by Matt Shakman
Spoilers for WandaVision follow.
1970s-style credits introduce Wanda and Vision’s current circumstances. “We’ve got something cooking and it’s looking good…” says the theme music, as Wanda and Vision are the model of a modern suburban lifestyle, riding tandems, cooking on the barbecue and hanging out with friends. The credits pick up the story of Wanda’s sudden pregnancy, as the couple head to the shops to buy baby paraphernalia. The show is also “now in color”.
At Wanda and Vision’s house, a doctor examines Wanda and confirms she’s definitely pregnant. Vision explains how surprised they were, asking: “How did this happen?”
As the doctor goes into the old, “when a man and a woman love each other very much…” routine, Wanda says, “we’re just tickled pink… or blue.”
The doctor says she’s about four months into her pregnancy, and – in an era-appropriate display of mansplaining – says, “we let the little ladies keep tabs on their growing babies with fruit. Makes it simple for them.” Vision asks what size the fruit would be at, say, 12 hours. “I think this line of questioning is fruitless,” says Wanda.
As the doctor leaves, he reveals that he’s about to go on holiday to Bermuda. Vision asks if he can keep Wanda’s pregnancy a secret from the neighbors, because everything’s happening so quickly.
Next door, Herb is cutting the hedge – creating a hole that’s just the right size for a neighbor to peek through – and his trimmer has got stuck in the visibly fake wall underneath.
Vision gets inside the house and is about to explain the weirdness of Herb’s hedge-cutting mishap, when he notices that Wanda’s pregnancy has advanced rapidly.
Wanda uses her magic to prepare the nursery, decorating the room as Vision reads pregnancy books. Wanda accidentally brings the butterflies on the mobile to life, and one lands on Vision’s nose.
They discuss possible names for the children – Vision wants Billy (named after William Shakespeare, of course), while Wanda wants a “classic all-American name” like Tommy. The only solution to the debate, Wanda suggests, is that they have a girl. Vision calculates that at the current rate of growth, the baby is due on Friday afternoon – just three days away.
As Vision practises putting diapers on a doll, Wanda starts having Braxton Hicks contractions. They cause all the electricity and water in the kitchen to go haywire, before the power is knocked out across the whole block. Neighbor Phil is relieved when the darkness prevents him from answering his wife, Dottie’s, loaded “Do these earrings make me look fat?” question.
If a “fake” contraction can do all that, Wanda wonders what giving birth will do to the neighborhood. She also worries that the people of Westview are on the verge of discovering their secret. Vision agrees, but says there’s more to it than that – after the dinner with Mr and Mrs Hart, and the hedge weirdness with Herb, “I think something’s wrong here, Wanda.”
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There’s a sudden, jarring cut and the episode jumps back to Vision agreeing with Wanda. This time, however, he doesn’t talk about anything being wrong. He just says they’re in uncharted waters, and admits he’s anxious too. Wanda wonders if the baby will be human or synthezoid – or a bit of both.
Wanda’s contractions start for real and Vision rises into the air. Wanda calms him down and he’s back on the ground.
It starts raining in the sitting room – “I think my water just broke,” says Wanda.
Commercial break! A stressed mom contends with a soccer ball in her breakfast, the dog peeing on the floor, a burned cake and an exploding blender. “Do you need a break?” asks a voice. The ad cuts to the mom in a bath on an idyllic balcony, being fanned by a servant – it’s an ad for a bubble bath called Hydra Soak.
Back in the living room, Wanda and Vision hide under the table until the rain stops – Wanda dries everything with a gust of wind. Vision tries to call Dr Nielson but the phones are still out. He hopes to get there before the doctor goes on holiday – when Wanda asks how the physician can go away at a time like this, Vision points out that the baby is nine months early. Vision runs out of the door at super speed.
As Wanda’s contractions continue, she hears bird noises coming from the nursery. Before Wanda can check them out, the door rings, so she hides her baby bump in a coat. It’s Geraldine, who’s looking for a bucket to bail out the house after leaking pipes have flooded it with water. Wanda goes into the kitchen to grab the bucket, but another contraction transforms her coat into a rain jacket, then a fur coat.
A stork enters the living room. As Geraldine tries to leave, Wanda – now hiding her bump behind a bowl of fruit – distracts her by asking about her new temp job. Wanda tries to magic the bird away, but it doesn’t work – and when the stork chatters, Wanda claims it’s the new icemaker in the fridge. The deception works – Geraldine doesn’t even notice when the stork grabs her trousers in its beak.
Having explained she’s getting a promotion at work, Geraldine wanders into the spare room looking for office supplies. She’s surprised to see it filled with baby gear, but doesn’t notice the stork, now returned to its original place as a painting on the wall. Wanda drops the vase and tells Geraldine the baby’s coming.
Conveniently, Dr Nielson’s car has broken down before he can head off to Bermuda. Vision puts the doctor on his back and runs away at super speed.
Geraldine helps Wanda as her magic turns the interior of the house into a telekinetic scene from The Exorcist. The baby arrives and it’s a boy, but Vision and the doctor get there just too late to see the birth. Geraldine takes the doctor into the kitchen, and Vision turns back to his natural form to meet his son – Tommy.
Wanda’s contractions start again – she gives birth to another baby boy. The doctor thanks Geraldine for her help and, adopting his patronizing tone from earlier, tells her she “might have what it takes to be a nurse”. Vision walks the doctor home in time for his vacation. “I don’t think we’ll get away after all. Small towns, you know… So hard to escape.”
Vision sees Agnes and Herb gossiping. He asks them about the power cut – Agnes says that “Ralph looks better in the dark, so I’m not complaining.” She also asks if Geraldine is inside with Wanda.
Wanda tells Geraldine that she’s a twin as well, explaining that she had a brother called Pietro. She starts singing to the babies in Sokovian. “He was killed by Ultron, wasn’t he?” asks Geraldine. “What did you say?” replies a confused Wanda.
Outside, Herb points out that Geraldine is brand new in town. Agnes adds that she has no family, no husband – no home.
Wanda pushes Geraldine about the Ultron question, and asks her to go. Before Geraldine leaves, Wanda spots her necklace – it features the SWORD logo.
Vision asks what they mean when they say she has no home. Herb says “she came here because we’re all…” but despite several attempts, is unable to get any further.
Recognizing the SWORD symbol, Wanda asks what it means, and who Geraldine is.
Herb tries to explain again, but Agnes tells him to stop and leaves in a hurry. Herb returns to his hedge trimming, tell Vision he’ll “catch him on the flip side”.
Back in the house, Vision asks where Geraldine is. Wanda says she had to rush home.
The aspect ratio morphs into full anamorphic widescreen. We see a modern version of the ‘Welcome to Westview’ sign, and a person is thrown out of a forcefield that looks like a distorted cathode-ray television picture. It’s Geraldine, still dressed as she was in the ’70s.
As she lies on the grass, ‘Daydream Believer’ by the Monkees plays on the soundtrack. She’s immediately surrounded by the government agents. As the camera pans out we see military buildings and floodlights pointing at the giant TV forcefield, still crackling.
PLEASE STAND BY.
Three episodes in, it’s no surprise that WandaVision’s homage to ’70s sitcoms is just as pitch-perfect as its odes to the ’50s and ’60s. From the bright, vibrant colors and unlikely fashions to the delivery of the gags, much of this episode feels like it could have been made more than four decades ago. Even the matte painting backgrounds making a TV studio look like a suburban street seem authentically dated.
But despite the faithful recreation of TV past, there’s never been a sitcom episode quite like ‘Now in Color’. While Wanda’s rapid pregnancy and its powerful impact on the front room are what drives the narrative (the baby’s growth being illustrated by carefully placed fruit), this instalment is as much about the Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond the sitcom stage.
Some of the hints are subtle – Dr Nielson pointing out that small towns are “hard to escape”, Herb’s abortive attempts to explain why there’s something odd about Geraldine – but by the end of the episode it’s clear we’re not in Kansas any more.
The WandaVision publicity machine has long since confirmed that Teyonah Parris is playing Monica Rambeau in the show, so it’s hardly big news that there’s more to Geraldine than meets the eye. Even so, her Ultron slip-up is a really powerful moment – as is her arrival back in the ‘real’ world.
It’s now confirmed that the sitcom worlds of WandaVision exist on the other side of some kind of televisual forcefield, and government forces – presumably SWORD? –clearly know something’s up. As for what’s causing Wanda and Vision’s trip through TV nostalgia, your guess is as good as ours – especially as the series has already picked up the habit of teasing Marvel villains like the Grim Reaper and Superia.
- This episode’s ’70s-themed opening credits have definite echoes of shows like The Brady Bunch and Laverne & Shirley.
- We had to wait a week to find out the titles of the first two episodes of WandaVision, but we already know that episode 3 is called ‘Now in Color’.
- This week’s advert is for a bubble bath called Hydra Soak, which promises to “find the goddess within”. The man and woman who’ve appeared in all of WandaVision’s commercial breaks so far are back again – this time she’s a stressed out mom, while he’s a servant turning a bath into a transcendent experience. There’s been speculation that the couple may be Wanda’s parents, who were killed by a mortar shell in Sokovia before the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- Wanda is reading Glamorous magazine in the opening credits – Agnes shared tips from the same publication in episode 1.
- Wanda and Vision also visit Wentworth’s, the department store that featured in episode 2. In Marvel comics, Deidre Wentworth was the real name of Superia, a supervillain who wanted to eliminate all men. Could she be the source of Wanda and Vision’s problems?
- The cross-design on the front of Wanda’s dress echoes the X-Men logo. While her origins are different in the MCU, Scarlet Witch was a member of the X-Men in the comics – in fact, she and her brother Pietro are the children of mutant antagonist-in-chief Magneto.
- Aside from the numerous Marvel references, we think there are couple of nods to TV history. The row of colored windows in Wanda and Vision’s living room is reminiscent of old test card designs. Meanwhile, Dr Nielson could be an allusion to the Nielsen ratings, which have been measuring the size of US TV audiences since the 1950s.
- The episode’s writer, Megan McDonnell, is also writing the screenplay for Captain Marvel 2 – which also features Monica Rambeau.
- As it becomes clearer that Wanda and Vision’s world is an artificial construct, the “home is where you make it” slogan on the Westview sign is feeling more and more appropriate.
New episodes of WandaVision are available every Friday on Disney Plus.