Even the most casual of superhero fans know that WandaVision characters Vision and the Scarlet Witch are a big deal. One of Marvel’s most iconic comic book couples, the pair is epically romantic and breathtakingly tragic by turns, their story the epitome of big, messy stakes with potentially reality-ending consequences. That Disney+ has chosen to give them their own series isn’t surprising; that Marvel has waited so darn long to really focus on their story is.
Granted, almost no one could have guessed that the franchise would finally give the pair their long overdue chance at the spotlight in a bizarre, genre-hopping trip through the history of American television. But, then again, it quickly becomes difficult to imagine a more appropriate love letter to one of the more offbeat pairings in comic book history than this show, which asks Wanda and Vision’s relationship to be the one constant that grounds us within it, no matter how bizarre things may become around them.
Like the couple at its center, WandaVision is deeply weird, and part of its appeal will inevitably be tied to dissecting the ways it connects to the larger Marvel film universe via explainers and in-depth fan theories. But the biggest reason the series works has little to do with the dozens of Easter eggs hidden inside it. Rather, it’s because this strange little series is the first time that the larger Marvel universe has really focused on a specific romance as the center of a story its trying to tell. And it’s a great argument for why it should do it a lot more often.
The 20-some-odd feature films of Marvel universe have all been entertaining in a variety of ways, of course, but none of them devote much time to their heroes’ love lives. Even the franchise’s supposedly most integral romantic pairings (Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts) share little more than a handful of scenes and the occasional kiss, leaving viewers to fill in the details of their relationships—with gaps often spanning both years and other sequels—on their own.
Though Wanda and Vision’s romance is essential to the climax of Avengers: Infinity War, prior to that film, the couple’s relationship was primarily developed offscreen, at least until it was time for one of them to tragically kill the other in the name of saving the universe from Thanos. Imagine how much more impactful that sequence might have been had we actually seen Wanda and Vision fall in love, rather than just heard them talk about it in the past tense?
The now-defunct Netflix corner of the Marvel universe was always better at telling those kinds of stories than its big screen cousins, using romantic relationships to humanize and add context to the lives of both its heroes and its villains. (Don’t at me, the romance between murderous Daredevil Kingpin Wilson Fisk and his art dealer wife Vanessa is the hands down the best one in the entire MCU.) WandaVision follows a similar path, dropping hints at a larger, more sinister plot unfolding in the background but grounding its primary story in its main characters and the love between them.
And, as a result, it feels like Vision and the Scarlet Witch come alive for the first time.
In this series, the telekinetic Wanda Maximoff isn’t just in love with the synthetic android Vision on paper, but in actuality. They openly flirt, visually appreciate one another’s bodies, kiss and have sex (implied, it’s Disney after all)—which, let’s be clear, are all fairly groundbreaking activities within this cinematic universe. But more importantly, they build their lives around each other in a thoroughly dedicated and charming way. And very possibly in the most literal sense, if those rumors about Wanda creating her own pocket reality in which her husband is still alive, are true.
While the rest of the MCU is full of couples who flirt by way of insulting one another and features barely-there relationships that seemingly only exist to confirm the heterosexual status of various heroes (Sharon Carter, you deserved better girl), the fact that Wanda and Vision really love each other is both a relief and a revelation. Their overt sweetness and genuine affection comes through in this series in a way it never really had time to do in the films, and their mutually supportive partnership is something every other couple in this universe could take a lesson from.
It matters that WandaVision is the first time the cinematic Marvel machine has really taken a beat to breathe in this way, to let us watch these characters simple exist in the same space as one another without the immediate threat of chaos, imprisonment, or death hanging over them. Instead, the two get the chance to indulge in low-stakes sitcom shenanigans for multiple episodes, attempting to impress Vision’s boss and ingratiate themselves with their Westview neighbors. Wanda even becomes pregnant, to the (adorable) joy of both parties involved.
Though the show is distinctly unsubtle about the fact that this picturesque life cannot and will not last forever, this is still the first time either character has found themselves getting anything that even vaguely resembles a happy ending. No matter how brief it may turn out to be, this idyllic romantic lifestyle is a particular gift to—or even perhaps caused by—Wanda, who has suffered and lost more than almost any other major Avengers character currently on the canvas.
From the Hydra experiments that created her powers to the death of her brother and her own heartbreaking decision to kill the man she loved, this poor woman has been through it. If any character in the MCU deserves a break in a classic sitcom paradise or, as is more likely, has earned the right to bury her traumas in what is essentially a real-life comfort binge of Bewitched, it is this one.
For those of us who are all too familiar with the pain both Wanda and Vision have endured, it’s difficult not to hope that WandaVision will somehow hew to the unspoken rules of the sitcom reality in which it is based in more ways than one. After all, in classic series like Bewitched and The Brady Bunch, there’s no problem that’s so large it can’t be solved in 30 minutes and, as a result, we all feel safe in the knowledge that things will turn out okay by the time the closing credits roll. Would it truly be the strangest thing if that’s what happened here and love really did manage to conquer all?
WandaVision is currently streaming on Disney+, with new episodes on Fridays.
Lacy Baugher is a digital producer by day, but a television enthusiast pretty much all the time. Her writing has been featured in Collider, IGN, Screenrant, The Baltimore Sun and others. Literally always looking for someone to yell about Doctor Who and/or CW superhero properties with, you can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.
For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.