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What You Didn't Notice About WandaVision Episode 5's Runtime

The first MCU show to arrive on Disney+, WandaVision, has offered a unique glimpse into how the franchise will explore its fractured multiverse. WandaVision has defied expectations, with stylistic shifts that have seen the show's sitcom setting, Westview, adopt aesthetics influenced by different decades and corresponding TV shows. The first two episodes explored the fifties and the sixties, by way of the Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched, while the third episode segued into a familiar 1970s setting that took cues from The Brady Bunch.

Finally, viewers got a look behind the curtain with the fourth episode, "We Interrupt This Program," which intentionally broke the sitcom format altogether and provided exposition on what was happening outside of Westview during episodes 1 through 3. Following this, episode 5 sent fans back into the sitcom loop, by placing Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in the eighties, through the lens of Growing Pains.

However, now that the truth about Westview is starting to be unraveled, episode 5 experiments with time — not only inside WandaVision's show within a show, but also in the real world. Because while you might have noticed that episode 5 had an expanded runtime, the reason for that is brilliantly subtle. 

WandaVision episode 5 extends its runtime past the credits

While WandaVision has thrived on changing its presentation, there have been some basic parameters to keep viewers orientated. For instance, most episodes have clocked in at around 30 minutes, emulating viewers' expectations for an actual TV show's broadcast length. However, episode 5 defies some of these standards, right as cracks start to show in Wanda's universe. Agnes (Katheryn Hahn) breaks character. Newborn twins age to adolescence impossibly fast. Wanda's Sokovian accent reappears. And as savvy viewers on Reddit noted, the episode cleverly pushes past its regular runtime just as Vision confronts Wanda about the strange unreality that defines Westview.

As Redditor Cognimancer noted, "That was one of the coolest cinematography tricks of the entire show so far IMO. Up until now, episodes have been around 25-30 minutes long. Vision confronted Wanda at the 29 minute mark, so pacing-wise I was expecting some sort of magical edit and cliffhanger." Instead, however, the episode runs for a full four minutes past the Growing Pains style credits that roll at the 30-minute mark. As Cognimancer further observes, "'Wrong' is exactly the correct word for how the next several minutes felt – we knew how these episodes normally go, we saw this one try to go that way, and then the rules were broken." 

Marvel Studio's Kevin Feige has stated before that one of the appeals of airing WandaVision on Disney+ was the opportunity to experiment with runtimes. As Feige said, "[Episodes] can grow or shift or shrink or expand to fit the story you're telling" (via TV Line). 

It appears that just as the rules of Westview are changing for Vision and Wanda, the rules of WandaVision are changing for fans.