Chapter 3 of Marvel’s Wastelanders: Black Widow, starring Susan Sarandon, drops today. SPOILERS for episode 3.
Marvel’s Wastelander: Black Widow Season 1
Episode 1 & 2
Marvel’s Wastelanders: Black Widow is the latest digital series to come from Marvel’s partnership with SiriusXM and is the third installment in the “Marvel’s Wastelanders” audio epic. Just like its predecessors, Old Man Star-Lord and Hawkeye, the story takes place years after the known event called “V-Day,” a day where the heroes of Earth failed and were defeated by the villains.
The setting for this podcast, specifically, takes place 30 years after “V-Day.” At Midtown Manhattan, in President Red Skull territory, in The Onar, a 161-story apartment complex.
Owned and operated by S.H.I.E.L.D., who are now reporting directly to Red Skull, the Onar is set up to favor its residents by class status. The uber-rich residents live on the very top floors in penthouses, enjoying peace, quiet, and the best of the best. The residents on the very bottom floors are people typically off the streets, poor, or running away from something or someone. The set-piece is an interesting change of pace from the previous Marvel digital stories.
With episode three released, let’s take a look at this week’s chapter.
Chapter 3 – “Subtext”
While listening to recordings of Helen, Lisa comes across a conversation between Helen and Stanley (Michael Imperioli) on their date. Stanley gets a business call from Marco mentioning “apple juice,” and Helen flirts with him and then grills him for information. She wants confirmation that he is a drug dealer, but Stanley swears it’s not drugs.
With Lisa working to find out the motive behind Helen Black’s stay in the Onar, Jordan Temple (Nate Corddry) has been listening to Stanley’s recordings and found that he might have a boss with more secrets to reveal, a man named Bob Elsasser.
Both surveillance analyses make headway on their cases: Lisa drops by Helen’s place and their “partnership” seems to be more clear when it comes to purpose. Jordan’s digging into Stanley and Bob leads to what the origins of “Apple Juice” really is.
Episode three thankfully gives us a bigger piece of the puzzle that is the Onar. The proposed reveal about what the “Apple Juice” really is was a great swerve and came out of nowhere, and I’m super excited to see where it goes. If “Apple Juice” really is Extremis, it will be great to see how the conflict progress between the residents of the Onar and Panopticog/S.H.I.E.L.D., especially since Stanley and Bob will have the moral high ground. Having the ability to fight against the building’s surveillance puts all the stakes on Jordan and Lisa, which will put Helen in an interesting spot.
Speaking of Helen, her revealing that she wants the S.H.I.E.L.D. file on Yelena Belova provides a clearer motive for why she wanted to move into the Onar. I am curious to see where the story about her “ex” goes, as she says she lost him to drugs.
Overall, I am curious to see where the story progresses. I won’t lie, having Lisa and Jordan being the driving narrative forces, giving us Black Widow through surveillance, feels limiting to me. This podcast really shines when it spends time on the lead character so I am hoping that we get more of Helen, with her present in action, not through recordings or reports.
Marvel Wastelanders: Black Widow stars Susan Sarandon as Helen Black. Written by Alex Delyle (Fear the Walking Dead), directed by Timothy Busfield (Thirtysomething, The West Wing), with sound design and original music by Daniel Brunelle (The Two Princes, Sandra). Learn more at marvel.com/wastelanders.