*** WARNING: This review contains spoilers for all current episodes of Disney+’s WandaVision. ***
Welcome back to WandaVision, or this week, just Wanda. The episode takes the form of the 2010s sitcom Modern Family, with Wanda delivering monologues to camera in the confessional style of the hit show. The plot of the episode follows three characters on separate journeys – Vision, Wanda, and Monica.
Let’s deal with Vision (Paul Bettany) first, because it was a relatively quiet episode for the former virtual assistant. He wakes up from his attempt to escape The Hex in a daze, and finds himself at a circus (with the SWORD agents transformed into clowns). He comes across Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), forced to believe she is an escape artist. Vision wakes her from Wanda’s control and, basically, the pair spend the rest of the time in a stolen truck, with Darcy filling Vision in on who he is, and what’s happening. Shocked by the revelations, he has enough of Wanda trying to delay their travel in the truck (traffic lights, road works) and flies off, leaving Darcy stranded.
It’s a necessary catch up for Vision, but this also feels like moving the pieces into position for the forthcoming finale. This episode wasn’t really about him anyway, so think of this as a brief time out before things get really interesting for him.
The second strand focuses on Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), fully immersed in the Modern Family-esque format. Following the previous episode’s expansion, she decides to give herself a day off, sending the twins to Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) and just relaxing in the house pondering the meaninglessness of life. Except, everything in the house is shifting time periods – the twins’ video game, her bottle of milk, the furniture. She says to the camera that she doesn’t know why this is happening, to which a disembodied voice answers “do you think this is maybe what you deserve?”
With so much exposition in the past few episodes of WandaVision, there was something nice to this plot strand, as it reminded us of earlier in the series where nothing that happened was necessarily relevant, but the tone gave the unsettling notion that something may be off.
By contrast, it was another busy week for Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris). Determined to get back into The Hex and dismissed by Acting Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg), she and FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) escape The Hex’s expansion and check SWORDs database, finding that Darcy is ok and Hayward has a secret plan – to steal Vision back for himself to use as a weapon. They meet with some loyal SWORD agents, but not the secret Aerospace engineer Monica mentioned (go on, it’s Reed Richards, isn’t it?). They give her a space rover designed to get through The Hex’s wall, only for the wall to fight back and begin to change the vehicle. Monica escapes before the rover is spat out, but against Woo’s advice runs through the wall, causing a change in her that appears to give her powers.
If you’re not already familiar with the background, this is what many comic fans hoped would happen. On the page, Rambeau is a superhero herself, most recently known as Spectrum but also as the second Captain Marvel. Her third pass through The Hex seems to be her transformation, with Rambeau hearing the voices of both her mother and Captain Marvel, as well as seeing Wanda’s reality in a different light (or should that be…spectrum?). WandaVision is not only the continuation of Wanda and Vision’s journey, but the origin story for a new hero.
Once inside, Monica and Wanda’s paths combine. Rambeau confronts Wanda, telling her of Hayward’s plan, and how she understands Wanda’s grief because she lost the closest person in her life, but that she has to live with that grief, and so should Wanda. The star of the show tries to blast her out of The Hex, but finds that her adversary’s new powers have made her stronger. “Don’t let him make you the bad guy” Monica pleads, to which Wanda replies “what if I already am?” In the nick of time, Agnes arrives to usher her away.
This is a lovely exchange and ties the two characters together nicely. Monica’s defence of Wanda always seemed a bit thin, considering she had been in her own words ‘violated’ by her experience in The Hex. However, this speech makes it a little bit clearer: they’re both mourning, and perhaps Monica sees a kind of personal redemption in stopping Wanda (as well as, you know, saving hundreds of lives).
We’re not done, however, as the episode’s title, Breaking The Fourth Wall, is about more than style. At Agnes’ house, Wanda notices nothing is quite as it seems. She asks where the twins are, to which her neighbour says probably playing in the basement. She goes down to said basement to find a very creepy lair, containing a magical book. “Wanda, Wanda” Agnes says, “you didn’t think you were the only magical girl in town, did you?” To which Agnes casts a spell that seems to control Wanda.
We then go into a Munsters-type 60s TV show intro that reveals her to be Agatha Harkness – in the comics, a powerful witch who mentored Wanda (although here just revealed to be a very powerful being). The theme tune reveals that it was “Agatha All Along”, showing that she was behind all of the twists and turns in Westview, including Pietro’s return. “And I killed sparky too!” Agatha says, before a delightful cackle.
So, after weeks of wondering whether Wanda was the villain… it was Agatha all along! It’s a lovely twist that we perhaps should have seen coming, but sets things up for a great final battle. There’s also more intrigue about Pietro, as in a post-credits sequence he discovers Monica looking around Agn-sorry, Agatha’s house, appearing behind her and quipping “Snoopers gonna snoop!” before the screen goes black. So who’s Pietro? The presence of Agatha Harkness throws up a number of possibilities (her cat, named Senor Scratchy, is a reference to her comic book son Nicholas Scratch, another powerful villain).
However, this week’s ad throws many more options into the mix. It’s a commercial for Nexus, an anti depressant that promises to “anchor you to your reality, or the reality of your choosing”. In the comics, The Nexus is a pathway to any and all possible realities. So, we may be witnessing the bridge between The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the X-Men movie universe, which would account for the different Pietro, and the potential for more familiar faces to come.
There are many more likelihoods raised by this episode of WandaVision that we haven’t mentioned, but we’d need a much bigger review (and a lot more googling) to fit everything in. For now, let’s just say that the MCU is about to get a bit more complicated, and hopefully a lot more exciting.
New episodes of WandaVision are available every Friday on Disney+.