A new show within the show within the show reveals the seedy underbelly of Westview … and all new dangers!
As “WandaVision” moves into the 2000s, we found ourselves with homages to both “Modern Family” and “The Office,” the latter which clearly inspired the Wanda-focused opening credits.
Both shows brought the conceit of interview segments to the forefront of television, and they’re used to great effect in this episode. Through them, we were able to gain insight into several characters, including the series’ most mysterious: Agnes.
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But first, we quickly learned that Wanda is not as completely in control of this world as even she believes she is. She admits several times that she has no idea why things in her environment keep shifting across the decades we’ve explored already.
The twins noticed the changes as they watched their Wii controllers go Gamecube, Atari and all the way back to Uno. Clearly, like Wanda and Vision, they’re aware of their surroundings in a way that the other citizens of Westview are not.
The action this week picks up the morning after Halloween, so the Hex expansion has just happened, dropping Darcy Lewis and all those military personnel into a carnival just outside of town, which is also where Vision wakes up.
Interestingly, there is actually very little physical progression outside or inside the Hex this week. Everything seems to take place in a matter of hours with five different factions progressing simultaneously.
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Getting the last bits of encrypted data from Darcy before she was swallowed up by the Hex, Jimmy was able to figure out what Hayward’s agenda is, though no one was really scratching their heads to figure this one out.
Once it was clear that Hayward was tracking Vision in the Hex and he was ready to take out Wanda with a missile, it was clear that he had a single-minded mission to gain control of Vision. Probably he doesn’t care that Vision is a sentient being, he just sees a weapon.
Typical fictional military blowhard. Through his segment, we learned that the television signal is no longer broadcasting outside of the Hex (or maybe it’s a digital signal now that we’re in the 2000s) and that he’s ready to “launch today.”
We’ve no idea what that means, but considering his singular goal and seeming lack of concern for Wanda or any of her victims inside the Hex, we can’t imagine it’s anything good.
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Remember when Darcy told Monica that she’d been in and out of the Hex twice and that it was rewriting her on a cellular level. Well, Monica didn’t seem all that concerned about that when her efforts to infiltrate the Hex via a SWORD space rover proved ineffective.
It did, however, create a cool hybrid between a space rover and a van, which was a pretty fun visual. For no reason that we could fathom from the outside — nor could anyone else outside the Hex — Monica was confident that she could enter the Hex and still complete her mission of reaching Wanda.
The last time she got sucked in, she was rewritten and became a part of the show within the show. This time, she relived her own life’s traumas — this is all being driven by grief — and came out with her mind intact, but her eyes blue and able to see the electromagnetic spectrum.
In other words, Monica Rambeau may be on her way to becoming Photon. In the comics, she can convert her body to energy (among other related abilities) and it may be that her encounters with the Hex border have given her the genesis of these same powers in the MCU.
That would certainly make her a real threat to what’s going on in Westview. Certainly, Wanda seemed a little concerned when Monica didn’t back down after confronting Wanda in her own house. Monica is very new (as in minutes) to her powers, but could prove a real threat to this fiction.
It’s a good thing for Wanda that Agnes showed up just in the nick of time to whisk her away from Monica and save her from this menace threatening the massive coping mechanism surrounding them all.
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Taking a firm lead for this “episode” of her show within the show, Wanda is not in a good place right now. Things are definitely on the outs with Vision and she doesn’t appear to be quite ready to face him or any of that just yet.
Instead, this whole episode was like a big deflection. She set it up herself, saying as “punishment” for expanding the Hex she was going to take a quarantine style staycation all by herself. She even took advantage of Agnes offering to take the twins off her hands to really be alone.
And yet, as we’ve seen glimpses of in prior episodes, what Wanda was really learning was that she’s not as in control of Westview as she may think she is. Before it was random things like a stork or butterflies, but now she’s lost all control of even what era it is.
Perhaps it’s not so unusual that the carnival on the edge of town appears to be even more of a throwback from the ’50s or ’60s when the rest of our sitcom reality is in the 2000s now. The boys’ game controllers was just the tip of the iceberg.
Wanda watched milk and then every aspect of her home shifting from one era to the other, admitting via talking head interview that she has no idea what’s going on. At one point, though, she was challenged by the person conducting the interview.
“Do you think maybe this is what you deserve?” she was asked, when she lamented that it all seems to be falling apart and she can’t fix it. Wanda was stunned that the interviewer talked back, further evidence that she’s not as in control as she thinks or what.
She was then challenged directly when Monica showed up, going so far as to blatantly use her powers to attack and threaten Monica in her front yard in full view of the neighbors. Of course, as soon as Agnes escorted her away, they went back to their usual routine, forgetting everything.
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So much of this episode felt like a penultimate type of installment before a big season finale … but we’ve got two more episodes here. Regardless, Vision spent this week’s episode regrouping and preparing a new approach.
Last week, he tried to escape the Hex and that clearly didn’t work. This week, he decided it was time to confront Wanda herself. Along the way, he recognized Darcy and used whatever it is that he does to their minds to free her from Wanda’s control.
Along the way, Darcy filled him in on the real world and his own real history, which he’s not been able to recall. He even participated in talking-head interview segments until hilariously questioning why he was doing this when what he needed to do was get to Wanda.
We found ourselves wondering why he and Darcy just played along with all the little delays that “magically” cropped up to keep them from making their way back home when he could just fly. He could have taken the van, too, but he apparently didn’t think of that.
So in this episode, Vision freed Darcy, learned his true past and finally flew off to confront his wife. That’s it. It wasn’t very eventful, but it was definitely impactful as his full awareness of his life and death before Westview gives him so much clarity as to what’s going on.
Or does it?
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Vision was absolutely positive that it was Wanda putting up all those little roadblocks and diversions to keep him from making his way back home, but was it? The Marvel Cinematic Universe is definitely going full magic now as a huge truth was revealed this week.
Billy was the first to notice it, telling “Auntie” Agnes that he liked spending time with her because she’s quiet … inside her body. Developing powers similar to his mother’s, it would seem that Billy is able to hear the suffering of Westview’s residents behind Wanda’s mind control. But there is no suffering inside of Agnes.
But what about when Vision freed her mind during last week’s episode and she recognized him and asked him if he was going to save them all? Wouldn’t that seem to indicate she’s just as much a victim of whatever’s going on than everyone else? It would seem to, yes.
When Monica showed up to confront Wanda at her home, it was nosy neighbor Agnes who saw it outside her window and quickly came to Wanda’s rescue. She saw exactly what was going on, Wanda’s magic on full display and perhaps even Monica’s eyes flashing blue.
But this was more than just being a good neighbor. When Wanda made it to Agnes’ house, she asked where the twins were and Agnes directed her to the basement. There we saw a labyrinthine mess of vines and corridors and morbid displays. And it was there Agnes revealed herself.
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Called by the internet weeks ago, Agnes is in fact Agatha Harkness. In the Marvel Universe, she is one of the original Salem witches and served as a mentor to Wanda for some time. She did a lot of other things and is by no means a “good guy,” such as it is.
In this case, her reveal only raises so many more questions about what’s really going on, even as her “Agnes All Along” show within the show within the show offered an adorable alternate take on the shenanigans across the series so far. She was even the camera operator doing the interview segments this week.
Does that mean it was Agnes who asked Wanda if she perhaps deserves Westview to fall apart around her?
Agnes was even behind the arrival of Pietro, and presumably his appearance and personality matching the X-Men Universe Pietro. That means this probably isn’t the first official crossover between the two universes, after all, but rather just an Easter egg for fans.
At this point, we’re not even sure what Pietro is, but he’s definitely Agnes’ stooge. The post-credit sequence showed Monica discovering Agnes’ cellar (complete with her purple magic glowing tendrils) moments before Pietro caught her.
If Pietro is not real, Wanda has real reason to worry now about her twins. Are they real? Agnes was the last person with them, so either she’s tucked them away somewhere because they’re a threat to whatever she’s doing or they never existed at all but rather were just a creation to mess with Wanda even more.
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Is that the point of all of this? Knowing that Agnes is Agatha Harkness, that she has magic and that she may well be the architect of Westview does very little alleviate all of our questions. If anything, we probably have more.
Why would she create this fiction for Wanda and then choose to live inside of it and play along? Why is it advancing decade by decade … and what happens when it catches up to the present? What is the end goal here?
Why allow Wanda to think she was in control of everything? Why give her as much control as she did? Is Agnes testing the scope of Wanda’s abilities to see how strong she is and how much she can handle, but having to keep a close eye on her and thus the nosy neighbor role for herself?
Why pretend to be Wanda’s victim when Vision thought he’d freed her from Wanda’s mind control? Why allow Herb to almost tell Vision that they’re all trapped her by Wanda? Is she just messing with Vision or trying to drive a wedge?
Is Agnes out to break up Vision and Wanda’s relationship? Push Vision away for good, even though her grief over his death is why this worked at all? If Agnes’ interest is in magic, then her interest is in Wanda herself. Is Wanda as much a victim of this as Vision and everyone else?
Wanda was doing interviews this week as well and has mostly stayed in character throughout. Was that specifically by choice, or some instinctual thing because she’s not always in control of herself? Has Agnes been totally in control of herself this whole time? Is she the architect, or is there someone outside of her, as well?
All of those questions don’t even tap into what happens when Vision and Darcy make it home, whatever’s going to happen now with Monica — who is not under anyone’s mental control — or what Hayward’s trying to accomplish on the outside.
That’s a lot to cover in just two more episodes!
“WandaVision” drops new episodes every Friday on Disney+.
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