WandaVision Explained is our ongoing series that keeps tabs on Marvel Studios’ sitcom saga about TV’s happiest tragic couple. In this entry, we turn our channel to WandaVision Episode 7 (“Breaking the Fourth Wall”) and consider the villain pulling the strings all along. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.
The Hex is falling apart. Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) can’t keep her fantasy together. Her home warbles and morphs, mixing the various sitcom illusions. As Vision (Paul Bettany) races toward her from the fringes of her altered reality, Wanda struggles to find meaning in what she’s done and what she can still do.
The walls are crumbling. She has nobody to turn to but us. WandaVision Episode 7, entitled “Breaking the Fourth Wall,” depicts a heroine tumbling into rock bottom. A station no one wants to see her inhabit, with the exception of a certain nefarious individual.
Will the real WandaVision villain please make your entrance and take a bow? As speculated from the very beginning, nosey-neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) is much more than she appeared to be. In fact, she’s a mighty witch in her own right: the diabolically complicated Agatha Harkness.
After Wanda’s wallowing is rudely interrupted by an interloping Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), Agnes rescues her disturbed neighbor. She takes her back to her house, but whatever respite Wanda expected to find there is jettisoned quickly. Her lovely twins, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne) are conspicuously absent. When Wanda inquires about their location, Agnes indicates that they may have wandered into the basement.
Wanda steps slowly downstairs and discovers a stone passage wrapped in splintering vines. As she makes her way through the dark corridor, the Modern Family sitcom ratio (1.78:1) shifts to the MCU ratio (2.39:1). We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
The passageway brings Wanda to a room with an arch dome. Where the vines don’t wrap, shelves sit, and on them are ancient trinkets. The camera rests on a book radiating red, magical whisps. It looks like something you would find in a Sam Raimi cabin or within Doctor Strange’s library. It also conjures thoughts of The Darkhold, the evil book of spells once used as a plot device on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Runaways.
However, The Darkhold was a proud tome, sporting its name on the front cover. The volume seen here sports a much more ostentatious design, featuring interlocking circles at its top and bottom. They look almost like worlds colliding.
Before Wanda can turn its pages, Agnes steps into frame holding her bunny, Señor Scratchy. She asks, “You didn’t think you were the only magical girl in town, did you?” Her eyes flash violet, and she plants a revealing flashback inside Wanda’s mind, complete with a catchy theme song declaring that it was “Agatha All Along.”
We see Agatha arrive in Westview via flight. Not only was she responsible for the second episode’s bumbling talent show as well as Herb’s episode three hedge-clipper mishap, but Agatha is also responsible for manipulating Uncle Peter (Evan Peters) and maybe even the reason why the 20th Century Fox Quicksilver is here in the first place.
To what end? While Wanda was too busy self-destructing, Agatha swooped her kiddies away. The mom was happy to see them and their questions out of her hair, but now that she’s discovered Agatha’s lair, her twins are mysteriously truant, and a terror rises from Wanda’s gut. Where did they go?
In the comics, Agatha Harkness has been many things to Wanda. She originated as a Fantastic Four character, serving as a nanny to Franklin Richards, Reed and Sue’s son. When her own son, Nicholas Scratch, sought revenge against his mother after leaving his witches commune for greener pastures, the Fantastic Four intervened. They convinced his citizens of his duplicity, and Agatha’s wretched child was banished to an equally vile dimension known as The Dark Realm.
Eventually, Scratch escaped. He imprisoned Agatha again, and this time successfully roasted her at the stake. But you can’t keep a good witch down. Death merely released her from her fleshy prison, and as an astral creature, she became a mentor to Wanda. Together, they battled Scratch and his seven evil children.
What’s most important to our WandaVision Episode 7 concerns is how Agatha aided Wanda when it was revealed that Billy and Tommy were magical creations. Wanda could not have kids with her artificial lover, so she willed a pair into being. Unfortunately, the twins did not sprout completely from Wanda. They were partially crafted from the shattered soul of Mephisto, Marvel’s answer to Mephistopheles.
The revelation destroyed Wanda. Astral Agatha attempted to soothe her pain, but the agony was too great. Wanda screamed for vengeance and, in her rage, decimated the Avengers and rewrote the world to her specifications. This House of M reality gifted the population with a life where all their desires were fulfilled. Captain America never fell into the ice, Spider-Man married Gwen Stacy, and Captain Marvel is the most cherished superhero on the planet.
Only the X-Men’s Wolverine remembered the world as it once was (a result of his mutant healing factor and his greatest desire being to know his history), and he sets off a chain reaction that shatters Wanda’s fantasy. Her final act is to whisper, “No More Mutants.” The spell practically erases all mutant humans from Earth, leaving only a handful of members left to operate as X-Men.
That’s a lot. And most of it is probably irrelevant to what we’re dealing with here in WandaVision Episode 7. What’s most important is that Billy and Tommy did not exist before this series. In episode two, the Westview social club was creepily chanting, “For the Children.” The implication appeared that someone — and now we know that someone is Agatha — really wanted these kids to pop into life.
Agatha’s bunny is named Señor Scratchy. Maybe she’s missing her son Nicholas Scratch, and Wanda’s hex powers were the quickest way to fabricating a replacement. Or a pair of replacements. It’s all about the twins. It’s all about the children.
Let’s get back to Agatha’s book with the interlocking circles. Worlds colliding on the cover? Agatha had to get Quicksilver from somewhere. She’s manipulating Uncle Peter, but she didn’t make Uncle Peter. Could her spellbook grant her a gateway through the multiverse?
This week’s commercial break is an advert for an antidepressant called Nexus.
“Feeling depressed? Like the world goes on without you? Do you just want to be left alone? Ask your doctor about Nexus. A unique antidepressant that works to anchor you back to your reality. Or the reality of your choice.”
Jumping back into the comics, we know that Wanda is a Nexus Being. This means she is so powerful that her will can bend the very fabric of reality. No duh. WandaVision is already proof of this incredible skill.
Nexus Beings are also sometimes referred to as unique entities that exist in all realities, all dimensions. The Nexus commercial is further evidence that WandaVision is taking the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first steps into the Multiverse. Quicksilver is under Agatha’s charm, but he’s still the guy we first met in X-Men: Days of Future Past and not the Pietro who perished in Age of Ultron. However WandaVision shakes out, Agatha’s dimensional tampering will ignite the plots for Spider-Man 3 and Docter Strange 2.
WandaVision Episode 7 promises a magical clash between Wanda and Agatha, but Wanda will not wage war alone. After the increasingly-frustrating “Please Stand By” title card halts the plot, and the credits play out, WandaVision Episode 7 gives us a deliciously teasing stinger this week. Monica Rambeau is banging on the basement door. Her second trip through the Hex has boosted her biology and she can now see what others cannot.
Like her pal Carol Danvers, Monica is given an upgrade through her contact with Infinity magic (the Hex is a byproduct of the Mind Stone, Captain Marvel is a byproduct of the Space Stone). The moment she mercilessly returned through the Westview barrier, Monica struck a perfect superhero pose. Seriously, Iron Man could not have done it better.
When Monica looks into Agatha’s cellar, she can clearly observe the violet energy buzzing through the vines. In the comics, under the alias of Spectrum, Monica can shift her physical body into energy and experience light in all its variables. Her powers don’t stop there, she eventually gains the abilities of flight, invisibility, superhuman speed, energy absorption, energy duplication, energy blasts, etc. Teyonah Parris won’t join Captain Marvel 2 as some simple sidekick. She’s major. And she’s gonna save the day in WandaVision. But first, she’s gotta take out a brainwashed Uncle Peter.
There are only two episodes left with a lot of plot to resolve. While it’s a relief to meet the person manipulating the crazy behind the scenes, don’t be surprised if another baddie or two appear as well. Keep your eyes on that bunny, and Agatha’s unseen husband Ralph could make for a devilish guest-star. Also, what about Monica’s secret aerospace engineer??? There’s gotta be someone besides Major Goodner (Rachael Thompson), right? Don’t tease us, Marvel. Reed Richards, we’re waiting. Or could it be Blue Marvel?
Oh gosh, we don’t have time to get into Blue Marvel. Let’s cross our fingers and hope he appears, and then we can geek out over Marvel’s most under-appreciated superhero. In the meantime, while we wait another week, go read The Ultimates 2.