Spoiler alert: This blog is for people who watch WandaVision on Disney +. Don’t read on unless you’ve watched episodes one through seven.
Agatha all the time
If you were a fan of Marvel comics or WandaVision speculation videos that have become an industry unto themselves, you couldn’t help but be aware that “Agnes” would become Agatha’s mentor / ally / weirdo / antagonist. Harkness. If you weren’t … well, you knew they hired the wonderful Kathryn Hahn to do more than one cameo every week, right?
However, if your show’s reveals are predictable, be sure to make them fun – giving Agatha her own tune is an amazing way to end episode seven. As you scream along the cheekiness, there’s also the haunting power shift that someone else gets a title sequence transmit. If Captain America: Civil War picked up the tempo of David Fincher’s “John Doe Has the Edge” of Seven, it has undergone an even more radical transformation here. And it has been given lyrics.
As fans race to search for Harkness henchmen who could be Pietro, is he their familiar animal? From the Nexus? – It is worth pondering whether the name “Agnes” was chosen exclusively for us, the public, to (seriously) conceal her true identity, or whether anyone involved with Westview would know the name if they heard it. Is she the one Jimmy Woo was in town to track down?
Sure, she could be a dog-killing freak. But it wasn’t a real dog. (Was it?) That Agatha’s purple magic is behind much of WandaVision isn’t necessarily the same as her being the real danger. Although he also seems to spend his time watching TV preschoolers with children, in this case Yo Gabba Gabba, which in terms of villain is a trait she Share with the master of Doctor Who!
A Wanda in the basement
When someone tells you the story “The character decides to stay home and take a break,” your heart sinks a bit. Those are difficult stories to make work, because the main character’s big goal is to do as little as possible.
And so he proves with Wanda, whose underpowered sitcom plot this week is largely based on the things shown to her: her world changed in the fritz, Monica showing up, a curious walk down to the basement where Agatha, without forcing, is revealed. Writer Cameron Squires struggles to find a way to make Wanda an active character, and this is the wrong show to have that problem.
What works much better are sitcom trappings. Visually, the title sequence is repeated in Happy endings (I had to look it up to find out that it came out in the UK on E4, 2011-13), musically he’s doing The US Office, but mainly this episode is Modern Family, and the technique is exemplary.
Here, Wanda’s on-camera interview discusses the troubling realities of WandaVision, rather than a bit of family business, and a “severed gag” is used to show SWORD soldiers fleeing in terror. They both have the rhythm of a sitcom, but treating these things as funny is what makes them unsettling. It’s a glorious tone management.
Nowhere is this more evident than Vision when he leaves his interview. Y abandoning her talk with Darcy at the same time in interruption scenes. There is no way it would work in practice, if this was a normal reality, one or the other would have been filmed first, so how unsettling this is your internal thought processes happening literally land hard. Something similar happens when Wanda realizes that her interviewer shouldn’t speak. This program is broken.
Take a moment as well to watch performances by Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, respectively channeling Modern Family’s Claire and Phil Dunphy with meticulous gestures and delivery. “I’m right?”
In a nifty double whammy, the caption “Created by Wanda Maximoff” is followed by “SWORD Temporary Retreat,” which gives you an idea of where those guys are emotionally right now.
It’s another weirdly shallow week for Jimmy Woo, sadly. The character hardly does I have a character this time – reading the exhibit on Hayward and watching Monica drive a truck. Its magical flourishes seem exhausted. And, just like with Agnes, we were all way ahead of Hayward’s now-revealed plans to misuse Vision (what else were those CCTV footage and the gun-making talk for?).
Meanwhile, it seems like nothing can stop Monica Rambeau from crossing that damn barrier. In a strange echo from episode four, he first tries a tech fix, but when that gets tricky, he dives. It’s almost like he knows he has a superhero origin to move on.
Marvel’s expertise on FX helps many of these moments work in ways that most shows couldn’t handle (or pay for). There is a surprisingly “solid” feel to the truck / barrier scene, which would feel even more superficial without it, and Monica’s odyssey through the barrier is eerily strange, filled with a sense of voiceover fate akin to the things we saw in Richard Donner’s Superman. And you watch her land in full hero pose outside Wanda’s house? Woof.
Perhaps it was inevitable that Darcy appeared on his favorite show was a hoot, but Vision’s involvement in this nonsense is a huge plus. Another thin thread of the story, they literally have to block the vehicle’s movement to prevent too much from happening, and there is a point where there is not enough meta to hide it, it is greatly helped by having the character chemistry and emotional revelations. on which to lean.
(Compare and contrast Wanda being left alone with the characterless twins. Her story only comes to life when she has to confront Monica in a conflict that seems like it could be resolved with three minutes of conversation.)
Another conspicuous mention of Ultron, by the way. They’re quite a lot for a show that doesn’t need to refer to the AI villain by name to make sense. Perhaps I’m reveling in the fan theory that sees him return from the digital ether to retrieve Vision’s body for him …
‘And she had to watch’
WandaVision’s status as the literal interpretation of Wanda’s battle with grief comes into sharp focus this week, with Vision finally finding out what happened to him in Infinity War and realizing that his wife had to watch him die twice the same day. “I had no idea how much Wanda had endured.” Yes.
Marvel doesn’t do romances well. At first, a lot of emphasis was placed on the love stories that movies usually do as standard: Tony and Pepper, Steve and Peggy, Bruce and Betty, Thor and Jane, each phase, an independent hero has one. (In fact, with Black Widow, Bruce got two.) But Jane and Thor got separated between movies and Betty quietly disappeared. The trope slowly withdrew from the MCU.
But while dodging Romance, there is a firm conviction in love. Steve’s unwavering love for Peggy stayed true to the end, Peter Parker will never give up on MJ, and Tony / Pepper’s ups and downs shifted off-screen in favor of a more consistent love affair with each film.
We never really saw Wanda and Vision’s romantic rhythms. Barring a pinch of paprika, their romantic comedy reunion happened between movies. But WandaVision is clearly about the constant state of love between humans and synthezoids, a fixed point that should not be played with. Love is a constant in Marvel.
It seems correct that much of this is articulated by Darcy, the fan within the show. “The love you two have is real.” But her most vital line this week, the one that feels like a mission statement for the series and the battle it is waging with its “crazy women” comic book origins, is about Hayward’s plans for Wanda:
“Don’t let him make you the villain.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism