Avengered Development: WandaVision “Breaking the Fourth Wall”
Previously on WandaVision: Everything’s falling apart for Wanda. Her husband just tried to break out of Rerun Land and she had to expand its borders to stop him from disintegrating. Her suddenly American brother has no interest in maintaining kayfabe and told the kids their dad is dead. Outside the Hex, SWORD director Hayward has kicked Monica Rambeau off the case for trying to solve everything with Woman Talking instead of Man Violence.
One of the issues of adapting the MCU into a streaming series is that the latter uses suspense to keep viewers on the hook, which as some reviewers have pointed out, isn’t really something the MCU does. Throughout the run of the show, there hasn’t been a gap of more than an episode or two between hinting at some mystery and the big reveal. This episode breaks that rule with a mystery that they’ve kept under wraps for the entire run of the show so far. How’d they do that? Simple: by dropping no hints at all, and just plopping it into our laps!
This week, being the 2000s, we’re treated to a mockumentary-type setup in the vein of The Office and Modern Family. Wanda is lounging in bed, too depressed to even go look for Vision. The twins are bearing up as best they can, but Wanda’s low mental state is causing certain aspects of reality to falter, and their video game console mutates into several other, older consoles until finally it transforms into different kinds of games all together.
In an interview segment, Wanda announces her intention to take a self-care day. She’s wearing a robe and sweatpants, the official uniform of depressed television characters.
After a twee piano intro a la The Office, and a series of found-object credits from which Vision’s name is almost entirely absent, we cut to the perimeter of the Hex. Hayward is planning an invasion force. They can no longer detect any WandaVision broadcasts. Vision, who almost got pulled apart last week, awakens in the middle of the circus. Darcy, who got enveloped by the Hex while handcuffed to a Jeep, is now an escape artist. Vision probes her for some clue that she’s retained her memory of her life outside the Hex, but she scoffs, thinking he’s hitting on her.
Agnes drops by Wanda’s house and offers to take the kids out while Wanda lounges in a puddle of her own feelings. Meanwhile, Agent Woo and Agent Rambeau are driving to meet a Rambeau-loyalist faction of SWORD. Woo gets Darcy’s email about the secret SWORD project called Cataract, and apparently, SWORD was working on bringing Vision back to life with some surveillance upgrades, but nothing was working until Wanda came and stole the body. They meet their guys in an inconspicuous clearing, in which there’s a massive tractor-trailer carrying a heavily armored vehicle for use in space. That would be really helpful if Westview were in space.
Back inside the Hex, Vision breaks Darcy loose from her mind control with a touch of his fingertips and they take off in a funnel cake truck to Vision’s house. Meanwhile, Wanda’s trying to have a relaxing veg on the couch, but the opulent furnishings in her home keep glitching out and turning into other opulent furnishings. She expresses her frustration to the interview camera. “Do you think maybe this is what you deserve?” asks the offscreen interviewer. “What?” asks Wanda. “You’re not supposed to talk.”
This week’s fake commercial is for antidepressants, no doubt confusing viewers from civilized countries that have laws against advertising powerful mood-altering drugs directly to consumers as if they were no different than trucks or candy bars. This drug is called “Nexus” and it promises to anchor you firmly into reality “or the reality of your choice”. The announcer lays the subtext on thick with the recommendation that you should take Nexus if you’re ready to overcome your trauma and move on with your life. “Nexus, because the world doesn’t revolve around you!”
Over at Agnes’s house, Billy is having fun. His newly manifested psychic powers have been giving him trouble, see, but over at Agnes’s house, he can’t hear any voices in his head at all. “You’re quiet, Agnes… on the inside.”
Other Twin asks Agnes if their mom’s okay. “Don’t worry… your mom can do anything! She’s Supermom!” Agnes reassures.
Outside, Rambeau is getting into a spacesuit in preparation for her journey. She drives the rover right at the barrier at its top speed but it doesn’t give. Rambeau keeps flooring the gas but it’s nothing doing. The field begins to envelop the rover and rewrite its material. She barely manages to escape before the vehicle is repulsed back with its front half transformed into a pickup truck. On a mad impulse, Monica runs back through in her space suit and enters the field easily.
Some goofy dimensional stuff happens to Monica while she’s walking through the barrier. She exits with bright blue eyes and can suddenly see the world in Geordi LaForge vision, able to visualize the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including the electricity in the power lines. She strips off her space suit and jogs away.
Vision and Darcy are heading to town in the food truck, and Darcy is filling Vision in on his death at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. They keep running into strange impediments that Vision suspects are being created by Wanda to prevent him from returning home, including several red lights out in the middle of nowhere, followed by a construction crew and a group of schoolchildren from a school that’s nowhere around. Darcy tells Vision about his prior history with Wanda, and provides him with valuable insight into her perspective that puts her actions in a new light. Vision obligingly declines to remember that he can fly until this bit of plot is filled in. Shortly afterward, he takes off toward his and Wanda’s house.
Monica gets to Wanda’s house first. Neither she nor the writers have a better plan than just running right into Wanda’s house and confronting her, so that what happens. Wanda pushes her out of the house with her powers. Everyone on the street looks bemusedly at the witch doing witch things in full view and then mostly goes back to their business. Monica tells Wanda she understands, because she lost the person closest to her also, and that Wanda shouldn’t try to run away from this pain anymore. Wanda tries to slam Monica into the ground, but her vaguely defined new powers reinforce her legs.
Agnes is watching from inside her house. She runs outside and tells Monica to stop bothering Wanda in this trying time, ushering Wanda into her own house and making her a cup of tea. Wanda wonders where the twins are and starts looking around the house. She ends up in a corner of the house with uncontrolled vine growth on the walls, a magic curio cabinet, and a Satanic-looking book. Agnes wanders in. “Wanda, Wanda, Wanda… you didn’t think you were the only magic gal in town, did you?” And then “Agnes” introduces herself as Agatha Harkness.
We’re treated to the theme song to a new series called Agatha All Along and a montage of Agatha pulling evil strings behind the scenes in all the previous episodes. You have to respect the epic troll move of putting extremely spoiler-y lyrics in a really catchy Munsters-like theme song that you’re going to want to sing all day long. The montage even shows Agnes magically interfering in a series of scenes that didn’t really have any mysterious elements that her secret interference is necessary to explain. The exception is the appearance of Pietro at the end of “A Very Special Episode”, in which it’s revealed that she conjured him whole-cloth while having a sangria on the lawn.
Mid-credits bonus scene: Monica goes to Agatha’s house looking for Wanda. She opens the door to the storm cellar and finds an exceedingly witchy basement with shiny purple vines growing everywhere. Pietro appears beside her. “Snoopers gonna snoop,” he says menacingly. Whatever her powers are, she’d better figure them out quick!
Next week: The 2010s version of WandaVision is going to be full of wacky animated characters who talk a lot about depression and toxic masculinity. Vision shows up and
instantly lasers Agatha to death does something besides instantly laser Agatha to death.