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Wandavision episode 1.07 “Breaking The Fourth Wall” drops a major MCU bomb on us, but keeps laser focus on its main character while warning us to be careful what you wish for.
Welcome to the third act of our nine episode arc, ladies and gents – where our main character is the lowest she’s ever been, and it’s only going to get worse.
Billy and Tommy ask Wanda what Uncle Pietro meant about their dad being dead. Instead of manifesting the earlier version of her Donna Reed-esque self, Wanda looks them dead in the eyes and says that he is not their uncle and he cannot be trusted. They’re looking for answers that she doesn’t have and she’s “starting to believe everything is meaningless.” Enter
Agnes Agatha Harkness. Oh yeah, it’s been Agatha All Along.
Before we chat this major plot bomb, however, let’s discuss how perfectly this episode crafted around the important emotional fragility of Wanda.
Serving as an homage to all things mockumentary television (i.e. The Office, Parks and Rec, and Modern Family in particular), “Breaking The Fourth Wall” is a perfect vehicle to emphasize how alone Wanda truly is.
Consider what the catalyst was for the creation of WandaVision, and everything happening in Westview. Wanda was alone, and drowning in “endless nothingness”. Gone was the love of her life in Vision, her brother was dead, and she was completely on her own after Thanos’s defeat in Avengers: Endgame. The biggest bad of all may have been vanquished but she was still left in solitude with a world expanding and collapsing around her all at the same time.
After her choices to steal Vision, create a world of her own, and live out the rest of her happy days in a giant bubble of lies, she is once again back to being completely alone, standing on the precipice of endless nothingness where everything is meaningless. In getting exactly what she has wished for, Wanda has created her nightmare.
Vision distrusts Wanda and is literally separated from her for an entire episode,
Agnes Agatha has taken Wanda’s children, and the world she has created is simultaneously expanding and collapsing around her.
As a response to her actions the previous night, which are certainly played off like a bad night of drinking as opposed to the Big Bang style event that it it really is (waking up in her costume was laugh out loud funny) Wanda decides to self quarantine herself as a punishment.
In essence, Wanda hides herself from the heaven she created because she feels like if she can’t control it, then she doesn’t deserve it. And, rest assured, she cannot control it. From her kids games, to the walls around her, the tv she watches – hell, she can’t even get the almond milk she wants when she wants to eat her Sugar Snaps. All is lost.
To Wanda, it might just feel like “a case of the Mondays”, but we all recognize that this is the most alone she has ever been — especially after she’s had the opportunity to live her “happily-ever-after” for the past number of weeks.
Wanda’s solitude is further calcified in her “confessional” style sit down when she says, “I don’t understand what’s happening: why it’s all falling apart and why I can’t fix it”. Only to be provoked further when her “interviewer” from behind the camera asks, “do you think maybe this is what you deserve?” She is shocked and finally recognizes something is off when she chides the guy behind the camera when he is not supposed to talk.
I have made it a point this entire series to separate the sitcom hijinks from the story being told, but I simply cannot compartmentalize them anymore. Wanda is at a literal crossroads in her story, and so is the storytelling of that story. Both realities are converging on Wanda’s depression and they are starting to reflect each other. It’s perfect.
Ok, so let’s get to the big plot bomb of the entire show. Agnes is Agatha Harkness. While most nerds called this the first episode, I’m still really happy they have gone down this route. Kathryn Hahn is great, and she has played the role of Agnes really well throughout the entire run of WandaVision. She’s seemed like someone you could trust, but, like Uncle Petey in the past episode, there was just something off about her.
She always seemed to be in the right place, at the right time, pushing events in whatever direction the “show” needed to go – whether it was having the ingredients for dinner on hand in the first episode, to introducing Dottie, questioning
Geraldine Monica, helping with the babies, having a doghouse at the ready, or even pushing Vision on his death, Agnes has just been a tad off. Well now we know – she’s Agatha Harkness!
Agatha Harkness, in the comics, has been somewhat of an ally to Wanda, and even a tutor. Agatha is, in fact, a witch – dating all the way back to the Salem Witch trials where she was burned alive at the stake. But, like all good comic book characters, she didn’t actually die. You can read every little detail about Agatha here. As we discussed in the previous episode, Agatha, in the comics, tries to wipe Wanda’s children from Wanda’s mind when they are reabsorbed back in to Mephisto.
Anyways, this interaction leads to a storyline called The House Of M, wherein Wanda goes crazy, loses her mind, loses control over her powers, and rearranges reality around her. Sound familiar? It should. Your witnessing it right now. The end of the Agatha Harkness ordeal actually concludes with Wanda murdering Agatha in cold blood. But, that’s another story for another article.
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While I have loved every second of Kathryn Hahn playing just the right tone for this character – not too over the top, but not too subtle where you don’t notice the irregularities – I can’t help but wonder if the “Agatha Harkness” of it all is lost on non dorks. Her reveal, while perfectly awesome for those who know this history, seems to feel like another reveal that didn’t work all that well:
In Star Trek Into Darkness (a movie which I love BTW) this reveal was critical to the character Benedict Cumberbatch played. In fact, the whole movie balanced on this reveal. But, it played to what we as an audience already knew about Khan from Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan. The problem was that Pine’s Kirk had no experience with Khan the way the Shatner’s Khan had – so the reveal didn’t make sense to the characters in the film — only to the members of the audience.
So I bring up Khan in this episode only because the reveal for Agatha Harkness FEELS like it supposed to mean something to Wanda, but it doesn’t. It only means something to people who know the history shared between the two in the comics, and nothing to the people who don’t know the history, or really, even to the characters themselves.
The truth we do know is that while Wanda may have created the physical space of WandaVision and the bubble surrounding Westview, we also know that its Harkness who has been pulling many strings without Wanda’s knowledge — she sabotaged the magic show, she’s manipulated Herb, and apparently she is even controlling Pietro too. And now she has Wanda under her spell too.
Why has Agatha done all this? Well, everything seems to point to the idea that she wants Wanda to look like the villain here. Agatha took Wanda’s kids, manipulated Vision to go outside the Hex and tell S.W.O.R.D. that all the people need help, and she has even pitted Wanda against Monica at her lowest point. Like most people who suffer from depression, Wanda is easily manipulated to her base instinct of lashing out warning Monica to not “make me hurt you.” The problem, of course, is that Wanda is only hurting herself because she’s under the care of a very malevolent Agatha.
APROPOS OF NOTHING FOR WANDAVISION EPISODE 1.07 “BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL”
- “Agatha All Along” is by far my new favorite theme song. In fact, in a perfect world, we would get a spinoff of the same name and we would see all the events of WandaVision specifically from Agatha’s perspective — including murdering a puppy.
- Monica’s DNA was rewritten alright. Now she’s got magical powers too! Implicit in her powers is that she was able to get through the Hex because it already altered her DNA. And she must not be some chump either – she lived through an attack from Wanda. Not even the Avengers can claim that. Except Hawkeye. He’s a badass too.
- I LOVE the sequence with Monica going through the Hex – all the experiences in her life are coming through to make her who she is at the moment. Hearing the voices of her mother, Captain Marvel, even Nick Fury give her the strength to push forward. It’s very reminiscent of Rey’s experience in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker and, more specifically, Jodie Foster’s “Ellie” in the movie Contact when she finally travels in the alien machine. In fact it’s almost a shot for shot remake.
- Can we have a spin off show dedicated to just Vision and Darcy? I love that even though Vision is supposed to be a machine, Paul Bettany imbues a real humanity to him. Especially when he realizes that he absolutely should not be doing the confessional interview and just rips off his lav mic.
- The opening credits had a curious clue: “created by Wanda Maximoff”. Obviously its a reference to how shows are now advertised – via their showrunners. But is it being so overt about who created WandaVision to throw off the viewer from the truth?
- Is it Wanda creating all the roadblocks for Vision and Darcy? Or is Agatha? Food for thought…
- The S.W.O.R.D. agent asks if they got the vehicle right to Monica and that they based it off her specs. Hold up, did they design and build this contraption in less the 24 hours?
- Did anyone else sing “ohhhh booooooooook!” when they saw Agatha’s magical spells book in her basement? No? Just me? Go watch Hocus Pocus, nerd.
- The commercial is awesome. “Ask your doctor about Nexus, a unique antidepressant that works to anchor you back to your reality — or the reality of your choice.” Side effects, include “feeling your feelings, confronting your truth, seizing your destiny, and possibly more depression.” And the tagline is even better “Nexus: Because the world doesn’t revolve around you. Or does it?” This is a reference to the comics and how Wanda is often referenced as “Nexus Being” who “rare individual entities with the power to affect probabilities — and thus the future.”
- A final note about Vision – there was a great back and forth about his actual being with Darcy. His code is that of JARVIS, but his form is due to the whims of a homicidal robot in Ultron. But since his death, what is he now?
- Stick around for the first mid credits scene of the series if you haven’t seen it. Snoopers gonna snoop.
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