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WandaVision: Breaking the Fourth Wall

"She's gonna sail right through. Unharmed."

I stand in awe of this show.

It often takes a new show multiple episodes before perfecting its style and tone. WandaVision has cycled through a different style every episode.

From the closed set multi-camera sitcoms of the 50s to the more extensive single-camera dramedies of the 2000s. Flawlessly.

The changes in technique represent the progression of audience expectations through the decades, going from the light-hearted comedy of manners to more substantive topics such as grief and depression, just as it reflects the increasing complexity of Wanda’s life. Not to mention her lessening control over her surroundings.

In the beginning, Wanda would rewind or edit out any intrusion to her perfectly scripted world. Now, she no longer has that luxury even if she wanted to. Which is debatable. After all, despite expanding the hex wall to save Vision, she didn’t go searching for him. That said, either due to her deepening depression or a certain person we’ll discuss later, Wanda can no longer “fix things” like before. It’s also worth noting this is the first episode to include “Created by Wanda Maximoff” in the intro. Something we now know to be demonstrably untrue.

It’s no surprise that the most prominent technique employed is the eponymous breaking of the fourth wall. This is a subversion of a theatrical convention in which actors “break” the invisible wall separating the world of the characters from that of the audience. The MCU does one better by implying these breaks are the character’s internal commentary then subverting the subversion with reaction shots to the audience or interrupting character monologues with questions from an external interviewer.

I would have watched this show for its sheer audacity. But the cleverness they’ve displayed has all been in service of the story. The commercial is a perfect example.

As with previous episodes, the commercial symbolizes Wanda’s mental state. This week’s entry was for an anti-depressant called Nexus, which can anchor you back to this reality or the reality of your choice. In Marvel comic lore, Nexus serves as the cross-dimensional gateway to all possible realities. Hint hint. More importantly for this episode are the side effects which include “feeling your feelings, confronting your truth, seizing your destiny, and possibly more depression.”

Wanda has been avoiding her feelings and truth for quite some time. The truth requires her to acknowledge Vision and Pietro’s deaths. Feeling her feelings requires her to process her grief. I suspect she will have to do both in order to seize her destiny and defeat the powers arrayed against her.

Which brings us to the big reveal. We can now infer Wanda’s lapses in control can be laid at Agnes’ feet. She’s also the responsible for the Pietro wannabe. And as many have suspected, Agnes is none other than Agatha Harkness. In case you were on the fence about Agatha's villainy, I'll just remind you she killed Sparky!



The MCU’s take on Agatha has diverged from her comic origins, but her history is entwined with Wanda and her children. I imagine the twins still figure heavily in this Agatha’s plans, given she’s been pushing the baby agenda since the first episode. But toward what end? Is this the long-awaited tie in to Doctor Strange’s upcoming movie?

As for the twins, they are immune to the mind control affecting everyone else. Which begs the question whether Wanda or Agatha has been controlling the residents of Westview. And Billy’s ability to read minds is growing stronger. Unfortunately, he mistook the silence emanating from Agatha as a good thing.

Agatha isn’t the only villain we’re dealing with. Hayward’s appearance amounts to a cameo in this episode. However, what we learn of Project Cataract and his obsession with Vision serve as a reminder of the threat he still poses. It appears his plans have nothing to do with Agatha’s. But exactly what does he plan to launch? And even if he breaches the hex wall, how can he get a functioning Vision out?

Speaking of Vision, thanks to Darcy’s recap of Infinity War, he assembles the missing pieces to his fractured world. Unfortunately, they don’t answer his most pressing questions. Are his children safe? And if he was dead, what is he now? I’m so glad Darcy reminded Vision that his and Wanda’s love is real. He needed to hear that even more than the history lesson. It reminded him that his wife needs him, and no delaying tactics can stop him from reaching her.

Can we take a moment to praise Darcy Lewis? For the irony of making her the Escape Artist. For her pitch perfect balance between bluntness and compassion. And her ability to steal every scene she’s in. Okay. I’m done.

This leaves us with Monica. We knew that if Monica crossed through the hex wall again, she would be genetically altered. The comic book aficionados have been waiting for her transformation since Captain Marvel. Their only question is which name will she go by, since she’s had so many.

My question is more pragmatic. What can Monica do to gain Wanda’s trust? She came so close this week. Monica’s pain over her mother’s death mirrored Wanda’s providing the opening Monica needed. I know most people will say Agnes’ interruption broke the spell (pun semi-intended). However, it was Monica’s request to “take it down” with its potential harm to Vision that led to Wanda’s “Don’t make me hurt you.”

Despite the numerous reveals, so many questions remain. What does Agatha want and why? Is Vision dead? Where are the twins? What is so important about the book in Agatha's basement? And who is the Pietro wannabe? Just to name a few. With only two episodes left, the MCU has their work cut out for them. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I have confidence they’ll stick the landing.

5 out of 5 Funnel Cake Escape Vans

Parting Thoughts:

The WandaVision intro was a spoof on Happy Endings, while Agatha All Along’s theme was an homage to The Munsters.

The morphing plant was the housewarming gift Agnes brought Wanda in the first episode.

Darcy beating up the strongman was priceless.

I can find no mention of Major Goodner in the comics, and I doubt she’s the engineer we’ve been expecting.

Anyone else think Monica’s uniform bears a striking resemblance to Star Trek: TNG?

Quotes:

Wanda: “I have no answers. Zip, zero, zilch... Nada. Niente.”

Agnes/Agatha: “I think I got there in the nick of time. Cause she was one split end away from cutting her own bangs.”

Vision: “You tried to help me.”
Darcy: “Doubtful. I’m notoriously self-involved.”

Vison: “I’m not amused.”

Monica: “Don’t let him make you the villain.”
Wanda: “Maybe I already am.”

Agnes/Agatha: “Wanda, Wanda. You didn’t think you were the only magical girl in town, did you?”

Pietro: “Snoopers gonna snoop.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

14 comments:

Diogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diogo said...

Sorry, I deleted the previous comment, wrote about the Munsters influence on Agatha's theme but I missed that it had already been pointed out in the review.

Still, I will stand by my comment that it suits Agatha well because the Munsters was about, well, monsters trying to fit in a suburban area as normal people.

Mikey Heinrich said...

This episode made me rewatch infinity war and endgame today.

I am dying too know what happened to wane in the week between her and Clint talking after Tony's funeral and her breaking intro SWORD. There just has to be more to that story

Mikey Heinrich said...

Sigh. Autocorrect.
To.
Wanda.

sunbunny said...

Are we sure it even WAS Wanda stealing Vision's body? Could Agatha have been controlling her back then?

There were so many nods to The Office this week (also Modern Family and Parks and Recreation) I was SO sure Reed Richards would show up and be John Krasinski. Sigh.

Disney making me look like a fool.

I've now seen Agatha All Along like ten times. Catchy as hell.

Shari said...

Don't give up yet, Sunbunny. I don't think Major Goodner is the Engineer Monica was referring to. It could still happen.

I think you're right, Mikey. If I found out my husband/boyfriend's body was being experimented on for 5 years I might have gone off the deep end too. As for re-watches, I have to add Captain Marvel to the list. I only saw it once and I wasn't paying attention to Monica at the time.

Anonymous said...

Came to toot my own horn that I knew it was Agatha from the start but now its been revealed im just as lost as everybody else. This is a different Agatha both in look and personality than the ones I have seen. The reveal itself was fantastic. As for what Agnes is doing that Advert with the kid and the shark makes alot more sense.
Although it was Agnes doing, the fourth wall break of Wanda and the camera man was unbelievably funny to me. ''Your not supposed to talk''
To add to the Nexus talk to complicate things Wanda herself is a nexus being, not to mention the specific place Agnes took Wanda reminded me of old charmed and some other witch properties which always refers to some ultimate power/point of energies as the nexus which is always in a witches basement/center of the house.
Haywerd while being quite the asshole is not the villain..yet. Tony created Ultron/vision when there were probable threats to the earth. After what happened with Thanos bringing Vision back online or trying to cultivate his body into weapons is the least, scared governments would be doing. The name says it all. No longer Shield but SWORD. Some of the Sword stories i have read they were downright vicious in their goal to protect earth.
Also what nobody is considering is that Vision died 5 years ago when Maria was still alive and Haywerd wasnt in charge. Whose call was it.

sunbunny said...

“ Also what nobody is considering is that Vision died 5 years ago when Maria was still alive and Haywerd wasnt in charge. Whose call was it.”

Well that just blew my damn mind.

Mikey Heinrich said...

I want a funnel cake so badly now

Billie Doux said...

Mikey, lol. :)

Is funnel cake international? We had a comment discussion on kettle corn once, which isn't international.

https://www.douxreviews.com/2013/05/community-asian-population-studies.html

TJ said...

Funnel cake is kind of international I guess...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funnel_cake

Anonymous said...

Funnel cake means nothing in the U.K.

Shari said...

I have to confess, I didn't know what Funnel cakes were until I moved to New York. They weren't a thing in Massachusetts. At least not where I lived.

Lamounier said...

I really like the twins and will be upset if something happens to them. I love their brotherly vibe, how in the previous episode they were so happy for one another when each of them first displayed their powers...

Elsewhere, I found Vision to be particularly attractive in this episode. Not Paul Bettany, who is very gorgeous. Vision. I think I get Wanda now. (: