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Descrambling ‘WandaVision’ Episode 4

Marvel Studios

We’re four episodes into WandaVision, not quite to the halfway point, and it has become the event TV series of the season. Sure, more people have probably watched Bridgerton or Cobra Kai over on Netflix, but what people are talking about is WandaVision.

Part of the reason for that is that no one knows what the hell is going on with it. WandaVision is Marvel Studios’ first foray into weekly, episodic television and they’ve deftly combined the aesthetic of classic sitcoms with the slight uneasiness you get during every episode of Twin Peaks.

Episode four pulled back the curtain, showed what’s been going on in the real world while Scarlet Witch and Vision live their idyllic sitcom lives and somewhat frustratingly managed to do that without really answering any of the questions the show has created to this point.

We Interrupt This Program could have been the first episode of the series, and in a way it was, even though it aired fourth. We were re-introduced to Darcy Lewis from Thor, Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man and Monica Rambeau from Captain Marvel as they look for answers about why the town of Westview, New Jersey has gone missing, and we see that they are also watching Wanda’s sitcom adventures as a sitcom, with Darcy and Jimmy actually discussing it like it’s a sitcom, even though there are some glitches in the broadcast when Wanda changes reality.

We did get one major answer in this episode, and that is who are the residents of Westview. The answer, shockingly, is that they’re missing persons, presumably citizens of the real Westview, pulled into Wanda’s fantasy world and force to play their parts.

Our dutiful agents of S.W.O.R.D. (it’s like S.H.I.E.L.D. but for outer space) have identified all of the citizens on the “show,” too. Almost.

Agnes and Dottie are conspicuously not identified with the rest of the “actors,” and we’ve thought there was something different about them since the beginning. The leading theory is Agnes is Agatha Harkness, the Fantastic Four’s nanny and Wanda’s mentor in the mystic arts. Wanda’s ill-defined mutant powers in the comic let her warp reality, but Agatha Harkness taught the Scarlet Witch how to be an actual witch on top of her powers, though she also used Wanda for her own ends. It hasn’t escaped the notice of the Internet that Agnes is a portmanteau of Agatha Harkness, either.

Dottie, played by Emma Caufield, is a little less obvious, though the leading theory seems to be that she could be Clea, Dr. Strange’s apprentice, given that WandaVision is part of a trilogy with Spider-Man 3 and Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness that promises to explore the Marvel multiverse.

And then there was that one moment that pulled back the curtain on Wanda’s reality. We see that she can use her powers, her real powers, inside her TV reality and while doing so to eject Monica from Westview and repair the damage that it causes, she catches a glimpse of Vision that comes at the audience like one of those animatronic animals in Five Nights at Freddy’s; he’s dull and dead with a massive hole in his head where Thanos ripped the Mind Gem from him to complete the Infinity Gauntlet. It was one of the most unsettling things I’ve seen in a Marvel project.

When Monica returns to the real world, putting the end of this episode concurrent with the end of the previous episode, She says “It’s all Wanda.” Is it, though?

We know, and have known, why Wanda would want to be in this reality; Vision is in it with her and it’s the only way he can be. That glimpse of him dead but animated gives the impression that he isn’t really back from the dead and he’ll only be alive in the confines of the sitcom reality of Westview, but did Wanda really create that reality. We know that she likes it, she’s happy there and she wants to maintain the illusion, and we’ve seen her subconsciously and consciously using her powers to do just that over the first three episodes, but did she create the illusion or was it created for her for some purpose.

The birth of her twin sons has lead to a lot of speculation that Mephisto, Marvel’s version of the devil, is behind it, working through Agnes and Dotty who would both be powerful witches, in order to get Wanda to have children. In the comics, Wanda’s twins were shards of Mephisto’s soul summoned by Wanda’s magic and then banished by Agatha Harkness. I don’t think that is going to be the exact story here, but there could be plenty of reasons behind a rough outline of “Mephisto wants Wanda to have Rosemary’s babies” and for Agnes and Dottie to be his servants.

The problem with that version of the theory is that Agatha Harkness and Clea aren’t villains and don’t work for Mephisto. Agatha Harkness rather pointedly works against him, both with Wanda and Franklin Richards. Of course, being heroes in the comics doesn’t mean they can’t be villains here.

It is clear that some force wanted Wanda to have children, though. The fundraiser in episode two bringing about those creepy, unison “for the children” chants leading to Wanda magically becoming pregnant was no coincidence.

That’s what we know so far: someone created Westview to give Wanda what she wanted, a normal life with Vision so that Wanda would give them what they wanted, Billy and Tommy. We don’t know who it is or what their goal is, but we know Wanda finds the illusion preferable to reality.

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