February 24, 2021

Streamin' (Madverse) Meemies: WandaVision Ep 7, "Breaking the Fourth Wall"


Two episodes left, and the revelations in this show are starting to come thick and fast. (Also, apparently people broke Disney's servers for a bit when the episode dropped.) So, as I have done for the past few episodes, I shall include spoiler space for the few of y'all who haven't seen or heard what went on.






The two main drivers of this episode were Wanda's depression and the identity of...the person I will get to. The episode begins with Wanda trying to hide under the covers and the twins not letting her ignore them. Her control is slipping even more, as evidenced by the fact that all sorts of objects around the house, and later on the furniture and wallpaper, are fuzzing out of existence and reforming as something entirely different. This shows as Tommy and Billy's video game controllers turn into Uno cards, and--when Wanda finally gets up--her almond milk transforms into a carton of whole milk. She can't even answer the twins' questions, mainly why all this is happening, but also why Pietro isn't really their uncle. Nobody has any idea where Vision is, and Wanda does not want to deal with any of it. 

This episode takes its cue from the "mockumentary" sitcom style, with several of the characters speaking directly to the camera and the audience (hence the title). Wanda's dialogues to the camera reveal quite a bit about her mindset: "I don't understand what's happening and why I can't fix it." In a pointed break with the tradition of the invisible interviewer, at that point a voice asks: "Do you think maybe this is what you deserve?" This brings Wanda up short: "You're not supposed to talk!" Exactly who is talking will be answered later.

It's also emphasized that Wanda is depressed, primarily because of the Nexus anti-depression commercial that airs (and apparently this does double duty, as fans of the show have pointed out the Nexus also refers to the Nexus of All Realities, a multidimensional gateway). The voiceover for this commercial, it seems to me, is very pointed.

Feeling depressed? Like the world goes on without you? Do you just want to be left alone? 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. You should not take Nexus until your Doctor has cleared you to move on with your life. Nexus: because the world doesn’t revolve around you. Or does it?

"Your Doctor?" Capitalized? It's no wonder many viewers are assuming Doctor Strange will show up in the finale. 

At just the right, totally non-coincidental moment--and not the first in this episode--Agnes shows up to take the twins off Wanda's hands. They go to Agnes' house, where we see a series of increasingly creepy asides--playing with Agnes' rabbit, Senor Scratchy; Tommy noting that he likes Agnes because she's "quiet on the inside"--and the twins finally go downstairs to play in the basement. Only, as we see at the end of the episode, it's rather more than a basement.....

Meanwhile, in what's left of the S.W.O.R.D. camp after Wanda's red wall has rampaged through it, S.W.O.R.D. director says, "We launch today." What they're going to launch, and what he thinks will actually make it through the barrier, is presumably an exercise left for the finale. Jimmy Woo and Monica Rambeau, having escaped being sucked inside Westview, discover what Darcy found behind Hayward's last firewall--he was tracking Vision inside the Hex. As Monica puts it, "Hayward wanted his sentient weapon back," which raises the unpleasant possibility of Hayward trying to reconstruct Vision and bring him back online minus his free will. Jimmy and Monica meet up with the person Monica was talking to in the last episode, a Major Goodner who knew her mother. Goodner has brought with her an enormous six-wheeled space vehicle to storm the Hex and bludgeon its way inside. Monica suits up and tries to breach the wall, only for the vehicle to flounder at the energy border. In fact, the red coruscating energy breaches the vehicle's interior, and Monica climbs out and flings herself away just in time, as the vehicle is spat out "rewritten"--its front half is now a 90's pickup truck. But Monica realizes that she can, by herself, enter the Hex--and so despite Jimmy's yelling at her to stop, she plunges through the barrier.

This is a rather neat sequence, as we see refracted copies of Monica, dressed in different costumes, bloom around her as she fights her way through the energy barrier, and hear snippets of dialogue (and make sure to turn on the closed captioning for this, as that reveals who is talking--it's her mother and Carol Danvers, in fragments from Captain Marvel). Finally, Monica makes it through, seemingly intact--but her eyes are now a bright glowy blue, and in a point-of-view shot, she can now see the energy that animates the Hex. This is the birth of Monica Rambeau, superhero, but there's no time to dwell on it, as she takes off running to Wanda's house. 

There, she tries to talk to Wanda, convince her to take the energy walls down, but Wanda is having none of it. In fact, she summons her own red energy and throws Monica outside. Monica tells her she understands what Wanda is going through, because she lost her mother, but she has accepted that because it's "her truth." Wanda pauses, and we can see that Monica is beginning to get through to her--but at that moment, in another uncoincidental coincidence, Agnes interrupts and takes Wanda away. 

While all this is going on, Vision and Darcy find one another at the circus, or what was the S.W.O.R.D. camp and personnel. Vision awakens Darcy from Wanda's thrall, and they take off in a food truck. On the way back to Westview, Darcy gives Vision a capsule version of what happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Infinity/Endgame, which Vision can hardly believe, as he still doesn't remember any of it. But as Darcy says, she's been watching WandaVision for the past week, and "the love you two have is real. You belong together." Unfortunately, Wanda (or somebody) is trying to thwart Vision's attempt to get to her, as they are stopped by first a red light in the middle of nowhere and then a series of obstacles--a repair crew fixing the light, and a parade of Westview kiddies marching down the road in front of them. Vision even has his own brief fourth-wall-breaking, as he talks to the unseen interviewer about what Wanda went through. At least until it dawns on him, why am I talking to this person when I need to get to my wife? He takes off the microphone and storms off, flying away. Darcy watches him go and says, "I'll meet up with you later." 

After pulling Wanda away from Monica, Agnes takes Wanda to her house. Sitting in the living room, Wanda sees two plates on the table with half-eaten sandwiches, and asks, "Where are the twins?" Agnes notes they're playing in the basement, and Wanda goes down the stairs in search of them. But Agnes' basement is a great deal longer, twistier and weirder than any basement has a right to be, and Wanda wanders through a series of extended hallways, calling for Tommy and Billy. She finally comes to a large, extremely creepy room, decorated with purple and black, with a mystical-looking book (also festooned with purple) on a desk. Wanda stops to take this in, eyes widening, and the door slams. She turns to see Agnes coming into the room, saying (paraphrasing): "Oh, Wanda. Did you think you were the only witchy girl in Westview? It's Agatha Harkness. So nice to finally meet you." 

Thus confirming a fan theory that's been floated and talked about for weeks.

At this point, a new catchy theme song plays: "Agatha All Along," including shots of Agnes/Agatha shedding her purple witch's dress as she floats into the show's very first episode. It ends with Agatha holding the hapless deceased dog, crowing, "And I killed Sparky too!" and throwing her head back and laughing manically. Cue end credits.

(Then, in a first for the show, there's a mid-credits scene. Monica, following after Wanda and Agnes, come up to Agnes' house. She looks around for a way in and sees the outside entrance to the cellar. She throws the doors open, and we see a shot of another long spooky-looking staircase and hallway, festooned with the purple energy ribbons seen earlier. But Monica doesn't have a chance to look around, as Pietro suddenly approaches her from behind: "Snoopers gonna snoop.")

So. It was Agatha all along...or was it? I'm not convinced, because Wanda knows she's in a simulation and is strenuously resisting leaving it (with some reason, as we've seen that Vision will die if he does). And she previously stated she doesn't remember how she got her or knows how she's doing this. Still, there remains the fact that she's taken over the minds of all the townspeople, forcing them to play along, as she scripts her desperately wanted happy ending. 

Two episodes left.  

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