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WandaVision Episode 7 Introduces a Hero and Reveals a Villain

Vision enters sleuth mode, while Wanda's quest for "me time" was an epic fail.

by | February 19, 2021 | Comments

As many pointed out in the last week, episode seven of WandaVision needed to do something critical: introduce a villain if Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) was not the true source of the problem. Viewers’ plot anxiety, of course, led to plenty of speculation about who could be pulling the strings and manipulating her.

Though the series has been great at delivering swerves — look at this week’s answer to the question of Monica’s (Teyonah Parris) friend — the big answer to the villain question appears to be the one fans guessed almost from the beginning. Episode seven’s revelation, oddly enough, may be the program’s first real letdown.

But before we get to that, let’s take a look at some of the other answers WandaVision finally gave us.


Spoiler Alert: This article reveals details from WandaVision episode 7 “Breaking the Fourth Wall.” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.


S.W.O.R.D. Director Hayward Wanted a Vision

Josh Stamberg (far left), Kat Dennings (center), Randall Park (center right) in Wandavision

(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 104)

Last week, we speculated S.W.O.R.D. Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg, pictured far left) might be a Hydra operative looking to bring Wanda back into its tentacles. But the files Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) sent along to FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) indicate Hayward was always looking to reactivate Vision (Paul Bettany) for use as a sentient weapon.

The Cataract project was always centered on turning him into a drone — as we also speculated — and it would seem Hayward spent the last five years trying to get the corpse to power on. Considering his own stated belief in the Sokovia Accords, having a sentient weapon to throw at rogue superheroes would be quite the boon. Well, for his vision (pun intended) of S.W.O.R.D. anyway. We imagine Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) would feel differently about it.


Paul Bettany in WandaVision

(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 107)

And though the revelation pulls Hayward out of primary villain status, it still leaves him in the shady column with the likes of Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt) and any number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who, while devoted to honorable concepts, do incredibly suspect things to accomplish their goals.

One supposes, though, that the same could be said of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) or Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Perspective is key and at this point, that still makes Hayward an antagonist. Just not our main antagonist.

It will be interesting to see how S.W.O.R.D. develops once WandaVision concludes.


When Will Monica Learn To Fly?

Teyonah Parris in WandaVision

(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 106)

While Monica did not get swept up in Wanda’s expansion of the Hex, she did walk through the barrier again. And that transversal gave her some powers: the ability to see all of the electromagnetic spectrum and at least enough raw energy to stand her ground against Wanda.

As we mentioned last week, Monica’s comic book counterpart received her powers after an exposure to inter-dimensional energies. And considering how dramatic her push through the barrier this week turned out to be, we imagine her abilities will be a permanent fixture for the character going into the Captain Marvel sequel.

Oh, but let’s examine that crossing for a moment. From the voiceover memories we heard, we can gather Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) avoided going into space for the sake of raising her daughter. That has to be a personal strain for Monica — just look at the way her younger self offered to learn to fly and meet her mother half-way. Then there’s Fury’s joke about becoming like “Aunt Carol.” While a clear call to her emerging powers, it also further complicates what we know about Monica and Carol Danvers’ (Brie Larson) current status. Could he make that joke if Carol never came back?

Also, Fury’ presence in Monica’s memory does open the possibility he had something to do with S.W.O.R.D.’s founding…

But one of comic book Monica’s powers is flight, so we fully expected her to emerge from the energy field in mid-air. For the moment, we’ll accept her S.W.O.R.D. uniform as an ersatz Photon costume and hope she realizes she can fly while fighting “Pietro” (Evan Peters) next week. (Did you catch the mid-credits scene?)


Who Is Major Goodner?

Rover vehicle in WandaVision

(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 107)

Meanwhile, Monica’s engineer friend turned out to be a bit of a false lead as Major Goodner (Rachael Thompson) and some S.W.O.R.D. folks loyal to Maria arrived with an excursion vehicle straight out of The Martian (which also happens to be a Disney film now thanks to the 20th Century Studios merger). The character is brand new for the series, although it still possible for Goodner to have some special meaning later on. But as we’re always inclined to trust the text — even to our own peril — her function may have been to illustrate the emerging division within S.W.O.R.D. and to bring the vehicle; itself a false lead in the end.

It also possible Goodner is just a red herring. Since WandaVision contains so many meta layers, it is possible a few plot points have been built up specifically to lead to blind alleys. And with one special cameo still waiting in the wings, this seemed like a good spot for it with guesses ranging from Reed Richard (still uncast) to Talos’s (Ben Mendelsohn) grown-up daughter to Ironheart’s Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne).

Come to think of it, Goodner could be a Skrull. It’s something to consider with Secret Invasion on its way in a couple of years.


It Was Agatha Harkness — With The Darkhold? — All Along

Kathryn Hahn as Agnes in WANDAVISION

(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 102)

But for all the blind alleys and guessing games WandaVision offered for the last six weeks, it could not keep comic book fans from correctly identifying Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) was Agatha Harkness all along. As we’ve mentioned before, the character has a long association with Wanda in the comics; she taught her the mystic arts and revealed the sad truth about the twins being shards of Mephisto.

Going by comic book lore, she is also impossibly ancient, a mystical liaison to the U.S. government during World War II, and the eventual nanny of Reed Richards and Sue Storm’s son Franklin — himself a Mutant with reality-altering abilities. Her relationship with Wanda also goes beyond the concerned mentor role. She wiped Wanda’s memory of the twins and Wanda eventually killed her in retaliation.

She got better, though — this is Marvel Comics after all.

But Agatha’s seeming villainy in the context of WandaVision is a departure from the comics, where she is typically aligned with the good guys and serves as Wanda’s mentor. It is possible all of it, even casting herself as the evil witch, is part of an elaborate course of therapy. But that depends on a number of factors, including when Agatha got involved. Did Wanda obtain Vision’s corpse and set up the Hex before she entered the picture? But it is also equally possible Agatha has been orchestrating this all along “for the children.”


The shards of Mephisto always seem to reappear.

One possible answer: the book powering her magic could be The Darkhold. The reality-warping tome is composed of dark matter and originates from the Hell Dimension. It appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. during that show’s fourth season, where it caused all manner of grief, and aided in the creation of Life Model Decoys, before the Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) could take the book back to Hell. It subsequently appeared on Runaways in the possession of Morgan le Fey (Elizabeth Hurley), so it clearly escaped its stay with the infernal Dewey Decimal System.

While it is still unclear how much of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Runaways occurred in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Marvel television shows often had to make story decisions without foreknowledge of MCU events, creating a canon schism — WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer avoids questions about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s status. Could she have been avoiding the question because of The Darkhold? It is a possibility, although the book on display in WandaVision looks quite different from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Darkhold prop and its traditional comic book appearance.


Kathryn Hahn in WANDAVISION

(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 106)

Nevertheless, the possibility of it being The Darkhold matters here as it also corrupts those who read it, so Agatha may be at its command and facilitating things for its own ends. Which, we admit, could still lead to Mephisto. This might be why Billy (Julian Hilliard) noted she is “quiet” in her own mind.

And for those still anticipating the Marvel Multiverse — and want Peters to be the Pietro from the X-Men movies — The Darkhold is potentially powerful enough a tome to pull things from other universes. And as it is clear Agatha was behind his appearance, it is possible she plucked him from that world. As it happens, this week’s commercial leaned heavily on the word “nexus,” which in Marvel lore is a gateway to other possible realities.

That’s presuming, of course, Evans’ character has anything to do with Pietro Maximoff. There’s still time for him to be Agnes’s ever-missing husband Ralph, Mephisto, or perhaps Agatha’s son Nicholas Scratch.


A Less Successful Modern Family

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in WANDAVISION

(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 104)

For all the things Agatha’s reveal offers, it still feels like something of a letdown. On the one hand, it is the obvious answer as the character is so tied to Wanda’s comic book past. Fans guessed her involvement over a year ago and just because an answer is obvious does not mean it is wrong. But until we learn why she is manipulating Wanda, we can’t help but feel a little air has been taken out of the balloon.

We freely admit we were invested in all of this being Wanda, because it had the potential to tell a genuinely new story for the MCU; one in which there is no real antagonist. A grief-stricken Wanda doing all these things — and kidnapping all these people — leads to a conflict with no easy answer and no clearly evil person to fight with fists or special effects. A Marvel story without a Thanos — or even an Ironmonger — is something we want to see.

But it is still possible for Wanda’s grief, and her inability to process it, to be the primary motivator behind everything. As we suggested above, Agatha could be trying to help. It is also possible that her seemingly villainous turn continues the complex meta-narrative of the television shows honored within WandaVision.


WandaVision

(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 105)

With this week’s Modern Family pastiche, we more or less reach the current moment of television. We also reach a point the show is unambiguously drawing on recent Disney properties to fuel itself. Keeping things within the Walt Disney Company, the next evolution of family comedy is, well, WandaVision itself. If that’s the case, then Marvel’s reliance on an externalized antagonists (Ironmonger, Yellowjacket, etc) becomes material for Wanda, Agatha, or The Darkhold to incorporate into its television-inspired reality. Well, provided there is a deep meaning to the sitcom shout-outs.

Then again, maybe Agatha is just a cackling, cartoonish villain. They occur in our own reality, so why not within the MCU?


Were You Listening To WNDA in the Morning?

One last item: did anyone hear the WNDA broadcast referenced in the subtitles during the early part of the episode? Considering its pointed comments on Vis and the twins, it could be another part of the glitches Wanda cannot control and an added Easter Egg for those of us who watch the show with the subs on. Or, perhaps, an actual glitch on Disney+’s part.

New episodes of WandaVision premiere on Fridays on Disney+.


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