Written by David Holland
The first two episodes of WandaVision were weird. I think we can all admit that. And it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people found them too silly, too boring, or too confusing to continue with………But wow, we really need to talk about Episode Three.
As with the previous episodes, there’s a surface storyline and a deeper storyline. Let’s start with the surface. This episode is all about Wanda giving birth. Remember, at the end of last episode she was visibly pregnant in an instant. Now we get to see preparations being made for the baby’s arrival. A laugh-track follows along as Vision practices changing a diaper at super speed and pregnancy causes Wanda’s magic to go haywire. Geraldine, introduced last episode, visits the couple’s home in order to borrow a bucket, but while she is there Wanda goes into labor, delivering twin baby boys. The style of the show has morphed from the black-and-white 50’s/60’s styles to an early-color 70’s style, with lots of very overt Brady Bunch references. At the episode’s end, Wanda and Vision are apparently happy with their two healthy boys, Billy and Tommy.
Beneath the Surface:
This episode contains several critical scenes. Let’s break them down one at a time, and then see if we can get a clearer idea of what is going on here.
Resetting Vision – During a conversation with Vision about the fear that the people of Westview will discover that they are not a normal couple, Vision comes dangerously close to questioning his reality. He mentions the strange behavior of Mr. and Mrs. Hart in the first episode and his neighbor Herb, whom he had just seen casually carving into a wall between their properties with a hedge trimmer. In this conversation, Vision drops the playful sitcom tone and sounds the most like the Vision we remember from the MCU when he says “Wanda I think there’s something wrong here” – before an instantaneous reset, even quicker than the “rewind” we saw with the beekeeper. On a second try, Vision keeps up the “sitcom dad” act, apparently suspecting nothing.
“Hydra Soak” – The “commercials” have been one of the most fascinating parts of the show, and this one is probably the most significant we have seen. The lines are as explicit as possible. The woman tells the announcer “You read my mind!” in a clear reference to Wanda’s telepathy. The announcer suggests she “Escape to a world all your own, where your problems float away.” Even the tagline “Find the Goddess within” could be a reference to Wanda’s mystical powers. And of course, the Hydra reference is even more overt than with the von Strucker Watches in the previous episode. Hydra has been laying pretty low in the MCU movies since “Civil War”, but if there’s one thing we know about Hydra it’s that they never really go away.
Geraldine – When Geraldine was introduced in the second episode, one of the first things she said was “I’m not sure why I’m here”, a sentiment she will repeat in this episode with a very different tone when questioned by Wanda. In this episode, we get a much clearer idea of where she might have come from. When Wanda mentions her twin brother and sings a haunting Sakovian lullaby, Geraldine drops character and adds that Pietro was killed by Ultron. This attracts Wanda’s full attention, and she notices a familiar emblem on Geraldine’s necklace – the same SWORD logo she saw on the toy helicopter. While Herb and Agnes tell Vision that Geraldine isn’t like the rest of them and doesn’t belong, Wanda interrogates her about why she is in Westview. Unsatisfied with her answers, Wanda launches her beyond the town’s borders, apparently back into the “real” world – and we get our first glance of Wanda’s familiar scarlet energy.
The neighbors – A few residents of Westview drop hints about the nature of their existence. Wanda’s doctor, who was supposed to be leaving for vacation in Bermuda, mentions that car trouble is keeping him in town. He drops a throwaway line about how hard it is to “escape” from small towns. Even before that he says in a resigned tone “I don’t think we’ll get away after all.” Agnes and Herb also seem to drop character in their conversation with Vision about Geraldine. Herb says “[Geraldine] came here because we’re all-” but seems unwilling or unable to finish the sentence. What was he going to say? “She came here because we’re all”… trapped?
This is Wanda’s world – Most of the time Wanda seems as blissfully clueless as everyone else. But when everyone else – including Vision – drop character, they seem bewildered or scared. When Wanda does it, she is confident, in control, and alters reality itself. She orders Vision to save Mr. Hart, “rewinds” the beekeeper, “resets” Vision when he realizes something is wrong, and exiles Geraldine. Whenever the sitcom façade of Westview is at risk, Wanda exerts godlike influence to keep it in place. I’ve already mentioned Scarlet Witch’s enormous power to influence reality in the comics, one little town would not be impossible for her. After three episodes, my leading theory is that Westview is Wanda’s world, a place to which she retreated after the events of “Endgame” to create a happy reality in which she and Vision could be a family.
SWORD wants to infiltrate – SWORD’s primary purpose is to observe other worlds and respond to threats there. With SHIELD gone, they would be the next logical agency to step into their place and protect Earth from threats. Wanda Maximoff may be a hero of the Infinity War, but if she really is responsible for turning Westview into a sitcom alternate reality, then she is certainly a threat. The beekeeper, the helicopter, and Geraldine all seem like attempts by SWORD to get past whatever force is separating Westview from the rest of the real world.
Hydra is connected – The von Strucker and “Hydra Soak” commercials seem too direct to be coincidences. Maybe my first theory is wrong and Hydra is really behind all of this. That would track with the line over the radio in the second episode, the repeated “Who’s doing this to you, Wanda?” But I think it is more likely that Hydra is drawn to Wanda’s power. If she can turn this small town into a sitcom world, imagine what Hydra could accomplish if they could harness her power and use it for evil. Or perhaps Hydra has already infiltrated SWORD, they way they did with SHIELD.
That’s all of my thoughts for now – after next week the theories will probably change completely!
1 thought on “Disney+ MCU Reflections, Issue #3: WandaVision – Episode 3”