Life inside Westview hints at a darker reality just beneath the bubbly faux TV surface — plus, a closing scene that pushes the boundaries of what story we’re really watching.
And just like that, as “WandaVision” went full-color and full-tilt into the 1970s, we started to get a greater understanding of this strange sitcom world we live in and perhaps a better idea of just how it came to be.
There are still more questions than answers, to be sure, but the introduction of a couple of new characters and key character moments for both neighbor Agnes and newcomer Geraldine — who we already know is not quite who she seems to be — are certainly bringing more things in to focus.
While the first two installments felt a little disjointed, framed as they were on ’50s and ’60s sitcom tropes, the ’70s brought a little more clarity and a truer sense of a linear progression. In fact, it’s a very direct linear progression that adds a sense of urgency to the proceedings.
Vision makes it quite clear that the events of this episode pick up immediately after those of the last episode, with Wanda revealing quite suddenly that she was pregnant. In other words, things are moving very rapidly in this world they find themselves in, and Vision is perhaps not quite what we expected of him, either.
Is anything as we’ve been assuming thus far, other than the fact we know Geraldine is really a grown-up Monica Rambeau, last seen in “Captain Marvel”? Is Wanda the victim of outside forces, or is she the architect of her own story here? And just what is real?
We’ve been questioning Agnes since the very first episode. Sure, she’s the classic meddling neighbor sitcom trope, but she took it way too far from the jump with very probing questions for Wanda as if she was trying to understand what makes her tick.
This week, we got the addition of new neighbor Herb, who seemed to suffer some sort of glitch in the Matrix or something. When we meet him, he’s trimming the brick wall between their houses, having run past the bushes.
When Vision tells him he’s trimmed too far, he replies, “So I have. Thanks, buddy.” But he does so with a blank expression and a dead smile on his face.
And yet, later we see him with Agnes talking very confidentially and concernedly about Geraldine. When Vision confronts the pair, Herb nearly tells Vision something key.
“She came here because we’re all–” is all he got out about Geraldine before Agnes shuts him down sternly before sliding effortlessly back into her sidekick schtick and sashaying off. Herb ran away quickly thereafter.
That pits these two in a very different role, both from each other and from seemingly the other denizens in town. They seem to know something about what is going on.
But while Agnes has been in control of herself from the beginning, clearly hiding information, Herb has played both that role and someone seemingly fully immersed in the fiction, if a bit faulty.
Is Westview Real? Are Its Citizens Trapped?
That brings us to the setting of the whole show, which we’ve mostly suspected was a fiction wholly created by Wanda’s reality-altering powers. But is that really what’s going on here? The final moments of the episode paired with both Herb and Dr. Neilson have us wondering.
Dr. Neilson was brought in to help carry us through Wanda’s crazy-fast pregnancy, but it was a conversation he had at the end that had us thinking of Jim Carrey’s “The Truman Show.” When we first met him, he was excited about going to Bermuda on vacation.
Later, with Wanda nowhere in sight and before Vision arrives, we see that he’s having car trouble. And then he tells Vision, “I don’t think we’ll get away after all. Small towns, you know. So hard to… escape.”
What is it that Dr. Nielson knows about this reality? Is it perhaps that Westview is a real city that now has this overlay screen surrounding it and no one can get in or out? If so, that could mean that Dr. Neilson and some of the others we’ve seen are just regular people trapped in this sitcom simulation.
If they’re not, they certainly appear to be fully functioning people, autonomous of whatever control Wanda clearly has over this place. We’ve seen her rewind the story to get rid of the beekeeper, and she did a hard rest to reset Vision himself. She’s certainly acting in control, but her control is not complete.
Wanda’s powers went completely out of control this week as she dealt with contractions and ultimately childbirth, and with it went the power in the whole town. So her influence definitely covers all of Westview.
It was Wanda who spurned Vision into action in the pilot to save his boss’ life, and it was Wanda who pulled back reality when the beekeeper showed up, but did Wanda make herself pregnant? That’s the kind of thing that we could see happening as a distraction.
Could it be that she is both in control of this reality but also not. She thinks this is all her doing, and seems to understand that not all is as it appears to be, but then there are things that are clearly happening outside of her control — and not just big intrusions like the beekeeper or even Geraldine.
This week, when she said her stomach was fluttering, the butterfly mobile came to life and she said plainly that she had nothing to do with it. We then got an absurd subplot with the stork from their wall coming to life and again Wanda did not (at least consciously) do it.
In this case, though, she was also not able to control or stop the stork with her magic, despite trying twice. The stork literally swooshed away her red magic pixie dust, or whatever you want to call it, with its wings.
And yet, despite really trying to be noticed by Geraldine in the living room, when they proceeded to the new nursery, the stork was perfectly content to stand in front of the painting, hiding in plain sight, as it were.
So who is in charge of the stork and what was the point of having it loose in the house, attempting to disrupt Geraldine’s conversation with Wanda. Could it be that it was there to set Geraldine free from whatever spell keeps most townsfolk (mostly) in their characters?
Is Geraldine in Control of Herself?
It was in the way that Geraldine reacted oddly to Wanda revealing that she had a twin brother, Pietro, who died. When she started singing in Sokovian to her new twin babies, it looked as if something was breaking (or reconnecting) in Geraldine’s brain.
“He was killed by Ultron, wasn’t he?” she asked. It was the most direct connection to the MCU we’ve heard yet. And it definitely set Wanda off. Suddenly, she was asking Geraldine who she was really and wondering about the necklace she wore, with the S.W.O.R.D. symbol on it.
It seems possible that this reality is so powerful, that Monica Rambeau — who we know as Geraldine in-world — and her people knew that she would have a hard time hanging on to her identity. Was the necklace an attempt at a reminder as to who she is and why she’s there?
We saw in an earlier episode that events inside Westview are being monitored from the outside, so perhaps the stork was a second attempt to get Monica’s attention and snap her out of whatever brain fog the town has her under.
At the same time, Wanda appears to be under a similar fog, as she’s been just as confused at times when things seemed out of order, like Geraldine’s question about her brother. But is it a self-imposed fog?
And if it is Wanda controlling this world she’s created for herself (and Vision?), then who is trying to infiltrate it both directly (Monica, beekeeper) and by taking some control over the mass illusion (the stork)?
Wanda literally threw Monica out of Westview in the closing moments, where it looked like a big military operation (S.W.O.R.D.?) had set up a massive perimeter around the town. It may not be Monica’s people, though, as they did pull a gun on her, though maybe that’s just an abundance of caution.
Will she be able to go back in, or would Wanda now recognize her immediately? Depends on how in control Wanda is of her own mind.
It’s worth noting that Geraldine appeared in the real world wearing the exact same thing she was in Westview, which is trapped in the ’70s currently. So why would she have to dress the part if reality does that for you? Maybe the necklace protects her from its effects?
What does Agnes know about Monica or about reality, in general. She told Vision Geraldine/Monica has no history, no family, no house, even. Is that a cover story for Vision or is this Agnes’ understanding? Is she like a program designed to protect this reality or does she know even more than that? Does she know this is a fiction?
And what will Wanda do about the bigger problem she may be facing? This week saw Vision appear to directly question some of what’s going on around them, requiring a forceful reset by Wanda.
Considering what happened in “Avengers: Endgame” with Vision, it was easy to assume that he hasn’t been real in this pseudo-reality all this time. That this was some kind of elaborate mourning process for Wanda, and there may yet be some truth to that.
For the most part, he’s been playing the role of doting husband at Wanda’s side. But this week saw Vision stepping outside of his carefully crafted character and role, going so far as to question this reality they’re in.
We saw it first when she joked about all the close calls they’ve had with their neighbors. “But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Mr. and Mrs. Hart, dinner. Outside with Herb. I think something’s wrong here, Wanda,” he said.
And with that, just like when the beekeeper showed up, Wanda redirected the story and quickly got back to their sitcom shenanigans. But if Vision is questioning things independently of Wanda, as he did when he stepped back over to question Agnes and Herb while they were talking about Geraldine, does that mean he’s actually real?
Did he somehow survive “Endgame,” or is it that Wanda’s reality-altering powers are so great she was able to recreate a Vision so complete that he could have an understanding independent of hers.
And so complete is he that he has the capacity to question this carefully crafted — but clearly cracking — reality he finds himself trapped in. And if so, how long can she control it? She could reset him when he asked her directly, but she wasn’t there when he talked to Agnes and Herb.
Also of note, but a sidenote at best, Vision has been using his speed powers as his primary power, save hovering this week. It could be a nod to technological limitations of shows of this era, but it could also be a nod to Pietro’s super-speed. He was mentioned this week, so perhaps Wanda is conflating the two men she lost a bit in Vision’s characterization.
TV Tropes and Ticking Timeline
Probably our favorite sitcom trope this week had to be the ways in which Wanda tried to hide her pregnancy. She put on a big coat and even put a tray of fruit in front of her belly to hide it from Geraldine.
The fact that it worked is another reason we believe Geraldine had been reprogrammed upon entering this reality.
This week’s fake commercial was for Hydra Soak, a bubble bath that offers an escape for “when you wanna get away, but you don’t wanna go anywhere.” Is this what Wanda has done, getting away from the grief and trauma of the real world to find comfort in the TV shows of the past?
The biggest problem with that, though, appears to be that Wanda hasn’t thus far appeared to be in total control of our progression through the decades. She looked as surprised as Vision last week when her pregnancy ushered in color and an advancement into the 1970s.
Are either of them aware they’ve lived through three decades now of television? If they (or at least she) have any idea, than it’s pretty clear there’s a ticking time bomb looming in that they will quickly run out of decades.
What happens when they crash into the eras of “Modern Family” and “Schitt’s Creek”? Where do you go when you’ve run out of sitcoms to parody?
Westview is a big place and Wanda is already struggling to hang onto it. As we move decade by decade toward the present time, it’s going to be harder and harder. For one thing, sitcoms got darker and more complex in more recent decades, so the candy coating will be off.
For another, it appears there are forces outside of Wanda also taking some control in here. And we still don’t know what the point of this all is. Is it Wanda’s grief? Is it protecting the rest of the world from her grief by directing her power in this way? Is it something else entirely?
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