The more questions that are answered, newer questions are presented. And this episode dropped some serious bombs on us. “Breaking the Fourth Wall”, episode seven of WandaVision, provides some reveals while also setting up the final two episodes and the further revelations those will undoubtedly provide. But it also shows us what happens when grief gives way to acceptance.
Spoilers ahead, so you’ve been warned.
Moving the sitcom theme forward to the late 2000s and adopting the confessional-style of Modern Family, “Breaking the Fourth Wall” picks up with Wanda waking up to an empty bed and succumbing to depression. The toll of the enforced reality she’s been creating is finally starting to appear, with glitching occurring throughout the first half of the episode. Watching Wanda stress as her environment kept zipping back and forth between the various eras she’s gone through over the course of the show was an interesting story beat. It shows us that no matter how powerful she’s become, Wanda can’t keep this up forever. And somewhere beneath the façade, she knows this. We can see it in the confessional moments where she’s talking directly to the camera. The mask is slipping and she doesn’t know if she can keep it up anymore.
Which brings me to the confrontation between Monica and Wanda. Both of these women have been dealing with the same thing (particularly since Monica’s full introduction and backstory was revealed in episode four, which I reviewed here): the loss of a loved one. In Monica’s case, she was snapped out of existence and when she returned, she’d lost the chance to say goodbye to her mother. Wanda, on the other hand, had to endure killing her lover only to see him resurrected and murdered while she was powerless to stop it. If you go back and watch Wanda as she’s being snapped out of existence at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, you’ll see she’s almost welcoming the end of her life as she sits next to the lifeless body of Vision.
The difference is in how these two have approached coping with their grief. Monica soldiered through it, eventually coming to accept that she could do nothing to change the fact that she lost her mother and can’t bring her back. Wanda used the immense abilities she had to enforce her “vision” on reality, bringing back her loved one and setting them up in an idyllic neighborhood where they could live peacefully, finally. Monica was able to briefly get through to Wanda before Agnes sunk her claws back into the wayward Avenger (more on that in a moment). But for a few moments, it looked like Wanda was about to turn the corner and accept that what she has been doing, regardless of the intentions behind it, is the wrong thing.
The set up for Monica’s transition into becoming a superhero was handled well, particularly since they haven’t yet revealed what she is capable of doing. Darcy warned her that further exposure to the Hex would have unintended consequences on a molecular level. Now, she is turning into her comic book counterpart, which is Spectrum (or Photon, potentially). Given that Monica is going to have a big role to play in Captain Marvel 2, getting her powered up in a similar fashion to her Auntie Carol is a good first step. I’m excited to see where the Marvel brain trust take Monica’s journey as she continues forward (there’s been talk of the Young Avengers potentially being a part of Phase 5 of the MCU).
The scenes between Darcy and Vision were a treat for me. Kat Dennings has always had impeccable comedic timing and Paul Bettany is no slouch in that department either. The two of them played off each other brilliantly. Vision learning of his backstory and of what Wanda endured before their sojourn into Westview gives him some additional insights that he didn’t have previously, which should inform his decisions accordingly in the next pair of episodes. My favorite scene with Vision was when he tore the microphone off and flew away from the stalled van. Recognizing that he was still bound by the sitcom nature of the Hex, Vision is slowly but surely establishing his independence. Where that leads him in the final two episodes is up in the air, particularly since we now know that SWORD was attempting to reactivate him, against the expressed wishes he left before his passing.
And finally, it was Agatha all along.
Since the start of the show, the internet has been buzzing that Agnes was really Agatha Harkness, a prominent figure from the Marvel canon who has strong ties to both Wanda and Doctor Strange. The difference between the comic version and here is that Agatha is an ally and mentor to Wanda in the comics, even going so far as to help alleviate the pain Wanda experiences when she learns that her children aren’t real. The slow reveal with Wanda looking for her missing twins was well-paced, building the tension as Wanda descended into a landscape right out of a Gothic horror film.
In that final set piece, I have some ideas on what was in Agatha’s lair. First, Mephisto is definitely behind the events of this series. Whether he’s behind Agatha or is simply using her for his own ends is up for debate. The book prominently shown in the chamber at the end could very well be the Darkhold, an artifact of extremely power magic that was last shown on Agents of SHIELD. Since that show’s canonicity is up for debate, Marvel could be using it here as a means to explain how Wanda’s powers grew so vastly in such a short amount of time. I particularly liked the musical number for “It was Agatha All Along”, with clips showing Agatha subtlety and not-so-subtlety influencing the events of the show so far, including the recast Pietro. I’m not entirely convinced that she’s the big bad of the show, though. It’s far too easy of an answer, especially given we have two episodes left. If I had to guess, the next episode is going to deal with SWORD attacking Westview to reclaim Vision, forcing Wanda and Vision to at least temporarily reconcile to deal with this external threat. Then again, I could be wrong on that assumption but it makes the most sense, given what we were shown in this episode. Either way, it’s going to be a fun ride for the final two episodes.