‘WandaVision’ Episode 7 Recap: Facts about Agatha Harkness
|‘WandaVision’ Episode 7 Recap: Facts about Agatha Harkness|
Though many had expected the reveal since Kathryn Hahn was cast as simply a “nosy neighbor” named Agnes, it took seven episodes for the show to finally reveal its true villain. Wanda Maximoff quickly went from being the all-powerful witch who was terrorizing all of Westview to becoming a victim herself, subject to the manipulation of another witch named Agatha Harkness. Suddenly, Wanda went from the creator of her own TV series to just another actor playing a role in one.
This is a complete paradigm shift for WandaVision, with only two episodes left in the season. Wanda is decidedly not the villain anymore. Unless someone else is quickly introduced, it would appear that that role goes to Agatha, who’s been pushing Wanda along as she descends further into madness, and who has apparently just kidnapped Billy and Tommy. But while the seventh episode welcomed a new villain, it also introduced a new (possibly super) hero: Monica Rambeau. Let’s get right into what happened this week on WandaVision.
What’s Really Happening?Screenshots via Disney+
After largely drawing inspiration from Malcolm in the Middle last week, WandaVision has moved on to Modern Family (along with a title sequence seemingly inspired by Happy Endings, with an opening theme that sounds like a synthy remix to The Office’s iconic piano intro). As the episode’s title—“Breaking the Fourth Wall”—suggests, there are a lot of fourth-wall-breaking moments in this one, as characters reveal their thoughts and feelings in mockumentary-style interview segments like they’re a member of the Pritchett family or a paper salesman at Dunder Mifflin.
Wanda wakes up feeling some guilt after drawing even more people into her sitcom world the night before, so she punishes herself by taking a “quarantine-style staycation.” (Even as she tears apart reality with her magical powers, the witch still finds a way to be deeply relatable during this pandemic.) Through Wanda’s interview confessionals, we learn that she is unraveling, succumbing to her grief once and for all. What’s more is that Wanda is letting her reality unravel too, as the designs for everything from the milk in the fridge to the twins’ video game controllers begins quickly morphing across generations. (Wanda is losing control so much that the video game controllers temporarily become Uno cards. Still, the kids very nearly found an incredible workaround to getting hold of a PlayStation 5.) With Wanda experiencing a full-blown breakdown, in front of her children no less, Agnes conveniently arrives to take the twins off of her hands so she can get some much-needed alone time.
Elsewhere in Westview, Vision—after nearly dying for a third time—is suddenly surrounded by a traveling circus of recently reformed S.W.O.R.D. agents. Among Westview’s latest arrivals he finds Dr. Darcy Lewis, and quickly awakens her from her sitcom trance. Darcy and Vision flee the circus together, and she essentially explains what happened to him throughout the MCU’s Infinity Saga; Vision discovers his past from his original JARVIS coding to Ultron’s genocidal plans, to dying in front of Wanda—twice. (With a whimsical tune to cue him in, Vision breaks an awkward silence to ask: “Sooo, Wanda killed me?”) Aside from how his corpse was stolen and reanimated, Vision nearly has the full picture, down to a greater understanding of his wife’s recent suffering.
And speaking of Vision, outside the Westview bubble, Monica Rambeau and Jimmy Woo retrieve crucial information from Darcy, revealing that S.W.O.R.D. director Hayward was after the synthezoid from the jump: S.W.O.R.D. had been attempting to reboot Vision before Wanda came along to reclaim his corpse and do it herself. Monica and Jimmy go forward with their plans to meet with Monica’s contact, and while many Marvel fans had hoped for someone like the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards to show up as the mysterious aerospace engineer in this episode, the duo is met by someone named Major Goodner. Goodner, who’s decked out in a U.S. Air Force uniform, appears to be a link to Monica’s mother, Maria, the former Air Force pilot and friend of Carol Danvers who helped create S.W.O.R.D. some time between the events of Captain Marvel and WandaVision. Goodner and her crew bring along Monica’s shiny ticket into Westview: a space rover.
Despite even getting a ‘fit ready-made for touching down on Mars, Monica can’t drive the rover into the New Jersey town; the vehicle slams into the hex’s barrier as its density changes instantaneously. So Monica pulls a quick audible, disregarding Jimmy’s warnings and running directly through the pink wall on her own. What follows is a moment akin to Peter Parker getting bit by a radioactive spider or Bruce Banner’s experiment turning gravely wrong; Monica passes through the hex, hearing voices of her past—including her mother’s, Nick Fury’s, and Captain Marvel’s—before coming out the other side as a superhero:
As Darcy foretold, passing through the hex again has a dramatic effect on Monica—rearranging her molecules to adapt to Westview’s wacky reality. We have yet to see the full potential of Monica’s powers, but between her bright-blue eyes and the electricity coursing through her hands, she’s clearly gained a lot of energy, on her way to becoming the hero she is in the comic books. Fearless as ever, Monica runs directly to Wanda to tell her about Hayward’s plans to reclaim Vision. Unsurprisingly, Wanda does not respond very well to the home invasion. She launches Monica into the air again, but this time keeps hold of her long enough for the two of them to have an overdue conversation. “He’s gonna burn Westview to the ground just to get what he wants,” Monica tells Wanda, explaining Hayward’s motives. “Don’t let him make you the villain.”
“Maybe I already am,” Wanda replies.
Monica empathizes with Wanda over their shared experiences of recent loss, and begins to get through to Wanda’s humanity. But before she can make the full connection, Agnes suddenly intervenes, striking a more sinister tone than we’ve ever heard from her. She tells Monica to run along, leading Wanda back to her house to calm her down with a cup of tea. When Wanda steps into Agnes’s house, however, she soon realizes that the twins are nowhere to be seen.
As it has in previous episodes, WandaVision drops its sitcom feel and briefly swaps in horror. Wanda searches the basement for Billy and Tommy, and instead finds some creepy-looking magical items, skulls, and demonic stone carvings in a dungeon-style room that seems like a prime location for a human sacrifice. “Wanda, Wanda … you didn’t think you were the only magical girl in town, did you?” Agnes says as she emerges with her rabbit in hand. “The name’s Agatha Harkness. Lovely to finally meet you, dear.”
After formally introducing herself, Agatha puts Wanda under a spell herself, ringing in a catchy (but probably unnecessary) jingle to conclude the episode. Critical moments throughout the series are replayed, showing Agatha’s constant meddling—including Uncle Pietro showing up at Wanda’s doorstep—as the song unsubtly lets us all know that it was Agatha the whole time.
With a new villain in place, WandaVision has set the stage for Wanda’s chance for redemption to close out the season. If it wasn’t clear enough before this episode, Wanda never had any evil motivations to begin with, but rather was suffering a grief-induced breakdown—even the in-show commercial for this episode was advertising an antidepressant that Wanda is seen consuming in a later scene. (Softened by all the sitcom tropes and humor, there’s some pretty dark stuff here!) The sudden disappearance of the twins echoes their tragic demise in one of the comic story lines, and might be enough to finally wake Wanda up from the stupor she’s been in.
Uncle Pietro was nearly sidelined for the entire episode, and after being labeled an imposter by both Wanda and Vision, it seems that after all the X-Men implications that Evan Peters’s arrival suggested, he’s evidently little more than a distraction to throw off both Wanda and the audience at home. He does, however, still appear in the episode’s sneaky mid-credits scene, as he finds Monica snooping around Agatha’s basement. For now, it seems like the unlikely saviors of Westview may have to be Vision and Darcy Lewis.
Meet the Neighbors (Again)
As Agnes quipped to Wanda all the way back in WandaVision’s black-and-white second episode, “The devil is in the details.” There were hints scattered across the series building up to the seventh episode’s cliff-hanger, from Agnes being one of the first neighbors to know about the true nature of Westview, to her wearing a witch’s hat on Halloween. And just as Wanda fully unravels, and as Monica Rambeau appears unannounced, the witch named Agatha Harkness has finally come out of hiding.
But despite all the grandeur in the show’s closing number, Agatha has been a long-expected arrival for those familiar with Wanda Maximoff’s comic book origins. The witch has appeared alongside Wanda throughout the years, but as a much different character than the iteration portrayed by Hahn. For one, Agatha in the comics is old—like ancient; she’s been around long enough to live through the Salem witch trials. She’s also historically been a mentor to Wanda—and as far as we can tell, Agatha has no plans to do any mentoring this time around.
Agatha presents a new ripple in our understanding of what happened to Wanda after the events of Endgame, as it’s now suddenly unclear how much of Wanda’s actions in WandaVision have been the result of Agatha’s manipulation and how much have been a result of her struggling to cope with her grief. Agatha may not even be the only one messing with the Scarlet Witch, since despite hearing his name tons of times since the beginning of the series, we still know nothing about Agatha’s husband, Ralph. Along with that ominous, glowing book in her basement, which could be a book of spells known as the Darkhold, there is plenty left to learn about Agatha. The witch population in Westview has just doubled, and even if there’s another devil on the way, the true villain of WandaVision will always be the one who killed Sparky the dog in cold blood.
Not to be outdone by Agatha hijacking Wanda’s TV show, let’s address the fact that we just witnessed Monica Rambeau’s origin story. Like Elizabeth Olsen playing up the many moods of Wanda, Teyonah Parris has shown that she’s got range like Steph Curry all season long, switching from the sitcom-friendly Geraldine to a S.W.O.R.D. agent to, finally, a superhero.
Monica has had a very long, convoluted history—during which she’s been known as Captain Marvel, Photon, Pulsar, Daystar, and, most recently, Spectrum. In the comics, the New Orleans native gets struck by extradimensional energy produced by a villain’s energy-disrupting device and gains the ability to convert her body into electromagnetic energy at will. While it happens in an entirely different setting and context, WandaVision’s telling doesn’t stray too far from those origins in the sense that Monica has been transformed by an extradimensional energy in the form of Wanda’s hex.
Wearing the same white-and-black color scheme she dons in most of her many comic iterations, Monica has picked up her powers just in time for WandaVision’s dramatic conclusion. Back in Westview again—assuming she hasn’t already been captured by Imposter Pietro—she’ll have to face two witches instead of one. With a fully woke Vision, and Darcy riding around in a funnel cake truck, at least this time she won’t be alone.
|Facts about WandaVision: Who is Agatha Harkness and What happened in the Marvel Comics|