Let’s cut to the chase: a couple of really big things happened on WandaVision this week.
Most of it is still in line with WandaVision’s current strategy of setting up the Big Reveal, whatever that may be. It could be the heavily teased unnamed character likely to appear in the final two episodes. It could be setting up several films and TV shows within the Marvel Cinematic Universe that fans are eagerly awaiting, like Captain Marvel 2 and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It could be setting up entirely new rosters of superheroes that have yet to grace the MCU.
At its core, the seventh episode was also about acceptance. That’s a pretty key idea to several of Wanda’s spanning arcs in the comics, so let’s not just glance over it.
All right, here’s your warning. We’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of this episode, so reader beware: you’re in for some spoilers.
It was Agatha all along!
Easily the most shared theory throughout the Marvel fandom became fact with this episode. Wanda and Vision’s strange neighbor, Agnes, is actually Agatha Harkness. In the comics, Harkness plays two vital roles: she’s the protector of Franklin Richards, the son of Fantastic Four members Sue and Reed Richards, but more importantly, she’s the witch who helps Wanda learn how to use her chaos magic powers. More specifically, it’s Agatha who helps Wanda understand that her kids aren’t real, erasing her memory to save her from the pain of realizing her loss.
We get a glimpse of how WandaVision has incorporated some of that relationship in the seventh episode. After Wanda makes her way into Agatha’s basement (the grim interior lined with massive vines and decorative skulls seems directly inspired by Agatha’s residence on Whisper Hill in the comics), Agatha pops out and proclaims she’s the person running the show. We see wisps of purple magic radiate from the witch, as Agatha takes over Wanda’s brain once again. Remember when Wanda played with the minds of several Avengers in Age of Ultron (except Hawkeye, who dealt with his own mind control problems after an encounter with Loki in The Avengers)? Sucks to be on the receiving end of it, huh?
This leads to the biggest mystery still surrounding Agatha in WandaVision: friend or foe? She’s an ally in the comics, a mentor to Wanda, but the most recent episode seems to set her up as the show’s big villain. After all, she’s the person who apparently controlled Pietro when he came back to life just to keep the charade going and is directing every one of Wanda’s moves within the hex. Except this is Marvel Studios, and nothing is ever that simple.
The devil’s in the details
One of the more curious clues in this never-ending riddle is an ominous-looking book sitting in Agatha’s basement. Like Agatha and Wanda, it radiates magic. Orange and red magic pulses around the book, which is different from Wanda’s striking red chaos magic and Agatha’s purple strain. There’s no obvious answer as to what the text is, but there are a few theories.
The first ties into an ongoing theory we’ve had since the show’s very first two episodes — it’s the devil Mephisto at work. While Mephisto doesn’t have a direct connection to the book, he does have a direct connection to both Wanda and Doctor Strange, who may have a direct connection to said book. Mephisto is the one who absorbs Wanda’s children, Tommy and Billy, and it’s because of his actions that Agatha works to wipe Wanda’s mind. (Tommy and Billy eventually come back as two superheroes named Wiccan and Speed as part of the Young Avengers, but more on that in a second.) In one comic arc from the 1970s, Mephisto also attempts to steal some of Doctor Strange’s books to lure the sorcerer and protector of Earth to hell.
(There’s also that whole thing about Mephisto first appearing as a fly, like the one that Wanda sees on Agatha’s curtains.)
By this point, you may be asking, “Why does that matter?” Well, one of the theories is that the strange book is made up of dark matter, which exists in the Doctor Strange universe. As it presents a threat to Earth’s citizens and as Doctor Strange still exists as the Sorcerer Supreme, it’s his job to fight threats from magical or mystical beings. A book made up of dark matter and potentially harnessing secrets of dangerous ancient spells, possibly being used to either summon Mephisto or use his powers, would certainly fall under Doctor Strange’s purview. Since we already know that WandaVision plays into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, this is one way to go about it. Also, here’s a quick screenshot from the episode that features a devil caricature etched into Agatha’s house.
The other theory I’ve seen floating around — one that makes less sense to me — is that said book is actually the Darkhold from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Look, anything is possible. The Darkhold is a supernatural text that contains ancient and nefarious curses, making its appearance and use by Agatha certainly a possibility. Plus, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has interwoven with the MCU in the past. I just can’t see the reasoning for bringing a book with heavy Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D ties into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe as it stands at this point in time, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.
So if it is Mephisto, the bigger question is whether his role is unique to WandaVision and as a character that sets up a larger cosmic universe that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Eternals, and Captain Marvel 2 will explore, or something even bigger? Speaking of Captain Marvel 2 and bigger things, let’s address the other massive reveal in this week’s episode.
Welcome, Spectrum! (Or maybe Photon, Pulsar, or... Captain Marvel?)
Monica! Freaking! Rambeau! Easily the character with one of the best on-screen superhero introduction moments, WandaVision finally gave us our first look at Monica’s extraordinary new identity. We just have to figure out which identity it is. Buckle up.
It should come as no surprise to comic readers that Monica Rambeau finally took on her role as a superhero. In the comics, she actually portrays a version of Captain Marvel for a period of time within the Avengers before taking on the name more commonly associated with her character, Spectrum. The rebranding is important for a couple of reasons, but one in particular is that it effectively coincides with Thanos’ attack on Earth in the comics. With many of the Avengers up in space, Spectrum was one of the few based in New York left to fight one of the Mad Titan’s children, Proxima Midnight. As part of the Mighty Avengers, Spectrum teams up with Blue Marvel (otherwise known as Adam Brashear) who saves her life after she’s poisoned by Midnight Proxima.
This is a lot of back detail for an event that already happened and played out differently (as far as we know) in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but Adam Brashear’s name might sound familiar to the avid theorists. Adam Brashear is a superhero, but he’s also an engineer and theoretical physicist who has some expertise working with aerospace equipment.
When Monica suggested she knew the perfect aerospace engineer who could help with solving the energy force shielding the Hex, people naturally assumed it was Reed Richards. Instead, Monica initially revealed it to be a character named Major Goodner. Much like Agatha Harkness and the feeling that something else is just around the corner, I don’t think it ends with Major Goodner. I also don’t think it’s likely that Reed Richards will pop up in a finale of WandaVision, although — like the Darkforce situation — anything is possible. Considering Monica Rambeau and Adam Brashear end up as a couple, and he’s an aerospace engineer who can work with energy forces, I’m waiting to see him appear.
If anything, at least that will let us know Monica is Spectrum — maybe. It does, however, set up a role for Monica Rambeau in Captain Marvel 2. Clearly, Monica has a complicated relationship with Carol Danvers, a person she looked up to as the wickedly cool aunt in the first Captain Marvel. With new extraordinary powers, a desire to defend the world from existential threats, and a personal connection to Captain Marvel that is ready to be explored, expect more from Spectrum in the MCU.
Speaking of cool superhero team-ups I want to see, the more we see of Tommy and Billy’s powers, the more excited I am for what seems to be an inevitable Young Avengers arc. Speed and Wiccan are making their way in WandaVision, Hawkeye will introduce Kate Bishop, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is rumored to introduce Patriot, Cassie Lang already exists in the Ant-Man universe, and Ms. Marvel is just around the corner.
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige also hasn’t shied away from telling people that Young Avengers will play a role in the MCU’s fourth phase. I’m just excited for my teen superheroes to get their time to shine, however that may be in the end. Give them all a show and then bring them together for a Young Avengers on Disney Plus — like the time Marvel TV gave us Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist before releasing The Defenders — but I digress.
A commercial is never just a commercial
One of WandaVision’s most fun traits is the seemingly innocuous but never truly innocent commercials. This week’s commercial focuses on an antidepressant of sorts called Nexus. The pill allows people to remain rooted in reality — or a reality of their choice. The wink-wink to Wanda’s current fictional world aside, Nexus also connects to Marvel’s Nexus beings, a breed of unique and powerful beings that are anchors within the multiverse. They are keystones to everything. In the current Marvel-616 comics continuity storyline, Wanda is one of those Nexus beings. Not only does that make her stability crucial to all of mankind (this is your periodic reminder to read House of M if you haven’t yet), but it also makes her situation especially important to Doctor Strange.
Since we know Marvel Studios is going to greatly explore the multiverse in at least two prominent movies, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man 3, the commercial suggests that whatever happens with Wanda, Agatha, and whoever else in the final episodes will likely intersect with the events of those films. Remember, this was Marvel Studios and Disney’s vision all along for the version of the MCU that exists on Disney Plus — movies will play into TV shows, and TV shows will play into movies.
What’s increasingly obvious is WandaVision still has a lot of story to tell, even with just two episodes left. The countdown begins until the eighth episode. Only about 160 hours left at the time of this writing!