It was only a matter of time before we reached the talking-to-the-camera-crew episode.
Wanda wakes up and cannot figure out how to keep caring or making things happen. The world is on the fritz, items and settings changing at random, and she can’t figure out why. The boys are worried about her, and Agnes shows up to hurry them away so Wanda can have some time for herself. At Agnes’s house, Billy says that he likes it because it’s quiet there and Agnes’s mind is quieter than everyone else’s. Wanda is talking to the camera crew about how things are unraveling, and someone behind the camera asks if this is maybe “what she thinks she deserves.” Wanda is stunned to be asked that question.
Hayward is planning to destroy the entire Westview area to get to his real mission, which turns out to be Vision; Jimmy gets the files Darcy sent along and finds out that SWORD was planning to reconstruct him for their own purposes. Monica and Jimmy meet up with a SWORD officer named Major Goodner (Rachael Thompson), a friend of her mother’s who is loyal to her rather than Hayward and has brought space equipment to get through the Hex barrier. Monica tries, but the barrier is stronger now and starts to alter the space rover she’s driving. She exits the vehicle, but decides that she’s going through anyway, and pushes in, rewriting her cells yet another time. She gains powers.
Vision finds Darcy and lifts the mind control so that they can speak. They steal a truck, intent on driving to Wanda to see if they can talk to her, but obstacles keep appearing in their way as they drive. Vision assumes that it’s Wanda doing this because she doesn’t want to see him. Eventually, he decides that he is getting there regardless and phases out of the truck to fly to Wanda, leaving Darcy behind.
Monica tries to confront Wanda, who insists that Monica is a liar. Monica notes that the only lies she ever told Wanda were the ones Wanda gave her to recite, that she understands that Wanda is grieving because she is too, and that she wants to help her get through this. Agnes shows up and tells Monica that it’s time to leave Wanda alone, taking Wanda back to her home. Wanda notices that the boys don’t appear anywhere about, but Agnes suggests that they’re probably playing in the basement. Wanda heads downstairs to find them, instead finding a stone lair full of magical objects. Agnes comes down and shuts the door with powers of her own, asking Wanda if she really thought that she was the only magical person in town. Only her name isn’t actually Agnes—it’s Agatha Harkness. A new credits sequence rolls, revealing that she has been behind everything we’re seeing, disguising herself as a helpless Westview neighbor to throw everyone off the scent.
A mid-credits sequence shows Monica trying to access Agatha’s basement through a cellar door, when Pietro shows up and scolds her for snooping.
Didn’t want to spoil the reveal ahead of time, but this was assumed from the outset, before the show even started airing—reason being that Agatha Harkness was an important figure in the comics where Wanda was concerned, particularly within the plot concerning her kids and Vision. For those who haven’t heard the name yet, Agatha is a witch—in fact, she’s one of the witches from the Salem witch trials in the comics, because of course she is. That was the deal with her witch costume in the last episode, basically a big glaring sign to anyone who suspected.
Now the important thing here is that in the comics, Agatha actually helps Wanda to work through trauma and also gives her some instruction on how to better wield her powers. She’s a wild card, but she’s not a full-out “bad guy”, more a morally gray character who can go in a number of directions. So is that what’s happening here? It looks as though she’s being set up as more of an antagonist in this scenario, both due to her confrontation with Monica and the hilarious Munsters-esque send-up credits sequence. The gasp-shock-horror of it all—oh no, it’s Agatha! She’s pulling the strings and screwing with everything! She even killed Sparky the dog!
It’s worth pointing out that she did actually kill someone’s dog because, as it has been revealed, Wanda’s not making things out of nothing, only altering them. That dog’s dead.
There’s still a lot we don’t know, like what this means for Pietro and his involvement, and whether or not there are even bigger players at work here. And of course, we’re not certain where Agatha’s involvement in this charade started either. She might have been the driving force behind everything, but the credits indicate that she arrived at some point after Wanda constructed her sitcom bubble. We’re not sure if we can take that at face value, but I personally think it’s more interesting if Agatha turns out to be an interfering force rather than an instigating one.
Okay, but what did I say earlier about that footage of Wanda collecting Vision’s body? I said that was shady stuff going down, and now we find out that SWORD was planning on reconstructing Vision and what—making him into their lackey? Super curious as to how they sold the idea of that project to various government agencies, unless this whole thing is top secret because, you know, it’s deeply immoral to resurrect a dead being just because you consider it to be some form of property rather than an autonomous lifeform, but I digress.
The sitcom conceit here plays into the talking-to-the-camera style sitcoms we’ve had in the past fifteen-ish years or so, which was popularized by The Office. But the version we’re seeing here is based more heavily in Modern Family’s schtick, which is mostly just fun for Agatha’s side comment about biting kids. Other than that, the conceit has a largely disturbing bent to it, which I appreciate; this particular breed of sitcom has always been incredibly off-putting to me since its inception because there’s an inherent cruelty built into them. By making them half-documentary style, having the characters break their own “fourth wall” within the context of your show, you’re making it clear that everyone knows they’re putting it on for the camera—and you’re deliberately piquing the audience’s curiosity on what they’re not seeing, what’s being edited out.
You have to hand it to the writers here for taking the concept and letting it sit in that uncomfortable space whenever the frame device is used. Not one of the asides with Wanda is actually funny, and Vision’s aren’t really either. They’ve brought this conceit to a far more natural place of horror, and we’re the monsters in viewing it—gawking at these people’s lives while they literally deteriorate in front of us.
But here’s a thing to consider—the broadcast is no longer going out, according to Hayward’s people, which means that it’s continuing on the inside purely for Wanda’s benefit. Which brings me back around to the question about how the conceit was created, and who it’s ultimately for: Is this really just Agatha’s doing, her suggestion?
I did like that Monica’s friend, Major Goodner, turned out to be a woman with SWORD space gear, though. (People were hoping real hard for Reed Richards, which seemed like too big of a reveal to shove into this show—he’d be a major distraction, as a cameo would go.) And that this is about people helping Monica due to their relationships with her mother, thereby continuing to give Monica that connection that she’s missing due to her own grief. On the other hand, the Hex just transformed what was probably millions of dollars of space equipment in one attempted drive-through. Whoops.
But that leads to Monica making the choice to go through the barrier unprotected, rewriting her cells yet again and resulting in—superpowers! (After we hear a bunch of callback lines, mostly from Captain Marvel, featuring her mother and Carol Danvers and Nick Fury and little Monica, which is extremely affecting.) Because you knew it was gonna happen. We’ve got a funny thing happening here, though, where all the powers are different colors: Wanda’s are red, Monica’s blue, and Agatha’s purple. And we’ve got our first post-credits sequence with Pietro coming up on Monica, who’s trying to figure out a way to get inside Agatha’s house. So I guess we’ll find out where that leads next week.
Where’d the kids end up, though?
Thoughts and Asides:
- Coming back to Sparky the dog (because I gotta), there’s an extra level of humor here if you watched Parks and Rec and remember Hahn’s role as Jennifer Barkley: When she’s running her smear campaign against Leslie Knope on behalf of Bobby Newport, she suggests that Leslie’s fiddling with the city budget has shut down the animal shelter, making her “a dog murderer”.
- Within the first credits sequence we get a brief flicker of a message that reads “I know what u are doing Wanda” and that’s not freaky at all. Who is that message coming from, though? Is it Agatha? Vision? Wanda herself? Someone else?
- And the ads keep getting less and less opaque, this one parodying all the awful pharmaceutical ads we see these days with an anti-depressant medication called Nexus. It preemptively echoes Monica’s words about coming to terms with her grief as her “truth”, but of course, that moment is cut short by Agatha.
- It’s interesting that the circus bit with Vision and Darcy is fully realized with everything moving about because Wanda was having trouble keeping everything running outside her immediate sphere before now. Is this part of the reason things are destabilizing—she’s putting out too much power to other parts of the Hex? Is it Agatha?
- It’s been said before, but Darcy has a ton of information on the exact specifics of what happened with Vision and the Avengers, way more than you’d expect from the person in a largely civilian sphere—where did she get all the info? Is the public receiving it, or is this stuff she maybe heard from Thor at one point?
- There’s a cricket sound that plays around Agatha’s house that lets you know horror stuff is about to go down. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s always the crickets that you hear before bad stuff happens—a very specific sound effect. Witchy crickets.
We’ve only got two more episodes, and it’s possible that the sitcom conceit is over and done now. Guess we’ll find out next week.