TV Review – Wandavision Episode 7

Wandavision Episode 7 (Disney+)
Written by Cameron Squires
Directed by Matt Shakman

Episode seven of Wandavision reveals many things, but I would argue it is not one of the best-written episodes in the bunch we’ve seen. It’s honestly a little clunky and awkward at moments and clearly was flagged as one to push the plot forward without doing much character development. These sorts of episodes are likely to be the standard from now on in the MCU shows because I doubt they will spend much time letting characters sit around and talk. While I love the reveals we got, it also felt like The Vision’s delay was as much a part of the in-universe mechanisms around Wanda as it was the writers padding out the show to hit nine episodes.

We’ve now reached the 2000s/2010s in the sitcom world in an episode styled after single-camera mockumentary sitcoms. Think Modern Family, The Office, Parks & Recreation. If I’m honest, I abhor this style of show where we cut away to characters speaking directly to the camera. I don’t know if I can articulate why this structure bothers me so much, but I just haven’t ever enjoyed it. I think it’s used to a decent effect here, and I like how Vision ultimately acknowledges the direct-to-camera interviews are part of the illusion delaying him from making contact with Wanda.

The two big revelations are Monica Rambeau realizing her new superhuman potential (the debut of Photon?) and Agnes being revealed as none other than Agatha Harkness. Before I get into those, I want to say what a disappointment it was when Monica and Jimmy reached her contact and it was just some people from SWORD. I don’t really understand the build-up to that moment, only to reveal the characters are totally unimportant. Even the rover Monica uses didn’t really play a role in furthering the story. I am still perplexed by that part, but maybe the viewers injected it with more importance than it really was ever meant to have.

Monica can push herself through the barrier using the sheer will of force and her newfound ability. We saw her fragment into multiple selves from different periods, a nod to the eras of sitcoms we’ve seen, but I also wonder if it hints at all of this being connected to the Multiverse. Remember, what happens in this show is supposed to lead directly into Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Her eyes change, and so does her vision with the ability to see a different spectrum of light. To understand Monica a little more, we need to look at her history in the comics to see where this is going.

Monica debuted in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 (1982). She was revealed as the newest person to bear the moniker Captain Marvel. Her origins don’t hold any connection to Marv-Ell or Carol Danvers, just a case of Marvel wanting to secure an IP by having a character with that name appear in the comics. Her powers are centered around the fact that she is now a being composed of energy rather than matter. She’s basically a living electromagnetic wave which explains why she could pierce the barrier because it’s connected to television broadcasting. Throughout Monica’s time in the Marvel Universe, she’s been an Avenger and used the aliases Photon, Pulsar, and most recently Spectrum.

Then we have the reveal that Agnes has been faking it all along and is really the witch Agatha Harkness. In the brilliant theme song, we’re given at the end of this episode, we see moments from her perspective showing how she has been manipulating and lying the whole time. She also drops the comment that Wanda isn’t the only witch in Westview. At no point before this show has Wanda been a witch, so there is something yet to be revealed that happened off-screen between Endgame and Wandavision that involves her learning the craft. Agatha is also a character whose backstory reveals some interesting things.

In the Marvel Universe, Agatha is an ancient being who remembers the fall of Atlantis. She settled in the Salem colony in the 17th century forming a coven of witches that were persecuted during the famous trials. Throughout history, she has been a presence in the background reaching the highest levels of witchcraft possible and often acting heroically to defend the United States from its foreign enemies. Before all this was known, her introduction came in the pages of Fantastic Four #94 (Jan 1970), where she served as the nanny to Reed and Sue Richards’s newborn son Franklin. She revealed her powers, helping them fight The Frightful Four, and became a supporting character in the book. 

Agatha’s connections to Scarlet Witch came in the second Vision and Scarlet Witch mini-series (1985). Agatha’s own grandchildren had become tainted and transformed into Salem’s Seven. They burnt her at the stake and drew Scarlet Witch out, who helped stop the Seven. In the fallout, Wanda’s magicks created her and Vision’s children. Four years later, in Avengers West Coast, Agatha returned and explained to Scarlet Witch that her children were fragments of Mephisto’s soul and not real at all. She wiped Wanda’s memory of her children to spare her sanity and went on to help Scarlet Witch hone her magical abilities. Scarlet Witch eventually regained her memories and confronted Agatha killing her once again in the process. Years later, when Scarlet Witch regained her sanity, she used her powers to bring Agatha back, and the witch has remained as a sometimes ally to the superhero community. Wandavision’s portrayal of Agatha as a villain is definitely a new spin on the character. She’s undoubtedly been a manipulator, but it appears now she has crossed into new territory.

The final note is Paul Bettany’s comment about a cameo we have yet to see in the mini-series. He’s stated, “I work with this actor that I have always wanted to work with, and we have fireworks together. The scenes are great, and I think people will be really excited. I’ve always wanted to work with this guy…and the scenes are pretty intense.” Based on that statement, we can assume this is an older actor if Bettany has wanted to work with him his whole life. Bettany is British, so I think we can safely assume this actor may be as well. When it comes to Wanda Maximoff, there is a character played by an old British actor directly connected to her in the comics, Magneto. We’ve seen Evan Peters show up as the Fox Universe Quicksilver. Might Ian McKellan pop in as Wanda’s father in this new shifted reality?

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