Following last week’s exciting ramping up of the mystery in Disney+’s first Marvel Cinematic Universe series, WandaVision is back with its fourth episode and the veil is finally starting to drop for a few key characters!
Clues: S.W.O.R.D. is Ancient, The Cast is Alive and The Return of Woo & Darcy!
The latest episode of the series starts off with a bang, or should we say reverse, as we learn that Monica Rambeau was one of half of the universe to have been snapped out of existence by Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. In addition, almost immediately after awaking from her return, Monica learns that her mother, who was being treated for cancer at the hospital she’s returned to, died three years prior to the events of the series and two years after her blipping, which helps explain her still-young appearance for the series.
Following the always-crowd-pleasing Marvel Studios banner, we are introduced to the building of S.W.O.R.D. and their official acronym of Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division, a slight change from their comics name of Sentient World Observation and Response Department. Though formed in the comics by Nick Fury as an offshoot of S.H.I.E.L.D. and headed by Abigail Brand in the comics following Fury’s departure, the series version reveals the organization to have been founded by Maria Rambeau and saw the Captain Marvel character in the director’s chair until her death, at which point Tyler Hayward became the only choice after Thanos’ snap. Seemingly a generic character brought into the fold, his last name may have more meaning to MCU experts.
Having been grounded by S.W.O.R.D. due to policies regarding Blips, Monica is assigned to help the FBI with a missing persons case in New Jersey, with the montage of her drive confirming she is heading to Westview, the central town of the series. Upon her arrival we are treated to the return of Randall Park’s Jimmy Woo, who displays a grasp on the close-up magic Ant-Man‘s Scott Lang tried to teach him in the hero’s second film. While chatting with the local sheriff, the duo learn that some in the vicinity are suffering from a selective amnesia as the local law enforcement claim they’ve never heard of Westview and are actually from Eastview.
The two chat about the case while Monica sets up a S.W.O.R.D. surveillance drone to fly into the town, which is later in the episode confirmed to have been the one Wanda spotted in the second episode but due to its traveling into the energy field surrounding town it was transformed into a retro toy to fit the production design of the sitcom world, though its exact reasoning for being colorized is still unknown.
Woo reveals that the missing persons case they are investigating is someone from the Witness Protection Program, but be it a desire to keep things classified from Monica or her lack of outright asking the question, we aren’t told the name of the person, who is simply referred to as “him” and whose associates and relatives claimed to have never heard of him upon being contacted by Woo.
Following Monica’s disappearance into the energy field, we see a van the next day carrying a group of scientists to the town, including beloved astrophysicist Darcy Lewis! While chatting with the group around her, we learn that while S.W.O.R.D. would rather they don’t get to know each other, they have in fact gathered specialists from every field to help investigate the mystery.
While investigating the wave of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), a form of electromagnetic radiation going back to the Big Bang theory of cosmology, Darcy notices something more and utilizes an old physio-scope nearby to find a TV broadcast signal coming out from the energy field, which she hones in on and finds WandaVision. The ending to the pilot episode showing a woman taking notes during its credits is confirmed to have been Darcy, who confirms that Vision wasn’t Blipped and should be dead. While being grilled by Hayward regarding the source of the series, she is asked if she’s recording it, to which she says she never stopped, a little nod to Robert Zemeckis’ Contact.
As Woo and Darcy team together to continue investigating the sitcom reality for clues regarding the situation and the disappearance of Monica, the rest of S.W.O.R.D. are taking more brass tactics to figuring out the mystery, namely sending an Agent Franklin into the sewer system in a radiation suit in hopes of infiltrating the town that way without going through the energy field. However, he does in fact pass through the field in the sewers and is transformed into the mysterious beekeeper Wanda and Vision saw at the end of the second episode while the tether he was attached to transforms in to one end of a jump rope as the agents pull it back. Before it can be revealed what happened to Franklin prior to the rewind seen in Episode 2, the story cuts back to Woo and Darcy observing the ’70s sitcom of the third episode.
Determining those in the sitcom reality may be real people, Darcy begins running facial recognition of all characters who appear in the series, tracking down the Harts as Todd and Sharon Davis, Norm as Abhilash Tandon, Jones as Harold Copter, Beverly as Isabel Matsueida and Herb as John Collins. While filling up the board with names and real profiles, there were three distinct characters missing from the identification montage.
While Darcy tracks down the “cast,” Woo and other scientists continue analyzing the energy field and use a dry erase board to list out what they know, don’t know, their failed attempts at getting inside and who could possibly be behind the situation. One key question on Woo’s mind, which is further evidenced by a camera shot centering on a screen of said thing, is that the shape of the field is of a hexagon, a tie in to a number of other clues from past episodes seemingly pointing to the series’ — or the MCU’s next – big bad. It’s also worth noting he marks down Skrulls as an option for a potential enemy behind the situation, though with Monica and Maria’s past interactions with the alien race and humanity clearly living peacefully with them as Fury is off in space with them at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home while two are in his and Maria Hill’s place, it’s very unlikely they are involved.
In an attempt to break the veil of the sitcom world, Darcy comes up with a theory of trying to hone in on the radio seen in Wanda’s kitchen in the first two episodes and send a broadcast through it and while she’s initially thrown off by the change of scenery to the pool club, she does see the radio in the background and tells Jimmy to broadcast a message to her, confirming he was the voice heard calling out to Wanda and asking who is behind the situation. While we saw that Wanda does notice the message before Dottie breaks the glass in her hand and bleeds colorized blood, Darcy’s version of the episode cuts without actually showing the glass breaking in her hand.
A few minutes later, as Darcy and Woo watch while Monica helps Wanda’s birth to the twins and makes a reference to the real world regarding Ultron, there’s a sudden cut in the sitcom episode from Wanda questioning Monica’s existence to the end credits, which a rewind on Darcy’s computer can’t even clear up to show what we saw of Vision coming back in the home and having a moment with Wanda before the credits rolled, leading to her belief that someone is censoring the broadcast.
The scene suddenly shifts to back in the sitcom world being filmed in a modern lens, with Wanda revealing her familiar powers of red lights from her hand and accusing Monica of being an outsider and trespasser, hitting her with an energy blast that sends her flying through the walls of her house and out through the energy field as seen at the end of the third episode. Upon being surrounded by S.W.O.R.D. agents, Woo and Darcy, Monica expresses with a look of fear that “It’s all Wanda.”
Back in the sitcom world as Vision returns inside and questions where Geraldine went, Wanda sees him as having a crushed in forehead and whited-out eyes indicative of his death in Infinity War, only for a double take to show him back to normal. As he offers her the opportunity to run away with him to anywhere in the world, Wanda says they can’t go anywhere else as Westview’s their home and assuring that she has everything under control.
Takeaways: Monica’s a Blip, S.W.O.R.D. & FBI Team Up and Wanda is in Control (Sorta)
Well, the episode we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived and some of the big secrets are finally being answered. First, we not only have received confirmation that Monica is in fact a S.W.O.R.D. agent, but also delivered the sad truth that in the years between her childhood in Captain Marvel and her arrival in this series she was helping her mother Maria as she battled cancer, only to have been Blipped out of existence on the day of a key surgery for her mother and coming back to learn she has died after the cancer returned. Second, Woo and Darcy are back, baby! Not only have two of the best comic relief characters returned to the fold of the MCU, one sooner than the other, but they’ve also been given a greater sense of agency and function than their previous appearances in the long-running franchise and are quickly establishing themselves as a detective force to be reckoned with (Spin-off, spin-off, spin-off!). Third, we learned that S.W.O.R.D. is changing their ways from their comic source, choosing to focus more on weapons instead of a peaceful observation of new worlds (an American government focusing on weapons? Get out of town!). Most importantly, not only have we learned that many of the “cast” of WandaVision are actually real people, but that Wanda is in control of the energy field and sitcom reality, but the question remains is it entirely of her own volition?
Predictions: Darcy & Woo Will Solve The Mystery, Wanda is Being Manipulated and Mephisto is Definitely Coming
One little tidbit that could’ve easily been swept under the rug if it had been included in any non-Easter-egg-riddled franchise is the last name of S.W.O.R.D. Director Tyler Hayward. Fans of the MCU who took the plunge into watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will recall a certain character named Brian Hayward, who had a brief role on the series as an Afghanistan veteran who was part of Hydra’s Project Centipede, an attempt to recreate the Captain America-creating process by the evil organization. While Hydra is supposedly to be more-or-less gone from the MCU following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, subsequent films have shown threads of their work carrying on and leaving the possibility open that Tyler, a government official, may have been related to Brian in some capacity and is secretly an antagonist within S.W.O.R.D. much like Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce.
While the facial recognition montage offered fans some reassurances that many of the “cast” members were real and alive people, there were were a few notable names missing from the board: Dottie, Agnes and Agnes’ husband Ralph. Ever since the second episode, fans have been speculating that Dottie may in fact be Mephisto in disguise, given the demonic character’s ties to Wanda in the comics in her mental breakdown and the woman’s iron grip ruling over the neighborhood, as well as comments from Agnes of who Wanda and Vision truly have to impress in the neighborhood and her quip regarding Beverly’s comments that “the Devil is in the details” at their meeting, in which she says “that’s not the only place he is.” It could very well be a throwaway joke regarding Dottie’s uptight nature, but some have speculated it could be a foreshadowing that she is in fact Mephisto, ith teases from past episodes connecting to the comics history of the titular couple, namely their twin children who were spawned (somewhat) from an element of Mephisto’s existence and frequent hexagonal imagery possibly alluding to the number 6, a la 666, it’s clear the villain will show up in some capacity, be it as Dottie or as Agnes’ ever-absent husband Ralph. Speaking of Agnes…
By this point, many have pondered back and forth just who is Agnes, is she really the kind-hearted-yet-nosy neighbor of the titular heroes or is she hiding something sinister, especially after that very ambiguous conversation between her, Herb and Vision near the end of Episode 3. The absence of a file on her real persona on the scientists’ board seems to begin to indicate there’s a real mystery regarding her existence in this world and there have been quite a few clues that she may in fact be connected to the more sinister side of things and may in fact be iconic comics witch Agatha Harkness. From the broach we see in every episode bearing quite a resemblance to that of Agatha’s to her soon-to-be-seen Halloween costume of a witch and subtle knowledge of what’s happening in the world of WandaVision and potential foreshadowings of Mephisto’s arrival, it’s hard to ignore the clues being thrown our way that she is in fact Agatha, but there are quite a few comic threads that would also link perfectly with the character in the series. In Vision and Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 Issue No. 3, Agatha is killed by the supervillain group Salem’s Seven and appears to Wanda in astral form after she defeats the team to hint that the heroine should channel the remaining energy of the Vertigo of the Seven into becoming pregnant with her and Vision’s children while her unexplained return in Avengers West Coast sees her initially siding with Mephisto to wipe Scarlet Witch’s memory of her children after the fragments of his soul that he reabsorbs from them, killing them, causes her to suffer a mental break down, though she would alter restore the memories in an attempt to help the Avengers battle Immortus. With the series having already introduced Wanda and Vision’s children while leaving their sudden arrival a mystery and the forthcoming third installment in the Ant-Man franchise, Quantumania, set to introduce the past version of Immortus, Kang the Conqueror, there is certainly a chance that the series is subtly setting this villain up.