[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for WandaVision, Season 1, Episode 7, “Breaking the Fourth Wall”]
Well, with three episodes left in the season, we knew that the time was nigh for WandaVision to drop at least one big surprise on us — and really, this week we got a few. “Breaking the Fourth Wall” in many respects serves as a bridge episode, covering Wanda’s crumbling psyche following the events of Halloween, but it also packs in some key developments priming us for the season’s eventual endgame. (How many times am I allowed to use the word “endgame” while writing about a MCU show? Probably not more than three. We’ll see if I can stick to that.)
In terms of sitcom eras, Episode 7 leaps from the early 2000s single-cam world to the genre’s next evolution: the mockumentary. Your first thought might be The Office (and indeed, the new opening credits feature no lyrics but visuals that blend the vibes of NBC favorite with the style of the opening credits for ABC’s dearly departed single-cam series Happy Endings).
But really, this episode (at least, the parts set in Westview) is a Modern Family tribute, with Elizabeth Olsen embodying every quirk of Julie Bowen’s frazzled-mom persona as she and the other major town residents speak directly to the camera. Of course, Julie Bowen is rarely facing the complete disintegration of her reality, but everyone has their cross to bear.
And Wanda’s not the only one affected by the glitches in reality currently popping up — both Billy and Tommy notice the changes, and Billy (the twin with Wanda’s psychic abilities) says that things there are “loud.” It’s all too much for Wanda, who flat-out tells her kids that she has no answers and that “I’m starting to believe that everything is meaningless.” But hey, Wanda’s in luck, because here comes everyone’s favorite neighbor Agnes, who agrees to take care of the twins so that Wanda can have some me-time.
While Wanda grapples with her existential crisis, plenty is happening elsewhere. First off, Hayward and the remaining S.W.O.R.D. agents who didn’t get sucked up by the expanding boundary of the Hex are preparing to launch a major action later that day. (That’s all we really get from their side of the story in this episode, but it’s certainly a key bit of set-up for the next installment.)
More importantly, we learn that Woo and Monica also managed to escape the Hex in Episode 6. Unfortunately, it appears we’ll have to wait a little longer to learn who Monica’s “aerospace engineer” is — instead, they meet up with a new S.W.O.R.D. agent named Major Goodner, who’s on Monica’s side and accordingly delivers a fancy vehicle that Monica hopes to use in permeating the barrier. The rover isn’t successfully able to break through, but Monica decides to try it herself, literally shoving her way inside Westview in a trippy sequence that features voice cameos by key figures from her life (including Nick Fury and Carol Danvers!) and ends with Monica on the other side, and as predicted by Darcy transformed by the experience. Eyes blazing blue for a minute, Monica seems capable of seeing electromagnetic fields, before shaking it off and running to search for Wanda.
Oh, speaking of Darcy… After nearly disintegrating in the previous episode, Vision wakes up restored to his full form — but back on the other side of the barrier. However, when he finds the circus set-up now housing the trapped S.W.O.R.D. agents, he recognizes Darcy as someone with whom he had an “unspoken connection” on the other side, and frees her from Wanda’s control. Together, the two of them hijack a funnel cake truck and head out to track Wanda down, Darcy giving Vision the Cliff’s Notes on his backstory, including his multiple deaths. In a talking head segment, Vision realizes how much Wanda has gone through — and also remembers that he knows how to fly, soaring off in search of his wife.
Monica arrives at Wanda’s house ready to confront her, but Wanda’s not interested, brutally rebuffing her and looking ready to deliver some serious magical hurt until Agnes arrives, diffusing the situation and leading Wanda over to her house. However, once inside Agnes’s house, Wanda seems to sense that something’s wrong, especially since there’s no sign of the twins beyond abandoned PB&J sandwiches. And when Wanda goes down to the basement in search of her boys, she instead finds… well, a very witchy lair.
“You didn’t think you were the only magical girl in town, did you?” Agnes Agatha Harkness tells Wanda, as we trip back into a flashback montage accompanied by another Lopez/Anderson-Lopez theme song — this one, with lyrics!
Who’s been messing up everything?
It’s been Agatha all along
Who’s been pulling every evil string?
It’s been Agatha all along
That you haven’t even noticed
And the pity is
Pity pity pity pity
It’s too late to fix anything
Now that everything has gone wrong
Thanks to Agatha
It’s been Agatha all along
And I killed Sparky, too.
The montage reveals that Agatha has been manipulating all of Wanda and Vision’s sitcom mishaps, though it doesn’t explain why; instead, we smash into that damnable Please Stand By… title card, though this week there’s a twist. Evan Peters‘ name shows up in the final credits despite only brief appearances in the Previously On… segment and Agatha’s montage, but it turns out he did a little bit more than that to earn his paycheck for this episode — in a surprise mid-credits sequence, we see Monica snooping around Agatha’s house, only to be confronted by Pietro. “Snooper’s gonna snoop,” he said, getting the last word here.
There’s still plenty left for WandaVision to address, but I’ll note this — while I have no idea what sitcom genre the show might invoke next, I do sincerely hope this isn’t the end of that aspect of the show. It’s the show’s most creative swing, and a risk that by and large has paid off tremendously.
And Now For These Messages
- There’s something deliciously sneaky about WandaVision waiting until over two-thirds of the way through the season to drop a credits sequence on us. Marvel sure does love to keep us guessing.
- If only because of the purple mist surrounding Pietro in the flashback montage, it seems like a safe bet that whoever Evan Peters is playing, it’s not really Wanda’s brother. (And, don’t forget, Wanda literally said as much earlier in the episode.) Yet another question we can hopefully look forward to the next episode answering.
- This week’s commercial invokes some deep Marvel lore; one of the things I’m most looking forward to in the next two episodes is learning how much of it gets explained within the context of the show.
- Kathryn Hahn for President.
- There’s a lot to process about Darcy’s claim to Vision that “the love you two have is real.” Specifically, the massive questions about consent that Wanda’s actions inspire (even if Agatha was a factor). What is real, in WandaVision? Even the most hardcore romantic has to wonder how much of a happy ending can be possible, with this level of manipulation involved.
New episodes of WandaVision stream Fridays on Disney+.
Please inject this movie directly into my eyeballs right now, thanks!
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