‘WandaVision’ Episode 7 Review – ‘Breaking The Fourth Wall’
With only one sitcom decade left to visit and three episodes to go, Breaking the Fourth Wall seemed an appropriate title for this week’s episode of WandaVision. This episode really came through on that promise as Wanda’s world was turned upside down.
Warning – spoilers to follow
There’s no way to start this review without talking about Agnes. Every comic book fan with a Reddit account had likely already theorized that Agnes was in fact Agatha Harkness, a character from the comics with ties to both Scarlet Witch and the Fantastic Four. Our own writer Darby Harn predicted this from the very beginning. The episode had slowly built to this reveal, offering intriguing clues as to Agnes’ true nature.
Billy had been complaining that his telepathic powers were starting to get to him, as he revealed to his mother that the noises in his head were getting really loud (Wanda’s lack of interest about her son’s pain was surprising, brushing it aside as another thing she would have to fix after having some time to herself). But when he was with Agnes, everything went quiet.
His observation that Agnes’ head was quiet was the first major clue the show had given us that all was not as it seemed. When Agnes later swooped in to defuse the conflict between Wanda and Maria, it seemed a little too convenient. The shot of her watching the confrontation through her window was ominous too.
So the reveal at the end of the episode that Agatha had been behind everything all along was very satisfying, particularly as she even got her own theme song – “It was Agatha all along” – a very entertaining montage showing events from previous episodes from Agatha’s point of view. Kathryn Hahn’s performance was delightfully wicked, and she seems perfectly cast in the role.
We should probably talk about what the Agatha reveal means for Wanda Maximoff. It appeared the show was turning Wanda into a misunderstood villain, overcome by her grief at the loss of her partner. It was a surprising move for Marvel Studios, which usually doesn’t bother painting its heroes in shades of grey. It also offered a tantalizing glimpse at Wanda’s future in the MCU, but that promise now threatens to be done away with entirely.
While the Agatha reveal was well done, it is a bit of a shame to see Marvel revert back to the black-and-white nature of its heroes and villains. It might be that Wanda still has an interesting future in the MCU, but it does feel a little simplistic for Agatha to take a lot of the responsibility for enslaving all these people off her shoulders.
Getting back to the episode, we had a very clear split in terms of an A/B storyline inside the Hex, with Wanda and Vision kept apart for its entire duration. The fact that Wanda even decided to start a new episode without getting Vision back first was an interesting development, and it quickly became clear that she just wasn’t ready for her husband to return and confront her with more questions.
It seems that, by expanding the Hex’s perimeters, Wanda is struggling to keep her powers under control. This initially came across with fun gags, as Billy and Tommy struggled to play video games while the controllers kept shifting to consoles from different eras. Then, Wanda’s milk kept changing eras too as she poured her cereal, and before she knew it, her entire house was similarly shifting despite her efforts to stop it.
This new problem dovetailed very well with the noughties sitcom era. This week, we had a mockumentary in the vein of Modern Family and The Office. A constant trope of Modern Family is the family members struggling to keep their cool while a situation gets more and more out of control around them, with the characters barely able to keep a lid on their frustrations. This trope leant itself very well to Wanda’s struggles to control her powers. The episode’s sitcom intro also reflected the change in style – the theme’s font seemed to resemble that of Modern Family, while the music was reminiscent of The Office‘s.
We didn’t spend a lot of time outside the Hex this week, but we finally got a payoff on all the talk of Monica Rambeau’s DNA being altered after passing through the forcefield so many times. This time she received superpowers; exactly what those entail we don’t know, but we got a cool hint at them when she resisted Wanda’s attempt to blast her outside Westview again. The scene where Monica pushes through the Hex’s boundaries was appropriately dramatic for what was essentially the culmination of her origin story, and it seems Monica is going to play a key role in defeating Agatha by the end of the series.
Meanwhile, Vision handled most of the comedy this episode as he was partnered with Darcy. After waking up in the circus, I was afraid he was going to roped into a circus act for the majority of this week’s runtime, but thankfully that wasn’t the case now that Vision is entirely aware of his surroundings. His banter with Darcy as she caught him up with his origins and the events of the most recent Avengers movies was surprisingly funny, as if he was a new fan getting up to speed on a popular TV show.
It is easy to see why Kat Dennings was cast in this series. She immediately looked at home in a sitcom setting (unsurprising, given her long run on 2 Broke Girls) before Vision snapped her out of her mind control, and her frustration at the never-ending line of traffic crossing the junction on the way back to Westview was hilarious.
Paul Bettany also seems quite comfortable with the mockumentary premise. He’s been consistently funny throughout WandaVision, but his interviews casually sat in a chair outside the circus van are very entertaining. It’s a very cathartic moment when he finally breaks the fourth wall at the end. The concept that he would be doing interviews about his current situation is absolutely nonsensical, albeit charmingly funny, so having him rip off his mic and storm off provided the laugh-out-loud moment of the episode.
So now Vision is racing back to Wanda, just in time to help her fight Agatha Harkness. We still don’t know much about Agatha’s plans for Wanda and her family, though it likely has something to do with Billy and Tommy, as both kids are missing by the end of this episode. The shot of a black book in her dark lair was intriguing too; it will be interesting to learn what it is and what Agatha is using it for. Presumably we’ll be getting a lot of these Agatha-related questions answered in next week’s installment.
Of course, this week also saw WandaVision‘s first ever post-credits scene! Most fans had likely given up looking for one after the first couple of weeks, so this came as a welcome surprise. Monica (whose eyes have now changed from brown, to blue, to purple) finds another entrance into Agatha’s lair, only to be surprised by Evan Peter’s Pietro, who had been noticeably absent the whole episode.
It seems likely that Pietro is still being mind-controlled, though whether he’s under Wanda or Agatha’s influence is yet to be confirmed. If it’s the latter, then we’ll likely be getting a superhero fight between Monica and Pietro next week.
It seems the last two episodes of WandaVision are going to be giving fans what they wanted in terms of classic superhero action scenes, after some of them were initially surprised by the slow-paced nature of the season. The reveal that Agatha Harkness has been pulling the strings all along has provided a great platform to carry the show’s momentum through to the end. It’s going to be hell of a ride from here on out.