WandaVision Recap: Whatever Happened Happened (Episode 3)
We’re running a weekly recap of WandaVision on Disney+. There are spoilers, duh! You’ve been warned.
With its feet planted in the Brady Bunch era, the technicolor world of WandaVision is starting to crumble. The further Westview’s idyllic suburban wonderland marches through the sitcom decades, and the closer it gets to the modern day, the more we’ll see through the façade.
Interestingly enough, this means that the zanier, the crazier, the more magical WandaVision gets, the closer to reality it becomes. We’re in the MCU after all. The “real” world for Wanda and Vision is the world of Hulks and Titans and Scarlet Witches. The chromatic groovy tones of The Partridge Family? That’s the phony stuff.
When the power goes out because of Wanda’s Braxton Hicks contractions; when Wanda’s water breaks and causes a torrential rainshower indoors; when an actual, breathing stork parades around Maximoff’s living room, we’re seeing the world more as it actually is.
Meanwhile, the citizens of Westview aren’t okay. Case in point, someone needs to check on Herb and ask why he’s burrowing his hedge trimmer deep into a block wall.The world as I tend to frame it is far too small; my conception of it, too limiting.
And yet, because of Herb, Vision was on the brink of another epiphany this week.
Wanda tells Vision, “It seems the people of Westview are always on the verge of discovering our secret.”
“Yes, I know what you mean,” Vision replies, but the synthezoid is unsettled. “But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Mr. and Mrs. Hart, dinner. Outside with Herb.”
The camera zooms in. He looks Wanda in the eyes. He’s almost there.
“I think something’s wrong here, Wanda.”
And then, BLIP. Someone spliced the tape.
Vision never completes the thought, and we’re back to thirty seconds before. “Yes, I know what you mean,” Vision tells Wanda.
End of story.
Whatever happened here is more or less identical to the “NO” rewind scene from last week, when Wanda bent reality toward her will and rewound the tape at the precise moment the real world started to break through. This all but confirms that whatever is happening here, Wanda is in control of it.
Before now, I was unsure if WandaVision was all in Wanda’s head. Now we can safely conclude that Westview is an actual place. We caught a glimpse of its outer edge this week, when Wanda expelled Geraldine (presumably an agent of SWORD) back to the “real” world, outside the cozy confines of her synthetic suburbia.
Methinks we can draw a few more conclusions from that.
First, it means WandaVision is more like the manufactured world of The Truman Show than it is the dreamlike state of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Westview isn’t imaginary. It’s not a dream.
There’s an artifice to Westview, sure, but there’s something there there. Which means this world isn’t “fake” like an imaginary friend.
It’s “fake” like a theme park.
And if you need any more convincing, consider the commercial break for Hydra Soak. I don’t think it was a throwaway gag. The announcer beckoned us: “Escape to a world all your own where your problems float away.”
That sounds an awful lot like Wanda to me.
How about the slogan? “When you want to get away, but you don’t want to go anywhere.”
I think they’re basically spelling it out. Westview is a place of Wanda’s making. Whether it’s a physical place on Earth or another dimension, it’s nonetheless the stage upon which Wanda is living the life she always wanted but never had. And despite her best efforts to keep this manifestation under her control, Wanda is not yet the master of her creation, which makes her vulnerable to the real world and vulnerable to her grief.
As a Christian, I enjoy these kinds of stories—the ones that play in the world of alternate dimensions and realities laid on top of our own. In a strange way, they help me break out of my own “Westview” and see the world as it actually is.
As a product of Western thought, I typically live and act as if the empirical world exists in terms of things I can touch and taste and observe with my eyes. But then I read the Scriptures. Or maybe I experience or see something that doesn’t quite fit that material mold. And I remember.
Oh yeah. Angels and demons are real. Miracles happen.
The world as I tend to frame it is far too small; my conception of it, too limiting. Worlds laid upon worlds, beings we can and cannot see influencing world events and secret intentions—it sounds like the stuff of comic books.
But when you think about it, it’s more like comic books are the stuff of biblical reality.
Some final thoughts.
Wanda and Vision are now the proud parents of two beautiful baby boys, Billy and Tommy. I’m unsure the direction this show is going, but if it’s leaning into the philosophy that whatever happened happened, then these kids aren’t just figments.
Mind you, that doesn’t mean they’re not constructs of Wanda’s making. But just because they’re constructs doesn’t mean they’re not real. Consider Vision himself. He’s a synthezoid with a vibranium body and the mind of Jarvis, who was zapped to life by a bolt of lightning from Thor’s Mjolnir. Here in WandaVision, we already have the groundwork for life existing beyond the confines of life as we know it.
All that to say, if Wanda’s twins are anything more than a sitcom plot point, then it seems WandaVision won’t just be a throwaway experiment in the MCU, but rather a foundation upon which the next several years of Marvel’s Phase 4 will be built.
I guess we’ll see. Either way, it’s been real.