Photo: Marvel Studios
This article contains WandaVision episode 8 spoilers and potential spoilers for the wider MCU.
“You didn’t think you were the only magical girl in town, did you?”
Agatha Harkness makes good on that line from last week’s episode in WandaVision episode 8, which functions as a trip through Wanda Maximoff’s entire MCU history. Not only does it reveal previously hidden (and crucially necessary) depths to her character and her relationship with Vision, but it successfully adds new elements to her established origin story. These new wrinkles pull from Wanda’s entire Marvel history, and have massive implications for magic users and even mutants in the MCU going forward.
Here’s what we found…
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- Among the bootleg DVDs Wanda’s father is selling we can see Bewitched, Malcolm in the Middle, I Love Lucy, Who’s the Boss?, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Addams Family, all of which have been major touchstones for WandaVision throughout its run. But Wanda’s favorite? That would be The Dick Van Dyke Show.
- The Dick Van Dyke Show episode that the Maximoffs watch is season 2 episode 21 “It May Look Like A Walnut”, or as Wanda’s dad calls it “the walnut episode!” This installment finds Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) staying up late to watch a spooky sci-fi movie on TV, while his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) tries to ignore it because it freaks her out. In the movie, aliens from the planet Twilo come to Earth in disguise to slow down humanity’s development by feeding us walnuts that contain the chemical element “absorbitron.” The walnuts take away our creativity and our thumbs – the two things that get us into outer space to challenge their Twiloian supremacy. The next day, walnuts seem to be the only food that Rob can find. He comes to believe that Laura is either playing a trick on him, or that the Twiloites have really invaded.
Why would WandaVision go out of its way to mention this episode in particular? Well, Wanda can certainly empathize with a protagonist who comes to believe his world is fabricated. And Marvel Phase 4 does seem destined to spend quite a bit more time in space.
- The scene of Malcolm in the Middle that Vision watches but doesn’t quite understand has Hal build a deck, only for it to collapse on him. In the third WandaVision episode intro, Vision builds a swingset, only for it to suddenly collapse in front of him.
- Wanda’s father sold DVDs as a trade and even had a Malcolm in the Middle box set in there. That’s pretty damn impressive, since he was killed by that bomb in 1999 and the show didn’t start airing until early 2000. That’s some Spaceballs VHS technology right there!
- While at the HYDRA facility, Wanda watches The Brady Bunch. The episode appears to be season 1’s “Kitty Karry-All Is Missing.” When Cindy Brady’s beloved Kitty Karry-All goes missing, she thinks her brother Bobby stole her. The Bradys have a trial and everything! But it turns out the Bradys’ dog Tiger actually took Kitty Karry-All. Perhaps that’s why Agatha needed Sparky out of the way – dogs are unpredictable.
- Wanda’s assurance that “He’s not really injured. It’s not that kind of show” is as much a commentary on superhero storytelling in both comics and in movies as it is about sitcoms.
Kicking things off with an Agatha Harkness origin story is an inspired move…
- Placing Agatha’s origin in witch-trial era Salem in 1693 ends up being a little piece of misdirection. She’s not on trial for being a witch, but rather by her own coven for seeking too much power.
- We get a sense of Agatha’s family here, with Agatha’s mother leading the coven against her while Agatha is still just a young witch. This doesn’t match her comics origin, where she was already centuries old by the time the Salem Witch Trials rolled around – she is old enough to remember Atlantis being above water. In the comics, she was a leader of the Salem community when the trials began.
- Agatha’s mother’s name is Evanora Harkness. She doesn’t appear to have a counterpart in the comics.
- The Latin chant that the witches are repeating appears to be “mors monstru naturale” which would translate to “natural death is a monster,” which…given Agatha’s seemingly immortal nature, tracks pretty well.
- The magical “crown” of energy that appears on Agatha’s mother’s head very faintly resembles the headgear that Wanda wears in the comics as the Scarlet Witch. Granted, it’s blue here.
- Agatha’s use of “purple energy” may be the most damning sign of her intentions yet. In comics, purple is often coded as the color of villains.
- We also learn the origin of the brooch Agatha has been wearing all through this series, with Agatha having taken it off her mother’s corpse.
- In the final scene with Agatha and the twins, she floats above them and holds them at will like marionettes. This is probably a reference to Master Pandemonium, whose reveal made the children look like hand puppets…except they were his actual hands.
- Let’s dig into some of the spells Agatha says…is one of them “crystallum possession”. I also definitely heard an Imperio something in there, which calls to mind the Imperius curse from TERF High Harry Potter. The Imperius curse allowed the witch or wizard to control the victim’s body like a puppet.
The Scarlet Witch
Hoo-boy, we get a LOT of Wanda’s comics lore introduced in this episode…
- This episode makes it pretty clear that Wanda was born with her abilities and that Strucker’s experiments merely amplified them. Should we officially welcome mutants to the MCU? If her powers were latent, then perhaps so were Pietro’s. The fact that Strucker’s experiments killed all the subjects except for Wanda and Pietro could be seen as further evidence of their mutant heritage.
- We get some very different explanations of Wanda’s magical powers than we’ve had in the past, all via Agatha, and all of them referencing various ways Wanda’s powers have been explained in the comics in the past.
Why didn’t that Stark Industries bomb explode and kill Wanda and Pietro? She may have unknowingly cast a “probability hex” on it. For many years Wanda’s “magical” powers were explained as a mutant ability to alter the probability of outcomes, no matter how unlikely.
Later, it was revealed that she was a master of “chaos magic,” another term introduced here. Furthermore, now it seems that being able to wield chaos magic gives Wanda a specific magical title, that of “Scarlet Witch.” We…do not have to tell you where that comes from.
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- The vision (sorry) that the Mind Stone gives Wanda would appear to be one of her future, fully Scarlet Witch-ified self. This particular costume, which evokes a long jacket and crown, is very similar to the one she’s worn in the most recent Marvel Comics.
- When Agatha finally discovers that Wanda is the Scarlet Witch, she says that the Scarlet Witch was supposed to be “a myth.” Big Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes in this exchange! Buffy often faced off against foes who once thought she was just a fairytale created to spook demons and nothing more.
- Agatha’s “That accent really comes and goes, doesn’t it?” is a terrific joke at the MCU’s expense. As well as her “so many costumes and hairstyles” also feels like a nod to Wanda’s changing looks in the comics just as much as it is about the chameleon-like nature of the WandaVision universe.
- The scene of Wanda coming across the disassembled remnants of Vision’s body in the SWORD lab is taken from West Coast Avengers #43 into #44. Instead of dying heroically, Vision was taken out of commission by the world’s governments for trying to take over all of the world’s computers. He was reduced to nothing but metal and circuitry in order for writer John Byrne to drive home Vision’s lack of human biology.
- That disturbing scene of Vision being “dissected” with his body stretched out across multiple tables is a direct nod to a panel from those comics.
It also reminds us a little of how Thanos had Nebula pulled apart in Avengers: Endgame. At least Vision is offline!
- Vision was then resurrected in the white form that we see here in the mid-credits scene, and brought back without his emotions or any connection to his past life as Wanda’s husband or Billy and Tommy’s father. This was one of the catalysts for Byrne sending Wanda into her Dark Scarlet Witch phase that abruptly ended when Byrne stormed off of West Coast Avengers for the cardinal sin of “being edited.” For more on this, type “Why did John Byrne” into Google and let autocomplete take you on a fun ride.
We’ll have more on White Vision in just a moment.
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The Stark Bomb
- The toaster commercial from the first episode was always supposed to be a reference to the Stark Industries bomb that tore apart the Maximoff household. That commercial also had the blinking red light of the toaster show up despite everything else being in black and white. We now see that the bomb itself had a very similar blinking red light and sound.
The popular running theory was that the commercials tracked to the different stones, and while that may still be applicable, do they also/instead track to Wanda’s memories or key parts of her life?
- We saw the toaster match up with the blinking light on the bomb.
- We know the watch had the Hydra face on it. Could this match if future Wanda floating in through the stone was actually a paradox and not just a vision?
- The paper towel commercial mentioned Lagos too prominently to not pair with that moment of trauma.
- Does the fruit snack commercial match up with her conversation with Vision in the Avengers compound?
- The anti-depressant commercial does track fairly well with Wanda’s visit to SWORD.
It feels like the only one that doesn’t have an obvious pair is the tesseract bubble bath. Give us a shout in the comments if you can figure out what that matches to.
- When Wanda drives through Westview for the first time, she passes by the normal versions of Herb (John Collins), Mrs. Hart (Sharon Davis), and Phil (Harold Proctor). Notably, Harold is putting up an ad for piano lessons when in the second episode, playing the piano was his talent. It’s also when Wanda magically turned his grandmother’s piano into an illusion.
- As Wanda transforms Westview, we see a billboard for “Super” paper towels become “Lagos” brand paper towels (ala the commercial from earlier this season), which “makes cleanup a snap!”
- When the Coronet theater marquee transforms, it’s showing two Walt Disney Productions films of the appropriate WandaVision episode 1 era, Kidnapped and Big Red. But before that it’s showing Tannhauser Gate. Roy Batty, call your agent, please.
It’s revealed that “Pietro Maximoff” was indeed a complete fake. A “Fietro” as Agatha calls him. He became her “eyes and ears” and she refers to his manifestation as “a crystalline possession.” We sense there will be more revealed about this in the finale, as Evan Peters has been M.I.A. since his appearance in last week’s post-credits scene.
The Post-Credits Scene and White Vision
- In West Coast Avengers #45, Vision’s personality was wiped completely, so by the time he was reassembled, he appeared as “White Vision”. He completely lacked emotion and didn’t even understand why Wanda was hugging him upon entering the room. This became the status quo version of Vision for a while until his old personality, look, and feelings for Wanda were eventually brought back. But hey, this version got to be a playable character in the 1991 arcade hit Captain America and the Avengers!
What are the chances that White Vision will have James Spader’s voice?
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Spot anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!