Toy helicopters, bee swarms and sudden pregnancies, oh my!? The warped sitcom-styled world of “WandaVision” is getting less Lucille Ball cutesy and more David Lynch disturbing as the Marvel Studios show plays on — and, occasionally, rewinds.
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At the start of the second episode of “WandaVision,” the audience is treated to a little slice of the titular unusual couple’s pseudo-married life in their bedroom. Attempting to sleep in two separate twin beds (as was customary until at least the 1950s in the United States), Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) is startled awake when she hears a loud, off-camera thud, and “wakes up” Vision (Paul Bettany) — who had dozed off into some android dreamscape. In an effort to determine the source of the sound, Vision gets up to check on what’s out there and claims all he can see are Wanda’s “lovely rose bushes.” Another glance at the window? Ah, it’s just a tree branch rapping at the window, making that ominous, repeated thudding sound! All is well. Cue the laugh track.
After the animated intro, which draws inspiration from the likes of the iconic opening sequences from 1960s fantasy sitcoms “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” — a nod to the passage of time in this alternate televised reality — Wanda and Vision are in their living room, practicing their magician-and-assistant act as “Glamour” and “Illusion” for Westview Elementary’s talent fundraiser.
Situational comedy silliness, apt for the genre the episode is mocking, mimicking, and flipping over like a silver dollar pancake, ensues. Vision somehow gets drunk on chewing gum! And the Scarlet Witch needs to sparkle solutions during their act-gone-awry to keep the audience under their spell.
But, the twisty episode was also so much more than just a couple of flourishes. There are so many Easter Eggs and potential foreshadowings scattered all throughout the “Pleasantville”-meets-“Truman Show”-meets Marvel Cinematic Universe riddle.
Here are some burning questions:
What is S.W.O.R.D’s role in all of this ’60s-draped hullabaloo?
We still don’t really know what the space-age spinoff of S.H.I.E.L.D, created in Marvel Comics in 2004 by “Avengers: Age of Ultron” writer-director Joss Whedon, is doing in or for “WandaVision,” but what we do know is that they’re watching.
In the premiere episode, the fictional counterterrorism and intelligence agency’s sword-and-ring symbol appears on a notebook. In this episode, the symbol appears yet again, painted on a toy helicopter that Wanda finds in her rose bushes. The mystery of the symbol is deepened by the fact that the helicopter is the first sight of color — though not the last. Is this helicopter breaking the fourth wall in this meta show? Was it trying to infiltrate the seemingly low-stakes suburban Westwood? Was it even a toy before stepping into the black and white scene — was it the source of that thudding in the cold open?
Ah! Is your head spinning like a rotor with all of these questions? Get ready for more migraine-inducing maybes.
Who exactly is Agnes?
We met nosy neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) in the first episode and pondered whether or not she knew more than she was letting on. Like most questions in “WandaVision,” we don’t really know for sure yet, but a couple of costuming and accessory choices in the episode may guide us to who Agnes is supposed to be (or is inspired by) within the vast expanse of Marvel IP.
Agnes greets Wanda shortly after interrupting her musing on the mysterious plastic helicopter’s appearance, and we see that she is wearing a broach to the side of her sweater. The broach is reminiscent of a choker that Marvel Comics’ millennia-old villainess, Agatha Harkness, wears. What’s more, Harkness has a sorcerer son named Nicholas Scratch in the comics. Guess what the name of Harkness’s pet rabbit, which she lends to Wanda and Vision for their magic show, is? Señor Scratch!
On top of all of these tidbits about the possible origins of Agnes’ character, we do know that Agatha Harkness and the Scarlet Witch do have a blowout battle in the comics so that rivalry storyline does exist, but whether it exists in WandaVision is the bigger question. More on that, later.
Why is Monica Rambeau in Westview?
We, the viewer, knew that Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) would be in “WandaVision” due to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teasing the Captain Marvel character’s adult appearance, but we didn’t really know how she would fit into the show.
Turns out, Rambeau doesn’t really know what she’s doing in “WandaVision,” either.
Rambeau’s character is called Geraldine, and she’s new to town. She might even be one of the “n’er-do-wells” Vision and a group of Westview residents seemed to be so worried about in the cold open. Is she with S.W.O.R.D? So far, she just seems like a sweet, unassuming ’60s gal that says saccharine phrases like “peachy keen!” and “hitch in his giddy-up!” But, nothing is what it seems in “WandaVision,” so we’ll be keeping a close eye on Rambeau’s run on the show-within-a-show.
Is the fake Strücker brand relevant?
Another fake ad in “WandaVision” with an explosive Easter Egg!
In this episode, we see a sleek watch that connects indirectly to Wanda’s past. Baron Wolfgang von Strücker, one of the leaders of the Nazi cult and paramilitary-subversive organization HYDRA, is the psychopathic scientist behind Wanda and her twin brother Pietro’s superpowered abilities.
If all of this is confusing, fret not: you can kind of keep up with the root of all of these theories by watching “Marvel Studios: Legends,” a series of seven-minute shorts on Disney Plus that go through Wanda and Vision’s backstories (thus far in existing MCU films).
Why is a beekeeper coming out of a manhole?
Other than that second-trimester baby bump that magically pops out of nowhere when Wanda goes to make popcorn after an exhausting day of manipulating townspeople, the image of a beekeeper slinking out of a manhole was one of the most surreal and shocking images of the episode.
We don’t yet know the identity of this beekeeper who is shrouded by his protective gear and a swarm of bees, but we do know that a Nazi apiarist does exist in Marvel — specifically, in Spider-Man’s storyline. And while he is a supervillain in the comics, he does come out of a manhole with the S.W.O.R.D. symbol inscribed and an insignia that reads “Sentient World Observation and Response Department.”
How much of this show-within-a-show is under Wanda’s control?
This may be the biggest question of them all, not likely to be answered until much later in the season — if not right at the end.
But, we do know that someone is trying to get Wanda’s attention, that other neighbors like Dottie (Emma Caulfield Ford) are suspicious of Wanda and her synthezoid husband’s intentions, and that Wanda may not want to deal with any of it and keep on living in this glamorous “Stepford Wife” illusion.
“WandaVision” streams new episodes Fridays on Disney Plus.
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