WandaVision’s latest episode has only made clearer that Wanda is not only aware of the Anomaly, but also eager to make sure it continues.
From the beginning of WandaVision, there’s been one question worming itself into every part of the rampant speculation that surrounds the show: “What the hell is going on?” Episode 4, “We Interrupt This Broadcast” seemed to clear up a lot of the mysteries posed by the three episodes that preceded it, formally setting up the show’s stakes and premise.
Wanda Maximoff finds herself in the “Westview Anomaly,” otherwise known as the “Hex.” The minds of the 3000+ occupants of the town have been subverted, as they find themselves carrying out the sort of idyllic sitcom life that Wanda wishes she and her deceased husband could have. It is, for all intents and purposes, a pocket where Wanda can hide herself away from the cruel realities of the outside world.
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And yet it wasn’t clear to what extent Wanda was aware of the situation she found herself in. She shows moments of alarming lucidity, as in Episode 2 when she “rewinds” time inside the Anomaly, or in Episode 3 when she kicks Monica out. However, Episode 5 makes it perfectly clear that Wanda is entirely aware of what’s going on, as she exits the Hex to return by hand the mangled remains of an attack drone that had been sent to kill her. She seems to exit her personal fiefdom without any confusion or alarm, and uses her powers to threaten Director Hayward with his own men.
Wanda’s behavior throughout the rest of the episode brings another question about the show into sharp relief: How responsible is she for the situation she finds herself in? Director Hayward initially paints her as a superterrorist akin to any other Hydra agent, since she started out working in association with the secret organization. Monica is quick to correct him, pointing out that Wanda doesn’t seem to be trying to terrorize the general populace. She made conscious effort not to kill Monica, and has also made sure that people from the outside world don’t enter Westview.
All of that takes Wanda squarely out of the category of “terrorist,” since she seems to be taking active steps to avoid the outside world even finding out about the Anomaly. But that doesn’t mean what she’s doing is right. She’s still (as Hayward points out) “holding a whole town hostage,” and there have been supervillains who’ve done far less in their attempts at world domination. Wanda has her sights aimed a bit lower, but what she’s doing is still wrong. The most recent episode even clarifies that Wanda intends to keep control of Westview, as her little speech to Hayward makes clear.
One way to excuse that culpability might be to say that she’s not in control after all. All of the events surrounding the Anomaly are vastly beyond any of the capabilities she’s demonstrated in the past, as it materially changes anything that enters it. It also seems to be creating minds independent of either Wanda or anyone else inside, as both Vision and his sons were written into existence by the Anomaly itself.
While the first few episodes of the show seemed to follow simple, quirky sitcom plots, Episode 5 in particular seems to be pushing Wanda towards some sort of revelation. The twins “happen” to adopt a dog, which dies, and Wanda is presented with the question of whether she should defy the natural cycle of life and death. She dodges the question, but the episode itself ends with the introduction of Pietro, who is just as important to Wanda as Vision is — and previously just as dead. All of this suggests a guiding intelligence behind the Anomaly that isn’t Wanda’s own.
But even if Wanda is being manipulated by some more sinister villain, it’s still her own desires and grief that give the reason for the Anomaly to exist. If she had left Vision’s body alone (as his own will stipulated), it’s unlikely that any of this would have come to pass. The show, after all, is WandaVision. Any other perpetrator that set the events of the season in motion simply gave her the tools she needed to create her perfect life. The choice to keep Westview going is entirely her own — and it seems to be a status quo she’s willing to kill to uphold.
Written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman, WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Kathryn Hahn as Agnes. New episodes air Fridays on Disney+.
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