Television

The Casual Marvel Fan’s Guide to WandaVision Episode 7

Is this The Office or Modern Family? Who’s “Agatha Harkness”? And what are her and Monica’s powers?

Elisabeth Olsen as Wanda, looking confused in 21st-century pajamas in the kitchen, with a big ol' question mark photoshopped over her
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick and Marvel Studios.

This article contains spoilers for the first seven episodes of WandaVision.

So … Modern Family? Is that what this is? But then the theme song was more like The Office?

Yes, this episode riffs on Modern Family, even though the theme song is clearly aping The Office, and the visual style of the credits is mimicking Happy Endings, the ABC sitcom created by the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s own Russo brothers. When you’re looking for a modern family sitcom to emulate, Modern Family just fits the bill. As for why the show would use a theme song from a show it’s not emulating, the Office theme song has way more of a cultural foothold when it comes to immediately making the listener think of a recent sitcom, not least because the Modern Family theme is only 10 seconds long.

What about the commercial? Any meaning to the name “Nexus”?

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In WandaWorld, Nexus is a “unique antidepressant” whose side effects include “feeling your feelings,” “confronting your truth,” and “possibly more depression.” In the comics, the Nexus is a gateway by which people can travel to different universes, sort of like what happens in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. (This might explain why Evan Peters’ Pietro is here and not Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Pietro.) Scarlet Witch is also a “Nexus Being.” Only one Nexus Being can exist per universe, and serves as the anchor point for that particular version of reality. Nexus Beings are also uniquely able to alter the flow of time through all universes, and thereby can maintain or upset the balance of the Multiverse.

I take it Monica is a superhero now? What are her powers? And who is she in the comics?

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Monica has finally come into her superpowers, something comics readers have been expecting for a while given that she was introduced in the comics as the second Captain Marvel. After being bombarded with the energy from Wanda’s hex so many times, she is now able to see and manipulate all forms of electromagnetic energy. She’s had a few names over the years, going by Photon, Pulsar, and most recently Spectrum, and according to the comics she’s really now a being made up of electromagnetic energy herself and just choosing to exist in a physical form. But she might not know that yet.

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You mentioned something about Agnes maybe being Agatha Harkness before, but who is Agatha Harkness again? And what are her powers?

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The twist that Agatha Harkness is responsible for a lot, if not all, of the chaos in Westview is a fun one, not least because her comics origins generally don’t paint her in such an antagonistic light. In the comics, Agatha is a powerful witch (and more often than not illustrated as a white-haired old woman) who has done everything from nanny Franklin Richards, the son of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, to, more relevantly, serve as a mentor to Scarlet Witch. She’s capable of teleportation, energy projection, mesmerism, planting thoughts, and creating illusions. And her rabbit, Señor Scratchy, might be a reference to Agatha’s son in the comics, the supervillain Nicholas Scratch.

So … it was Agatha all along?

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That would seem to be the upshot of the song, “It Was Agatha All Along.”

What were those credits mimicking by the way? They couldn’t have been doing Bewitched again?

The Munsters!

Aha. And what precisely has Agatha been doing all along?

The flashbacks in those credits indicate she’s been the one punching holes in Wanda’s carefully crafted alternate reality, messing with Vision’s magic trick, prompting Wanda’s neighbor to saw through a cinderblock wall with his hedge clippers, and engineering the reappearance of Wanda’s brother Pietro/Peter. We also learn that she faked her fugue state at the edge of Westview, giving her a chance to tell Vision what’s really going on here, and she’s the one throwing questions—most pointedly, “Do you think maybe this is what you deserve?”—from behind the camera during the episode’s talking head–style interviews. (Sure it’s in a man’s voice, but she can do magic, after all.) And she killed Sparky, too!

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There’s a lot of creepy witch stuff in Agatha’s basement, but that weird book seems especially important. What’s the deal there?

There’s already been a lot of speculation that the book in Agatha’s basement is the Darkhold, a mystical spellbook that’s already made several appearances in the Marvel TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Given that there’s already one all-powerful ancient tome in the MCU, it seems odd to add another, but Agatha’s book has an entirely different symbol on the cover, and the last time anyone saw the Darkhold, it was in the possession of Ghost Rider as he was taking it to hell. So … maybe not.

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What about Major Goodner, the military woman this episode introduced? Is she anybody we should know?

As of right now, no! Goodner isn’t a character with any comics background.

What did we learn from the post-credits scene?

That Evan Peters’ Pietro seems to be in on whatever Agatha is up to. And that “snoopers gonna snoop.”

Why do the objects in Wanda’s house keep changing?

Not just changing—shifting. Although according to Darcy the action of the show has only occupied a week or so in real time, Wanda has been moving through sitcom styles by the decade, moving closer to the present day—presumably because she’s eventually going to rejoin the real world and reckon with the truth of Vision’s death. But her unconscious seems to be fighting back, perhaps turning back the clock to delay the inevitable. Her flat-screen TV turns back into a tube set, her bottle of almond milk transforms into a carton of whole milk—complete with a photo of a missing child—her sons’ PlayStation controllers into Atari joysticks, then Uno cards. (We get a glimpse of the Brady Bunch–era stairway as well.)

Speaking of missing children, what happened to Billy and Tommy?

We don’t know yet. Hopefully not the fate that struck them in the comics, which was, we must always remember, turning into baby hands.

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