“Vision, is this really happening?”
Near the end of the second episode of Wandavision, Wanda poses this question to Vision as she suddenly goes from being without child to very pregnant in a blink of an eye. Yes, the start of the episode sees the couple pull up the covers so they can “get down” in a classic sitcom trope, but the mathematics of the mostly robot Vision being able to impregnate the all human Wanda has left a peach pit sized pressure in the middle of my skull whenever I try to think of it. Like… how?! Then add to this equation that Vision is very much dead in the current MCU timeline and the complexities of Wandavision really start to take shape. We get no flashbacks to Wanda killing Vision only for Thanos to bring him back so he can kill him again, tough day for my dude. We get no callback to Endgame where Wanda and Hawkeye talk about their lost loved ones. No, instead we get a show that’s not even remotely interested in explaining the current environment to its viewer. Which I understand could be frustrating for those viewers who came in looking for the typical Marvel Cinematic Universe goodness, but it’s also a major draw for this new direction of the MCU. Not knowing is what brings viewers back. Think of it kind of like the McRib, you have no idea what it is and why it tastes so good but you’re going to keep eating them until you find out. Except with Wandavision, there is less self-hate and empty calories.
The show immediately makes you question the very nature of reality. Why are Wanda and Vision living in a world fueled by sitcoms? Why is there a live studio audience? How is Vision alive? And most importantly, who is in control of this insanity?! While Wandavision would have you believe that these are the most important questions to be asking, I would argue that there is something bigger at hand with this series. The charming weirdness masks something a little darker, a story about a heartbroken woman, with mega powers (not Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage), who has lost the direction of her life and is possibly being manipulated into believing she can change the events of her past.
When you think about it that way, Wandavision becomes a low key horror series with a deep exploration into grief and loss and how we deal with those events in our everyday lives. The best superhero stories transcend the hero’s powers and abilities. It’s what makes them human that we the audience relate to the most. We understand Peter Parker’s guilt with the death of Gwen Stacy. Whether or not his webbing caused her neck to break or did the Green Goblin kill her before dropping her off the bridge is irrelevant. What’s the most impactful about this moment is what it does for our hero. The blame he puts on himself for this death. How it changes how he has relationships going forward. Not all of us can relate to a supervillain trying to kill our significant other but we all can relate to guilt and feeling responsible for events that spiraled out of our actions. What if Wandavision is telling us a similar story about grief?
In Infinity War, Wanda is given the impossible task of having to destroy the one she loves in order to save the world. It’s the literal choice between being selfish or understanding the greater good, and Wanda chooses the greater good. And succeeds. Until Thanos cheats, using the Time Stone to bring Vision back to life so he can brutally rip the stone out of Vision’s head letting him fall to the ground like an inanimate object. Wanda has to experience his death twice before she turns to dust. When she tries to get her revenge, Thanos cheats right as she’s about to gain victory, and calls down a bombardment of fire to save his ass. There is no closure for Wanda, the battle ends before she can confront Thanos again, there’s just the emptiness of the loss.
There’s no doubt that Wanda feels directly responsible for the death of Vision, I mean, the first time was literally by her hands. His second death though… that’s Wanda failing him. At least to her, it is. She had one job and in the end, it wasn’t enough. When she talks to with Hawkeye about Nat and Vision knowing that they won, I think it sparks an idea in a character who is emotionally vulnerable and has a power set that could possibly change that.
Based on what we’ve seen thus far with Wandavision, I would argue that Wanda is the one who created this simulation that we’re viewing. I believe she created it out of grief, guilt, and love. What better way to atone for one’s mistake than to create an entirely new reality where said mistakes don’t exist? Bury the guilt. Bury the sadness. Live in a life where you can simply “rewind” things to avoid problems like SWORD agents who crawl out of manholes trying to infiltrate your new reality. Live in a life where you can become pregnant because you want to be. Live in a life where reality may attempt to seep in through the radio but you can keep it at bay because you’re the strongest person in the MCU.
When Randall Park’s voice cuts through the radio asking Wanda, “who did this to you” it raises a number of questions. Yes, I believe that Wanda created this new reality but I do think she had some prompting. Someone who got in her ear and promised her that she would no longer feel the pain, grief, and sadness that has swallowed her existence. Someone who knows the magnitude of their manipulation and what Wanda’s creation could do not only our world but the multiverse. Someone like… a devil. And if you know your Marvel Comics then you know that Mephisto is the only devil to foot that bill. A being so powerful and manipulative that he got Peter Parker to make a deal with him. Think about that for a second, the purest hero in all the Marvel Universe once made a deal with the devil to course-correct his mistakes. And yes, that comic arc still fills my stomach with acid, but if Mephisto could corrupt Spider-Man, is it so hard to believe that he could do the same to Wanda?!
We know that the devil preys on those who are vulnerable and weak. In a moment of vulnerability, could Mephisto have crept in giving Wanda the push she needed to create this new world without thinking of the repercussions? A world that would relieve her of the burden she currently carries. A world that she would fight to protect because reality is too difficult to bear. Yes, Wanda may have created this world but it certainly would seem that Mephisto is pulling the strings. Think of him as the anti-Ultron in that regard.
Wanda tells Thanos that he took everything from her and in a post-Endgame world, it seems that that was too much for Wanda to cope with. Why live in a world where she suspects Vision knows they won when you can create one where you can tell him yourself. A world where Wandavision is the expression of a character who is desperately trying to bury her devastation and grief. Wandavision may ultimately become a story that impacts the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe but at its core, it’s a story of sadness and how we deal with loss. It’s a story that’s asking us if we had these powers would we do the same thing? Could we be pushed in that direction? And would we even care of the repercussions? In a universe built around superheroes, Wandavision could be the MCU’s most human story yet.