“WandaVision” tells a mysterious yet relatable story


Mary Harney

“WandaVision” takes two Marvel superheroes on a twisty journey through TV sitcoms into a science fiction thriller that, in the end, becomes a very human story that shows that love and what we do with it can be as mystifying, frightening, and amazing as any super power.  

The show starts out as a 1950s sitcom in a New Jersey suburb called Westview, then speeds through the decades as viewers watch the life of main characters Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), characters first introduced in the “Avengers” movies. Vision goes to work in an office and Wanda is a housewife and becomes friendly with her silly neighbor, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn). 

It’s very familiar for anyone who’s ever watched TV, but something’s not quite right (actually, a lot of things).  For instance, Wanda and Vision are unable to answer basic questions about themselves. She has strange abilities that aren’t easily explained and he’s a charming robot who sometimes looks human. And wait, wasn’t he killed in one of the movies? 

“WandaVision” is ultimately a story of grief, as well as Wanda’s misguided attempt to ease her sadness and loneliness by creating a perfect family in an ideal setting. However, by doing so, Wanda also forces the people of Westview to play comic roles for her fantasy. The show is effective in slowly revealing the truth: they’re her prisoners. The comedy becomes increasingly less funny when a mysterious government agency called S.W.O.R.D (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) arrives and sets up a military base just outside of town. S.W.O.R.D’s leader, Hayward, claims that he’s trying to bring Wanda under control, but he seems to have dark designs for both her and Vision.

Via creative sitcom tropes, embedded mystery details, and excellent performances from the cast, the message of “WandaVision” is clear: reality will eventually catch up, even for someone with Wanda’s amazing powers. You can’t always have things exactly the way you want them. Wanda’s spell eventually reaches the breaking point, and Agnes, whose name is really Agatha, turns out to be a mortal threat to both her and her family. A great final battle leads to the conclusion that we should accept what happens to us, and instead try to make the best of it.  

“WandaVision” is both a personal journey and a mystery story, and the show pretty much succeeds at delivering both. Yet just like other mysteries TV shows, there are a few questions left unanswered, like how did Agatha/Agnes learn about Wanda and what she was doing at Westview. The show also has something to say about the sitcoms that everybody remembers and how much they can mean to us. Yes, they weren’t realistic and sometimes weren’t all that funny, but they could be comforting. And we learn that they helped Wanda soothe some very painful memories.