In WandaVision, Wanda Maximoff has seemingly taken an entire small town in New Jersey hostage and is manipulating them to be the "cast' of "WandaVision", her picture-perfect sitcom-inspired world in which she is able to live a "normal" life with Vision. One of the mysteries of the series is why these specific people are in Wanda’s perfect world and while there are a number of theories as to who the various people that make up Wanda's world are and why they are significant, there may actually be a fairly simple thing connecting everyone in Wanda's Westview: grief. Let’s break down where the idea comes from – and how it might be significant going into the remaining episodes of the series.
Warning: spoilers for this week's episode of WandaVision, "On a Very Special Episode..." below.
At this point in WandaVision, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) is starting to lose control a bit as various inhabitants are able to sort of break from the “sitcom” in small moments. We previously saw her eject Geraldine/Monica (Teyonah Parris) from her little bubble of reality and we also saw some clues that the people in Westview are there by force -- Dottie (Emma Caulfield), Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), and Herb/John Collins (David Payton) have all expressed to varying degrees a sense of things not being right and that Wanda is responsible. However, in this episode Monica, now back in reality, is able to describe what she experienced something that felt like she was being held down and specifically noted that it was grief.
It’s a major clue. For Monica, grief makes sense as she is only recently restored from the Blip and discovered that her mother has died three years ago before she came back. While Monica is back to work, she's also still grieving. For many, getting back to “normal” as soon as possible is a grief coping mechanism, so it's natural that part of what she's dealing with despite working as normal -- even through her experience with Wanda -- is grief. But a little later in the episode, we get another clue that Monica may not have been the only person in Wanda's world that is experiencing grief and trauma. When Vision's office gets new computers, he gets an email from the outside world about the Maximoff Anomaly that causes him to have some major doubts about things. He then brings Norm/Abilash Tandon (Asif Ali) out from under Wanda's control and the man panics, frantically trying to find a way to reach his sister who is looking after their sick father.
While the "sick father" reveal might seem like a throwaway line, this is the MCU. There's no such thing. If Norm's father is sick, it's not impossible that it could be a severe illness and Norm, in the real world, is facing the imminent death of his father. Norm could be experiencing grief already -- and yes, you can grieve before you experience the loss. If Norm is grieving and Monica is grieving, it suggests that all of the people Wanda has brought into her world are experience grief, trauma, and loss. Depending on your theory as to what exactly is going on, it could be that Wanda is seeking to make a "perfect" world for herself as populated by people who, like her, have experienced grave loss in a misguided attempt to make things better.
Or it could be that Mephisto is pulling Wanda's strings and perhaps these people all at some point have all crossed him and thus, he's using Wanda to "punish them" through mind control -- Monica and Norm both assert that what is going on is painful. It could also be that SWORD knows way more than they are letting on and the people in Westview are people restored in the Blip and the whole thing is part of some larger experiment, both on Wanda and on Blip survivors. This is particularly chilling if you subscribe to the theory that Hayward may actually be answering to HYDRA. You could even get a little deeper and combine the theories with it being Mephisto that Hayward is connected to, making this entire situation even more troubling.
Whatever the reason for Wanda's actions, it seems pretty likely that grief is something that connects the residents of Wanda's Westview and it will be interesting to see how that impacts Wanda should it end up being revealed that her efforts are only causing further pain to those already suffering as she herself has suffered – or that she’s being manipulated and revictimized herself.
So, what do you think? Is grief the common factor with all of Westview's citizens? Who do you think is behind things? Are you Team Mephisto? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or hit me up on Twitter at @lifeinpolaroid to talk all things Scarlet Witch.1comments
The first five episodes of WandaVision are now streaming on Disney+.
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