Friday, February 19, 2021

REVIEW: 'WandaVision' - Wanda's Depression Creates Several New Complications in Westview in 'Breaking the Fourth Wall'

Disney+'s WandaVision - Episode 1.07 "Breaking the Fourth Wall"

Monica plots her return, Wanda navigates unsettling complications and Vision forms a new alliance.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Disney+'s WandaVision.

"Breaking the Fourth Wall" was written by Cameron Squires and directed by Matt Shakman

Everyone has ulterior motives in Westview. Wanda created this reality so that she never had to say goodbye to Vision again. Hayward is so invested in tracking Vision because he was already plotting to bring him back to life. And then, Agnes reveals her true self to Wanda at the conclusion of this episode. As such, it's easy to assume that the initial impressions of others is hardly the truth. Wanda is skeptical whenever she interacts with Monica. From her perspective, Monica has done nothing but lie to her. Deceit has been at the core of S.W.O.R.D.'s tactics so far. Wanda has had control in thwarting them over and over again. And yet, Monica is back in Westview. She fights to break through the Hex. The armored vehicle with the technology meant to keep her safe isn't powerful enough to do so. However, Monica has the conviction to succeed because she understands that Wanda needs help. She isn't the villain who is willingly antagonizing the world. It's easy for people to only see that in her actions. She holds the citizens of this town hostage. She attacks the agents who present as the force for good. Monica seeks to understand more about Wanda. She doesn't see her as the villain of this story. Instead, she is simply a woman consumed with grief amid all the tragedy she has had to endure. So many people are completely willing to look past that. They don't want to dig deeper and have a conversation about the depression and sadness that consume Wanda's world. Modern Family is the comedic spoof of this episode. That means Wanda, Vision and Agnes are frequently breaking the fourth wall to directly talk with the audience. It's as if there is a producer on the other side of the camera having a conversation with them. It's an illusion meant to introduce themes and questions though. It raises what is currently happening in their minds. It's not a dialogue though. It's simply a useful tactic to highlight the mental state of the characters. It's also just a delivery system for jokes. Even that trope breaks down for Wanda. The person on the other side talks back. It only further encourages her dark thoughts. This is all that she has ever wanted and she is still miserable. She deals with that internal conflict while everyone else is more than willing to write her off as crazy. It's the schtick that allows the show to make fun of the situation. It offers moments of truth. But it can never veer too far from ultimately making a joke out of it as well. That's the role that Agnes fills. She guides Wanda on this path. That is more true than anyone fully realized as well. She is actually a powerful witch. Agatha Harkness has also been controlling this world. That's a powerful revelation. One that throws into question who has wielded power for every shocking twist and turn that has happened so far. Vision and Darcy are caught in a very slow-moving plot. Vision believes that he is deliberately being slowed down. He fears it's because Wanda doesn't want him at home. The narrative would certainly back that up considering she just wants a day to herself. That's a way for her to cope with all that has gone out of control in Westview. She knows that Pietro wasn't her brother. She knows this world isn't real. The fantasy continues though. She also sees the reality lurking right behind the curtain. Monica can see that now as well. She gains powers because she has crossed through the Hex three times. She has changed on a molecular level. She offers compassion and empathy for Wanda. The hero rejects that. She does so partly because Agnes removes her from the confrontation. It's easier for Wanda to be aggressive and threaten violence instead of question what is happening in this world. Plus, Monica can't serve as the vessel for that revelation. It takes a connection more meaningful than what they currently have. Concern for her children is what sparks this pursuit of the truth. Wanda searches for Tommy and Billy. Instead, she finds Agatha's villainous lair. The truth is revealed. That doesn't suddenly break the barriers of this warped reality. It simply highlights how malicious it is for someone to manipulate another person's suffering and trauma. Monica genuinely wants to help. Agatha and Hayward have sought to deceive and manipulate. That's a key distinction. One that draws the battle lines clear. It's probably simpler for the show to have a villain pop up in the third act to actually carry the burden of all the destruction that has occurred. Wanda's journey has still been incredibly complex with her doubting her heroism herself. She has been selfish. But now, she will have to find the strength to embrace the truth even if that means making major sacrifices once more.