This article digs into the first episode of WandaVision, titled “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience.” Spoilers ensue. You have been warned.
We are given no real introduction, no warning, just Vision walking in, to a laugh track, in black and white. Vision goes to work making “computational forms” but he has no idea what his company actually does. Wanda befriends one of the neighbors who jokes about her husband, a husband yet to appear in the show. Hijinks ensue as Wanda and Vision move into a new home, and host a dinner to impress Vision’s boss. All this is preceded by the discovery of a heart penciled into a date on the family calendar whose significance neither Wanda nor Vision seem to be able to remember. Mysteries abound in WandaVision.
The main mystery lies in the presentation. Why do Wanda and Vision inhabit a black-and-white sitcom? Why is there a commercial for a toaster in the middle of the episode? Why does it seem like we’re watching a tv show, that’s not supposed to be a tv show? Why does everyone call Vision, well, Vision and act like it’s completely normal?We all long to be like Wanda. We want to exert our power and influence over our lives to secure a positive outcome.
Some background into the Marvel Cinematic Universe helps. We are introduced to both Wanda (the Scarlet Witch) and Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. A movie that is much better than I remembered (seriously, give it a rewatch!), we see Wanda and her twin brother Pietro (Quicksilver) first battle then join the Avengers. We see Pietro die protecting Hawkeye. We also see the creation of Vision, mysteriously centered around the mind gem, one of the Infinity Stones. Plus a combination of science from Stark, Banner, Cho and some lightning from Thor.
While Vision is a mystery in his creation, Wanda is a mystery in her powers. Just what exactly is she capable of? She can create illusions in people’s minds, move objects, fly, lift and move things with her mind, but nothing is ever defined.
This is important as we see the journey they take from Age of Ultron to Captain America: Civil War to Avengers: Infinity War where we see the death of Vision. First Wanda destroys(!?) the mind gem to protect the universe (while killing her love). Thanos then cruelly rewinds time and revives Vision just to remove the gem from his “indestructible head” using brute strength.
When we are scared, or traumatized, we tend to fixate on things that bring about a sense of normalcy. We control the uncontrollable, to an extent. I cannot control what happens in the world at large, but I can control what I do, and what I see and feel.
For Wanda, (this is just a theory), it could be the comfort of watching old US sitcoms from her home country of Sovokia. Maybe it’s having that perfect marital life, complete with hijinks, neighbors, a husband who works a 9-to-5 job, and settling into a new home. Maybe it is simulating domesticity in a life that has been anything but. Maybe it’s reaching for control when life itself is uncontrollable.
We all have a desire to control that which is uncontrollable. When the world around me is falling apart, I tend to go to sleep and hide, or I deep dive into a video game. I ignore reality and instead focus on the one place that seems safe and leaves no pain. We all long for order, not chaos.
The Bible has much to say about doing things in an orderly way (1 Corinthians 14:26-40; Colossians 2:5; Titus 1:5). Order is a good thing; however, control is not. We are not in control. Life very often reminds of this. I believe God is in control. I believe Wanda is trying to assert control over her life by using her powers to their fullest extent, and though I do not know where the show is headed, I believe Wanda is going to come to a realization that she is not God and can only control so much, for so long. I fear for her character when that happens.
We all long to be like Wanda in life. We want to exert our power and influence over our lives to secure a positive outcome. We strive for things that give us security, that give us a sense of control. Steady jobs, a home, a family. But our sense of control is fragile. One card falls and it can feel like the entire deck is coming apart. As a follower of Jesus, I believe we are not in control—but we have promises that God will work all things for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28). May we rest in those promises instead of trying to be the master of everything in our domain.