Warning: this article contains spoilers. If you haven't seen WandaVision episode 7 yet, turn away now!
WandaVision, the reality-twisting, head-spinning, sitcom-inspired series on Disney Plus, could be concealing a secret message in its commercials breaks. The in-universe advert breaks all fit with the time period each episode is spoofing, and so far have been showcasing a watch, some bath powder, a paper towel brand, a yoghurt, and some antidepressants. A weird mix, and even stranger when you peek under the surface.
Each commercial links to Wanda, telling her life story, starting with her introduction in the MCU and taking us right up to the cusp of the present. Each advert links to a significant and traumatic moment from her past, giving us a deeper insight into what she's thinking and feeling as the series progresses.
We explain all below...
The commercial seen in WandaVision episode 1 is for the Toast Mate 2000, with the slogan: "Forget the past, this is your future!"
It's made by Stark Industries, which will be a very familiar name to MCU-watchers. The company was founded by Howard Stark and eventually taken over by his son Tony, AKA Iron Man. Way back in 2008's Iron Man, we discovered the company manufactures weapons. The arms were being secretly sent to terrorists, and at one point, Tony found himself lying next to a bomb bearing the Stark Industries logo.
Wanda and her twin brother Pietro went through something very similar. Ultron's destructive visit to Sokovia wasn’t the first time the twins saw their home country so torn up: Pietro, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, recalls lying with Wanda three feet from an unexploded bomb when they were 10 years old, after another bomb had already killed their parents. He says one word was painted on the side of the shell, which Wanda supplies: "Stark."
She describes waiting days to be rescued from the rubble, terrified that the bomb would eventually go off: "We wait for two days for Tony Stark to kill us."
Stark Industries is definitely a source of trauma for Wanda and is the catalyst for her story – her "future" in the MCU – so it's part of the first commercial we see.
The commercial break in WandaVision episode 2 features a watch with the brand name Strücker, and the HYDRA logo on the watch face. The ad is certainly very ominous, with a voice-over telling (warning?) us, "Strücker. He’ll make time for you," while a disconcerting ticking sound speeds up.
Sometime after the death of their parents, Wanda and Pietro ended up volunteering for HYDRA experiments. In the mid-credits scene to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we see the twins for the first time, trying out their new powers in their cells. The man apparently in charge of the experiments is Baron von Strucker, a high-ranking member of HYDRA.
This is the next step in Wanda's story, so meeting Strucker and being introduced to HYDRA is the subject of WandaVision's second commercial break. We don't know a lot about the experiments that gave the twins their powers, but in the mid-credits scene, Wanda has a somewhat vacant expression on her face as she telekinetically lifts building blocks into the air and gently spins them around – then abruptly moves her hands as if she's breaking something (complete with a loud cracking sound), so they seem fairly awful.
The commercial break in episode 3 features a stressed mother escaping into a lush looking bubble bath. The secret to all this relaxation is the luxury bath powder Hydra Soak, with the tagline: "Find the goddess within."
Intriguingly, the commercial voiceover asks: "Do you need a break?" The exhausted woman replies, "You read my mind," to which the voiceover tells her: "Come with me. Escape to a world all your own, where your problems float away. When you wanna get away, but you don’t wanna go anywhere, Hydra Soak."
Mind reading, escaping to a world of your own, getting away without going anywhere… doesn’t that all sound a lot like what Wanda’s powers can do? In fact, she could has seemingly constructed Westview as her own paradise to escape the reality of her very upsetting life.
Plus, "the goddess within" could be a reference to HYDRA choosing Sokovia for its experiments because of genetic oddities among its inhabitants, implying Wanda's powers were "within" already and merely unlocked by the villainous group.
This time, the stressed woman is trying to clean up some spillages – but the brand of paper towel she's using just isn't up to scratch. Luckily there's Lagos Brand, which the voiceover tells us is "for when you make a mess you didn't mean to."
In Captain America: Civil War, Wanda caused an explosion in Lagos, which was the catalyst for the Sokovia Accords. It was an accident after Crossbones detonated a bomb vest that could have killed Captain America. Wanda contained the explosion with her powers, then sent Crossbone flying straight into the windows of a nearby building. She was clearly wracked with guilt afterward, and the fallout of the Sokovia Accords saw her and Vision on opposite sides of the fight – and Wanda eventually trapped on the Raft, an underwater super-prison.
The Sokovia Accords are mentioned earlier in episode 5, when footage of Wanda stealing Vision's remains is played to the assembled SWORD agents. Lagos is also brought up in the meeting, with Director Hayward calling Wanda a terrorist. Tony Stark likens Wanda to "weapons of mass destruction" as a justification for keeping her under house arrest before she ended up on the Raft – and in this episode, she's again treated like one.
It's fair to say then, that Lagos and everything that came after was a terrible experience for Wanda, so it's no surprise that she might imagine a way she could wipe the accidental "mess" away completely, and that this would be the subject of the fifth episode's commercial after previous ads handled her powers.
If the commercials continue to tell Wanda's story, we can expect something Thanos-related to pop up very soon – though they could go out of order and delve into her grief over Quicksilver's death, considering the ending of the latest episode.
The questions just keep piling up, and the good news is we get a new WandaVision installment every week, so answers are surely on the horizon. Check out our WandaVision release schedule to make sure you don’t miss the next episode dropping.
In the creepiest commercial yet, WandaVision episode 6 gave us an ad for Yo-Magic, a strawberry yoghurt. A surfing shark delivers the treat up to a hungry boy stranded on a small desert island in the middle of the ocean. It all seems fairly innocuous, but the boy isn't strong enough to get the yoghurt open no matter how hard he tries, and in a disturbing time lapse, he withers away to a skeleton – sealed yoghurt still in hand.
"Yo-Magic, the snack for survivors," says the voice over. Considering Wanda's powers are pretty much magic (she is Scarlet Witch, after all) then it's easy to see this as the next step in her story: after the horrors of Infinity War and Endgame, Wanda turned to her magic, and survived her deep and horrible grief that way. The implication is, if she hadn't been strong enough to use her powers, she would've faded from existence just like the boy in the commercial.
Wanda saved herself from her grief by unleashing her magic and designing her own perfect life. That the yoghurt was given to the boy by a shark, a sharp-toothed predator, is interesting – is this Wanda's subtle way of telling us that she was coaxed into creating Westview by a sinister villain, like Mephisto or Agatha Harkness?
In episode 7, the commercial is for a brand of antidepressants named Nexus. The stressed-out woman we've grown used to seeing returns, and this time, she's feeling depressed.
The voiceover informs us that Nexus is "a unique antidepressant that works to anchor you back to your reality, or the reality of your choice." In Marvel comics, the Nexus of All Realities is a meeting point for every single reality that exists – the only spot in the multiverse like it. From there, you can find your way to any reality you want. The next step of Wanda's story, after deciding to use her powers, is escaping into another reality: the one she's created in Westview.
Wanda is also a Nexus Being herself, which means she can affect the timeline. Her hex powers allow her to change probability, which basically means she can make anything she wants happen by manipulating chance, no matter how unlikely it may be. Like, say, turning some SWORD agents into circus clowns...
Scarlet Witch is also a fixed point of the multiverse in the comics (or an anchor, as the commercial says). The voiceover tells us: "Nexus. Because the world doesn't revolve around you. Or does it?" Actually, reality could revolve around Wanda if she turns out to be a Nexus Being.
The side effects of the tablets are: "feeling your feelings, confronting your truth, seizing your destiny, and possibly more depression." It then warns, "you should not take Nexus unless your doctor has cleared you to move on with your life." Wanda is definitely feeling her feelings in this episode, lying in bed in her Halloween costume and relieved to let Agnes take care of her sons for a while so she can have a break.
As for confronting her truth, this is something Monica tries to get her to do in the episode. She talks about her feelings about her mother Maria's death, specifically how she can't control her pain – and doesn't want to: "because it's my truth." Agnes interrupts her before she can convince Wanda to accept her own truth, which is that Vision is dead. Clearly, Wanda's version of moving on with her life is by creating a new one for herself, and keeping Vision alive.
Though seizing your destiny might be something Wanda is doing with the Hex. She's unleashed her powers on a scale far larger than we've ever seen before in the MCU, and now is about to confront Agnes, AKA Agatha Harkness. Whatever happens next, we're sure to see Wanda coming into her own.
We'll have to wait until Friday to see how Wanda's showdown with Agatha goes, but until then, check out every character in Westview who could have a link to the comics for more WandaVision mysteries.