This article contains WandaVision spoilers.
Pulling off twists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe means playing with what comics fans think they know. To those who read Ed Brubaker’s Captain America run, there was no surprise in Bucky’s unmasking during the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but then you get the Skrulls in Captain Marvel, who were played much more sympathetically than their comics portrayals.
That’s what has kept us guessing with WandaVision’s Agnes, otherwise known as Agatha Harkness. Kathryn Hahn’s been playing the hell out of the character, but for much of the season, she’s had us second-guessing everything. The reveal that Agnes is Agatha Harkness was something many fans had figured out from the very beginning, but what did that mean in the grand scheme of things? What was her role? In the comics, Agatha was more of an ally than anything else, so it wasn’t exactly clear what she was up to. While the show even tried to make her true identity less obvious by treating her as helpless in the face of Wanda’s powers as fellow neighbors Herb and Norm, it wasn’t until the latter half of the seventh episode that we were sure she was up to no good.
Accompanied by the Munsters-like theme “Agatha All Along,” we got to see Agnes throughout the show, working her magic in the shadows. But just how “guilty” is Agatha? Let’s take a look at all of Agnes’ scenes on the show so far and see what we can figure out about what’s going on.
Agatha Makes Her Entrance
The “Agatha All Along” segment shows Agatha appearing in Westview as a witch and transforming into a black-and-white 1950s character seconds before making her first actual appearance on the WandaVision show-within-a-show.
“Agnes” appears and greets Wanda for the first time, talking up her mother-in-law’s visit as the reason she was out of town. At first, this is a throwaway line, but it’s also Agnes’ way of showing up after Wanda and Vision had settled in while having a cover story for being a longtime local. It was also really suspect by the third episode when it was established that exiting and entering Westview isn’t the easiest task.
As the first episode is fairly straightforward as outside of the Lynchian dinner moment and the “SWORD is watching” color cliffhanger, there isn’t too much to really grab onto, even with Agnes’ heavy screentime. She simply builds a rapport with Wanda as her new best friend for the sake of building trust.
Fittingly, the Glamourous magazine she insists on reading to Wanda has an ad on the back cover for a detergent called “Coy.”
Agnes shows up later for the dinner date with lots of food to help Wanda. She comes off as seemingly too well-prepared. Regardless, Wanda doesn’t want her to see her superhero secrets and kicks her out. Notably, Wanda does so while calling Agnes out as being “naughty,” which will get a neat callback several episodes later.
The big elephant in the room is Agnes’ husband Ralph. She brings him up three times, talking about his love for beer and beans while jokingly lamenting that he hasn’t been very hands-on with her lately. Ralph has yet to appear on the show yet, raising the question of whether he exists and, if he does exist, in what form?
Another interesting question to wonder in this episode is whether Agatha was behind Mr. Hart choking on his food. With Mrs. Hart (who curiously asks about their lack of kids considering what follows) pleading with Wanda like an emotional broken record, we’re meant to think that Wanda is trying to silence him, but as I’ll get to in a second, Wanda might not be aware enough to do that just yet.
Agatha Secretly Uses Magic at the Talent Show
Not counting her cartoon counterpart, Agnes first appears in the second episode when Wanda is checking out the colorized helicopter toy in her bushes. Agnes excitedly calls her “the star of the show,” only to cover by claiming that she was talking about her pet rabbit Señor Scratchy, prepared to be part of Wanda and Vision’s magic act.
One notable thing here is that there’s a brief moment of Agnes interacting with Dennis the mailman, giving us the only non-commercial sitcom moment in the first few episodes that doesn’t include Wanda or Vision. Dennis himself – the first character to have any interaction with our protagonists – seems to be a riddle himself, but time will tell on that one. Agnes jokes with Dennis, checks him out from the back, and waits for Wanda to return so she can drag her away from the lawn and distract her from the helicopter situation.
Once they get to Dottie’s place, Agnes is very much about getting Wanda to conform with the timeline and the neighborhood. She also talks up Wanda’s future children by saying that befriending Dottie can help with her children’s schooling.
At the scene with the housewives hanging out, Agnes is mostly in the background. Her money line is how Dottie claims, “The devil is in the details,” and Agnes notes, “That’s not the only place he is!” On paper, it’s a jab at Dottie, but it’s also an obvious tie in to Agnes connection to the occult, further fueling the rumors that Mephisto might be involved in the show’s plot.
One other note about this is when the women all say, “FOR THE CHILDREN,” in unison, they make sure to obscure Geraldine’s face. She’s likely not saying it or is looking confused, but we’re spared from that little crack in the narrative.
Agnes appears at the big talent show in the audience, cracking a joke about making Ralph disappear. This is the first time we, the viewer, notice something is up because why wouldn’t Ralph be at this function? Anyway, the “Agatha All Along” sequence shows that Agatha was using her magic to cause a bit of havoc with the magic act, not like she was needed. Of all the snippets in that reveal, this is the one that seems the most open-ended. What exactly did she get out of Señor Scratchy running off?
What appears to be the important part is how the cast conveys the cult-like, “FOR THE CHILDREN,” to our heroes a few times over. Not only that, but it’s during the brief stretch of time in-between our couple having sex within Westview and Wanda realizing she’s pregnant. If anything, that appears to be part of Agatha’s grand plan.
Was she hammily applauding because everything was going according to her plan or in spite of Wanda and Vision succeeding? It’s hard to say.
An important detail to note is how the flustered Wanda greets Vision at the talent show. After the third and fourth episodes, it’s easy to see the helicopter toy scene as Wanda realizing that someone’s infiltrated her fantasy world and is out to stop her, but that’s not what’s going on. She’s genuinely confused. She actually tries to tell Vision about it, as well as the exploding radio incident, but never gets around to it.
Wanda doesn’t fully give in to this world until she discovers she’s pregnant. After that, she’s hooked in.
Is Agatha Controlling Herb’s Mind?
The third episode is when we start to question if Agnes is really in on what’s going on, when in reality it’s the first time we truly see her messing with our heroes for the sake of keeping Wanda on track.
Agnes takes a backseat initially, only appearing very briefly in the opening credits. It comes off like Geraldine is starting to usurp her position as Wanda’s best friend and confidant and it is easy to see Agatha as feeling threatened by that. It’s especially threatening if Geraldine can successfully get through to Wanda.
It seems clear that Agatha messes with Herb’s mind. Did she momentarily wake him up? Did she simply take over his mind? It’s hard to say, but they’re able to lay the seeds of doubt in Vision…all while keeping Vision away from Wanda lashing out at Geraldine. Agnes and Herb make Wanda come off as something truly horrifying in front of Vision and damn if Hahn’s performance isn’t convincing. That rapid, scared shake of the head at Herb is so good.
What’s certain here is that Agatha wants Vision to think of Wanda as a monster. Considering that nervous smile Vision gives Wanda a minute later (as shown in the next episode), she has succeeded.
“Agnes” Doesn’t Have a Real Name
The focus is outside Westview this time around, but there’s a big moment that puts Agnes into question once again: of all the players in the WandaVision sitcom world, she’s one of the only “actors” who doesn’t have a true identity. The plot thickens.
Agatha “Directs” Wanda
Agnes appears to help out with Wanda and Vision’s crying babies. As she’s about to get started, Vision gets a bit too neurotic and stops her from getting near the kids. Suddenly, things get tense as Agnes appears lost and breaks the fourth wall. At first glance, she appears to fear Wanda, but it now appears that she’s more about insisting to Wanda to let her continue with the “script” and help the babies despite Vision’s reluctance. You can almost read this as Agatha giving Wanda direction.
A major part of this scene is how Agnes doesn’t bat an eye at Billy and Tommy suddenly aging several years. She just shrugs it off and talks about how hard it is to control children.
In terms of directing fiction, children and animals are infamously hard to deal with, which is what Agnes might be referencing here. This could be connected to Wanda’s inability to use her powers on the stork from the third episode.
She returns later on with a convenient doghouse for Billy and Tommy’s newly-found dog. Wanda has become lax with giving into the “hidden powers” part of their status quo and barely hides her magic abilities in front of Agnes. After all, if Wanda is giving into her fantasy more and more, why should she hide herself?
But she is right that Agnes isn’t second-guessing any of the weird stuff going on, especially when Billy and Tommy age themselves up once more.
Wanda and the kids later find Agnes with the dead, wrapped-up body of Sparky the dog. Agnes claims that the dog ate some toxic leaves, but we now know that she’s directly responsible for the dog’s death (at least that’s what she claims in the song). She sheds some crocodile tears and watches as Billy and Tommy ask Wanda to bring Sparky back from the dead. Agnes asks if that’s possible for Wanda and Wanda doesn’t really answer.
Even if she can reverse death, Wanda knows that she shouldn’t. Agnes lets out a sigh and, sad scene or not, it seems in retrospect that Wanda’s goodness and sense of responsibility inadvertently foiled Agatha’s scheme.
Fake Pietro’s appearance has always come off as being there to prevent Vision from convincing Wanda to reject the fantasy world they live in now that we know that Agnes is the puppet master here. Of course, that brings us back to square one with Pietro because right now it’s up in the air whether he’s evil, if he’s just being controlled, or if he’s the X-Men version of Quicksilver at all.
Agatha Fakes Out Vision
So yeah, in the first episode, Wanda calls Agnes naughty. Now she has “NAUGHTY” bedazzled on the back of her sweatpants. And, of course, the theme song refers to her as “naughty Agatha.”
Whatever Pietro’s deal is, he’s either under Agatha’s control or he’s in league with her for this episode. That means he’s trying to get Wanda’s trust and figure out her secrets. He’s getting more intel about taking over the town and answer any lingering questions Agnes has. All in all, he isn’t very successful and completely blows it with that crack about Vision being dead.
Agnes’ big scene is Vision coming across her car and waking her up. Even on the first watch, it shows that she’s from out of town due to her non-New Jersey license plates and her confusion over directions of a town she claims to have grown up in. Her reaction to Vision is comparable to that of Norm in the previous episode, so we once again have reason to question her role in everything.
Maybe she is a red herring.
Now it seems likely that Agnes was merely playing with Vision. With that knowledge, comparing that to Vision’s scene with Norm and the reveal that Agatha was messing with Herb’s mind, it’s notable that although Agnes claims Wanda won’t let them think of escaping, Norm doesn’t actually name his tormentor. He just says “her” and “she.” That puts into question who is torturing everyone’s minds. Is it Wanda or has it been “Agatha all along?”
So what is Agatha’s play by lying to Vision? Other than hiding her guilt, she could be doing one of two things. It’s possible that she’s out to take Vision off the board by pushing him towards his inevitable, painful death outside of the Hex. It’s also possible that she’s hoping Vision will die so that Wanda will resurrect him again and Agnes can take notes.
Agatha Harkness Revealed
And so, we get the big reveal. Before Agnes reveals herself as Agatha Harkness, Vision spends the whole episode unable to get closer to his wife due to the current sitcom narrative rejecting it. Agnes convinces Wanda to let her take the twins away for the day. Billy, overwhelmed by all the psychic screams in Westview, notes that Agnes is “quiet.” Soon the twins go missing and we’re left to wonder their fates.
Wanda is left alone as the world around her starts to glitch. Due to the mockumentary gimmick of the episode, Agatha “the director” is still there to gaslight her into feeling like the villain in her own story. And, yes, she is a villain, but the question is whether or not she is THE villain.
When Monica breaks into Westview to confront Wanda and talk sense into her, Agnes steps in to prevent that conversation from reaching a rational conclusion. Soon enough, she’s able to trick Wanda into going to her creepy basement, introduces her true self as Agatha Harkness, and overwhelms her with purple energy. Cue catchy theme song.
All that, plus “Pietro” catches Monica snooping. Are they going to fight it out or work together?
Now that we’re caught up, what exactly is Agatha Harkness’ plan? What does she actually want?
Other than simply using Wanda’s powers as sustenance (as hinted at in the Yo-Magic commercial from episode 6), Agatha’s interest seems to be in learning from certain abilities Wanda has that go against the natural order of things. Wanda’s powers aren’t magic in the traditional sense, but essentially cosmic due to her connection to the Mind Stone and the universe itself.
Wanda apparently used her powers to bring Vision back to life. Not only did she bring someone back to life (robotic as he is), but she did it by recreating the Mind Stone in some way. Even when Vision is being torn apart from being outside of the Hex, the new Mind Stone seems to stay intact. If Wanda wants to, she probably could bring her brother back the way she remembers. What else could she bring back?
Similarly, it appears she willed those twins into existence. I don’t expect a Disney property to go into detail, but Vision’s not exactly equipped to sire children. They exist because Wanda insists on it. With a little prodding from the neighborhood at Agatha’s behest, Wanda has been able to create life.
You better believe Agatha wants that kind of power. Maybe we’ll find out that Ralph was once real and he’ll be resurrected. Maybe Agatha is going to summon something far, far worse.
We’ve got two more episodes of WandaVision to get the answers.