This article contains WandaVision spoilers. We have a spoiler free review here.
WandaVision episode 2 expands the mystery around Wanda and Vision’s new locale, Westview, and it does so in large part by introducing a slew of new neighbors. Fred, Linda, Dennis the Mailman, Dottie, Phil, Geraldine, Beth, and Herb all make their first appearances in this episode. But who are they? And what clues might they give us to what’s really going on in Westview?
Some of their neighbors seem to track to villains Wanda and Vision faced off with early in their marriage: the Salem’s Seven. “But there’s eight” you say? Yes, that’s true, but if you take out Geraldine (who is Monica Rambeau) and Herb (who is probably the High Evolutionary), there isn’t eight anymore. Yes, that leaves six, just hold on a second.
The Salem’s Seven are a group of magic wielders whose physical forms have mutated from their exposure to that wild energy. They are the leaders of New Salem, a colony of witches in Colorado who were forced to relocate there because of violent harassment by their Massachusetts neighbors. They are all children of Nicholas Scratch, an evil magician who plagued the Fantastic Four. That also makes them the grandchildren of Agatha Harkness, aka neighbor Agnes.
The Seven had their first run in with Vizh and Wanda in the married duo’s second comics miniseries. The seven captured their grandmother Agatha and burned her at the stake to try and resurrect their father, but it failed. Later, they hatched a plan to add to their numbers. At the time, they were only six: Vertigo, Brutacus, Reptilla, Hydron, Vakume, and Thornn.
The seventh, Gazelle, had a falling out with her siblings because the others had a plan to capture Wanda and make her part of their coven. So they caged Gazelle up and planned to sacrifice her to the Corn God Lammas, along with the unconscious Vision. Wanda politely declined (with violence), and Vision regained enough power by absorbing sunlight while tied to a stake that the two escaped and in the process accidentally destroyed the entirety of New Salem.
I can see the Seven going in either of two directions here. In the comics, they’re continually trying to strengthen the coven and return their father, Nicholas Scratch, to life. This could be their plan, and Scratch could be the “devil” that the second episode so frequently refers to (“The Devil’s in the details/that’s not all he’s in” and the Satan Claw watches in the commercial).
They could also be working for Mephisto. The continual, haunted, deadened delivery of “for the children” certainly foreshadows Wanda’s pregnancy later in the episode, and you can’t have Billy and Tommy in a series without a reference to the fact that they’re not real children, but actually shards of Mephisto’s soul given a body by Wanda’s reality warping powers.
It could also be both. Mephisto and Scratch have worked together in the past (in Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Valentine de Leandro’s 4).
The Grim Reaper
You’re not hallucinating: you really did see a Grim Reaper helmet in the floorboards of Wanda and Vizh’s house during the animated opening credits. However, it’s tough to see just how he fits in here.
In the comics, Grim Reaper’s entire problem with Vision stems from Vision being programmed with Wonder Man’s brainwaves. To make an EXTREMELY convoluted story short, Reaper is the brother of Simon Williams, Wonder Man. Reaper resented the super hero his brother became, and didn’t accept him as a real person. He also didn’t think Vision was a real person, just a synthezoid with his brother’s soul grafted on (which…point, I guess). So he hatched a scheme to kill Wonder Man and put Simon’s soul (stolen from Vision) into a body that resembled his brother, so he could have his brother back again.
It’s way more complicated than that, and involves zombies and Reaper being SUPER racist not to mention overly dramatic and annoying in general, but that’s the nut of it.
It doesn’t take a huge leap to go from “Ultron stole my brother’s brain waves to make Vision” to “Tony Stark stole my brother’s brain waves to make Vision,” but that would be a hell of a twist to put on a guy most recently seen saving likely quadrillions of lives at the end of Avengers: Endgame. But considering how heavily the show seems to be relying on the 1985 Vision and the Scarlet Witch miniseries and Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s Vision miniseries, it seems likely that the evil New Salemites and the Reaper are both going to play a big part of WandaVision’s story.
OK, to be fair, we’re not sure what’s up with the Beekeeper either. But could he be an agent of Advanced Idea Mechanics, who always dressed like Beekeepers? Since “beekeeper” kinda sideways rhymed with “Grim Reaper” could he be a manifestation of that above villain? Wait…is he Swarm from Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends?!?
OK, probably not, but we’ve got our eye on him.