What Does SWORD Want? Who is in Control?- Our Top Burning Questions After Watching WandaVision Episode 5
Spoiler alert: The following contains details and spoilers from WandaVision episode 5.
Holy cow. The last episode of WandaVision did not disappoint.
Past installments of the Disney+ series may have been a little too slow or felt too removed from the MCU with its sitcom schtick, but “On a Very Special Episode…” truly delivered on conflict (that Vision and Wanda faceoff), surprise (hi, Evan Peters), and, compared to its predecessors, felt the most like a Marvel show.
The best part of all of this is that it left us wanting more. We’re full of more questions now than ever. So without further ado, let’s talk about those biggest burning questions after this latest visit to Westview.
What is the REAL Reason S.W.O.R.D. is Here?
Avid comic readers have been smelling something fishy since WandaVision began teasing S.W.O.R.D. at the end of the series premiere. This isn’t just any governmental agency like the CIA or FBI (the latter of which is involved in Wanda’s case)—it’s freaking S.W.O.R.D.
For the uninitiated, I’ll give a brief description to give you a better idea of why the involvement of S.W.O.R.D. is so significant:
In most cases of threats to Earth, inhabitants can rely on the top-notch espionage and security agency commonly known as S.H.I.E.L.D. (short for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate in the comics, or Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division in the MCU).
You can think of the agency as a protective shield that defends Earth-616. And for the most part, earth residents can sleep easily knowing that they are fully protected, but every now and again there are threats too big even for Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. to handle on their own.
So, who does Earth’s strongest organization bring in when facing an unprecedented threat? It’s the Sentient World Observation and Response Department (abbreviated as S.W.O.R.D.), of course. Think of them as more top-secret and way more intergalactic agents than S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re here to save the day from the worst extraterrestrial dangers you can imagine.
And in the MCU, the W in S.W.O.R.D. has actually been revealed to stand for “Weapons”. Sentient weapons. That’s danger on an entirely different level than fans have ever encountered before- but with heroes like Wanda and Captain Marvel deriving power from sources like the Infinity Stones, it makes sense the clandestine response would need to step up to keep the world safe.
But why are such a big-shot, space agents here in Westview? Why are they involved in a small-town (literally) problem? They should be dealing with interstellar cases not an ordinary Avenger issue.
Who is Actually in Charge in Westview?
Wanda has left S.W.O.R.D. agents baffled for some time. The first time Agent Woo makes contact with the former Avenger he asks, “Who is doing this to you, Wanda?” Like the agents watching the strange sitcom, viewers have also been wondering if Scarlet Witch could really be so sinister as to mind control a whole town.
Well, “On a Very Special Episode…” gave some not-so-subtle clues that point to outside forces—or, at least that someone else may be partially responsible for the strangeness of Westview.
Hint 1: Wanda isn’t actually in control of everyone
The first sign that Wanda isn’t control of absolutely everyone is when her twin infants, Billy and Tommy, are crying. It seems like an easy fix for an Avenger, but for some reason the Scarlet Witch’s powers don’t work on the babies. Why is that?
Wanda also can’t control her husband Vision. He tells her she can’t control him like she does with the others and the two have a faceoff that feels more like a superhero and villain fight that a spousal argument.
It also appears that Agnes, a seemingly “normal” resident of the town, is conscious of Wanda’s penchant for altering reality. When Vision doesn’t stick to the “script” (a.k.a. doesn’t say what his wife wants to hear), the next-door neighbor turns to Wanda and asks, “Do you want me to take that again?…Should we just take it from the top?” in a voice drastically less peppy than the role she usually takes on. It’s a bizarre break from the scripted television illusion of the world, as if the actors actually missed their cue.
But that’s not all that’s strange of Agnes. We’ll get back to her in a bit.
Hint 2: Quicksilver’s Reappearance
Before we get into why this reveal is such a big deal, can we bask in the awesomeness for just one second? It’s not a drill, guys. Evan Peters, Fox’s X-Men iteration of Quicksilver, made a cameo at the end of “On a Very Special Episode…”. Whether or not Marvel intends to use his X-Men character in future projects or simply cast the actor in Pietro’s role (previously held by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: Age of Ultron) is still yet to be known, but it is mind-blowing, nonetheless.
So why is Quicksilver’s return so significant? Again, it points to sinister forces being at play in the sleepy town. Wanda is legitimately shocked when her brother Pietro appears at her door. Quicksilver died in Age of Ultron and Wanda made it very clear to her boys that she couldn’t reverse death when their dog Sparky meets an unfortunate end—so what the heck is Pietro doing on her doorsteps?
Better yet: how is he here? If Wanda can’t reverse death, who can? And even if this is Fox’s version of Quicksilver and the MCU is finally using the multiverse to bring in X-Men characters, it doesn’t seem like Wanda is even aware this. How could she know to bring a different version of her brother back?
Darcy Lewis specifically notes that this is a “recast” of their universe’s Pietro, but the ramifications of this are yet to be seen.
It seems likely that it is not Wanda who is pulling the strings here.
Hint 3: Agnes a.k.a. Agatha Harkness?
So, who is the real evil force in Westview? Let’s talk about Agnes.
At first, she seems like an ordinary, nosy neighbor that constantly barges into the Vision and Wanda’s home, but comic book fans will know that Agnes’ name is too similar to another powerful witch, Agatha Harkness. She’s one of the most powerful witches in the comics and has gone face to face with the Fantastic Four. Agnes also wears an amulet too similar to the original version to be coincidental.
But the strangest thing about Agnes isn’t her name, amulet, or consciousness: it’s the fact that we never see her husband Ralph. Considering how often she mentions him, it seems odd he wouldn’t have made an appearance by now. We know that their wedding anniversary is June 2nd, which some suspicious fans have identified as a known date of Salem Witch Trials activity- it was the first date a woman was tried and convicted of witchcraft.
Could Agnes be the sinister Agatha Harkness? Is she responsible for the anomalies at Westview? Also notable is the fact that Agnes calls herself “Auntie Agnes” to the twins, as Agatha Harkness was often referred to as “Aunt Agatha” by Wanda in the comics.
Hint 4: The Red Imagery
One leading theory that could explain the evil forces at play and Agnes’ missing husband is one of Marvel’s biggest villains, Mephisto.
Many believe all the red imagery, such as the red S.W.O.R.D. helicopter and blood on Dotty’s hand in otherwise black and white scenes, could imply the extra-dimensional demon is the real villain on the show. It would explain S.W.O.R.D.’s involvement and why the Scarlet Witch herself seems baffled at her lack of control sometimes. It may be all too convenient that Wanda’s typical magic is red in hue, as many fans would play the association with the anomalies and her abilities.
Marvel has also laid out several other clues for keen eyes and ears: Dotty mentions “the devil is in the details” (a common alias of Mephisto), to which Agnes points out, “That’s not the only place he is.”
Outside of WandaVision, a red demon strikingly similar to Marvel’s devil is visible in Loki’s own series trailer, seen below:
What do you think? Do all signs point to Mephisto? What other questions did this latest episode of WandaVision leave you with?
Let Your Geek Sideshow and tell us your thoughts in the comments!
If you’re looking for more Marvel comics to read while you watch the series, check out these comic book runs that inspired WandaVision!