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How ‘WandaVision’ Uses the Stages of Grief to Understand Wanda’s Mental State

How ‘WandaVision’ Uses the Stages of Grief to Understand Wanda’s Mental State

How ‘WandaVision’ Uses the Stages of Grief to Understand Wanda’s Mental State

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1 of WandaVision.]

WandaVision has been a wacky ride through suburban life through the lens of classic TV sitcoms, but Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) reality is beginning to unravel.

While viewers familiar with the Avenger heroes have been confused about the idyllic situation the couple finds themselves in, Episode 4, “We Interrupt This Program,” begins to clear things up. After being sucked into Westview’s altered reality, S.W.O.R.D. agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) sees first hand that the unusual setting is a result of Wanda’s doing.

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“It’s Wanda. It’s all Wanda,” Monica tells FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) upon re-entering reality. The obvious next step: Asking why Wanda is doing this. And why is she forcing Westview’s citizens to take part in her sitcom charade?

Essentially, we’re all Jimmy Woo with his whiteboard and dry-erase markers, jotting down questions left and right. But maybe the answers are there, just under the surface. Those familiar with Wanda and Vision’s prior appearances in the MCU know that Vision was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.

wandavision randall park


This painful reality could explain Wanda’s desire to escape into Westview — and the signs are certainly there as the show seems to be illustrating (or starting to) the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Below, clear signs that Wanda is dealing with the first two stages, both through her own actions, and as projected in the actions of Westview’s other characters.


Wandavision elizabeth olsen


In the show’s first outing, Wanda and Vision’s black-and-white dinner party is fairly uneventful, exploring the stereotypical ’50s TV tropes. But the most sobering moment comes when their guest, Mr. Hart (Fred Melamed) begins choking on the meal. The man’s wife (played by Debra Jo Rupp) seems to think he’s joking and lets him struggle in a mirroring of Wanda’s denial. Eventually Vision intervenes and saves the man.

In Episode 2, “Don’t Touch That Dial,” Wanda’s fantasy is threatened in a variety of ways. For instance, color occasionally permeates the black-and-white landscape. And when Wanda sees a man emerge from a manhole (it’s revealed in Episode 4 it’s a S.W.O.R.D. operative) she utters the word “no,” before the setting rewinds and resets to the prior scene.

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In Episode 3, “Now in Color,” Wanda and Vision are, the first time, no longer on the same page about their seemingly idyllic life. Vision speaks up about the weird things that are happening, but when he tells his now expectant wife, “I think something’s wrong here,” the scene is cut and Vision comes back in a different spot, redoing the scene but in a less disconcerting way.

WandaVision Paul Bettany


This switch up suggests that the more people come to terms with the strangeness of Westview’s so-called reality, the more detrimental it is to Wanda’s desire to disappear inside of it. When Episode 4 rolls around, their ’70s life picks up where things left off, but  Wanda’s trauma is now manifesting within the fantasy. While speaking to Vision, she turns to face him and finds an animated corpse, his head bashed in from where Thanos plucked the mind stone from his forehead.

After looking away and turning back to Vision, his face returns to normal, but this brief flash suggests that Wanda’s attempt to deny reality is further fraying.


WandaVision Season 1 Monica Rambeau


In Episode 4, when Wanda pushes “Geraldine” — who is really Monica Rambeau — out of Westview, it’s clear her anger is surfacing. The trouble begins when Wanda mentions her twin brother Pietro, who had died, and Geraldine says, “he was killed by Ultron, wasn’t he?” Monica realizes her mistake when Wanda asks for her to repeat the comment and asks who she really is.

But Monica can barely give a half-decent answer,  resulting in Wanda’s new aggression. So she blasts the threat out of her house. It would seem that the more S.W.O.R.D. and the FBI interfere, the angrier she’ll get.


Bargaining’s up next, and it would seem to be an organic direction for Wanda to go in. Stay tuned to see what comes next.

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