One of the many, many things that’s made WandaVision so compelling to watch are the ways it has poked and prodded at the format of television to tell the story of Scarlet Witch and Vision’s unlikely love. But in an episode that was all about the fakeness of that metatext finally breaking down, a sincere turning point in their relationship was made potent.
“Breaking the Fourth Wall” keeps Wanda and Vision apart for its runtime, as it focuses on the former uncovering some major secrets about the powers behind Westview, and the latter trying to find his way back to his wife after the mother of all fallings out. On the suddenly-expanded edge of Westview’s magical boundaries, Vision finds himself teaming up with an unfamiliar ally—using his synthezoid abilities to awaken Darcy Lewis from her hex’d role as a circus escape artist.
What follows is a farcical escape attempt in a carnival food truck that is befitting of the wider episode’s riffs on contemporary sitcom styles—it feels ripped from the likes of a Parks and Recreation or a 30 Rock bit. But when the unlikely duo try to get back to Westview proper, we get an important, quiet moment in the episode’s otherwise very loud setting up for a climactic finale. Vision, still emotionally scarred by both his brief experience “outside” and his falling out with Wanda, is very much unsure of who he is—a dissociation only made more explicit when Darcy tries to explain the events of Avengers: Infinity War to him.
Happens to the best of us, Darcy.
But aside from the metatextual weirdness of what sounds like a Marvel movie superfan trying to explain story context to someone who maybe saw Iron Man once, their conversation makes it clear that Vision is very, very lost. He’s unsure of who he is, why he’s trapped in this strange place, and unsure of his relationship with Wanda—either before or after their coolness to each other last week. Why is he compelled to race back to this woman, someone he’s not even sure he knows anymore, let alone someone who really knows and loves him?
Confronted with his existential crisis, Darcy has a simple answer: “What I do know is,” she explains, “I’ve been watching WandaVision for the past week, and the love you two have is real. You belong together.”
On the surface, it’s a ridiculous comment—the almost fandom-poking idea that Darcy binged a week of a fake sitcom and is adamantly shipping its protagonists. But in the sea of Vision’s uncertainty, in the wider context of this entire episode being about the falseness of Westview’s TV reality being laid bare to its participants, there’s something sweet about Darcy wielding the magic of WandaVision to strike true to Vision’s earnest core.
It’s a moment that draws a stark contrast to last week’s chilling parting conversation between Vision and Wanda. There, he seemingly had all the power—now burdened with the knowledge that his wife was manipulating the sitcom environ around them, he used his awareness of the metatext to rebel against her. It felt like a moment of revenge for keeping him in the dark, exposing their life for the idealized fake it is. Now, the tables are turned: someone outside of that world, but through the lens of its televisual dressing, seeing the truth of their love, even through the lowest points of the “show” so far.
It’s not like Darcy’s comment suddenly enthralls Vision in the magic of television—he is still very much aware of its fakeness. He acknowledges the sitcom conceits of the obstacles comedically thrown in front of him and Darcy as tools to stop them from getting back to Wanda, and promptly stands up and walks out of his “interview” once he remembers what’s going on. But Vision is grounded by this one moment of TV sincerity to remember something he is certain of: Regardless of who he is, why he’s here, and where he’s been, he loves Wanda Maximoff and wants to be back by her side.
Telvision is a little bit magical sometimes, and so is love—and if that’s all Vision needs right now, then so be it.
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