WandaVision is a marvel (pun obviously intended). It’s a thrill-a-minute mystery, a possible (probable?) key to opening the Marvel Multiverse, an homage to classic sitcoms, and the wildest and weirdest ride on television right now.
But it’s also a story about grief.
It’s a story about the way we try to escape grief in other realities (especially happy, televised ones). It’s a story about control and the desperate ways we try to reclaim control by holding on to things long past when we should let them go. It’s a story about the anger that naturally comes along with the grieving process and what carrying that anger around does to us and those around us.
And even more specifically, it’s about how all of those things are seen through a different lens when it’s a woman experiencing them.
Female grief. Female rage.
That’s what Wanda represents. She’s the embodiment of the rage that burns inside women who’ve lived through trauma and loss. And she’s the embodiment of the way the world doesn’t know what to do with the women who wear their rage on their sleeve—who grieve in a way that’s not pretty or soft or quiet.
Wanda is an angry woman—and when you look at her life, you see that she has every reason to be. Even if she’s handling it poorly, even if she’s doing the wrong things—the motivation behind them is clear, understandable, and relatable.
She’s not a hero. But she’s not a villain, either.
She’s a woman in pain.
And the only other character who’s able to see that is another woman who’s in pain.
Throughout “On a Very Special Episode…”, Monica Rambeau is consistently advocating for a deeper understanding of Wanda as a person. It’s Monica who speaks up against the use of “terrorist” to describe Wanda. It’s Monica who says she doesn’t think Wanda has an inclination toward destruction. It’s Monica who wants to go back in to Westview to learn more about Wanda.
And it’s Monica who makes an appeal to Wanda outside Westview—not a threat, not a speech about all she’s done wrong. She makes an appeal to her as a person, as a woman, and as someone she understands perhaps better than anyone else.
Monica is also a woman who’s grieving. She fell asleep in a world with her mother and woke up in a world without her. She’s grieving her mom. She’s grieving the few years she would have gotten to spend with her before her cancer came back. She’s grieving the life she knew and the woman she was. And it makes her angry. That anger might be more controlled than Wanda’s, but it’s there—right below the surface. We only get to see it in small flashes, but it’s especially evident in this episode when Captain Marvel is brought up. (I’m sure we all have our own theories about that, but for now, I’m guessing she’s upset that Carol has been off saving galaxies while Maria died—and Monica now grieves—alone.)
That’s who reaches out to Wanda on that field outside of “the Hex.” It’s one angry, grieving woman appealing to another. It’s two kindred spirits—women who’ve suffered, women who are suffering, women who are expected to get over it and go back to work like it’s normal or easy or fine.
Monica isn’t fine. Wanda isn’t fine. And from that mutual understanding of each other’s pain comes the one thing that can save them both.
Monica has empathy for Wanda. It’s what makes her defend Wanda and reach out to her. And Wanda has empathy for Monica. It’s why she let Monica stay in Westview and why she trusted her to deliver her babies. It’s why she and “Geraldine” connected immediately. And it’s why she didn’t kill her when she had the chance.
Because Wanda can see people—what’s in their heads and what’s in their hearts. And she could see the truth: Monica isn’t just a S.W.O.R.D. agent; she’s a woman who’s loved and lost and doesn’t know what to do with all that love and loss still in her heart.
It’s why Wanda couldn’t really hurt her, and it’s why Monica is working so hard to keep Wanda from being hurt now. Monica doesn’t want to take Wanda down; she wants to understand her. She wants to help her.
“I am an ally.”
In the midst of a world where it’s hard to tell what’s real what’s fake, Monica’s compassion for Wanda is true. Monica is choosing to be an ally rather than being manipulated into playing a part in Wanda’s world. And that choice—to see Wanda as a woman whose anger is driven by grief and not gleeful destruction—matters.
And that’s what keeps me coming back every week. I like mysteries, superheroes, and sitcoms. But I love explorations of empathy, complex female characters, and stories of women who are angry—unabashedly, unapologetically, unrelentingly angry.
Female rage. Female grief. Female empathy.
That’s my kind of Multiverse.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?