Episode 7 of Marvel’s Disney+ show WandaVision gave us a big reveal last week.
Wanda’s seemingly hapless Westview neighbour, Agnes, is actually a powerful witch named Agatha Harkness—and she’s kidnapped Wanda’s twin sons.
Far from being a victim of Wanda’s reality-altering spell that has Westview in its grip, Agatha herself is capable of extremely powerful magic. Unlike everyone else around her, Wanda is unable to read Agatha’s thoughts. This revelation in episode 8 ties into how Wanda’s son Billy, who can read minds like his mother, tells Agatha in episode 7 that she’s “quiet on the inside.”
So who exactly is Agatha Harkness? Is she the big baddie of the season? Exactly how much of the current mess is she responsible for? Let’s dive right in.
1. Agatha Harkness’s Backstory on WandaVision
Episode 8 got straight to the point and gave us a quick backstory on Agatha.
The events of WandaVision take place in 2023, and we now know that Agatha was alive and kicking all the way back in 1693. So, we know that Agatha is at least 330 years old.
At first, as she’s being dragged to a pyre, and the scene is set in 17th century Salem, and so the logical conclusion is that she’s being tried for witchcraft. However, we soon find out that isn’t the case—the people putting her on trial are a coven of witches themselves. It appears that she has betrayed them in a way that has seriously pissed them off.
From the conversation between Agatha (who’s restrained with magical ties) and the witch who appears to be her mother, it’s apparent that she broke some important rules of the coven.
Agatha initially tries to plead and play innocent, but quickly drops the act.
“I can be good!” pleads Agatha. But the answer comes quickly from the mother witch—“No, you cannot.”
The witches collectively bombard her with beams of strong, magical energy. At first, it seems that Agatha is in pain, and is about to die. However, she then starts absorbing their magic and sucking the life out of them. The attackers become the victims, and she dusts them all off—including the mother witch, who is presumably the most powerful of the lot.
The absence of genuine fear in this woman who was apparently heading to her death caught my eye early on in the scene. Once Agatha decimates her captors, it became apparent why she was never afraid of them.
2. What We Know from the Comics
In the Marvel comics, Agatha plays a slightly different and more important role than in the MCU. She is shown to be a witch who has existed for over 12,000 years. Agatha teaches Wanda, the Scarlet Witch, the ways of mysticism and how to wield her powers.
The Agatha Harkness of the comics is not so much a villain as a keeper of balance in the world, or a “witchy chaotic neutral”, as described by Marvel. Although she does things that may seem “evil” at first glance, she is often shown to simply be working towards preventing even worse things from happening.
Ultimately, the Agatha from the comics ends up getting murdered by Wanda for what Wanda perceives as Agatha killing her twin sons, though the truth is a bit more complicated. In actuality, the twins cease to exist after Mephisto, a demonic hell-lord, absorbs their souls. This happens because Wanda actually used slivers of his life essence to give souls to her sons, whom she created with magic.
3. Is Agatha the Main Villain? Did She Manipulate Wanda into Creating the Hex?
If we go by the comics and what we’ve seen up to episode 8 of WandaVision, my money is on: no, Agatha isn’t the main villain.
Agatha may have a slightly, um, questionable way of working, but it seems to me that her ultimate goal is to simply get some answers regarding The Hex.
If we’re theorizing who the actual villain is, it’s possible that the final episode may feature the demonic Mephisto making an appearance.
From the way she nudges Wanda throughout episode 8 to figure out how she created The Hex, it seems unlikely that Agatha herself had anything to do with its creation. Instead, she seems to have had the same queries as the viewers. Agatha ultimately figures out that Wanda unwittingly used Chaos Magic to cast the spell that’s holding Westview captive.
4. Was Agatha Behind Pietro’s Appearance?
By her own admission, Agatha conjured the fake Pietro, or “Fietro”, as she calls him (this one made me chuckle), in order to coax some answers out of Wanda.
She goes on to tell Wanda that she used the Fake Pietro as her “eyes and ears”. This means that whenever Wanda was conversing with Pietro in the last couple of episodes, she was actually talking to Agatha.
Agatha mentions that she thought of necromancy, which means using magic to reanimate a dead body. However, that wasn’t an option since the real Pietro’s body is on a different continent and is also “full of holes” (ouch).
Ultimately, when Agatha fails to get Wanda to reveal the origins of The Hex via Fake Pietro, she kidnaps Billy and Tommy in order to get what she wanted.
5. What Happens Next?
Now that Agatha has answers about how Wanda created The Hex, she reveals with a flourish that Wanda is actually the mythical figure called the Scarlet Witch. Fun fact: this is the first time ever that Wanda has been referred to by her comic name out loud in the MCU.
Episode 8 ends with Agatha holding Wanda’s twins Billy and Tommy captive with magical restraints around their neck.
Agatha seems determined to do something about the fact that Wanda is even more powerful than she herself knows. We’re just going to have to wait for the final episode to see what it is.
6. About WandaVision
WandaVision is a Disney+ MCU miniseries created by Jac Schaeffer featuring the Marvel Comics characters Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision. Cast members include Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, Evan Peters, Debra Jo Rupp and Fred Melamed.
The series takes place three weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Wanda Maximoff and Vision are living an idyllic suburban life in the town of Westview, New Jersey, trying to conceal their true natures. As their surroundings begin to move through different decades and they encounter various television tropes, the couple suspects that things are not as they seem.