There are a thousand and one things to talk about across the hexagon-shaped universe of WandaVision – but one of the things that's captured our imaginations the most are the commercials that pop up within each episode. Every one is a treasure trove of Easter Eggs…and as a whole they're worth examining. What might be hidden in these breaks from the usual sitcom?
* * * Beware of spoilers if you haven't seen episodes 1-6 yet. * * *
Episode 1: The ToastMate 2000
Our first look into the wonderful world of WandaVision commercials through the decades opened our eyes right away to the fact that these are no ordinary sales pitches. Episode 1 is set firmly in the 50s, and the commercial follows suit. But what's buried under the surface here?
We know that in some way shape or form Wanda, alone or with or under the direction of someone or something else, is warping the reality within WestView…but the commercials seem to be where her past creeps in. Each commercial calls back a formative moment of her life. Here, we see the “new and improved ToastMate 2000” – which can somehow make anything from pie to meatloaf to open faced cheese sandwiches.
But under the surface…
- This is at first a clever nod to a line in the comics where Wanda and Vision are fighting and she says, “You’re a damn toaster!”
- The toaster beeps eerily like a bomb – and there's a reason for that. The toaster, which bears the slogan “Forget the past, this is your future” is a product of Stark Industries. In Avenger's: Age of Ultron (2015) we learned that Wanda and her twin brother, Pietro, lost their parents in a bombing when they were 10 years old – and then sat terrified for 2 days staring at the word “Stark” on an unexploded shell and wondering if they were about to die, too.
- The red light on the toaster is the only splash of color in an otherwise black and white ad. You'll notice the color red creeping into the show as it progresses.
- There's also a theory floating around that the commercials are at least a nod to the Infinity Stones. Here, since the only thing in color is the little red light on the toaster, this is seemingly a nod to the Reality Stone – appropriate since this is the first creeping in of reality into the fictional world of WestView.
- There is talk of whether the man and woman in the commercials are Wanda's parents.
- Whether by Wanda or for the purpose of subconciously suggesting the idea to her…you'll see lots of twin imagery throughout the show and its commercials. Here, to this end, the twin pieces of toast are also worth noting.
Episode 2: The Strücker Watch
In this second “Bewitched”-inspired episode, the commercial is for the Strücker watch. And here's what's worth noting about it:
- It's those same two actors again – and we're still wondering if they're meant to be Wanda's parents.
- But more importantly – what about the watch that the man is wearing and that the commercial is for? That Strücker watch?? Well, Baron Wolfgang von Strücker was a scientist with the evil Hydra organization in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He conducted experiments on Wanda and Pietro – ultimately exposing them to the Mind Stone and unleashing their powers. Look closely at the face of the watch and you'll see “Hydra” blazoned right across it. Gives that slogan, “Strücker: He'll make time for you,” a much more menacing air.
- Also, if you know your Semaphore flag symbols, the hands are positioned into an M. As in “House of”.
- There's also a theory floating around that all of the clocks in the show together spell out “X-MEN” in Semaphore. I haven't looked into this myself yet but pass it along because it is fascinating. If this is true, this would apparently be the “M”….
- And needless to say, among the Infinity Stone nods, this would be the Time Stone.
Episode 3: Hydra Soak Luxury Bath Soap
Episode 3 of WandaVision takes us into the 1960s and 1970s and, accordingly, into the world of color television. Wanda goes through an accelerated pregnancy that ends in the birth of her two boys, Billy and Tommy.
In this episode's commercial, an exhausted mother desperately needs a break and takes refuge in a bubble bath being fanned by a man in a toga — an obvious play on those old “Calgon, take me away” ads. The voice over says, “For when you want to get away, but you don't want to go anywhere” and we find out that the product is the “luxury bath powder” Hydra Soak, which will help its users “find the goddess within.”
This one isn't so veiled. Here's what's worth noting about it:
- The voiceover suggests that the frazzled mom “escape to a world all [her] own” – which sounds a heck of a lot like what Wanda is doing.
- Needless to say, here we see Hydra again…this time more boldly emblazoned on the product. And the fact that “Hydra” is part of the product name means this probably isn't a bath to which you want to surrender.
- And among the Infinity Stones…this product that transports you away and takes the form of a blue cube is, of course, the Space Stone – or the Tesseract.
- It's also worth mentioning that this is almost certainly a nod to Agents of SHIELD, where Agent Coulson spouts his “crazy” theory about Hydra's blue mind-control soap that makes Daisy Johnson think he's losing his marbles.
Episode 4: No Commercial
Episode 4 turns the stage to the SWORD and FBI agents outside of the bubble – so we don't get a commercial this time.
Episode 5: Lagos Brand Paper Towels
I talked about this one in my full run down on Episode 5. Yet another formative and tragic moment seeping into Wanda's fabricated reality. “Lagos: For when you make a mess you didn’t mean to” – calling back the opening scene of Captain America: Civil War. Wanda directs an explosion away from Captain America – and mistakenly sends it into a nearby building, killing countless innocent people inside.
To clean up that sort of bloodshed, you need…
Hard to say definitively which Infinity Stone this would be. We have a lot of red imagery but the Reality Stone was linked to the toaster. We still have the Power, Mind, and Soul Stones to account for – but whether this is linked to any of those is anyone's guess.
Episode 6: Yo-Magic
As things unravel in Episode 6, the commercial does a bit, too. Rather than tidy references to identifiable events – this seems more like Wanda's current pain. In a 2000's Dannon-style commercial, a shark offers “Yo-Magic” yogurt to a stranded child. But instead of saving him, the child slowly and gruesomely starves to death as he is unable to open the container to get to the magic within. It feels dark and current and sweepingly representative of Wanda's inability to fix death with her powers.
It's again hard to link this directly to an Infinity Stone. If anyone has any theories on this front I'd love to hear them.
* * * * * * * * * *
It will be interesting to see what happens with these commercials going into the final 3 episodes. Will we even have them as we move into the present and out of Wanda's past? Do they serve a purpose now that things are manifesting and perhaps she does not need to be subconsciously swayed any further?
In a show where EVERYTHING speaks, unraveling these commercials' details has been fascinating. In a show that has largely masked the realities of a very difficult life, they are the cracks in the facade. Kevin Feige once said that “no single person [in the MCU] has gone through more pain and trauma than Wanda Maximoff.” To date, in this story centered around her, these commercials have been the building blocks for that truth.
* * * * * * * * * *
What are your theories as we move into the final third?