It was a phrase uttered multiple times during the second episode of Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, an episode we now know is titled “Don’t Touch That Dial.” The phrase was “For the children,” and it was mentioned in regards to the talent show that the neighborhood folks were staging, and then chanted in unison by all of the folks gathered during the show. It was creepy. And like everything else on the show, it seemed to mean something. So when we spoke with WandaVision co-star Emma Caulfield about it, her answer went in-depth. You can hear it above.
Part of the reason why I find the phrase “For the children” to be so interesting is that up until the end of episode three of WandaVision, we have seen no children in Westview, the fictional town at the heart of the WandaVision show. There was a talent act, where Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) performed magic tricks, but no kids came to watch. At a dinner party with Vision’s boss, Mr. Hart, it’s asked why the couple have no children. If everything is “For the children,” then which children are we speaking of?
Emma Caulfield plays coy in our conversation, noting:
It is interesting, isn’t it? Yeah, where are the children? I mean, I certainly noticed there were no children. So, yeah, where are the children?
Emma Caulfield, who plays the bossy neighbor Dottie on the show, then diverted my line of questioning into a praise session for her co-star, Kathryn Hahn, who owns the role of Agnes, Wanda’s nosy next door neighbor. She reveals that in the filming of the group chant at the talent show, it was Hahn who kind of convinced everyone that the phrase -- which was scripted -- had to take on an emphasized, exaggerated tone. Caulfield recalls:
It sounds like we’re in a cult. ‘For the Children!’ And it just kept getting more dramatic, and we just did it that way. … ‘For the children’ just takes a life of its own. [It] takes on far more meaning because Kathryn Hahn suggested that it’s like our cult. And it really is.
Well, that’s a twist on the identity of the townsfolk. What are they doing in Westview? In episode 3 of the show, when Vision (Paul Bettany) discusses wanting to name their twins Billy after William Shakespeare, he says, “All the world’s a stage. We are merely players.” That line, to me, indicates that Westview is an act that Wanda has staged, and the characters are pawns in her larger world.