While WandaVision has thus far done a nice job maintaining a cycle of introducing mysteries, offering up answers, and then creating new mysteries, one aspect of the show that has been only getting more and more puzzling is the commercials breaks. They haven’t been included in every episode, but they have served to accentuate the era in which the chapters take place, add to the overall weirdness of the series, and seem to be brimming with Easter eggs. They operate under the guise of selling toasters, watches, soap, and more, they seem to be subtly more significant than just cuts away from the action.
The latest example in Episode 7, titled “Breaking The Fourth Wall,” is a perfect example. Meant to be a commercial from the 2000s to match with the mockumentary era of sitcom television, the ad is for an anti-depressant called Nexus, a drug that promises to “anchor you back to your reality.” It’s possible that this is a reference to potentially something huge from the comics, as Marvel magazines have previously introduced readers to powerful entities known as Nexus Beings – but I would personally wager that it’s not an allusion to something major on its way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but instead a callback to something important from the past.
Nexus is actually a key term that has been previously used in the superhero franchise, namely during the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron (the film that formerly introduced both Scarlet Witch and Vision to the canon). However, in that blockbuster it was not a happy pill, but instead a place. In the middle of the movie, Tony Stark learns from Nick Fury that all of Ultron’s attempts at getting access to missile launch codes are being thwarted by an unknown party, and so Tony takes a trip to the NEXUS Internet Hub in Oslo, Norway to try and figure out who the potential friend is. Working his special brand of digital magic, the hero known as Iron Man successfully figures it out, and realizes that the mysterious ally is none other than JARVIS a.k.a. the artificial intelligence platform that is eventually used to bring Vision to life.
The reason I’m so confident that the WandaVision commercial is tied to the 2015 film is because it fits with a larger pattern that has emerged from the collection: they all seem to be about trauma. The Stark Industries Toaster, for example, with its eerie slow-blinking red light, is reminiscent of the story that Wanda tells in Avengers: Age of Ultron about the Stark Industries missile that landed in the Maximoff house when she was a child and kept her and Pietro frozen while waiting for an explosion. Then there’s the Lagos paper towel brand in “On A Very Special Episode,” which is clearly a reference to the horrible accident involving Wanda that plays out in Lagos, Nigeria in Captain America: Civil War. And there are also the pair of HYDRA related spots (Strucker Watches and HYDRA Soak) that recall the painful experiments that gave Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver their abilities. Hell, one could argue that a spot for an anti-depressant, putting aside its name, is the most on-the-nose yet.
Thus far, most of the commercials have been tied back to Wanda’s trauma, but the Nexus ad is more targeted at Vision. After all, the reason why JARVIS ended up silently operating in and through the NEXUS Internet Hub and swiftly changing missile launch codes is because the first thing that Ultron did when it was born was attempt to destroy JARVIS. Vision got the last laugh, as he personally was the one who destroyed Ultron at the end of the second Avengers movie, but pain doesn’t just flick off light a light switch in people, and it doesn’t seem to do it in synthezoids either.
Obviously I can’t be entirely certain that this theory is accurate, as there hasn’t been any kind of confirmation related to the nature of the commercial breaks either in the series or from the filmmakers – but if we next see some kind of reference to Thanos killing Vision by removing the Mind Stone (maybe a diamond/jewelry ad?) my confidence will be unbreakable.
With Agatha Harkness having been revealed as the big bad of WandaVision this past week, it’s entirely possible that we could gain a more in-depth understanding of the commercial breaks as early as this upcoming Friday. If it is all about trauma, however, it will be fascinating to discover all of the whys and hows.