It would be a superhuman understatement to label the first episodes of Disney+’s WandaVision “weird”; they are spectacularly strange. The 1950’s, then ’60s, then ’70s, then beyond sitcom world of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) seems one dash fairytale and two dollops nightmare.
One nightmarish sight occurs at the end of episode 2, when Wanda and Vision encounter a beekeeper emerging from their street’s manhole. Wanda then reverses time, resetting the sitcom world back to the conflict-averse living room.But what did Wanda really see? And why was it so disturbing?
Already this season, we’ve had more than enough evidence to suggest the world of WandaVision is is more than it appears, including glimpses of control panels, colorful helicopters, and characters we already know from other Marvel properties. (In the early going Monica Rambeau now calling herself “Geraldine,” and eventually Randall Park’s FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and Kat Dennings’ Astrophysicist Darcy Lewis) But it’s the beekeeper who was perhaps the greatest early fissure in this happy laugh-tracked world.
Who is the beekeeper?
On the beekeeper’s sleeve we find a recurrent insignia—spotted already on a control panel and helicopter: S.W.O.R.D. The organization is the space-directed counterpart to S.H.I.E.L.D.
In episode 4—which follows events directly after Avengers: Endgame—we discover that the beekeeper is not in fact a beekeeper but Agent Franklin of SWORD.
Franklin had been sent down the manhole outside of town. His mission was to determine whether Wanda’s energy field extended underground. Franklin enters the hole dressed in something closer to a hazmat suit, however, once he crosses the boundary into Wanda’s sitcom world—at that moment in the 1950s—he’s turned into a beekeeper. (Fun history note: hazmat suits were first developed in the United States in the 1940s, meaning it wouldn’t necessarily be anachronistic for one to be worn inside Wanda’s 1950s reality.)
Franklin then emerges Full Beekeeper in the street and sees Wanda and Vision. We don’t know Franklin’s fate after this sighting, only that Wanda will reverse time for her and Vision.
But what’s really going on here?
Superhero blockbuster aside, Avengers: Endgame was also notable for tackling themes of loss and trauma, as the earth mourned the dusting of half of its population. It’s possible that WandaVision is exploring similar themes, following the deaths of Stark and Vision, with Wanda constructing her own fake realities to hide this sad reality she’s actually in.
In one commercial we see a watch company named “Strücker,” the same name as Baron Wolfgang von Stru