Warning — This article contains spoilers for WandaVision.
After taking a week off, WandaVision's commercials are back.
To stay true to its television format, the Disney+ series has created era-specific advertisements for made-up products in Wanda Maximoff's hex.
The first two commercials directly referenced two past characters from the MCU, who had a significant impact on Wanda's upbringing. The third one was a bit more obtuse, but ultimately added to the ongoing narrative of trauma that underlies Westview through an overt allusion to HYDRA.
Following the apparent callbacks and references to various characters and organizations, the fourth advert in this ongoing series takes another detour by referencing an MCU event.
So how does this new ad about paper towels tie into the wider story that the commercials are trying to tell?
WIPING AWAY PAST MESSES
WandaVision's commercial from "Episode 5" follows a similar format to the third advert, focusing on kitchen mishaps perpetrated by different family members. This time, though, the troubles come in the form of multiple spillages in the rambunctious 1980s, which the mother of the household is forced to contend with.
Luckily for her, Lagos-brand kitchen wipes are there to save the day. Mopping up juice and alcoholic beverages, these absorbent paper towels are sure to thwart any unwanted mess.
These tissues aren't exclusively available for housewives, as "Husbands can use it too, you know!"
Just in case the audience didn't catch it the first few times, the ad closes by once again showing the product's shiny red logo: Lagos.
A catchy yet ominous slogan then rounds out the short and snappy promo:
"For when you make a mess, you didn't mean to!"
The most obvious allusion made in this commercial is to an important event from Captain America: Civil War: the Lagos incident. During the opening sequence of the film, the Avengers embarked on a mission to Nigeria in order to prevent Brock 'Crossbones' Rumlow from obtaining and releasing a biological weapon.
Crossbones attempted to blow himself up upon being bested in combat by Captain America, which forced Wanda to use her powers to contain the explosion. When the blast proved to be too much for the Scarlet Witch to handle, she flung the detonating body into the air to catastrophic effect. The discharge hit one of the nearby buildings, accidentally killing several Wakandans.
As Lagos was perhaps the gravest accident Wanda has ever committed, it makes sense that accidents are the center of attention in this latest ad. This incident would snowball to impact and cause other events as well, namely the decision to move forward with the Sokovia Accords and the subsequent fallout of the Avengers.
The advert's on-the-nose slogan of "For when you make a mess you didn't mean to!" drives this point home; it indicates that Wanda's accidental actions caused an even greater problem than she intended and also reaffirms the guilt she feels over this.
Perhaps the use of paper towels could hold a deeper meaning within the commercial as well. The Sokovia Accords were a means of implementing legislation that would hold the Avengers accountable for their actions in order to mitigate potential risk. The wipes can therefore be seen as these important pieces of paper, swooping in to clean up the messes that the Avengers - specifically Wanda - leave behind.
All the weird WandaVision commercials thus far have included some sort of gendered subtext, and the fourth advert does not shy away from this by any means.
To recap, the Toast Mate 2000 ad included a suspect line where the narrator states “Is your husband tired of you burning his toast?” "Episode 2's" commercial tells its audience that no man is complete without his “special lady” and his Strucker. The third advert deals with gender roles in a more general sense, focusing on the daily toils of 1970s mothers.
Finally, the fourth ad seems to flip the script, telling the viewer that "Husbands can use [Lagos] too, you know!" It is also notable that the father seems extremely nervous when spilling the beer across the counter. This may be a reflection of the inhabitants of Westview's reactions to slipping up, in fear of what Wanda will do to them (as represented by the mother).
The commercials seem to place the female characters in a more subservient role, only for them to get their own spotlight and assertion of themselves as the ads continued. Though the mother is still stuck in her traditional gender role of a housewife in the Lagos ad, the father is at the very least brought into be included in these homemaking duties.
This could suggest that the advertisements will continue this upward trajectory, leading to the eventual subversion of traditional gender roles as a commentary on the nuclear family premise of most sitcoms.
Subconsciously, this could be a reflection of Wanda taking control of her life and breaking away from these cultural norms.
FOR THE CHILDREN
A notable creative decision when making pretty much anything on film is the creator's choice of actors. However, in all four of the commercials, the same actors are used in different roles. This could very well indicate that these actors are 'trapped' in this role of creating the adverts, much like the people who are trapped as characters in Westview. It seems that these characters are being forced to make commercial after commercial. Poor souls.
Another interesting note is the inclusion of child actors in the third and fourth adverts. Didn't Vision just say in "Episode 5" that there weren't any children in Westview?
"Wanda, why are there no other children in Westview?...The playground stand's empty every morning."
So what are these children doing here in this new ad? Have they been constructed for Wanda's hex, similar to how Tommy and Billy were created?
This may explain why they are the only other kids present in the Westview bubble. They may be formed by Wanda to act as the representation of Wanda's ideal family, serving as a baseline for what she strives for.
Alternatively, these actors could truly be the only other kids in Westview, somehow roped into Wanda's mess. It is unclear exactly how many of the town's 3,892 people have been identified, but perhaps there are actually a few children mixed within that number.
WandaVision has already ventured to dark places over its run, so perhaps there is something even more sinister going on with the missing children of Westview...
The actors aren't the only constant between commercials, as another aspect carries over from a previous advert: the third and fourth commercials are shot in the same home.
Wallpaper and some kitchen items are replaced to reflect the respective era, but the house's infrastructure remains the same. This is notable as Wanda and Vision's house changes with the television era, yet the advert has not followed suit despite having a unique location in each ad thus far.
The real life explanation is probably that the Marvel didn't want to pay for a whole new set for 20 seconds worth of commercial. Redressing the set would be more cost-effective and fit in line with how many sitcom productions operate.
Perhaps an in-universe reason for this could be Wanda's loss of control over her hex. Scarlet Witch seems to be losing over her grip over the people of Westview - like Agnes and Vision - and possibly its infrastructure all together.
Maybe Wanda's magic is only allowing her to warp her reality to a certain extent now, preventing her from upping her commercial budget any higher than it already is.
WANDA'S CONTINUING TRAUMA
With characters, organizations and now events haunting Wanda Maximoff in these ads of unknown origin, what could be next? There don't seem to be many rules at this point as to what WandaVision's commercials can cover, so anything is on the table.
With Pietro now on the scene thanks to that shocking reveal at the end of "Episode 5," perhaps the next commercial could make reference to Quicksilver's death from Avengers: Age of Ultron. that film's robotic adversary could star in his own ad instead.
If these fake marketing snippets continue to go chronologically, the advertisements could progress slightly further into Captain America: Civil War or jump straight to Avengers: Infinity War for some further traumatizing inspiration.
Ultimately, "Episode 5" showed the world that Wanda's grief is evidently fueling Westview, tormenting the residents with the pain that she is feeling. The commercials have ultimately done their job in hinting towards Wanda's trauma, so it will be interesting to see how they continue to progress as the series passes the halfway mark.