The following story contains minor spoilers for WandaVision episode 5, “On a Very Special Episode…”
Look, there’s a lot of stuff going on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at all times. So if there’s an offhanded reference to something that happened 10 or so movies ago that you don’t entirely remember, well, that’s fine. We can’t blame you. But when that same thing is referenced multiple times, well, we’re going to make sure we remember exactly what we’re talking about. Because Episode 5 makes reference to an incident in Lagos, Nigeria, not once but twice. So now we’re just thinking about how the opening scene from Captain America: Civil War fits into all of this.
The first WandaVision reference to Lagos comes when Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is going back and forth with Acting SWORD Director Tyler Hayward about Wanda Maximoff’s history. Hayward—who from this episode seems to pretty clearly be trending toward ‘bad guy’ territory—is attempting to paint Wanda as a terrorist or someone with malicious intent, while Jimmy advocates for her, citing that she earned the trust of the Avengers and became one herself. Hayward then mentions the mission in Lagos, before resting his case.
What happened with Wanda Maximoff in Lagos?
The Lagos situation, as you may recall, is the opening scene of Captain America: Civil War, and serves as the impetus for the entire movie. Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, and Wanda were pursuing Brock Rumlow/Crossbones and his team of mercenaries, as they had obtained a bioweapon and fled to Lagos with it. After a lengthy chase and fight—which resulted in the Avengers recovering and securing the bioweapon—Captain America was attempting to interrogate Rumlow, who then activated a suicide vest.
Wanda gets involved here. Using her telekinetic energy powers, she contains the blast around his body and throws him up toward a building, where he explodes. However, it was not far away enough, as numerous civilian aid workers from Wakanda and other civilians were killed by the blast. As a result of this, the Sokovia Accords were drafted, requesting government oversight of the Avengers and their abilities. Tony Stark was on board with this, while Captain America, (and Wanda) were among those who were not.
What about that Lagos commercial in WandaVision?
Clearly, though, Wanda still has significant guilt about the whole situation. Just as previous sitcom-reality commercials in WandaVision have reflected her past traumas, the Lagos commercial in Episode 5 seemed to indicate that as well. This commercial was for absorbent paper towels, with the tagline “for when you make a mess you didn’t mean to.”
For as dark as she seems to be acting so far in WandaVision, Wanda Maximoff is not a villain. She will not turn evil, despite any theories that want to speculate. Wanda is a hero—and what happened in Lagos clearly was an accident, birthed out of attempting to undo the evil that Rumlow was planning. Wanda is thinking about what happened in Lagos, and the mess—The Sokovia Accords and the conflict among the Avengers—that resulted. It really is a mess she didn’t mean to make, and maybe by the end of WandaVision she’ll come out stronger than ever—and ready to kick some ass in the multiverse with Doctor Strange.
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