Whoever came up with "cleanliness is next to godliness" never thought of Hydra. In the third episode of WandaVision, another fake TV commercial — this time for bath soap — gives audiences a stronger idea about who or what is behind the show's, well, everything.
But most importantly, the ad has strong roots in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's past, with a callback to a brief but key moment in the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Does this bit actually reveal who is responsible for WandaVision? Or have we been watching too much TV?
Warning: Spoilers for WandaVision Episode 3, "Now in Color," ahead.
In the third episode of WandaVision, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) gives birth to two kids, Tommy and Billy. Halfway through the episode, another fake commercial airs, this time an advertisement for bath soap. But it's not just any soap. It's Hydra Soak, a "luxury bath powder" with a very familiar octopus silhouette on the packaging.
"Find the goddess within!" reads the commercial's onscreen text.
You don't need to be a comic book expert to recognize "Hydra Soak" is another plot by Hydra, the supernatural Nazi army led by Captain America's nemesis, Red Skull. What's interesting is that Hydra has been behind soap before, in a reality that is as questionable as WandaVision.
A S.H.I.E.L.D. reference on WandaVision?
In 2016, during the fourth season of the MCU series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) revealed that Hydra was behind a commercially released "mind control soap" that "everyone uses." As Coulson told series protagonist Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) in the Season 4 episode "Identity and Change":
"That blue soap everyone uses? Hydra loads it up with chemicals. It seeps into our bloodstream, implants false memories into our brains. They want us to believe this is a magical place. But don't worry, I'm clear. I make my own soap."
It should be noted this happened in a false reality called the "Framework." In a virtual reality that the heroes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. found themselves trapped in in Season 4, Coulson was not the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. but a conspiracy theorist working as a school teacher.
Nothing inside the Framework was real. Sound familiar?
That's eerily like WandaVision, whose characters are obviously living in a false reality that is either created by Wanda or created by something (or someone) else. (The fact that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. said that soap implanted false memories is especially compelling as a WandaVision theory.)
What the WandaVision commercial reveals
Meanwhile, the fake Hydra soap ad has a lot to mull over as it relates to WandaVision. Contained in the commercial is a stressed-out single mother (Vision is technically dead) with two children (Wanda gives birth to twin sons in this very same episode) who "succumbs" to the relaxing foam of Hydra. Tellingly, when the narrator asks the woman if she needs to get away, she replies, "You read my mind."
By all accounts, the commercial seems to play out an abstract reinterpretation of Wanda's journey inside WandaVision and posits that Hydra is indeed responsible.
The big question everyone should ask now is simply: Is Hydra behind WandaVision? Wanda has a deep, fundamental connection to Hydra, as the organization gave both her and her brother Pietro superpowers. But that was a long time ago, a time before Thanos. If Hydra is actually behind the puppet strings of WandaVision, the next questions are simply "How?" and "Why?"
At this point, between Episodes 3 and 4, there is just enough juice to make the theory of Hydra interesting but still not enough gas to bring it places. Again, even if the theory is true, both instances of "Hydra soap" have taken place inside false realities: the Framework and Wanda's sitcom. It's impossible to say for sure if Hydra is controlling Wanda (through soap, of all things) if Hydra's history of weaponizing consumer products was never real to begin with.
Honestly, if none of this pans out, I'll wash my mouth out with soap.
WandaVision airs new episodes on Fridays on Disney+.