How do you clean up a mess you didn't mean to? For Wanda, guilt from her collateral damage in the 2016 movie Captain America: Civil War manifests as a new commercial in WandaVision. It's a paper towel ad that chillingly reminds her (and Marvel fans) of her worst mistake. A mistake that happened in Lagos.
In the "commercial break" for the newest episode of WandaVision, we find out Wanda is still processing the guilt from her actions, which continues to have a seismic impact on the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Warning: Spoilers for WandaVision Episode 5, "On a Very Special Episode..." ahead.
In the commercial break for WandaVision, an ad for a paper towel brand named "Lagos" ran after the show's tense confrontation between Wanda and S.W.O.R.D. In it, a mother uses the Lagos paper towels to clean up spilled beer and juice. While all typical paper towel commercials use colored liquid, the distinct use of red juice looks eerily like blood.
"You've got a mess," says the narrator. "And you're still using the next leading brand? You need Lagos!" The brand's tagline at the end of the commercial (one that hilariously parodies the tropes of all paper towel commercials) is: "For when you make a mess you didn't mean to."
Both the name and the tagline are telling of Wanda's psyche. Lagos is a major city in Nigeria where the Avengers, and Wanda specifically, left a hell of a mess that the entire MCU wrestled with for years.
What Happened in Lagos?
In Captain America: Civil War, an Avengers mission to arrest Crossbones (Frank Grillo) went belly-up with Wanda setting off an explosion near a populated building. In a scene later in the movie, the incident had a confirmed death toll of 26 civilians.
This event was a shock to the MCU, leading the United Nations to compel the Avengers — and any other known enhanced superhumans — to sign into the Sokovia Accords, a "superhero registration" in which all enhanced beings have to abide by third-party jurisdiction. This is also why Avengers like Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon went rogue during Civil War and into 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. Operating outside the Sokovia Accords was illegal.
Wanda's incident loosely echoes that of the 2006 Marvel comic book Civil War by Mark Millar. Instead of Wanda, it's the C-list superhero team the New Warriors who fight villains in a Connecticut suburb while filming a reality TV show. The battle escalates and ends with the town of Stamford being leveled and more than 600 dead. The event becomes a wake-up call for the superhero community in the Marvel Universe, prompting a divide between pro and anti-superhuman registration.
The MCU did things differently, namely the person at the center of it all. Wanda, who was still on training wheels when it came to being an Avenger, was blamed for the tragedy in Lagos.
"It's my fault," Wanda tells Steve Rogers in Avengers HQ in Civil War. When he insists that's not true, instead blaming himself for getting psyched out at Crossbones' mention of his old pal Bucky Barnes, she replies, "If you turn the TV back on, they're being very specific."
The Guilt of Scarlet Witch
While Wanda seemingly moved on from Civil War, appearing in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame with other things in her mind, she still must have harbored some guilt over Lagos. Through the abstract, reality-bending commercials of WandaVision, the MCU finally addresses Wanda's remorse and sorrow over her terrible mistake. And it's a crucial thing to include in an episode this one.
As WandaVision Episode 5 makes clear that Wanda is the puppet master behind the control of Westview (effectively positioning her as the antagonist of the series), showing Wanda's guilt allows the audience to empathize with her distraught soul. It's also forcing us to consider the current situation: Wanda again has a town of innocent people at her mercy, and if she's not careful, she's well on her way to making another mistake as grave as the one that still haunts her.
WandaVision streams new episodes Fridays on Disney+.