WandaVision‘s second episode places Wanda and her android beau Vision (Paul Bettany) into a 1960s-inspired environment. Just like their wardrobe and the show’s title sequence do, their home changes with the times, and WandaVision gives viewers a good look at the couple’s new surroundings. Among several more obvious changes, however, is something far more subtle but vastly more significant. At the 6:30 mark of WandaVision episode 2, one can spot the fleeting image of a castle, subtly imprinted onto the left-hand wall next to Wanda and Vision’s kitchen. This structure should immediately strike Marvel fans as being very familiar: It looks to be the HYDRA Research Base, which links to the MCU debut of the Maximoff twins.
In 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff are introduced as two subjects taking part in Baron Wolfgang von Strucker’s (Thomas Kretschmann) and Dr. List’s (Henry Goodman) HYDRA-sponsored human experimentation, teased in a post-credits scene at the end of the film. In 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, fans officially meet the Maximoffs, Sokovian youths who are orphaned after a Stark-Industries-branded missile kills their parents. They then enroll in von Strucker and Dr. List’s experiments, held at the HYDRA Research Base. It’s there, inside that castle, that the siblings gain their superhuman abilities through rigorous testing and exposure to Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) scepter that housed the Mind Stone. Many others fail to make it out of the experiments alive, but the Maximoff twins do, becoming the magically-inclined and telepathic Scarlet Witch and the speedster Quicksilver.
This is hardly the first instance of WandaVision referencing Wanda and Pietro’s ties to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and von Strucker. Episode 1 features a commercial for a Stark Industries toaster, the Toast Mate 2000, and episode 2 advertises the Strücker Watch company, as if delving deep into the recesses of Wanda’s subconscious mind to pull out her most painful memories in less-blatant fashion. Who would do such a thing remains up for debate, but it’s indisputable that, as evidenced by the appearance of this HYDRA base, Wanda can’t escape her traumatic past.