Herb made his WandaVision introduction in the 1960s-themed episode “Don’t Touch That Dial” as a member of the neighborhood watch committee. He got along well with Vision (Paul Bettany) and even attended his and Wanda‘s magic act during the local talent show.
As it turns out, he’s also the next-door neighbor of the super-powered couple, as revealed in the subsequent installment, “Now in Color.” He departs from the program without warning after that. With two weeks devoid of Herb, fans have begun to speculate where he has gone, and what potentially led to his unceremonious disappearance.
Herb’s disappearance and the nature of agency in Westview
Herb‘s final scenes in WandaVision up to this point were quite odd, to say the least. Not only did he inexplicably slice through a dividing wall with his hedge trimmers while gardening, and continued to do so after Vision pointed it out, but his second exchange with his neighbor really raised some eyebrows.
Herb, Vision, and Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) start to talk about Geraldine — better known as Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) — and her presence in Westview. During their gossip session, Herb slips up and hints that there’s more to him and the town’s other residents than meets the eye. Seconds later, he snaps back into his normal sitcom persona and heads into his home.
Then, the episode “We Interrupt This Program” puts the spotlight on Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), who deduce that Westview‘s residents are in some sort of trance. They’re not aware of what they’re doing or where they are, thanks to Wanda‘s constant influence over their minds.
Additionally, their names on the in-universe “TV show” aren’t the same as their real-world ones. For example, John Collins is actually Herb’s true identity. Essentially, Wanda stripped them of identity and agency to drop them in her little world. By the looks of things, if they somehow regain them, they’re silenced and removed from the program.
Of course, this makes sense, from Wanda‘s perspective, since she doesn’t want anyone to disrupt her illusion, but if Herb was really “written off,” where did he go? Does Wanda force the people of Westview into a state of limbo until they’re required? Is a larger, more sinister entity in charge of what the minor players can know and discuss? Or is this just a big misunderstanding, and Herb’s still living his new life as best he can?
It’s hard to say as of right now, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for Herb in future WandaVision installments, and hopefully he’ll still be in one piece.