TL;DR – This week walks us through the past as it ratchets up the emotion
Post-Credit Scene – There is a Mid-Credit Scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this episode.
WandaVision Review –
Last week I came into the episode with so much lift only to feel pretty meh about most of the episode right up until the last five minutes when it took it its delightful but yet menacing turn with “It Was Agatha All Along”, which coincidentally has been stuck in my head all week long. With that being said, it means I went into this week’s and also penultimate episode with a little bit more hesitation than I had all season up until that point.
So to set the scene, throughout last week’s episode Breaking the Fourth Wall, we got hints that something was about to come to ahead. Wanda’s (Elizabeth Olsen) magic was misfiring, Vision (Paul Bettany) was getting his life told to him by Darcy (Kat Dennings), Monica (Teyonah Parris) made it back inside The Hex gaining powers in the process, and Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) took the twins and did something with them while revealing that she is actually Agatha. This week, we start by jumping back in time to Salem, Massachusetts, in 1693, where we get to see a very different witch trial take place? Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some MAJOR [SPOILERS] ahead.
There were many directions I thought this episode would go, but what I didn’t expect was that it was going to be so emotionally devastating. With the opening, I wondered if we were going to chart what Agatha had been doing from 1693 till now, but that was not the important thing. We only needed to know that she was powerful and that she stole the power/life force from the other witches, including her mother, Evanora Harkness (Kate Forbes). A witch that steals powers from other witches is a giant warning sign for what is coming next week. However, Agatha’s role was to take Wanda back in time and space and work out what made her tick in the here and now.
This means that this episode is all about Wanda and her life that led to this point, which clarified many of the questions we had been wondering up until that point by jumping through the critical moments of her life. The first was straight to her childhood, and as we saw Iryna (Ilana Kohanchi) and Olek Maximoff (Daniyar) along with young Wanda (Gabriel Gurevich) and Pietro (Michaela Russell), the first thought I had was ‘oh no’ because I knew what was coming. We know from The Age of Ultron that Wanda and Pietro spent two days under a bed as a Stark Industries bomb stood in their lounge room, always threatening to go off. So you sat there with fear and dread watching the family go about their lives with bile at the back of your through knowing that any second that bomb is going to land and kill their parents, it is hard to watch.
However, there is a lot in this short sequence that revealed a lot about this world around us in the MCU. The first of which is that Wanda had her powers even as a child. They were not the sole creation of the staff. This means that Mutants are possible already out there, or more likely, the mutant gene is sitting there in people waiting to be triggered. The next is that we know her parents’ names are Iryna and Olek, which are not her parents in other media. Sure part of this might have stemmed from that awkward moment with the MCU could have her but not mention that she was a mutant or that Magneto was her father. Or it could be that these were not her birth parents, which opens up some exciting doors for the future.
We then jumped in time to when she was under the control of Hydra, and we see her first interaction with Loki’s staff. While bathed in yellow, Wanda broke the staff apart and then gazed upon the Mind Stone. It was also the time that if the show were going to sneak in an Aaron Taylor-Johnson cameo, it would be here, so I think we can cross that off our lists for good. In an instant, this makes her connection with the stone much more powerful, there was also a blink, and you miss it cameo from someone that looked a heck of a lot like Tom Hiddleston’s Loki on the first watch, but when I watched it again, it is clear that we see a version of Scarlet Witch arrive. In this scene, it is also essential to call out Christopher Beck’s musical score that sored with strings throughout this sequence. The music has been one of the core parts of the show that has shined every week, and I am glad that we got it.
On our next trip down memory lane, we get a touching moment between Wanda and Vision in the Avenger Complex in the days after Age of Ultron, with Wanda still morning the loss of her brother. Here we see the start of their bond forming as they are both kind of alone in this new world. We also get it confirmed that Wanda uses old sitcoms as a way of coping with her grief, with a lovely shot of Malcolm in the Middle with Hal hurting himself. It needed this moment of connection because it gives the weight required for the pain that is to come. I mean “Why is grief if not love persevering” well that is a one way ticket to my feelings.
We then jump in time to almost the present day, with Wanda arriving at SWORD headquarters possible just after leaving Tony Stark’s funeral in Endgame. Here she storms up to Director Hayward’s (Josh Stamberg) office, but we get a very different turn of events as those told to us by Hayward in On a Very Special Episode…. Wanda does not do crazy and steal Vision’s body. Instead, she comes down and grieves his loss as nothing she can do will bring him back. Watching Vision splayed out like he was some horror depiction of the Vitruvian Man. While he was still a robot, you see them hack his body apart, tubes like veins exposed. It is once again diving into the world upsetting. The crucial part of this scene is that Wanda leaves, and most importantly, she leaves the body of Vision behind. This immediately makes you start asking if that is his body. Who is the Vision in The Hex?
We don’t have to wait long to get the answer. As Wanda returns to her car, where there is a note, we watch her drive across the country till she arrives at a very run down Westview, New Jersey. As she arrives at a house that did not get off the foundation, we see that the note was from Vision, who bought the house to be a home for both of them. In this moment, where the deaths of her past overwhelmed her, she explodes out with power creating the house, and town, and most importantly, she made Vision out of nothing. It is in this moment that Agatha works out who Wanda is. She is prophesied Scarlet Witch, which is the first time that name has been used in the MCU.
Agatha is there guiding us from location to location throughout this episode, but she is also giving us little hints or misdirections. The first of these is about herself and her power. We get suggestions of what she can do but not to how powerful she is. Also, as I say almost every week, how bloody amazing is Kathryn Hahn in this show. But then I have a question about Pietro (Evan Peters). In this episode, it is pretty much confirmed that he is just a puppet of Agatha, a nobody she used because he was there, which then does not bode well for Monica in last week’s mid-credits scene. However, if that was really the case, why use Evan Peters, who the audience knows is Quicksilver from the X-Men films. Also, we have seen Pietro use his speed powers out and about, and I am not sure that Agatha can fake something like that. This is what you are thinking right up until we see her hold the kids very much to ransom as we cut to black, and we see just how ruthless she is prepared to be.
Finally, this week, we get another mid-credits scene, this time with Director Hayward getting Agent Rodriguez (Selena Anduze) to start powering something up with the drone that Wanda left them. The camera pans up, and we see the body of Vision clad in all white come alive. The question is that without Vision/JARVIS, what we have here is just an empty shell that could be sent to do whatever they want. Or more menacingly, without Vision/JARVIS, is there a little part of Ultron left behind waiting to come out.
In the end, do we recommend Previously On? Yes, yes, we do. I was a little concerned when I saw the show’s title that this would just be rehashing stuff we already know. To be fair, it does kind of do that. However, it refines the past and sets us up to vault us to the final episode. This episode’s core is the emotion as we see what should be award-winning performances from Elizabeth Olsen and Kathryn Hahn play out in front of us.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of WandaVision
Directed by – Matt Shakman
Written by – Laura Donney
Created by – Jac Schaeffer
Based on – Characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas & John Buscema
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel Studios & Disney+
Starring – Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Tommy, Billy, Agnes and Pietro Maximoff as himself (Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Debra Jo Rupp & Kathryn Hahn with Julian Hilliard, Jett Klyne, Josh Stamberg, David Payton, David Lengel, Selena Anduze, Kate Forbes, Ilana Kohanchi, Daniyar, Michaela Russell & Gabriel Gurevich