Wandavision delves deep into Wanda’s trauma in a flashback heavy penultimate episode which takes the show in yet another interesting direction
Episode 7 of Wandavision was a mostly filler episode but its ending was the big redeeming factor. The show had previously set up Wanda as the only one in control but episode 7 pulled back the curtain on a key figure pulling the strings behind the scenes. This is Agnes who was revealed to be the witch, Agatha Harkness. Many fans had already predicted this twist even before the show aired but it nevertheless was an exciting end to the episode and a major development in the show. However, one big concern was that this would detract from the exploration of Wanda’s trauma. By pinning everything on one big bad would be disingenuous to a show which was bold enough from the start to focus on Wanda’s grief and how she acted out. Fortunately, episode 8, “Previously on Wandavision”, pivots away from the classic villain tropes. It instead takes the conflict in a different direction in a flashback heavy episode in which Wanda revisits her past and examines her trauma.
The main point that these flashbacks hammer home is that Wanda has lost everyone she ever loved. We get to see where it all started with Wanda as an innocent watching classic sitcom shows with her family. The death of Wanda’s parents was so sudden and traumatic but for Wanda, it was only the beginning. What this episode does so well is show key events at specific points of Wanda’s life. The audience can get a real sense of how Wanda’s misfortune never lets up. It would have been great if the show had managed to get Aaron Taylor-Johnson back for at least one scene this episode but everything else works so well. Wanda’s past conversation with Vision shown in the episode without a doubt goes down as one of the best MCU moments so far. Wanda opening up about her past as the pair truly connect for the first time is a perfect bittersweet moment given what the audience knows about Vision’s fate.
The flashback scenes also reveal that in fact, Wanda did not take Vision’s body from the SWORD facility. The last few episodes have set up Hayward as a villain and episode 8 completely reinforces that. There is no issue with the scenes in particular but Hayward is ultimately a poorly written, bland villain, in stark contrast to Agatha Harkness. This conflict between SWORD and Wanda is one of the weakest parts of the show. However, this episode wisely has a clear focus and does not spend too much time with SWORD. The scene where Wanda is at the SWORD facility is in fact crucial to the story. The episode clears up a lot of questions about the past and even shows Wanda travelling to Westview and creating her own reality. Wanda also created the Westview Vision using chaos magic and this, according to Agatha, has very big implications.
The Scarlet Witch
In this episode, we also find out a little bit more about Agatha. A flashback scene at the start of the episode reveals that Agatha was a witch back in the 1600s. Her fellow witches turned on her for stealing knowledge but Agatha killed every one of them and emerged as a very powerful witch. Now she has placed herself in Wanda’s life with the aim of finding out how Wanda did what she did in Westview. By the end of Wanda’s flashback sequences, Agatha knows the answer. Wanda used chaos magic to create another Vision and turn life in Westview into a sitcom. This makes Wanda a scarlet witch according to Agatha at the end of the episode. This is a major development and the show wants the audience to know that as the line is emphatically placed at the end of the episode. The Scarlet Witch is Wanda’s alias in the comics. Wandavision bringing in the comic book name is yet another indication that Wanda will become even more powerful going forward in the MCU and perhaps even reach the heights of her comic book counterpart. The reveal at the end is certainly not subtle but it has been a long time coming and should have big implications for Wanda’s future in the MCU.
Whilst the episode does have a consistent focus on Wanda, there is a mid credits tease for the upcoming Wandavision finale. There is only one episode left of Wandavision and episode 8’s mid credits scene sets a big confrontation to end the series in an explosive manner. Episode 8 revealed that Wanda had created her own Vision so the mid credits scene reveals that Director Hayward is turning the actual Vision into a weapon. Vision has been rebuilt and he now appears to be white. This is a key detail which is yet again takes inspiration from the comics. White Vision in the comics was a rebuilt Vision who no longer had feelings for Wanda. White Vision in fact had lost his human emotions and was merely an impassive machine. This surely sets up even more heartbreak for Wanda in the Wandavision finale which will likely feature White Vision being used as a weapon by Hayward. A big action sequence is probable pitting Wanda, and those on her side (perhaps Westview Vision, her children, and the SWORD defectors) against Hayward’s forces and White Vision. This is a climactic way to end Wandavision; however, for a show that has been so different from what we have seen before from the MCU, it would be great if the show ended on its own, distinct terms.
Wandavision’s episode 8 is the most focused episode yet as it delves deep into Wanda’s trauma with flashbacks showcasing the character’s entire MCU journey. The episode hits all the right emotional beats but it also pushes the story forward in important ways with only the finale left to air. Fans of the comics should be very pleased by episode 8 which takes big inspiration from the comics. Episode 8 answers most of fans’ questions and now that we know why and how Wanda created everything, the show can fully commit to wrapping everything up in a satisfactory manner in the finale. Hopefully, Wandavision can end in the same manner as it started. A unique end with a big emphasis on its characters despite the action would be the most befitting end to Marvel’s fantastic first venture into TV on Disney Plus.