by Sam Acosta
This episode of “WandaVision” is unlike any that has come before it, ditching the sitcom format for a complete focus on story. This is the Marvel we know and love, but it’s also even better. We get a look into Wanda’s past in a way we never have before, and we get a crazy preview of what might happen in the series finale. With nowhere to run and no way to fight, Wanda must face what she has been hiding from all along: her past.
We start the episode with a look into the backstory of Agnes (or as she will henceforth be known, Agatha). The opening scene takes us back to the time of the Salem witch trials, as Agatha is being chained to a stake by a group of mysterious hooded figures. She admits to being a witch, but her captors are revealed to be witches as well. Agatha has been practicing forbidden magic, and the other witches will not stand for it. They attempt to kill her, but Agatha absorbs their attacks before wiping out the entire coven, including their leader Agatha’s mother.
Fast forward to the end of last episode, and Wanda is trapped in Agatha’s basement, unable to use her magic to escape. Agatha interrogates her, trying to find out how she has been able to cast the intricate, grand spells necessary to create her fantasy world. Wanda genuinely doesn’t know the answer, so Agatha takes them through Wanda’s memories, trying to find out how exactly she got her powers in the first place.
They start with a memory from Wanda’s childhood in a war-torn Sokovia when she and her family used to watch “Dick Van Dyke” reruns to practice their English. Suddenly, a stray bomb strikes their apartment building, killing her parents and leaving Wanda and Pietro trapped in the rubble next to an undetonated Stark missile. It doesn’t go off, however, and she and her brother survive.
Agatha then skips ahead to when Wanda participated in Hydra’s research into the Mind Stone. None of the other subjects survive contact with it, but, when her turn comes, she experiences a vision of what looks like the comic-book version of her before being knocked out. Agatha comments that this incident seems to amplify her powers exponentially but that it isn’t their source.
They then move on to the Avenger’s compound, after the events of “Age of Ultron.” Here we see the beginning of Wanda and Vision’s relationship, with Wanda opening up about her grief over the loss of her brother Pietro. Finally, we move onto S.W.O.R.D. headquarters, after the events of “Endgame.” Wanda wants Vision’s body to be buried, but Director Hayward denies her request, and, after saying an emotional goodbye to Vision’s body, she leaves.
Wanda ends up going to Westview, where Vision had bought the two of them a plot of land to build a home for their future life together. Overcome with emotion, she releases a violent vortex of magic that transforms Westview into her sitcom reality, a fabricated version of Vision included.
Back in the present, Wanda comes to after hearing her kids cry out for help. She rushes outside to find Agatha holding them hostage. She explains that Wanda wields something called “chaos magic,” making her the Scarlet Witch, something Agatha previously thought to be only the stuff of legend.
The final development of this episode comes in its post-credits scene. Hayward is channeling Wanda’s energy from the Stark drone into a newly assembled Vision, but his body is a sterile white and seems more lifeless than the Vision we know and love. The scene ends with S.W.O.R.D. activating this new Vision.
The biggest takeaway from this episode is that we have seemingly been misled about the origins of Wanda’s abilities. We were told in “Age of Ultron” that her and Pietro’s powers came from the Mind Stone during their time with Hydra. It appears this was incorrect, as Agatha points out that Wanda used magic to stop the Stark missile from exploding when they were children. It seems that Wanda is, in fact, a witch born with magical powers and that those powers were amplified exponentially after her contact with the Mind Stone.
What about Agatha? I find it really hard to figure out what her role is in all of this. While she does seem to be the show’s primary antagonist, she also hasn’t really done anything to harm Wanda (except throwing her against a couple of walls early on, so there’s that). She mainly wants to know how Wanda created the Westview illusion; she isn’t out to kill Wanda but instead figure out her secret. The only issue with this theory is that there doesn’t seem to be an antagonistic threat that they can effectively set up in the final episode. Is the new Vision going to turn evil? Has Hayward been the true villain all along?
There seems to be so little time to cleanly wrap this series up. We still have so many unanswered questions. Who is the true villain of this story? What happened to Monica? Where are Jimmy and Darcy? With only one episode left, it seems like we are in for one jam-packed season finale.
Episode eight of “WandaVision” is now available to stream on Disney Plus.
Sam Acosta is a Sophomore Theatre Comprehensive Major and an A&E writer for Cedars. He likes spending his time watching movies, drinking Dr. Pepper, and writing plays.