WandaVision: Episode 8 “Previously On” Review

I hope by episode 8, you kind of know how things work on here, but just in case this is your first time stopping by (hi, by the way!), the following post is intended to be read after watching the show, because it includes SPOILERS! (If you haven’t seen it yet and you can, watch it with tissues!)

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Agatha takes Wanda on a trip down memory lane to discover how the Westview anomaly was created.

My thoughts?

When WandaVision calls an episode “Previously On”, they do not mess around. For the longest time, we have been waiting to find out what happened, how Wanda got into Westview and how the hex started. Well, this episode delivered in every possible way.

Before we get into Wanda’s history though, we learned a bit more about Agatha. The episode starts all the way back in Salem in the year 1693. You might presume that it’s part of the witch trials, with last week’s reveal about Agnes/Agatha’s real identity, but on the contrary. Agatha isn’t on trial because she is a witch, she is trialed by her coven sisters because she is using dark magic. In an intriguing show of power, she absorbs her coven members energy, remaining the sole survivor instead of the victim, showing that despite her claims of wanting to be good, she has great potential for evil. As a final act before stepping away from the corpses, she grabs the (to us) now all too well known brooch from her mother’s coat.

Fast forward a couple centuries to modern day Westview and Agatha is still as power hungry as ever. She is amazed and intrigued by Wanda’s sheer power, but also confused by her lack of knowledge and training. Agatha is sure that Wanda is a witch too, an unwilling one who doesn’t want to share her secrets, but a witch nonetheless. So, in order to learn how she created the Westview hex in a matter of moments, when it took Agatha ages to learn even simple transformation spells, they start exploring Wanda’s memory (again, unwillingly, since Agatha is holding the twins hostage).

credit: Marvel Studios

What follows is a walk through the years, bits and pieces of Wanda’s life that shaped her. A lot of Marvel fans know about these moments, as they have been discussed in previous movies, but they have never been shown with such detail. While I understand that maybe not everyone was interested in seeing this breakdown of her life, I think it was necessary to portray that the true villain in Wanda’s life is grief and her inability to deal with it and/or catch a break from it. Let’s take a look at what we learned:

  • We start with Wanda’s childhood in Sokovia. They didn’t have much, but they were a happy little family, finding an escape in Western media while being on the brink of war themselves. This is what confirmed where Wanda’s love for sitcoms comes from – nothing bad ever happens in them, or at least it’s all good by the end of the episode. The trauma from hiding under a bed for two days because they thought the Stark Industries missile would go off, while the TV was still running in the background was powerful imagery. The loss of her parents in the process the start of all of Wanda’s grief.
    Agatha already suspects that Wanda had powers at that age, but if so, they were dormant and didn’t have anything to do with the missile not going off.
  • Next comes the Hydra complex that gave Wanda her powers. Her and Pietro were the only ones who could survive the tests, even if no one in the facility understood why. When faced with the infinity stone, she saw her future self (at least it looked like a typical Wanda costume) and it awakened and amplified her internal powers. Since Pietro is not a witch though and also gained powers, it could mean that the infinity stone triggers latent mutant genes? Just like Wanda’s magic (fueled by the infinity stone) triggered Monica’s powers? If we are going by the comics, this is a wrong assumption, as Wanda and Pietro are not technically mutants, but the MCU has treated their backstory differently, so who really knows?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • After losing her brother, Vision was her comfort at the Avengers complex. I found Wanda’s accent to be very slight in that particular memory, considering that the Sokovian incident had just happened and she was still new to the team, but memories can trick you like that, I suppose. I always adored their little moments in the Avengers movies and this was another example of why their interactions are so precious. Vision could pull her back from the brink of despair, which is foreshadowing for why losing him as well was so harrowing for her.
  • The next memory seemed like the most key one to me. Hayward has spun this narrative of Wanda going on a bender and stealing Vision’s corpse, when none of that is the truth. He LET her into the S.W.O.R.D. headquarter, he denied her simple request of giving Vision a proper funeral and antagonized her by insinuating that she had ulterior motives. Vision is nothing but a weapon to him and I did not appreciate his tone towards Wanda.
    But what is most important is, Wanda left without Vision’s body. She was distraught at seeing him dismantled, but when she touched him, she couldn’t feel him. Another beautiful and heartbreaking callback to Infinity War, where both Wanda and Vision stated that the magic/powers of the other could never hurt them, because they always said “I only feel/see you”. But now, there was nothing of her Vision left to feel. If your heart didn’t break at that, I don’t even know what to say.
    Afterwards, she calmly left, the footage of her going rampage in the lab clearly being faked. Instead, she went to Westview, where Vision had previously bought property for them to grow old on. I wish they had had a chance to do that. As she drives through town, we see the many faces of the “characters” of her own sitcom, the real citizens of Westview. The town is quaint, but it’s just a town, nowhere near the paradise we got to see before. And then Wanda can’t hold in her grief any longer and she does not just create her perfect little world, but she also creates Vision – a massive show of power and another answer to one of our many questions! Vision’s corpse is not pupeteered by Wanda, instead she re-made him.
credit: Marvel Studios

It’s only after that display that Agatha finally lets her leave this maze of memories. It’s the cries for help from her twins that bring Wanda back to reality, her children the one thing she still cares about more than anything. They are held hostage as Agatha says the words I have waited for for the longest time! We finally, finally, finally get the official name reveal for Wanda, when Agatha explains that the power Wanda possesses should be impossible. It should be nothing more than a myth. But Wanda wields chaos magic and that makes her a SCARLET WITCH!!!

credit: Marvel Studios

I hear the people who think this episode included a lot of information that was already previously covered in the movies, but when did we ever get a chance to see it with Wanda’s eyes? To feel her pain penetrating ever cell of our bodies, drowning us in the sadness she feels with her? I thought that this was an incredible show of how powerful emotions can be. How dangerous they are if not dealt with. Even Agatha said that Wanda was dangerous and that woman was holding kids hostage while saying that.
But is Agatha really a villain? In the opening scene, she said she could not control these dark powers when she pleaded with her coven. Maybe, in the years since, she found a way to control it and is now not willing to let another powerful witch go rampage on the world. While she was accompanying Wanda through her memories, she was sympathetic, albeit still very straight forward with her comments. She seemed more curious in figuring out what she was dealing with rather than wanting to do any of this herself. Sometimes it even sounded like a tinge of worry for Wanda. I’m sure it will be resolved like many other things next episode.

Now that we know real magic is involved, it seems all the more logical to have a Doctor Strange appearance in the finale, ultimately tying this show to the Multiverse of Madness. I cannot wait!

Lastly, it looks like post-credit scenes are back for good! Once again, I just really want to punch Hayward, because he is such a massive liar. All this time, he had Visions body. All this time, he made Wanda out to be the villain when he was truly the evil one. Bringing the Vision’s body back online worries me. It can’t have his mind, that’s in Westview with Wanda … I think? Who’s to say that Hayward has any kind of control over this version of the Vision’s body? Danger lies ahead.
It also eerily feels like all those theories thinking that Hayward is Ultron or controlled by him make sense. His animosity after Wanda’s betrayal understandable, his lack of faith in humanity and heroes also very on brand. It would be in tune with the animated version, so I’m curious to see if that will actually be true.

credit: Marvel Studios

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What did you think of this week’s episode of WandaVision? Can you believe that we only have one more to go? I will be devastated when the show ends …

WandaVision: Episode 7 “Breaking the Fourth Wall” Review

Here comes the obligatory warning that the following post does in fact include SPOILERS, so if you haven’t been able to watch the episode yet, I recommend you return afterwards. Here we go!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Wanda starts to loose grip on her universe after expanding it, while Monica tries to reenter the hex to help everyone inside before Hayward does something drastic.

My thoughts?

If this episode wasn’t a mix of Modern Family and The Office, then I don’t even know. I guess we are through all the decades now? It should be interesting what the theme of next week will be, as I do believe we have now reached the end of Wanda’s broadcasting era. I was a little disappointed to see that the episode wasn’t longer though, because there was an announcement that the last three episodes would be an hour long, but I am happy about whatever WandaVision content I can get and it was obviously going to end on a cliffhanger anyway, since we are in the final stretches of the show.

Still, this episode had some reveals that a lot of us had guessed for a while, which may not seem super exciting to most, but it was the big set up for the grand finale. I don’t think it was the best episode of the season, but I also thought that the reveals were well done. There’s grief, pain and still a lot of fight left in our characters to explore.

I’m going to keep the “outside Westview” thoughts really brief, because as we know from last time, most of it has been absorbed into the hex now.

  • Hayward is still hellbent on destroying Wanda at all costs. He really does not grow on me.
  • Before Darcy got sucked into the hex though, she managed to decode his file, which had the codename Cataract. Fun fact: cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye that leads to the decrease of vision, hence it being a really apt name for Hayward’s plan to use Vision’s corpse as a weapon for S.W.O.R.D. (which was explicitly against his wishes and I knew they were doing something sketchy in that lab).
  • Monica’s engineer friend (Major Goodner doesn’t mean anything to me, but she did know Monica’s mother and seems loyal to her) brought a whole space rover, but the border was too strong and Monica (against Jimmy’s protests) went into the anomaly by herself, ultimately activating her powers/mutant genes (which makes her and the twins the first official mutants in the MCU)
    I have no idea by what name she will go by (Spectrum, Photon, Pulsar, …), but her abilities allow her to transform herself and perceive any and all kinds of energy and light, which is why her vision changed, she wasn’t affected by the hex and could withstand Wanda’s blast to a degree.
    Either way, Monica was the star of the episode! Confronting her own grief and memories led to her only getting stronger and I think she really made an impact on Wanda, if only a certain someone hadn’t inserted herself.
credit: Marvel Studios

Poor Wanda. Just when she wants a day for herself, it becomes abundantly clear just how little control she has over Westview. She was really on the brink of giving in to life just being meaningless, letting her grief and depression almost reach a peak. Here are my observations about what’s happening inside the hex:

  • First of all, Darcy’s transformation to an escape artist was odd. It makes sense with her being cuffed before the transformation and wanting to help vision “escape” when he tried to exit town, but still. While I did enjoy her teaming up with Vision and filling him in on his history, ultimately making him understand why Wanda is grieving and maybe acting irrationally, I thought there was much more that could have been done with her character. Darcy Lewis is so funny and always secretly wanted a guest spot on the show, but this was kind of meh to me.
  • So, the world is definitely glitching and while it could have been jotted down to Wanda having used up too much of her powers or just losing control in general, I think it was pretty apparent in this episode that she just plain wasn’t the puppeteer people had made her out to be.
credit: Marvel Studios

Ad Break: I’m not sure my theory from last week about the ads reflecting the infinity stones really pans out here, because none of this screamed Power Stone to me. Anyway, the commercial seemed pretty straight forward, addressing Wanda’s state of depression, wanting to be left alone and escaping to your own reality. The name for the anti-depressant, Nexus, was well chosen. In the Marvel universe, the nexus is the interdimensional gateway between all realities, once again heavily referencing the multiverse. Wanda is also a Nexus being, which means she can open portals etc.

  • I adore the twins, but especially Billy! My little Wiccan always wants to take care of his mom, even when he hears a bunch of voices and noise in his head. Interesting to note was that he was the first one to pick up that Agnes was “quiet”, meaning she could deflect his powers. But where are the twins now? I do worry about them. Which leads me to the next point and probably main reveal of the episode.
  • Children once again have been an underlying theme throughout the episode. They appeared to stall Darcy and Vision, but usually are absent from town. There was also a missing child visible on the milk carton (that kept going through it’s glitches of different decade-styles) and with the twins now also being nowhere to be seen or heard, it seems quite difficult not to think it has a meaning.
  • After Monica confronted Wanda, Agnes took her home to calm her down. When Wanda inquired about her boys, Agnes said they were in the basement, so that’s where Wanda went and it was so apparent that something was going to go down. The music became sinister again and as Wanda progressed, the aspect ration changed to the one usually used for scenes set in reality outside of the hex. I love that the continued use of aspect ratios and sound has given each era and scene an identifiable look and vibe.
    In the “basement” Agnes finally, finally reveals that she is indeed the much suspected Agatha Harkness and behind all the misdeeds that happened in town. Now, who is the person working with her though? Is the book she’s having the Darkhold? Is it maybe the book that has gone missing/was stolen from The Ancient One’s library in Doctor Strange, tying him into the storyline again?
credit: Marvel Studios

I know I say this pretty much every week, but what a gamechanger! I adore that WandaVision still keeps upping the stakes, even though a lot of us guessed that Agnes would be Agatha Harkness. It’s not so much about the surprise of it all as it is about the repercussion this knowledge has. The revelation still worked and added great tension for what’s to come. After all, it doesn’t look like Agnes/Agatha is working alone either.

credit: Marvel Studios

ALSO, I hope none of you clicked away before our first post-credit scene of the season! We see Monica snooping around Agnes’ house and finding the entry to the basement, just to be caught by “Pietro”. Is he the infamous and never seen Ralph? And who is Ralph really? “Snoopers are gonna snoop”, so we shall find out!

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How are you feeling about this episode? Are you looking forward to or dreading the end of WandaVision? Let’s talk!