WandaVision: Episode 9 “The Series Finale” Review

So, this is it. My final WandaVision review/recap on the blog. In case you haven’t been here for the rest, the following post includes SPOILERS and is meant to be read after watching the episode. I will, however, give you a little heads up and tell you that there are TWO post credit scenes, just so you’re prepared.
Now, let’s dive in!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

In a final battle, Wanda has to decide whether to save the town or her family. Will she make the sacrifice?

My thoughts?

I read somewhere that the creator of the show apologized before the finale aired, because they were afraid that fans would be disappointed. I get how it can come across that way, because there were some wild theories flying around, but I tried to not expect anything out of this world. I would have enjoyed many of these theories come true, but I also appreciated that the big bad of the season was what we’ve known all along – grief! And yet, we still got an epic fight scene too. Everything was very much in tune with what we had gotten so far, which is why I personally was not disappointed. By sticking to the narrative they have given us all along, I don’t see how that’s not delivering what they’ve promised?

Let’s break it down a little:

  • Agatha vs. Wanda: Agatha claimed to take power from the undeserving, although I have a feeling she just thinks everyone but her is undeserving. While Wanda was theoretically the more powerful witch, she lacked knowledge, which led to Agatha getting a couple hard blows in. She made Wanda realize that, as a hero, she would either have to pick her family or end the town’s suffering, which was now confirmed could feel Wanda’s pain and grief the entire time. The townspeople are definitely allowed to be mad at her for what she has done, but if Monica could show empathy, maybe they can forgive her too someday.
    In the end, Wanda turned the tables though and used the information Agatha gave about runes to carve them into the hex field and strip Agatha of her powers. Now, my question is: how does that not lead to a huge plothole? Ultimately, Wanda breaks her spell on Westview (more about that later), which means the hex field with the runes is gone too. So, how does that bind Agatha to her role as the nosy neighbor still?
  • Vision vs. White Vision: While they started out fighting with their fists, it quickly became a battle of the minds, when Wanda’s created Vision questioned White Visions programmed directives. Neither of them was the “true Vision” and ultimately White Vision allowed for his memories to be restored, giving him back autonomy and empathy for humanity. What does that mean for the future? We don’t know, as he was not seen again after flying off into the sky.
  • The twins: Unfortunately, the finale cleared up that the boys could not survive outside the hex either. It was heartbreaking to see their parents say goodbye as they tucked them into bed, knowing they’d never see their children again. But at least we got some fun shots of the boys messing with the military (they were born for this!) and Monica stepping in to protect them. I love to see it!
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Ralph: The huge Ralph mystery was finally cleared up. We already knew that Agatha wasn’t an original Westview resident and just took it upon herself to live in a random house there. Ralph Bohner was the original owner of that home and she claimed him as her husband, later using him to be her puppet Fietro (=fake Pietro). It’s too bad that it wasn’t an actual nod to the multiverse, but just a bit of fun messing about with us fans.
  • Monica/Jimmy/Darcy: These three remain my unsung heroes. Jimmy used his smarts to get some reinforcements from the bureau. Monica protected the boys and had a beautiful closing scene with Wanda and Darcy just plain drove her truck into Hayward’s car. It’s what that man deserved. I’m not even going to give him a separate bullet point, because he was a very boring villain and it was just nice to see him get taken away in cuffs.
  • Wanda: That girl does not get a break. I don’t understand how she is still standing, having to sacrifice everything she loves time and time again. When she made the decision to make things right for everyone but herself, my heart broke, because she keeps on losing.
    It was amazing to see her go full Scarlet Witch and to realize that she does not even understand a fraction of her power yet, but I still wished that she could have kept her family. But this is not the end of her story, even if it is the end of the show.
    I loved her arc, her exploration of grief. It gave such a human spin on a very decisively Marvel show, that usually would have felt more removed from reality. But the emotions were always grounded in something real and authentic.
credit: Marvel Studios

As I said in the very beginning, there’s TWO post-credit scenes. So, I hope you didn’t skip out on anything here. I may have expected some more “interesting” cameos in the end, but it’s still setting up some intriguing stuff:

  • First scene: In the aftermath of Westview coming free, Monica gets asked to follow an agent into the theater, where it turns out that the person is a Skrull. We know them from the Captain Marvel movie and someone (in space) wants to speak to Monica. I think the pronouns used were “he”, but I could have misheard that, so I have no clue who exactly they’re talking about. (Someone in the comments mentioned that it might be Fury? I honestly forgot about that part.) Is this a segue into Captain Marvel 2 or something for Monica herself?
  • Second scene: Wanda is in a remote cabin, studying the Darkhold (which was confirmed to be the book in Agatha’s basement). While doing so, she hears the twins call out for help to her, meaning they are still out there somewhere. Maybe our Mephisto theory is not out of the question entirely.
    I can definitely see her seeking mentorship from Doctor Strange still. Either way, seen as he is the Sorcerer Supreme and she is even more powerful than him, I gather their paths will have to cross eventually.

Ultimately, there’s some questions that remain for me in general. Who was Jimmy Woo’s person in witness protection? Where is White Vision? How is Agatha now bound to Westview? Where is she going to live considering that she has no house in town? What happened to Hayward to make him so angry at superpowered beings? Will we ever see Ralph Bohner again?
One thing is for sure, if we ever should get answers, it won’t be in a second season of WandaVision, because that is done. But many of the people are confirmed to appear in other Marvel projects and Elizabeth Olsen is currently filming Doctor Strange 2 aka the Multiverse of Madness, so … we’ll know more in a couple years!

Just because I felt like it, here are some of my favourite and most heartbreaking quotes from the episode:

“Family is forever. We could never truly leave each other, even if we tried.”

“Thanks for choosing me to be your mom.”

“You are the piece of the mind stone that lives in me.
You are a body of wires and blood and bone that I created.
You are my sadness and my hope.
But mostly you’re my love.”

“I’ve been a voice with no body. A body but not human. And now a memory made real. Who knows what I might be next?”

“We have said goodbye before, so it stands to reason …”
“We’ll say hello again.”

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What are your thoughts on the WandaVision series finale? Did you like it? Did you expect something else? Let’s talk!

Any Place But Here by Sarah Van Name (ARC Review)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count
: 336
Release Date: May 1, 2021

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: underage drinking

Any Place But Here is my first encounter with Sarah Van Name’s writing and I immediately felt drawn into the world of her characters. You meet June and Jess at an evening that feels like it could be any night of the week for them, beyond tipsy and definitely drunk, just that it’s at a school venue and things are spiraling fast after they get discovered with booze in the bathroom.

After that, no matter what June says, her parents don’t trust her anymore and send her off to live with her grandmother (lovingly called Oma, which is also what I have always called my grandmothers too) to attend an all-girls-school. In the beginning, I struggled a bit with that punishment. I understand the concern of June’s parents and the way they mostly blame it on her “friendship” with Jess, but June is literally a straight A studen and … I come from a country where the legal drinking age is 16, so I always roll my eyes a bit at American laws. Of course, there is a difference between drinking responsibly and just getting wasted and I don’t condone the reckless kind since I’m not much of a drinker myself, but it’s always a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around why it is such a huge deal. I literally had bartending classes at my school when I was 16, but I’m veering off course. This conflict sets up the rest of the novel and does so really well.

Who would want to leave behind everyone they know, including the person they care about most, to live in a town where they know no one and nothing ever happens? I can tell you that the answer is not June.

As we see the world through her eyes, it quickly becomes clear that June’s relationship with Jess was more than “just” a friendship. Whenever she speaks about her, their shared bond seems undeniable, but the longer they spend apart, the harder it becomes. And you also start to wonder what held them together in the first place. Things become even trickier when June’s new friends bring up the question of her sexuality (in an intimate and non-pressure related setting) and June has no real answer for it, especially since she finds herself drawn to one of the new acquaintances. I find it’s not often that bisexuality is explored in young adult books, but I enjoyed the way it was done here.

I have spent my fair share of time away from family and friends and I always felt like I was a different person when I came back. Sometimes I was shocked to see how much had changed in my absence, other times I found myself annoyed with the lack of change in my environment when I felt so utterly different. This book perfectly mirrored my emotions and dealt with how hard it can be to let go or fight to keep someone in your life. It’s always a decision you have to make and sometimes you don’t ultimately get what you want.

When you meet new people that enrich your day to day and you find new hobbies that bring you joy, it can be hard to arrange and combine this with your old life. Things change and so do people. Aside from this beautiful exploration of love and friendship, it was also a great but nonchalant portrayal of family. The messiness of it, but the love that was woven through all decisions really warmed my heart. Even with them being miles apart, June’s younger siblings were always present in her thoughts and the struggle with her parents was so relatable. They always made her feel like she had to compete for their approval, but when she lived with her grandmother she experienced such a different parenting style and through that could actually find things she enjoyed.

Overall, I loved being on this ride with June and seeing her find her own way. It also got me really interested in photography, which I didn’t expect, but hey, maybe I’ll find my own Sam there.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A great read about changing relationships, family and expectations. Enjoyed it a lot!


I know the release is still a while away, but could you see yourself pick up Any Place But Here? Have you had experiences with toxic relationships? Let’s talk about it!

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 …

Soulswift by Megan Bannen (Book Review)

Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Page Count
: 480

Honest question: Why has no one told me about this book before!?!?

I’m definitely not the most up to date person when it comes to book releases, but after reading the marvel that is Soulswift, I can whole-heartedly say that this book deserves more attention. I’m going to do my very best to not spoil anything for you, while still trying to convince you to pick up this book in the near future!

First off, I want to point out that Soulswift is a standalone fantasy, which is a rare bird to come across anyway (pun fully intended). So very often, you have to brace yourself for multiple volumes to release over an extended period of time to get to your conclusion, but somehow Bannen managed to pack a fully formed story, neither rushed nor dragging, into this one single book. I am in awe of that woman’s writing!

Stories about faith, even made up ones, are never easy in my opinion. There is such a fine line between religious fanaticism that feels harmful and a naivete towards the world and other beliefs that might be frustrating and annoying at times (although it didn’t feel annoying to me here), but offers great potential for growth. Bannen allowed us to draw our own conclusions, hearing different aspects and exploring the various angles. It felt very natural for the world she created and I loved that I knew that there were always going to be three sides to the belief system: Gelya’s version, Tavik’s story and the truth.

Why should I worship something that cares so little for me, or for you?

As I moved through Soulswift, I found myself attached to Gelya and Tavik more and more. Their enemies to friends to lovers dynamic and banter was endearing like nothing else, but they were also great characters on their own accords. They both have to overcome a vast amount of prejudice and yet their bond is so strong and frankly beautiful. You will weep for these characters, without a shadow of a doubt, because they are so strong and dedicated and devoted. By the end, it’s just a question of who to.

Aside from really enjoying the religious aspect, the created world and the characters, it was the small things that made this novel stand out for me. It challenged gender norms and stereotypes without throwing it in your face, but rather letting the characters question their world view through dialogue and realistic situations. For example, I cannot recall another Fantasy novel where a character got her period while on the road, which wasn’t dismissed here, but also not made into this awkward big deal. I really appreciated that!

Life and Death
All things in balance.

Why wouldn’t this book be for you?

Aside from the topic of faith, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, be it fictional or not, the ending isn’t something every reader will love either. I’m fully in the camp “a good ending doesn’t mean a happy ending”, but if you seek a story that will leave you warm and joyful, this is not it. I’m not saying it ends it utter devastation, because everything makes sense and is very beautiful in its own way, but also tragic. So very tragic and sad. I cried.

fly, little soulswift, fly

Fazit: 5/5 stars! 100% one of my new all-time favourites!!!


Could I convince you to take a look at Soulswift? Was it on your radar before? Let’s talk!

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!

WandaVision: Episode 6 “All-New Halloween Spooktacular” Review

You know the drill by now! These reviews/recaps are all full of SPOILERS and meant to be read after you have watched the episode in order not to ruin any surprises.

Disclaimer: I watched the episode and wrote this under the influence of sedatives and painkillers after my wisdom tooth removal, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

While Wanda and her newly arrived brother celebrate Halloween with the twins, Vision does some investigation of his own. In the meantime, Monica, Darcy and Jimmy get kicked off the S.W.O.R.D. site.

My thoughts?

I loved that the recap for the episode clearly showed how Quicksilver is supposed to look, just in case anyone missed the change in cast the last time. But even more so, I enjoyed the very Malcolm-in-the-Middle-intro and the twins narrating their day, just like Malcolm would have – we have arrived in the 90s!

The setting being Halloween, offered the possibility for so many easter eggs, aside from the fact that the first Vision and Scarlet Witch comic book issues took place around that time of the year. Everyone, including the twins, who have just discovered their powers (Speed and Wiccan confirmed – yay!), got a chance to show off their retro comic book outfits in the guise of the festivities.

credit: Marvel Studios

As I mentioned above, I am a little under the weather, so I am gonna try and keep my observations brief. Let’s once again start with what’s happening outside of Westview:

  • We don’t know Hayward’s backstory, but he really lost all faith in Earth’s “heroes” after the snap it seems. Why he would be allowed to head an organisation that mainly deals with non-normal individuals, I do not know, but he seems very bitter – leading him to kick out our favourite new trio (Monica, Jimmy and Darcy) after they’ve clearly stated their allegiance to Wanda.
  • Who else was pleasantly surprised by Jimmy Woo’s fighting skills? Just me? Okay.
  • As Monica, Jimmy and Darcy continue their investigation on their own and learn that Hayward is hiding the extent of knowledge he has about the hex area, Monica again mentions someone who will help her out with a vehicle that can get them into the area. I can’t help but wonder if we get to look forward to another fun cameo.
  • Monica being inside the anomaly has altered her DNA on a molecular level – will this be the trigger for her superpowers and turn her into Spectrum or whatever iteration they choose?

Obviously, there was something else and very important happening, but let’s get into that in the next section.

credit: Marvel Studios

Now, what has been happening inside Westview:

  • There are now children in Westview! We still don’t know where they were kept this entire time, but my theory that the adults were playing along “for the children” (as mentioned in episode 3) could work. Then again, we did find out that Wanda kept families and couples together when she created her own world.
  • I am so confused about Pietro Maximoff! He does seem to have some of the MCU’s Pietro’s memories as well as the same look when he uses his powers. However, his personality does seem to be closer to the X-Men one. But, what if he is neither?
    The longer I watched him, the more I could see him being someone different entirely (Mephisto? Nightmare? Both of them combined??). He does call the twins demon spawns, which might seem like a fun joke, but would be a fitting reference to Mephisto. Also, he just knows too much? Whenever Wanda tests or questions him, he does seem to have an answer. His “jokes” are often cruel, which does not feel fitting to either iteration of Quicksilver, and most of all he didn’t think there was anything ethically wrong with what Wanda was doing, he just wanted to know how she did it.
    Also, during one of the 4th wall breaks of the twins, he looked directly at Billy (maybe he is not affected by the TV world constraints?). His interest in the twins in general is a bit disconcerting if he isn’t who he claims to be.
  • If you noticed Wanda and Pietro saying “Kick-Ass” is a noticeable way, it’s probably because Aaron Taylor-Johnson as well as Evan Peters were in that movie and it was a really nice nod to both of them.

Ad Break: This ad was very strange and morbid. A kid on a desolate island gets Yo-Magic yogurt from a shark, but due to being too weak and hungry, can’t open it and dies. This could have several meanings, one is that the people who are not close to Wanda’s magic (e.g. those living at the edge of town, barely moving) are bound to die OR that someone is feeding off of Wanda’s magic (because she felt all alone in the world after Vision passed).
The definite meaning is still unclear, but I did notice a trend with each ad, which is that they all focus on a different infinity stone. If my theory is right, we’d have one more stone to go.

  • toaster: looks like Visions head therefore the mind stone?
  • Strücker watch: time stone?
  • Hydra Soak: soap is a blue cube like the teseract – space stone?
  • paper towels: red liquid reminiscent of the reality stone?
  • lonely island with skeleton (Red Skull on Vormir) – soul stone?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • While Wanda is off testing Pietro and spending Halloween with the kids, Vision gets to the outer edges of town and sees that people are looping there, barely moving and visibly in pain. He also encounters Agnes there, who got lost on the way to the town square and got stuck as well.
    When Vision let’s her real persona surface, she asks if he is here to help as part of the Avengers, which he doesn’t remember, and then reminds him of his own fate. He eventually lets her return to her TV persona, but is ever more determined to help the people of Westview.
  • Vision ultimately ends up crossing Wanda’s border. When he exits the force field, he struggles to move forward and gets pulled back and falls to his knees. The imagery is very similar to when Wanda had to destroy the mind stone in Infinity War, killing Vision in the process. Both times, Wanda’s powers are the cause of his demise.
  • S.W.O.R.D. just stands by as Vision gets torn apart, cuffing Darcy rather than letting her help. When Billy’s powers get triggered by his father’s pain and he lets his mother know about what is happening, it is clear how little Wanda cares for this current version of Pietro – throwing him across town square when he tries to interfere. She then, likely due to a lack of time, doesn’t go to Vision and pulls him in, but rather expands the border of the town to include him and in the process also the S.W.O.R.D. operational site (which funnily enough turned into a circus with clowns and everything).
credit: Marvel Studios

The implications of the town/hex field expanding once again open up so many new possibilities. Will this be a strain on Wanda’s powers, as she has to stay in control of ever more people? Did Monica and Jimmy escape the expansion or are they now sucked in like Darcy? Will Darcy maybe get powers too? So many new questions!

I think it’s fair to say that the stakes are getting higher with each episode. We only have three more to go in the series and, at least I don’t, have a clue what is going to be the resolution to it all, but I am excited to find out!

PREVIOUS WANDAVISION REVIEWS


What did you think of this episode? Are you as excited for next week as me? Let’s talk!

WandaVision: Episode 5 “On a Very Special Episode …” Review

I know I say this at the beginning of every WandaVision post, but better safe than sorry! This is a reminder that the following review heavily includes SPOILERS and is meant to be read after watching the episode!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Inside Westview, Wanda and Vision struggle as new parents, especially as Vision’s suspicions grow. Meanwhile outside Westview, the assembled team comes closer to finding ways to communicate with people inside the anomaly. 

My thoughts?

After last week, it was clear that we could not simply go back to the sitcom style of the first episodes. We now knew too much and therefore, I quite enjoyed the split perspective of seeing both worlds/storylines unfold. On the one hand, we are now squarely in the 80s, but with an ever fracturing facade, and on the other hand, the S.W.O.R.D. agents outside of Westview are doing their best to figure out what happened and how to free the townspeople. It’s very clear that one of my new favourite trios (Monica, Darcy and Jimmy) are not as judgmental and hostile towards Wanda and still believe that this was not premeditated, whereas the current director of S.W.O.R.D. believes her to be an imminent threat. That can only backfire …

I found it a bit hard to sort through my thoughts this time, so I will share my observations and a summary of what we learned outside of Westview first:

  • We have now learned that things from the time period Wanda’s show currently takes place, can go into the anomaly unchanged. Why you would send a drone with a missile to strike Wanda without really engaging in any other way first is beyond me, but hey, I am not in charge of S.W.O.R.D.
  • At one point, Wanda actually leaves Westview to return the (now damaged) drone and is welcomed by a lot of guns pointed at her. I feel like, for the first time in a while, her accent was really strong in this scene. She was dressed the way she used to be as an avenger, seemingly not in her 80s outfit, even though Monica kept her sitcom clothes when she left town. Wanda made it very clear that she is not about to give up on what she has created and that her powers are still in full effect.
  • Wanda stormed the S.W.O.R.D. headquarters to get Vision’s body nine days prior to our current time in the show. I don’t quite understand why she would not be allowed to have his remains, even if his last wish included that he didn’t want to be used as a weapon. I cannot imagine Wanda ever using Vision in a way like that. The fact that he was in a laboratory and not a safe or something suggests to me that they were not honoring his wishes at the agency anyway …
  • When someone mentioned Captain Marvel in front of Monica, she suddenly became real cagey. I can’t help but wonder what happened there?
  • As mentioned above, there’s a sort of schism forming inside the team tasked to handle the Westview matter. Some people still believe in Wanda, whereas others just want to get rid of her.
  • I thought it was a fun little play with the dialogue, when Darcy called Hayward a dick just as he called Wanda a terrorist, the two words being spoken at the same time, making it sound like he could be part of the real danger.
credit: Marvel Studios

Now, let’s talk a little bit about what is happening inside Westview! First of all, the twins kept growing as rapidly as they did inside the womb. First they are babies, then five years old and suddenly they are ten. They seem to have a modicum of power over their growth, however, were apparently immune to Wanda’s attempt at using her magic on them when she wanted to get them to sleep as babies.

Even more notable though is the fact that no one seems to care about the strange things that happen in the WandaVision household. No one mentions anything odd about the twins growing up so fast, or being there in the first place. Especially Wanda herself becomes quite reckless with using her powers in front of the townspeople (mostly Agnes), which makes Vision feel very uncomfortable.

Again, we learned quite a lot here, so, I am trying to gather my thoughts in a hopefully conclusive way. So, here are my “inside Westview” observations:

  • Several people have now openly mentioned that Wanda is in charge. Whether it be the mailman assuring the twins that Wanda would not let their beloved dog stray far, because she is in control, or Agnes openly asking if she should redo a take, because it wasn’t quite right. It seems people really are aware what is happening to them, but maybe because of the pain the spell seems to bring along (Monica described it as being drowned/held down by grief) keeps them playing along.
  • 5 episodes in and despite Agnes (which I still believe stands for AGatha harkNESs) mentioning her husband Ralph, we still have not seen him? Who is he? Where is he?
  • In the comics, Vision actually has a dog called Sparky too (he is a synthezoid). The dog belonged to the neighbors, but died by digging up the Grim Reaper. That would be the second time that the show made a reference to the Grim Reaper, because in episode 3, Agnes wore a brooch that eerily looked like it featured the character on it if you looked really close.
  • Vision isn’t the only one questioning their reality, as the twins keep finding holes in Wanda’s logic as well, when days didn’t add up.
  • Throughout the entire episode, Wanda tries to teach her fast-growing boys some life lessons, including the following (slightly rephrased):
    • “Taking care of a living things is a big responsibility”
    • “You can’t run away from grief by aging up”
    • “You cannot reverse death”
  • All of those life lessons seem very relevant to Wanda’s situation and hugely contradictory to what we believe to know (and yes, I just phrased it like that deliberately, because what do we really know for a fact?).
  • But back to Vision, he actually made quite the significant discoveries this episode! At work, they now have computers, which seem to get interference/e-mails from the outside world, as he manages to read a report from Darcy about the Maximoff anomaly and the radiation. It prompts him to question Norm, letting his true self surface for a brief moment. I was a bit surprised he could do that, but then I never fully grasped the extent of Vision’s powers … especially considering that he technically doesn’t have the mind stone anymore.
  • Vision later confronts Wanda, asking why she is doing this to the people of Westview, what is outside of town and why there are no other children besides their twins. All very valid and observant questions, because I didn’t notice that there were no other kids around, which is suspicious considering the whole “for the children” fundraiser a couple episodes back.
    He also made it clear to Wanda that she couldn’t control him, which she threateningly questioned, but later assured him that she wasn’t behind all of this. The thing is, I believe her? Wanda can lie for sure and Elizabeth Olsen is a fantastic actress, but in that moment, I honestly thought she was telling the truth. And then the doorbell rang and she again said this wasn’t her doing. I am still in shock of what happened next.
credit: Marvel Studios

Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff is BACK! The funniest thing in that moment was Darcy proclaiming “Wanda recast Pietro?”, when we as an audience know that Evan Peters is ALSO Quicksilver, just in the X-Men franchise. This further strengthens my theory that we are already dealing with the multiverse at the moment. Wanda didn’t seem perplexed by Evan as Pietro, but just by the fact that he was here and alive in front of her. This is a huge maybe, but maybe we are dealing with more than one Wanda? Endgame messed up a lot of timelines and worlds, it was bound to have repercussions eventually. I adore how many new possibilities this opens up and that we might one day get a similar scene to this again:

We are back with another ad! This time it was for Lagos paper towels, suggesting they clean up any mess you make. Clearly, Wanda has created quite the mess now, but this was a heavy reference to her mission in Lagos where she accidentally killed several civilians and relief aid workers by redirecting an explosion too close to a building. It caused her severe distress at the time, questioning the destructive nature of her powers, while also causing one of the major discussions about the jurisdiction and accountability of the Avengers as a whole (ultimately leading to the Sokovia accords).

This was actually one of the longest episodes so far and I really think that WandaVision has found its groove with its pacing. You keep learning new things, but you are never overwhelmed with information. As the plot thickens, I am curious to find out what is truly going on, because I think we have only scratched the surface.

PREVIOUS WANDAVISION REVIEWS


Before I leave you here with a lot to think about, I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to watch and review next week’s episode in as timely of a manner as I did so far. Unfortunately, I am not sure I will make it on Friday at all, but I hope you will still stop by once I do (and that I will be able to avoid any potential spoilers until I can enjoy it myself)!


What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you excited for next week? Only four more episodes to go!

January 2021 Wrap-Up

January was A MONTH for me. I refuse to go into detail, but it literally got worse than 2020, which, frankly, I thought was hard to accomplish. Unfortunately, most of February and possibly March will be tainted with struggle as well. I only have my fingers crossed for the summer, because there is a limit to my patience, but it is what it is for now. I just genuinely hope you all had a better time.

I also dragged myself through only two books, so, I didn’t read that much, but that’s for now not a real worry:

Don't Tell a Soul    My Year Abroad

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

I don’t really know what to tell you about the month, because the highs were high and the lows were low. I am so very grateful to have friends and family who keep checking in with me, because sometimes things just aren’t easy and even if we all know we can’t actually do anything about it, venting helps. I am not going to unload here as well, but know that everyone who comes and visits this blog and gives me something to do and distract myself with has my utmost gratitude. 

After a long, long pause from writing, I have finally returned to that world again too. I want to keep the WIP close to my heart, but I have jotted down more than 7K words and will be rewriting the ones I have before continuing on. It’s like I am creating a very detailed outline for what I want the readers to know, just to take it all apart and write into something that isn’t just a plain info dump.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

WandaVision. I have waited so long. I have anticipated that show for what feels like eternity, because Wanda Maximoff has always been one of my favourite characters and she’s finally getting the attention she deserves. I adore that even non-Marvel fans are checking out the show and letting themselves get dragged into the madness. Below you will find the list of reviews I have written for the series so far and I will continue to post weekly, spoiler-filled posts as the remaining episodes release.

A little stylized Wanda drawing I made!

Duskwood finally released the new episode!! I have talked about the mobile game before (check it out here) and it’s still one of my favourite things. I feel like this episode wasn’t as intricate as the previous one, but it once again left on a massive cruel cliffhanger. Here’s to hoping it won’t take another two months until we get new content.

MY OTHER POSTS

WANDAVISION REVIEWS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


Hope you had a better January than I did! On we venture into the rest of 2021! 

My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee (eARC Review)

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Page Count
: 496
Release Date: February 2, 2021

Further synopsis taken from Goodreads:

In the breathtaking, “precise, elliptical prose” that Chang-rae Lee is known for (The New York Times), the narrative alternates between Tiller’s outlandish, mind-boggling year with Pong and the strange, riveting, emotionally complex domestic life that follows it, as Tiller processes what happened to him abroad and what it means for his future. Rich with commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism, global trade, mental health, parenthood, mentorship, and more, My Year Abroad is also an exploration of the surprising effects of cultural immersion–on a young American in Asia, on a Chinese man in America, and on an unlikely couple hiding out in the suburbs. Tinged at once with humor and darkness, electric with its accumulating surprises and suspense, My Year Abroad is a novel that only Chang-rae Lee could have written, and one that will be read and discussed for years to come.

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: parental abandonment, suicidal ideation, mental illness, forced labor, forced sexual intercourse, sex work

Let’s get it out of the way. Unfortunately, I was not the right reader for this book.

I had been very eager to pick up this novel, because of my own experiences abroad. Be it during my formative High School years or later on in life, every time I went to a different country for a longer period of time, I learned something about the world, about people and most importantly myself. No matter where I stayed, it changed me and taught me valuable lessons. I cherish those experiences and thought it would be a great connection to this story. But no matter how hard I tried, I constantly found myself losing interest.

Told between alternating timelines of now and the adventure that got Tiller to his present situation, I couldn’t always quite make the connection between the different scenarios. I felt that the story was disjointed and didn’t evoke the emotional effect I had hoped for. The journey abroad and its aftermath were so important, yet Tiller doesn’t even leave his country until about 40% into the book.

While everything Tiller describes has a purpose, it’s still hard to follow him as he finds value in situations you wish he had never gotten into. I don’t think anything ever goes smoothly when you set out for something potentially life-changing, but where he found himself along the way was among the worst that could happen. There are some clear themes around parenthood, taking action (which Tiller does very late in the book, mostly being an inactive protagonist who things happen to rather than someone who makes things happen – but that’s all part of the journey!) kinship and the privilege of certain opportunities. And yet, I still couldn’t always grasp the fondness for certain people and experiences I would have rather never thought of ever again, while Tiller had them on the highest of pedestals.

Ultimately, I think that this style of writing just wasn’t for me. I can see many literary fans rejoicing in the details, but I found myself drifting off mid-sentence as the descriptions became ever more elaborate and lengthy. In general, this book was just too long, offering pages of minute details of various foods and drinks or other things, just information on top of information, but not the connection to me as a reader I really sought. I am certain others will be able to appreciate Lee’s craftsmanship and skill more than I could. 

Fazit: 2/5 stars! Unfortunately, My Year Abroad failed to capture me.


Have you spent some time abroad? What was it like for you? Can you see yourself picking up a book like this?

WandaVision: Episode 4 “We Interrupt This Program” Review

Once again, I’d like to reiterate that this review of mine is filled with SPOILERS and should only be read after having watched the episode! Proceed at your own risk.

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

In a look back, it is revealed how S.W.O.R.D. and other organisations are involved with the monitoring of Westview and the information they have learned.

My thoughts?

This was definitely a change of pace. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the disruption of the storytelling style, but I can understand why they wanted to provide background information as well as a different perspective.

First of all, we learn that Monica Rambeau was one of the people who were snapped out of existence by Thanos. Upon her return, she discovers that Maria Rambeau, her mother and vital founding member of S.W.O.R.D., had passed in her absence because of cancer. Despite the heartbreaking news, she returns to work right away, although being grounded and only cleared for terrestrial cases. This puts her in the way of Jimmy Woo (former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who now works for the FBI and who we have met previously in Ant Man and the Wasp), who is looking for a missing person, someone who is in witness protection.

That person was supposed to be in Westview, a town no one knows or remembers. The 3,892 people inside forgotten by everyone they once knew … except that Jimmy does remember the missing person. And he can also see the town, just like Maria. It is not clarified why they aren’t affected by the selective amnesia, except for not having a personal connection to the town.
In an attempt to investigate, Maria gets sucked into Westview, prompting S.W.O.R.D. to step in and hiring a couple experts. Enter Doctor Darcy Lewis (known from Thor), who finds the broadcasting waves that let the agents watch the Wanda and Vision show.

credit: Marvel Studios

In general, I feel like this episode answered a lot of question, even if it opened up some new ones in the process. We now know that things/people that pass the threshold to Westview forget who they are (except for rare moments of lucidity) and get transformed to fit into whatever time period is currently the most recent one.
We also have confirmation of Wanda’s awareness of the situation. Not only did we get to see how exactly she threw Geraldine/Monica out of town, but we also see her reassuring Vision that she has “everything under control”. As sinister as that already sounded, it is yet again verified when Monica comes back to herself and tells S.W.O.R.D. “It’s Wanda. It’s all Wanda.”

One of the things I adored was that Jimmy Woo had pretty similar questions to those we as viewers had the past couple of weeks as well. Let’s take a look at what he put on the whiteboard:

  • Why hexagonal shape? – good question! That shape has been present everywhere and could be an indication of so many different things. Is it just hex as in magic? Does it have something to do with Hive? All still very unclear.
  • Why sitcoms? – they sure are entertaining, but why indeed? With their silly logic and happy world, they might just be a comfort for Wanda. Who knows?
  • Why the different decades? – this is similarly unclear as the previous question. However, S.W.O.R.D. also asked themselves whether the broadcast was live, which I could not tell. It was hard to know how much time had passed outside of Westview and if they saw more/less than what we did. It seemed to me like they only had access to “episode 1” for a long time before things changed, but I could be wrong about that.
  • Is Vision alive? – I think the answer here is no. For a brief moment, we saw Wanda acknowledge that Vision’s death happened, but it wasn’t enough to startle her back to reality. I think, in part, this just might have made her more determined to stay in Westview and keep everything neat and tidy, especially after Vision suggested they could always leave. However, he does seem to question the world they are living in, which might hint at part of his mind having been preserved before Thanos took the mind stone from him. Otherwise, why would Wanda allow him to question the perfect little world she made for them?
credit: Marvel Studios

All in all, I believe this episode might not have been as much for the casual viewer as previous ones. It required a lot of information on what had happened in the Marvel universe before and if you wanted any kind of connection to the characters introduced, you would have had to watch a variety of movies (from Ant Man and Captain Marvel to Thor) to have known them from before. I personally love the connection to all those previous works, but I am still not sure how I feel about the POV change. If it’s only for this episode, I think I can live with it, but it was still quite the info dump buffer episode.

If you have missed my previous reviews, you can check them out here:


How was this episode for you? Did it catch you off guard or did you enjoy it? Let’s chat!