Warning: This article will contain spoilers for episode 8 of WandaVision
After a week hiatus on my part due to Texas deciding to freeze over, I’m back to review the latest episode of WandaVision. This week’s episode was by far my favorite of the series and is a heavy hitter in the heart department. Before we get into this week’s episode just a quick recap of the major plot points that happened last week. Vision (Paul Bettany) now knows he died and has a relatively clear idea of what exactly is happening in Westview thanks to Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). The major twist at the end of the episode comes when Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) begins to search Agnes’ (Katheryn Hahn) house for her children, as Agnes had been watching them, and instead of the twins finds what can only be described as a witches dungeon. Agnes remarks that Wanda couldn’t have thought she was the only witch in town and introduces herself as none other than Agatha Harkness.
We were then shown a montage and musical number, which has since become a hit online, that “It was Agatha all along” showcasing Agatha’s manipulations in the events of the show. This episode begins with a flashback that gives some depth and context to Agatha. We see her being tried by her fellow witches in Salem in 1693 for abusing power above her level. Agatha is too strong, however, and absorbs the energy and magic from her accusers and walks away. This sets up just how strong, old, and truly terrifying Agatha is. We then jump to where we left off last week, as Agatha begins to interrogate Wanda about how she achieved the Westview anamoly.
Agatha explains that Pietro was all her and goes through different spells, briefly explaining what they are and showcasing them, before commenting with annoyance and confusion that what Wanda is doing passively is on a completely different level of power. Agatha needs to know how and so we begin a trip down memory, or more specifically trauma, lane. This episode hinges on multiple flashbacks throughout Wanda’s life. The event that orphaned Wanda and Pietro, Wanda’s first exposure to the Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, one of her earliest conversations with Vision at the Avengers compound after Pietro died, and her going to see Vision’s remains at the S.W.O.R.D. facility post-Endgame are all highlighted.
Each flashback serves to further flesh out Wanda as a character but also re-contextualize some events, we learn that it was Wanda’s powers that prevented the Stark industries missile from killing her and Pietro, we see that the Mind Stone didn’t grant her powers but merely brought them to the forefront. The flashbacks also give an explanation as to why Wanda has chosen to live out her fantasy life with Vision through different sitcom eras. Watching reruns of classic sitcoms with her parents was one of her favorite things to do and they were actually watching the Dick Van Dyke show when their home was destroyed. During her conversation with Vision at the Avengers Compound we see her watching Malcom in the Middle, and so it’s established that the sitcoms are a strong comfort for her.
Every flashback is packed to the brim with emotion as Elizabeth Olsen carries the episode on her shoulders. The rest of the cast, namely Hahn and Bettany, also give stellar performances as always, but this is Wanda’s episode and Olsen soars. While there may be some exposition dumps throughout I think they’re woven intricately enough and the emotional resonance of each scene is strong enough to cancel out any qualms I might have about exposition. The conversation between Vision and Wanda at the Avengers Compound is one of the most genuine conversations between characters I’ve seen in the MCU, and the dialogue was absolutely superb. The writing throughout the episode is perhaps the strongest of the season, which says a lot considering how consistently great the writing has been up to this point.
Wanda looking at Vision’s remains as he’s being literally dissected for parts and putting her hand above his head to say “I can’t feel you.” instantly brought me to tears, and it was far from the first time the episode got me to that point. Just minutes later we see Wanda driving into Westview and finding a house in early construction stages. She then pulls out a letter that was from Vision with the house marked on a map, a heart over it, and inside the heart is written “To grow old together”. They had plans to spend the rest of their lives together and it was torn away from her, the thought is too much for her to bear and she unleashes a massive wave of energy that completely transforms Westview. We finally see how the anomaly started and that it wasn’t malicious, but was a subconscious act of extreme grief. We see Wanda literally create a version of Vision from herself to fill the void she now has.
It’s only after we see how everything has come to pass that we return to the present as Agatha holds Billy and Tommy hostage on the street. “You’re supposed to be a myth, a being capable of spontaneous creation… This is chaos magic, Wanda… which makes you the Scarlet Witch.” Agatha says, as the episode ends. The explanations for Wanda’s powers are being ripped straight from the comics and it’s incredible to see. Agatha is an integral character to Wanda’s backstory and the expansion of her powers, the use of Chaos Magic and hexes is a prime plot point in the comics, and Wanda’s power stemming solely from her is key to her character. In the comics Wanda is also considered the Nexus (Nexus should sound familiar from a commercial during the Halloween episode) being of the Marvel universe, meaning she is literally the center of the Universe and holds it together.
As a die-hard Scarlet Witch and Vision fan I couldn’t be happier. This episode is drawing so much directly from the comics and is also doing wonders to explore Wanda’s character in meaningful ways. The entire cast gives standout performances as always, the production design is immaculate, the CGI is incredible, and the writing is near flawless. I truly can’t praise this episode enough for delivering on so many different levels. There’s also a crazy surprise in the mid-credits scene that I’ll wait to elaborate on next week but it has some dire implications. I’m all in for the season finale and if it keeps the momentum I think this might just be a perfect season of television.