Episode 8 premiered this Friday on February 26th, 2021, finally tying up loose ends and giving us a much more broader view of Westview’s true origins. Wanda displays levels of grief that have never been seen before in an MCU production, and I must say, it is gripping to watch her deal with such trauma and guilt. The episode can be labeled as a recap, giving us a much more intricate view of why and how Wanda created this pocket universe. We see why Wanda’s reality is classified under a sit-com style, how she did it, and why she decided to do something so shocking to the town of Westview. It’s a lot to take in —especially that post-credits scene— so buckle up and grab something to eat as we breakdown Episode 8, titled, “Previously on.”
The Salem Witch trials in Massachusetts during the ‘1600s bring us to the origin of Agatha’s mischievous abilities. Betraying her sisterhood, Agatha is sent to be executed for mingling with some form of the Dark Arts, which is against the moral guideline of her community. During her execution, Agatha overpowers her executioners, killing them in the process. She takes the leaders’ heirloom as a trophy for her malicious crimes, proving that we are seeing a much more different Agatha than we see in most of her appearances. It also reveals how the magic side of the MCU outreached any of our expectations back when it first appeared in Doctor Strange. This gives us much more insight into how far back in the past and how violently magic has afflicted the universe’s timeline. In the present, Agatha’s curiosity, to Wanda’s powers, leads her to the town of Westview, where she hopes to dissect and learn of Wanda’s secrets as a witch of the mystical arts; we all know that this isn’t the case. Wanda was merely gifted these powers by access to the mind stone, one of six infinity stones that are now destroyed at the hands of Thanos, who is also dead. She never learned any traits of sorcery or anything else for that matter, she’s somewhat of a prodigy.
If you’ve seen the latter parts of the series, then you pretty much know what happens next. Agatha kidnaps Wanda’s children and reveals herself as the witch she has been for centuries. She demands Wanda in an interrogation scene on how she acquired her abilities, in which even Wanda doesn’t know the answer. To solve this problem and uncover the secrets of how she did this, Agatha takes Wanda on a trip to the past using one of her spells that reflect very similar to the Christmas Carol’s story element, in which the main character watches their own past life unfold to better understand the person they once were; this is usually used to get the protagonist to turn a new leaf, start anew. However, in this series, it is used as a recap to show the audience the context of the show’s current situation. The following scenes happen chronologically, from her youngest experiences to her latest.
The first one gives us a better understanding as to why the universe Wanda created reflects so much to that of the Dick Van Dyke Show, or many other sit-coms of that nature. Its setting is that of Wanda’s childhood trauma, where her parents die at the hands of a Sokovian battle. Wanda grows a form of therapy with sit-coms; we see this in plenty of the flashbacks where Wanda uses them to bring comfort in a stressful situation, to think of a world that her problems didn’t exist in, a perfect world. She and her brother, Pietro, hide under a table as the battle rages on after their parents’ death; this is where the missile lands, nearly 5 feet from their faces. They watch as the missile beeps, second after second, for two days straight. Nowhere to go, waiting to die at any second. After the two-day mark, they realize that the missile was a defect with no chance of detonating; their fear was for nothing. In the next scene, Wanda and Agatha encounter the scenario when Wanda acquires her powers.
In a Hydra base, Wanda is used as a test subject to try to interact with the Mind Stone. The Mind Stone quickly notices her and implodes, radiating the energy that Wanda was gifted to unlock her abilities. After the test, she sits in a cell, watching a sit-com from the ‘80s. It’s another form of trauma that Wanda experienced during her time on this Earth, displaying how broken and beat down she is even after everything she’s done for the world. The third scene pertains to Wanda and Vision’s relationship, where Vision comforts Wanda as she has a breakdown after being reminded of her brother’s death in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Vision was there for her when no one else was, he was everything to her.
The final scene finally gives us an explanation as to why Wanda hits her breaking point and shields herself from the grief and trauma she had to experience. After the Blip —when everyone came back after Hulk’s snap at the end of Endgame— Wanda enters the Sword facility where she demands to take Vision and bury him. S.W.O.R.D simply does not allow this as he is a vital piece of weaponry that they could use in the future. Wanda leaves the facility after seeing Vision dismembered and soulless; an empty husk. She goes to Westview where Vision hoped to live the remainder of his and Wanda’s days together, as a family. Wanda goes to the center of the property, staring blankly at the ground, not knowing what to do anymore. She quite literally explodes in a flurry of emotions consuming the entirety of Westview in a hexagonal field, transforming it into a sit-com reality: her reality. The recap finishes with Agatha finally learning who Wanda is. She is an individual of chaotic sorcery, someone with powers that far exceed any sorcerer in the MCU; she is the Scarlet Witch.
There is a post-credits scene, if you missed it, where we finally learn of Vision’s true whereabouts. The S.W.O.R.D facility brought Vison back together, piece by piece, into an empty machine of destruction. They plan to use him to subdue Wanda, taking care of the situation before it reaches levels of catastrophic caliber. If you notice, Vision seems a bit clueless inside of the canister, much more hollow than we last saw him. Maybe, just maybe, this Vision is not the same one we have connected with emotionally so many movies before; maybe this Vision isn’t Vision at all. It’s an empty husk, a sentient being with no memories of Wanda or anything. All he is, now, is a machine.
Paul Bettany stated in an interview that there is still one more character we haven’t been introduced to that will shape the newest phase of the MCU. Paul describes the actor as someone who he has been hoping to work with for his entire life, and this episode revealed who it is: himself. It was a simple marketing ploy to get people to watch the newest episode. The post-credits scene confirms this as we might be seeing a battle between the two Visions: one from Westview, and the real cold-hearted machine constructed by S.W.O.R.D.. We have seen this strategy used countless times before from Marvel Studios. Once with Captain America fighting Captain America in Endgame, then with Nebula fighting her much younger self at the ending of the film. Does this deny the theory that there is still one more character reveal that will impact how the finale concludes? We still don’t have confirmation, but if we are talking about WandaVision, we absolutely will.
WandaVision is a massive hit. To be able to get the audience intrigued into such a complex and bizarre plot is incredible for cinema as a whole. WandaVision starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany airs new episodes weekly on the amazing streaming service: Disney+.
These images were used from WandaVision (2021) created by Marvel Studios