Television

WandaVision: A Technicolor Finale

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in "WandaVision."
Image Source: Marvel Studios
Heavy Spoilers Bar

WandaVision cast a hex on audiences, transcending through our screens and changing the format of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever. Set only twenty-one days after the events of Avengers Endgame, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) find themselves wrapped up in a decade-by-decade televised dream sequence of the idealistic could-have-beens. Their broadcast hits static at the hands of Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn), an evil witch hellbent on harnessing power and a new iteration of Vision brought to life by the corrupt Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg) of S.W.O.R.D. in the final episode titled “Series Finale”.

The episode begins with Agatha holding Tommy (Jett Klyne) and Billy (Julian Hilliard) by magical tethers (why they didn’t just walk backward, I’m not sure) as she reveals her sinister plan of wanting to take Wanda’s powers away for herself. Although her motive hasn’t been clear until now, it tracks. Agatha is a great equal opposite for Wanda. Although I was theorizing time and time again that the big bad would be revealed to be the villain Mephisto (we’ll circle back to him). Agatha is a perfect challenge in her own right, someone who has questions, someone who will push Wanda. She both provides exposition and really furthers Olsen’s character. 

Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness in "WandaVision."
Image Source: Marvel Studios

S.W.O.R.D.’s Vision then shows himself to Wanda. Their interaction takes a dark turn when he tries crushing her head (it happens), but it’s interesting to see that Wanda is so uncertain of herself and so unsure of her powers, that even though Vision looks entirely different; she questions if it really is him. Mental wellness and the effects of trauma resound so loudly through these nine episodes and I love seeing such a likable character bear the weight for a common struggle. Westview’s hex Vision eventually shows up to battle S.W.O.R.D. Vision. 

Image Source: Marvel Studios

Agatha and Wanda face-off. And Monica (Teyonah Parris) is held back by “Fietro” (Evan Peters). She’s trapped within his home where he states “No one can hear you from in here.” A nice little nod to when Billy also enjoyed the silence of Agatha’s (Ralph’s) home. Monica can see the energy pulsating from his necklace. When she breaks it, Ralph loses his super-speed and Agatha’s influence. This was the singular downer moment of the finale. I so hoped he was the Quicksilver from Fox’s X-Men franchise. The gag is very tongue-in-cheek. We, much like Wanda, have lost sight of what is real. We’re quick to assign an identity, just like she did. It’s a wink from the writers, but kind of upsetting for fans. Either way, it illustrates how nothing is what it seems in Westview. Sidebar, Ralph Bohner is likely Jimmy Woo’s (Randall Park’s) missing person. As for the beekeeper, your guess is as good as mine.

Speaking of Jimmy Woo, he swipes Hayward’s phone to call his friends at Quantico and does a little magic trick to free himself from handcuffs, another reference to Ant-man. Agatha uses the Darkhold to let Wanda and the audience know the extent of her abilities. She is more powerful than the Sorcerer Supreme, which true Marvel nerds know will be the eventual mantle of Doctor Strange. Wanda learns that the citizens of Westview have been under duress and again we the viewers are let into the fact that this was an accident; she thought these folks were at peace.

When Wanda tries to open the anomaly to allow the citizens to escape we see Vision and the twins (who just arrived on the scene thanks to Billy’s clairvoyance) starting to deteriorate. She must choose between her family or doing the right thing. To make matters worse, while the hex opened, S.W.O.R.D. agents have infiltrated Westview. I’d like to stop here and take a moment to point out that there are three opposing forces here and none of them feel forced (unlike Spider-man 3). We can award half of the credit here to the MCU television format, the slow build of these opponents makes no party feel forced. Secondly, it’s just really amazing writing. Every element feels purposeful. The Visions have their “Incredibles moment” and group together only to disperse and destroy. Wanda’s forcefield was very Violet and I very much enjoyed that.

Billy, Tommy, Vision and Wanda in "WandaVision".
Image Source: Marvel Studios

Hex Vision stops S.W.O.R.D. Vision by engaging in a philosophical debate about the Ship of Theseus. This was one of my favorite moments of the finale. Being nearly equally matched, a battle of wits is a more realistic resolution for this character. I personally hoped for Wanda to merge these characters into a complete, whole Vision 2.0 but their actual end result was just as satisfying. Hex Vision has grown so much over the course of this series. He has demonstrated more human-like attributes with every episode. He realizes that he will not make it out of the anomaly but S.W.O.R.D.’s Vision holds potential that he does not. In a selfless act, hex Vision unlocks his memories and gives him the gift of a more-complete, de-weaponized life outside Westview. 

Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in "WandaVision".
Image Source: Marvel Studios

The twins take on the military and Monica Rambeau uses her kinetic energy absorption to stop Hayward’s bullets. Darcy (Kat Dennings) uses her quirky-girl status to smash into the side of Hayward’s truck. Wanda defeats Agatha who inadvertently taught her about runes (big mistake) and has a full-fledged 90’s hair-crimped transformation into the Scarlet Witch. Even though the costume feels very “maroon witch,” we’ll let it slide. The scene is powerful and really gives Marvel fans what they’ve been waiting for. WandaVision works hard to undo the grievances that the MCU has done to Wanda up until now and I’m so thankful for the course correction. 

Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch in "WandaVision."
Image Source: Marvel Studios

Agatha has to live out the rest of her days as her hex-counterpart Agnes, roaming around Westview and using words like “artichokie.” Wanda knows she must take down the hex and say her goodbyes to the life she has created. As the walls of the hex are seen closing in, Wanda and Vision say goodnight to their boys, knowing that they’ll be erased in their sleep. The couple gives a tearful goodbye as Wanda reveals that Vision exists because he’s the part of the Mind Stone that lives inside of her. The hex field sweeps over them as decades of television eras are undone. Vision disintegrates and Wanda is left in their empty home plot. She vows to Monica that she’s on a journey to better understand her abilities and flies away from Westview like a Sanderson sister on a mission. 

Our mid-credits scene shows Monica interacting with a Skrull who claims a friend of her mother’s wants to see her in space. This is likely Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in the space station we last saw him in at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. My guess is, this is a tie-in to Captain Marvel 2 and a direct call back to when young Monica asked, “I can fly up and meet you halfway,” to Carol Danvers. Only for Nick Fury to respond with, “Only if you learn to glow like Auntie Carol.” For those who don’t know, Monica is the superhero Photon or Spectrum, depending upon which alias writers decide on. She holds the title of Captain Marvel for a while.

The end-credits scene shows Wanda in seclusion. No in a small Aredenellian-esque cabin astral projecting while studying the Darkhold. She can hear the vague screams of her children in the distance. 

What’s Next For Wanda?

The section will contain comic-centric spoilers for Wanda’s story arc and confirmed appearances in the upcoming MCU slate. Wanda will appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness where I can only assume he will take on the role of her mentor. In the comic book world, every time chaos magic is used the fibers of reality slowly unravel. Wanda is likely to (if she hasn’t accidentally already) tear a hole in the multiverse which she will take upon herself to fix. This is a great entryway for her to get her children “back” as they may exist but in another universe. Or maybe she borrowed them from another universe to begin with? We will see how Marvel chooses to handle this.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness logo
Image Source: Marvel Studios

At any rate, we know Marvel has plans for a Young Avengers movie and they’re currently building the foundation for it. Cassie Lang (Emma Fuhrmann) will likely take the role of Stature in Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantamania. Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) will make her debut in the Disney+ series Hawkweye. America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) will show up in the second Doctor Strange outing. Hulkling is rumored for the Secret Invasion series on Disney+. No word on Kid Loki but, Wiccan (Billy) and Speed (Tommy) will be needed to round out the roster.

The Young Avengers. Hulkling, Speed, Wiccan, Hawkeye, Kid Loki, and Miss America.
Image Source: Marvel Comics

Wanda will then go on to appear in Spider-man: No Way Home where more multiverse antics will ensue. Following that, I’d really like for Marvel to put the character on ice, maybe in captivity until she can properly meet her father Magneto. But that probably won’t occur until the second Mutants film unless Scarlet Witch receives her own movie. Also, bring back the rightful Quicksilver.

It seems like the creative team is moving towards Wanda’s “M-Day” storyline. In the comics, it’s revealed that the demonic Mephisto is actually the father of her twins. When he retracts the fragments of his soul from their bodies, Wiccan and Speed cease to exist. This leads Wanda to have a catastrophic breakdown where she utters the phrase, “No more mutants.” That sentiment ricochets through the universe and wipes away the mutant gene away from thousands of people, including beloved X-Men. With that in mind, I was hoping for Mephisto in WandaVision. I’m sure we’ll see him at some point. Or maybe they’ll allocate his storyline to the villain Nightmare? He’s the obvious bad guy pick for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Maybe this new version of Vision will be able to pull Wanda back from the precipice of her struggles? Or maybe his eventual death (again) will have a “last nail in the coffin” effect on her wellness. The MCU is shaping Wanda to be a villain. Those of us who know what we’re watching unfold realize that the worst is yet to come.

Closure in Chaos

Wanda and Vision in "WandaVision".
Image Source: Marvel Studios

In all my years of being a huge fan of everything superhero, this is the very first time I feel like a piece of art has been made solely for the fans. If critics or general audiences don’t understand it, I kind of feel like Marvel was saying, “it sucks to be them.” I sincerely don’t believe it was written with ratings in mind. But of course, it’s generally gotten rave reviews and been a total success all-around. WandaVision was a huge risk. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Television references, witches, magic, sci-fi, government agents, it’s a wacky blend of everything with something for everyone. It propels the MCU forward and really reminds us all why we love these characters so much. The cast, acting, scripts, the humor, the heart, I have nothing but great things to say.

What really struck me was that WandaVision reflected life in such a profound way. We as a society are quarantined and dealing with the effects of loneliness, wellness, loss, and grief. Just like Wanda, our favorite television shows comfort us in the hardest of times. It’s so meta but WandaVision was so many people’s Friday night escape. We all took 40 minutes out of our lives each week and lived in Westview, related to a character who felt like she had lost control of her surroundings and tuned in to the pure magic of television.

4.5 stars

What was your favorite moment of the WandaVision finale? Let us know in a comment below.

WandaVision is steaming now on Disney+

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