Hoo boy howdy was episode 8 of WandaVision, “Previously On”, a hard punch right in the feels.
And in related news, I have discovered that there are episode soundtracks on sale RIGHT NOW. Needless to say these are going right into my music collection. But in the meantime, let’s get right into the SPOILERS.
I’ll say this straight up: it is indicative of how few times I have re-watched Age of Ultron that I completely friggin’ forgot that Wanda and her brother Pietro had had early exposure to the Mind Stone.
I also forgot that Loki’s scepter had the Mind Stone in it.
Which means that seeing that as part of Wanda’s flashbacks was a big ol’ OH! RIGHT! moment for me!
But that’s getting a little ahead of myself. Let me back up and start from the beginning.
Right out of the gate we get Agatha’s origin story, HA! And I do kinda love that her origin story starts in Salem, but not for the obvious witch-burn-y kinds of reasons. But rather, because Agatha’s own coven, headed by her own mother, is issuing judgment on her for calling on dark magic.
And to the surprise of absolutely nobody who’s been watching the show up till now, given what we saw of her in episode 7, she proceeds to completely fry everybody in the coven. Including her mother. And wasn’t that just rather deliciously dark.
This all leads nicely into the main overall plot of the episode–getting into Wanda’s own backstory, orchestrated by Agatha.
I’m pretty pleased at how the episode played this. We know now that Agatha isn’t the instigator of the Hex–it’s all still on Wanda. rather, Agatha is here for entirely opportunistic purposes, because she sees Wanda throwing around stunning amounts of power and she can’t resist horning in on this action, in the name of trying to figure out exactly how Wanda’s doing it.
So while she is totally taking advantage of the situation and pulling all kinds of strings, she’s arguably not even really the true primary antagonist of this storyline. But more on this below.
Most of this episode being focused on Wanda’s history meant that oh god yes, hard punch to the feels. Starting with confirmation of my earlier theories that Wanda must have been exposed to American sitcoms as a child, in order for her to be drawing upon that imagery now in the Hex.
And not only was she exposed to them, not only were they a core cherished part of her memories of her family, but we see that her family was in fact gathered together to watch an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show when their house was destroyed and her parents were killed.
So this was her last positive memory of her family. Fuuuuuuuuuck. Hard punch to the feels indeed.
We also see from that part of the flashbacks that Wanda had power even before she was exposed to the Mind Stone. I remember that bomb falling and her and her brother being trapped from what we see in Age of Ultron. Here, though, we learn that that Stark Industries bomb didn’t go off because she kept it from doing so.
And from there we proceed through additional flashbacks, Agatha goading Wanda all the way (and being delightfully intrigued the whole time by what she learns). Another hard punch to the feels with that scene with Wanda and Vision watching the sitcom episode together, around which Vision awkwardly tries to comfort her for her brother’s loss–a scene which makes up a whole helluva lot for the MCU up till now not selling me on the whole Wanda/Vision romance yet. None of the movies up till now had made me believe in it.
Now? I believe in it. Because I needed to see scenes like that attempt at comfort, in which the two of them slowly grow closer to one another, to get invested in their romance.
Which leads right into the other big hard punch to the feels: what happened when Wanda actually showed up at the S.W.O.R.D. facility. At which point we learned that what Director Hayward said happened was a big fat fucking lie, and that Wanda hadn’t stormed in there to steal Vision’s body at all. She was there to ask to bury him, and oh god oh god that reaction from her when she saw Vision in pieces down there in the lab.
And she couldn’t sense his presence in the disembodied head. AAAAAAUGH THE FEELS.
So she drives to Jersey, into Westview. We see the town in its normal present-day state. We see several of the recurring townsfolk we’ve seen impacted by her in the episodes up till now, just going about their actual daily lives. We see Wanda reach this empty plot of land, which turns out to go with a deed she’s got–Viz has bought this land for her.
At which point she collapses beneath the shattering weight of her grief, and she just fucking loses it. Her power erupts. She builds an entire house out of nothing. She builds an entire Vision out of nothing (which now explains why the Vision we’ve seen active in this story couldn’t go past the Hex wall). And her power sweeps out from her in a maelstrom to overwhelm the entire town.
So now we know for sure. Wanda’s doing the Hex not out of malice, but out of grief and trauma, because she’s just kept losing everybody she’s ever loved in her life and has never had time to actually heal and move on from that and OH GOD THE FEELS OH WANDA HONEY.
And we close with Agatha finally confronting her, with little Billy and Tommy tethered on ropes of Agatha’s power, and finally throwing it in Wanda’s face to confront:
Wanda has no idea what she is. But Agatha does. She’s a being Agatha had thought a myth up until now, the only creature capable of manipulating chaos magic.
The Scarlet Witch.
End episode, bringing Wanda’s moniker into official MCU canon for the first time, and might I say FUCK YES.
But WAIT THERE’S MORE because this being an MCU story, we of course get another end credits scene.
And now we know not only did Director Hayward lie through his fucking teeth about what Wanda did at the S.W.O.R.D. facility, we now know what he was doing with Vision’s remains to begin with.
He was rebuilding him.
And now we have a scary-looking White Vision about to come into play. This is apparently a thing that happened in the comics, and from what I read last night, that edition of Vision had no memory of being Wanda’s husband or the father of her children.
Presumably, here, this White Vision is going to be under Hayward’s control as well, and isn’t that going to just wreak all kinds of havoc on Wanda’s already dubious grasp on her stability. I anticipate we’re going to see some Vision vs. Vision action in the final episode!
My household also rather wonders if this means we have a higher chance now of Vision actually surviving this plot. Because now we have his physical (if rebuilt) body back in play, as well as the version of him animated into being by Wanda. I wonder if they’re going to wind up merging.
I also wonder if Agatha realizes exactly how ill-advised a strategy it is to be threatening Wanda’s children to her face. Wanda, comma, the stupendously powerful manipulator of chaos magic she just dubbed The Scarlet Witch.
Agatha is too awesome to be killed that easily, though. I strongly suspect Wanda may come very close to frying her–only to be distracted, possibly by faux!Quicksilver coming on the scene, possibly by White Vision?
Or possibly by her Vision, if he and Darcy show up first and Vision mistakenly believes he needs to defuse the situation by making Wanda stand down?
At this point we have all the major characters in play:
- Her Vision
- White Vision
- The S.W.O.R.D. forces outside the Hex
So it’ll be real interesting to see how the final confrontation plays.
We better get some Monica discovering her superpowers next episode, too. Didn’t see a sign of her in this, so we really gotta see her picking up on at least the beginnings of her new abilities here! Housemate Paul really wants to see her figuring out she’s faster than Quicksilver. :D
I am also going to be real interested to see how S.W.O.R.D. is made to stand down once the fight inside the Hex presumably resolves–because even if Wanda and Vision are victorious, somebody’s going to have to keep them from trying to obliterate them on the spot. Particularly if White Vision is either destroyed or absorbed by Wanda’s Vision.
It’ll be real interesting to see, too, if Monica gets to make S.W.O.R.D. stand down. Or if they do so when they realize holy shit, Rambeau has superpowers now, um yeah why don’t we have a sudden change of command here?
However they do it, I really want to see Hayward take a fall. Hard.
Now to fidget for the next several days until the final episode drops!