We’ve arrived at the end, everyone. Tap into your superpowers and let’s finish WandaVision.
Wanda begins fighting Agatha to save her children, which is unfortunately just what Agatha wants—she drains power from people she considers undeserving. (Which is probably everyone, let’s be real.) Wanda manages to get the boys to safety inside their home, throwing a car at Agatha. Hayward’s reprogrammed Vision comes to combat her as well, but Wanda’s Vision arrives to fight him. In the town center, Agatha lifts Wanda’s control from the townspeople, who begin pleading with her, begging to be released from the pain she’s put them in. They are having her nightmares each night, and would rather die than be trapped here. Wanda had no idea they were in so much pain, and begins to break down the Hex to let them all leave. Hayward takes that as his opportunity to send in troops. Monica realizes that Pietro is a local actor under a spell from Agatha, and rips off the necklace enchanting him.
Billy and Tommy and Vision, who rushed to be at Wanda’s side, start dissolving before her. Agatha explains that Wanda’s family is tied to her spell, so if the Hex gets destroyed, so do they. Wanda stops breaking down the Hex and it snaps back into place. The military arrives, and so does reprogrammed Vision. Wanda’s Vision takes him on, the boys handle the military goons, and Wanda goes face to face with Agatha. Hayward gets angry about Billy and Tommy making them look bad, so he moves to shoot them, but Monica stands in the way and uses her new powers to protect them. Hayward tries to get in a Hummer to run them down, but Darcy hits him with a truck. Wanda’s Vision combats reprogrammed Vision with a robot logic puzzle, then helps him reconnect with his memories; reprogrammed Vision flies off.
Agatha explains again that Wanda is the Scarlet Witch, showing her the prophecy from an old magic tome she has handy; Wanda is supposed to be more powerful than the Sorcerer Supreme, said to bring about the end of the world with her awesome power. This persona is confirmed when Wanda tries to use her old mind trick on Agatha (drawing up a person’s greatest nightmare as she did for the Avengers in Age of Ultron), as all the undead witches of Agatha’s coven turn on her and call her the Scarlet Witch. Agatha goads Wanda into using her powers to fight her, saying that she’ll take it from her and leave Wanda to her family in Westview. Once she’s drained it all, she admits that the Hex can never be mended because spells can never be fixed once they are cast; it is broken, just as Wanda is.
When Agatha tries to use Wanda’s pilfered powers, nothing happens. Wanda reveals that, in her attempt to break down the Hex, she actually imbued its walls with the runes Agatha had in her own basement; now only the witch who cast those runes can use her power within the space. Wanda actualizes into the Scarlet Witch and tells Agatha that her punishment will be to live in Westview, in the part she chose for herself, so that Wanda will always know where to find her. She puts Agatha’s mind back to “sitcom” settings, and leaves her there. The Hex is finally ending, converging in on itself, and Wanda takes her family home to say goodbye. She and Vision tuck the boys into their beds, then leave to speak in the living room. Vision asks her what he truly is, and she explains that he is a piece of the Mind Stone that resided in her, her sadness and hope and love, and her memory of Vision. He tells her that he has been so many things, he imagines that he will be back someday, and they will say hello again.
The Hex fully reverted, Wanda goes back to the city center where the townspeople are afraid of her. Monica is still there and tells Wanda that these people don’t realize what she gave up for them, and that she would have brought back her mother if she’d had the same powers. Wanda says that she plans to learn how her powers work, and leaves Westview.
In the mid-credits tag scene, Monica is called to the Westview movie theater by a person who turns out to be a Skrull. They tell her that a “friend of her mother’s” wants to speak to her, indicating that in order to do so, she will have to go to space. In the end-credits tag scene, Wanda is living in a cabin alone somewhere remote, and she is reading through Agatha’s magic book in her astral projected form. She hears the voice of her boys crying out for their mother.
All I’m saying is, people should invite me over for the sheer entertainment value of my realtime reactions because we were watching the credits go by, and I saw the thanks to the various shooting locations come up, and went “What did they film in New Zealand?”
A few seconds later, the final tag scene started: “Oh.”
Not sure about the final tag, though, to be honest. It’s great seeing Wanda astral projecting to do her studies, but hearing the kid (kids?) cry out for help is… not what I wanted there at the end. Which isn’t to say that I don’t want Tommy and Billy to come back eventually. I do, particularly for Billy’s sake, but a) they could wait a long while on that, and b) did we really come through all of this only to have the next stage in Wanda’s life completely defined by motherhood? It makes sense insofar as Wanda has been searching for a family this whole time, but give the character some breathing room, sheesh.
We lost the sitcom frame in these last episodes, but there is a particular TV ode in here that I’m a sucker for: the “talk the robot/computer to death” scenario, which is being sent up in the Vision vs. Vision match. As a TOS Star Trek fan, having watched Kirk do that to countless forms of artificial life, I love this trope and am always happy when it pops up. It’s done deftly here, too, using the old Ship of Theseus question to begin the inquiry. My favorite thing about it is that this seems like the sort of philosophy puzzle that JARVIS would have been tested on after Tony created him (JARVIS being the precursor to Vision). Of course, we don’t really know what happened to reprogrammed Vision following this encounter, so they’ve always got a window to bring him back. Which I don’t think I would have liked before this show because the MCU did a pretty terrible job creating their relationship at the outset, but now the idea of them meeting over and over, and always losing each other only to be reunited… that would be extremely effective. Ugh, you win, MCU. Fine.
This version of Pietro does turn out to be a random guy from Westview who has been pushed into the role, but that still ultimately plays into Multiverse-ness with its meta-ness. On the other hand, it strikes me as the most obvious plot hole that he could know as much as MCU Pietro if he’s being controlled by Agatha—unless there’s a spell to somehow give him the memories of a dead man? They needed to fill that piece in a bit better.
Showrunner Jac Schaeffer wrote this episode and there are a lot of stunning punches in the dialogue for this episode that makes me desperate to see more of her work, which we got a taste of in Captain Marvel, and will see again in the upcoming Black Widow film. There are so many places where someone speaks and it hits you like a cement truck, starting with the comments from the townspeople about how Wanda is hurting them, specifically that her grief is “poison.” There’s the comment from Agatha that the Hex is broken because Wanda herself is broken, which is a better knife twist than any MCU villains have been able to come up with thus far. Then there is Wanda’s final words to her boys, a refrain that many parents have used, which reads so differently in this context: “Thank you for choosing me to be your mom.” Just slap me in the face with a fistful of uncooked spaghetti, why don’t you. I don’t need to feel these feelings.
The denouement between Wanda and Monica is one of the places that unfortunately falls flat in this finale. (Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy, while all wonderful, are tragically underused here at the end, which I was worried about going in.) Kindness appreciated and aside, it winds up reading like Monica can absolve Wanda of her mistakes here—which she cannot, and more importantly should not be called upon to do in the first place. If the dialogue had dug a little more into the personal aspect of this, that Monica is speaking purely as another person in a grieving place, it might have come off better. As it is, noting that the people of Westview will “never know what [Wanda] gave up” on their behalf rings hollow because it makes no difference. Even knowing what Wanda has been through, the people of Westview are never obligated to consider her side of things when they were tortured by her (intentionally or not). Only the viewer can think on this with the necessary distance, and that should be part of the point: that we can empathize with Wanda, that we can feel the enormity of her pain, and still know that it’s not the job of anyone she may have hurt to forgive her. That’s how these things work.
The real crux here is that this show ended up being a treatise on grieving, and boy, did it ever stick that landing. The idea that Wanda could not be aware of how badly she was hurting people while in mourning is one hell of a not-so-metaphorical metaphor to load into your premise, and while I almost wish they had plummeted into those depths a little more, I’m still impressed that they went there and used it. The only problem is, as with all things in the MCU, we’ll probably never know how these people pick up the pieces of their lives and try to heal from the trauma enacted upon them by another traumatized person. We lose the cycle, which cuts short the very meaning that they’re so close to imparting here.
I do love that Wanda leaves Agatha in Westview permanently, under the guise of her sitcom persona, there to be hassled whenever Wanda wants to bother her. It’s a great choice because it is, as Agatha points out, cruel. Marvel set itself apart at the outset in comics for having characters that were morally complex compared to the other offerings on stands. So Wanda Maximoff has a vindictive streak. Which is a thing I love to see, honestly.
Chaos magic is a whole thing within the confines of Marvel, but we’re also looking at a prophecy that states Wanda is fated to “end the world.” I find myself curious about how this plays into the overall universe, particularly as it relates to the Scarlet Witch being more powerful than the Sorcerer Supreme. (Which is currently Doctor Strange, for anyone who’s forgotten. Which, I mean, I know we’re supposed to be impressed with how far he’s come along in a short period, but of course she’s more powerful than him, he’s been at the post for… I dunno, like six months? Point is, he’s not tenured yet. Just curious about whether this prophecy would have held up under a different Sorcerer Supreme, and kind of hoping that the answer is “nah, prophecy only works out because it’s That Dude.” Just gimme the cheap jokes, they’re what I live for.) After all, the Masters of the Mystic Arts concern themselves with issues far beyond the realm of Earth—they’re looking into time and space and various modes of reality. So when the book says Wanda will end the world, do they just mean our world? Or is this a metaphorical, much larger world that we’re talking about?
Either way, this is the lead-in we’re getting to Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. It’s not yet clear if Wanda is going to be a friend to Strange or an enemy, but I find myself hoping it’s the latter. (I guess enemies-to-allies would be acceptable too, but only if it’s really late in the game.) Someone should give that guy a run for his money. And give Wong a break.
So that’s a wrap on WandaVision, the show that saw Wanda Maximoff self-actualize into the Scarlet Witch. (That costume is good, how did they manage to make that headpiece look genuinely eerie, I am into it. Also the switching between that costume and the “Super Family in hoodies and sweatpants”, which I could actually die over, thank you.) It’s been an intriguing run that set off to prove that the MCU worked on TV—because the Netflix MCU shows weren’t really trying to tie into the larger continuity quite so hard. WandaVision made it work overall, which sets the bar pretty high for incoming projects. Guess we’ll just have to see how everything else stacks up.
Thoughts and Asides:
- The deepest cut of this show might be the magic book with the Scarlet Witch prophecy that Agnes shows; in Doctor Strange, there’s a special collection of advanced/forbidden books that the Ancient One keeps tucked away in a honeycomb lockbox of sorts within the Kamar-Taj library. Kaecilius steals just a few pages from one of those books and causes a whole world of trouble, but there’s an entire book seemingly missing from the collection—bet it’s this one.
- The friend of Monica’s mother could be Carol Danvers, but it’s more likely Nick Fury, who we know has been hanging around with Talos and getting up to space shenanigans due to his role in Spider-Man: Far From Home (where Talos was pretending to be him for Peter’s sake while he wasn’t on the planet). But this is still clearly the lead-in to her role in Captain Marvel 2.
- Just give Jimmy his own show already.
- Hayward went down like a sack of sad potatoes, didn’t he? An ignoble end for an ignoble fella.
- The powers we see Monica display are tied up in energy absorption and manipulation as well as the ability to be “intangible.” Her powers are very cool, is the point.
Thank you all, and goodnight! We break for a week, and then we’ll be back with coverage of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier when it premieres on March 19th!