WandaVision – Season 1, Episode 8: Previously On

As the title suggests, we get a massive exposition dump with this episode.  Everything that has led to this point is laid out for us by Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), now revealed to be Agatha Harkness, acting like the ghost of Christmas past to Wanda’s Scrooge.  Wanda doesn’t remember how everything got to this point and Agatha wants to know how Wanda got so powerful.

After a brief origin for Agatha which flashes back to Salem in 1693 (one of the earliest dates we have seen in the MCU so far) this becomes the story of Wanda’s life. Elizabeth Olsen takes centre-stage here and is really giving the opportunity to act.  We see a life that has been built on a foundation of grief.  Her only happy memories being learning English through watching American sitcoms with her family.  But even these are tainted by tragedy as her parents were killed while watching ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’.  We get to see the scene talked about in ‘Age Of Ultron’ where Wanda and Pietro are trapped by a Stark bomb that fails to explode and the fear that this caused.

The time period jumps to when Wanda becomes a Hydra experiment.  She is broken at this point.  While in a room with Loki’s pokey stick from ‘Avengers’ she overhears the scientists say no one has survived the test but she carries on regardless.  At this point she is suicidal but survives an interaction with an Infinity stone.  They only other people we have seen do this have god level powers.

We next go to the beginnings of Wanda’s relationship with Vision (Paul Bettany) while they are staying at an Avenger’s facility.  Wanda has had another level of grief laid on her with the death of her brother and Vision has only recently become a living entity.  Again sitcoms come into play as the pair bond while watching ‘Malcolm In The Middle’.  Wanda explains to Vision what it is to be human and in return Vision redefines the meaning of grief for her.

The story now jumps to after ‘Endgame’.  Vision is dead and Wanda is looking for closure.  All she wants to do is bury his remains. S.W.O.R.D. have his body and Hayward (Josh Stamberg) is being very shady about giving it back. But is he just doing his job? He’s not wrong in anything he says. Up until this point he has been signposted as the villain but now this is less clear. Wanda leaves without Vision and this is first bit of information we get the contradicts assumptions that we have had up until now. If Wanda doesn’t have Vision’s corpse then she can’t have reanimated it.

Wanda then drives to the town of Westview. We see the majority of people she has interacted with in the sitcom reality and she parks by any empty piece of land where her house should be. This is major reveal number two. Wanda wasn’t in Westview by accident. This is where she had bought land so she could build a life with Vision. A life she is not going to have because Thanos killed him. Wanda collapses with grief and explodes with magical power. The power, defined by her life experiences, creates the reality that they have all been living in. It was Wanda all along and Vision is just one part of that illusion. He doesn’t remember before Westview because he didn’t exist before Westview.

But why is Agatha there? Is she really the villain? She has just been trying to find out what is going on and why Wanda is so powerful. She now has here answer. Wanda is more powerful than anyone knew. She is fuelled by chaos magic and has the power of creation. She is the Scarlet Witch.

Earlier in the series, Jimmy (Randall Park) said he had someone on the inside. Could the person in witness protection be Agatha? And who is she being protected against. We have been introduced to one character in the MCU who is hunting magic users. Is the stage being set for Mordo to crash the party? Or is the mid-credit scene, again a scene that questions whether or not Hayward is a villain, be the answer to everything? All will be revealed next week.

Have the creators revealed their hand or do they have a massive surprise up their sleeve? Doesn’t matter because this is top notch.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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