WandaVision: Previously On

“It’s not that kind of show.”

Okay, so first I should cop to not reading Marvel comics. I know I’m going to miss stuff here but Mark convinced me to give reviewing this a try so here I go.

We start at a witch trial in Salem. Not a trial of witches, but a trial by witches, which I thought was a cute subversion. Naughty Agatha has been stealing knowledge above her rank and station, or some such and her coven attempts to punish her but somehow Agatha is able to withstand their attempt to kill her by what looks like draining their magic. If she can feed on magic, it would explain her interest in Wanda.

Agatha wants to know how Wanda is maintaining Westview because, despite the catchy “Agatha All Along” tune from last week, which is now re-stuck in your head (you're welcome), Monica was right when she said it was all Wanda. Agatha’s been messing with stuff but the force keeping Westview perfect is indeed Wanda Maximoff. She just doesn’t know how she’s doing it and seems to be doing the vast majority of it subconsciously. Agatha takes Wanda through her history, from Stark bomb to present trying to figure out how. First stop: Sokovia.

Here we get our explanation of why WandaVision existed as a show that Darcy and friends could tune into. The Maximoffs had TV night and watched DVDs of American sitcoms. In the episode we see at least a few of the titles WandaVision borrowed from including The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, and Malcolm in the Middle. Then one night, a Stark bomb orphans Wanda and Pietro and beeps sinisterly at them for two days until they’re rescued or escape I can't remember which. Agatha asks how Wanda stopped the bomb from exploding and Wanda says she didn’t, it was just a dud, but was it? Agatha certainly believes Wanda to be a witch and not just the result of HYDRA experimentation, which is where we’re off to next on our Ghost of Christmas Past tour.

Wanda gets her powers when left alone in the room with Loki’s scepter, which contains the mind stone. We see the silhouette of a person wearing the same headdress that Wanda sported in her “Sokovian fortuneteller” getup from a few episodes ago, which is part of comic!Wanda’s costume. Here’s the cool thing about this though. The surveillance footage shows none of this. There’s a jump cut in the footage HYDRA has, similar to the cuts Darcy noticed in the signal from the Hex. Did Wanda do that too or was another entity? And why?

Now I’m going to jump ahead to the Scarlet Witch reveal, which was…not super revealing. In the comics, “Scarlet Witch,” as far as I know, is just Wanda in her super disguise and not a separate entity. Here, though, it seemed to be a title. Like she was foretold. Like Jesus. So…who was the entity in the time stone? Was that another or the original Scarlet Witch? What does being a/the Scarlet Witch even mean? Is it just that she can create things, which Agatha, evidently, can’t do? The whole “you are the Scarlet Witch” was meant to be a big moment but it really didn’t come across that way to me. Wanda Maximoff being Scarlet Witch was something I knew going into the MCU. Sure, it didn’t have much meaning but I knew the phrase. Frankly, as Agatha wound up the audience in her “you’re supposed to be a myth” riff, I thought she was about to announce that the Maximoffs were mutants which would have been a way better reveal. Maybe the introduction of mutants isn’t best placed in a Disney Plus show. I don’t know. It sure seems like a lot of people are watching WandaVision though…just saying.

Rewinding a bit, we see a remarkably together Wanda at S.W.O.R.D. trying to get Vision’s body after Tony’s funeral. She wants to see him, to say goodbye, to have a funeral. She is initially rebuffed but eventually Hayward sees her and shows her Vision’s dismembered corpse which Hayward claims to be destroying so it can not be used for evil. Wanda does some light property damage when she sees this but ultimately accepts that Vision is gone and leaves peacefully. She drives to Westview, New Jersey where she and Vision had apparently planned to live. The heart on the map mimics the hearts seen on the calendars in the first episode and the most recent. I haven’t noticed other hearts, I’ve been too busy looking for hexagons. Then she screams and suddenly the sleepy and rather dilapidated town of Westview is transformed by the energy boiling out of her. Finally out comes Vision. Now this is important. She recreated Vision. She didn’t reanimate him. “Our” Vision wasn’t the one that was hacked to bits by Hayward. That one is in the post credits scene. White Vision is, I guess, a comic book thing. People on Twitter seemed excited. The important thing is that Hayward finally has his sentient weapon and things are not looking so sunny for Westview (or, you know, the world). One important note is that Hayward was the one who told Wanda she could bring Vision back “online.” Like it’s what he wanted her to do all along…

Now I ask myself, was this a successful episode? It was entertaining and fun and, I mean, it’s almost three in the morning right now and I’m obsessing over it. The Scarlet Witch reveal could have gone better and I would have really enjoyed a cameo by Aaron Taylor-Johnson but the idea that Wanda’s power is innate, was predestined, or both is an intriguing one.

I’m not at all sure what’s going to happen next week, but isn’t that the fun part? I assume Hayward will attack Westview with White Vision and Wanda and Multicolored Vision as well as newly powered up Monica will have to fight them off. But what will happen to Agatha? Is she just going to exit stage right? If so, will they use her character again, say, in the new Doctor Strange film? Kathryn Hahn must not be thrown aside carelessly, she is a treasure. A treasure, I say!

I have not forgotten about Billy and Tommy, who are being held hostage by Agatha. Are they real? Vision couldn’t survive out of the Hex and nearly died trying to get help for Westview. What does that mean for his children? A lot of people are sure they’re heading for a Young Avengers thing with the kids but I don’t know.

Lingering Questions

Who is Jimmy’s witness? Where are they and are they important?

What happened to the S.W.O.R.D. agent that was sent in through the sewers?

There was a popular theory in the fandom that the man and woman in the commercials we’ve seen throughout the season were Wanda and Pietro’s parents, but now we know they aren’t. Who are they and does it matter?

No seriously what was up with that yogurt commercial?

Three out of four flashbacks

sunbunny

8 comments:

percysowner said...

I don't read the comics either, so we are on the same playing field here. I THINK the big deal about calling Wanda The Scarlet Witch is that she has never been called that in the MCU. I know that Wanda and Pietro have an odd status as characters. There was a time when the X-Men and the MCU were separate. The MCU didn't have rights to mutants, X-Men characters and couldn't even use the term mutants. X-Men couldn't use any MCU characters. For some reason, that I don't understand, Pietro and Wands were permitted in both X-Men and the MCU. When Disney bought 20th Century Fox the two universes were finally available to use together. It is possible, although I don't know for sure, that the title The Scarlet Witch couldn't be used in the MCU although a magically Wanda Maximoff could be, as long as she wasn't a mutant.

In any case, my trips around the Internet tell me that actually giving Wanda the full title is a big deal. So Yay?

Billie Doux said...

I'm not a comic reader either, and I realized that I hated seeing Vision in pieces like that. My son tells me that the white Vision is emotionless and robotic and he thinks that maybe the Vision that Wanda created could take over the white version of Vision and he'd be a real boy again. I think.

FWIW, the episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show they showed in this episode was about an alien invasion. It's probably the strangest as well as the most famous episode they ever did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU7Dzd16Tn4

Coincidence? Is there an alien invasion coming in the finale?

Katie Hart - Pinterest Manager said...

Loved this episode, even though it was mostly flashbacks - because it was flashbacks of stuff we hadn't seen. The Maximoff parents playing old sitcoms to help their children practice English and distract them from the hellscape they were living in was such a sweet idea. They were basically plot devices in Age of Ultron - now we can see why their loss hurts Wanda so much.

I do hope we're able to get Vision "back" somehow in the finale. It seemed impossible with the Mind Stone gone - but part of the Mind Stone lives on in Wanda. I'm assuming that's the meaning of the yellow magic as the Westview version of Vision was created?

It was a huge shock that Westview Vision wasn't created from Vision's lifeless body. Hayward is quite the snake. And the envelope was a nice misdirect too - it looked like someone (Agatha? Hayward? Unknown Big Bad or ally?) had left it in Wanda's car to send her to Westview. But nope, just an adorably sweet gesture from the man she'd lost.

I don't read the comics either, so the "Scarlet Witch" thing was a bit lost on me, too. I'm more curious about Agatha's handwavy explanation about Fake Pietro's existence (and where were he and Monica during all this?).

Can't wait for the finale!

Kathy said...

I hate to do "Well, actually..." but the episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show really isn't about an alien invasion. It turns out to be a dream that Rob is having.

Foreshadowing?

I've seen most episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, but I don't really remember the one that was being highlighted. And every person on earth has seen at least one episode of The Brady Bunch, but I've never liked The Brady Bunch and they all blur together for me, so I couldn't tell you if these highlighted sitcoms are foreshadowing anything.

My guess with the finale? Vision will fight White Vision, Wanda will fight Agatha, maybe Monica will fight Hayward? I like the idea of Vision taking over White Vision's body so he can be a real boy again!

(Also, man, Paul Bettany is such a good actor. I've liked him since A Beautiful Mind, but, man, I love him as Vision. And the scene where Vision and Wanda are bonding over Malcolm in the Middle and talking about grief was so touching!)

Matthew said...

as a long time fan of marvel and DC I think this episode represents a hole in space-time

THE MULTIVERSE which was teased in spiderman far from home and i feel like this is bringing in the XMEN and other heroes which makes me EXCITED


also, this episode shows that Wanda didn't mean to do the things she did in her mind her life is good again I'm sure she will fix everything and apologize cause be honest if everyone you loved not only died but you saw or felt it then it would mess you up as well

good review

Josie Kafka said...

Sunbunny, great review! Since I'm not a comics reader, either, I had many of the same thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I thought the "Scarlet Witch" bit just felt silly, I laughed at it. I'm not sure if I'm on board with a giant prophecy reveal in the last episode.

I'm also still not convinced that Wanda was behind everything. It felt kinda anti-climactic to me. Maybe we'll get a PG13 deal with the devil next week.

Lamounier said...

I loved this. While I didn't want this to be yet another story of a superpowerful woman who couldn't control her powers because of her feelings, the writers built this story in a way that is... I wanna say, very respectful to Wanda's journey as a character. When she reached her breaking point, I got it. Also, this:

"It's just like this wave washing over me again and again. It knocks me down and when I try to stand up, it just comes for me again. And I can't... It's gonna drown me."

Probably the most relatable moment in all of MCU.

I've seen some complaints that, for a penultimate episode, "Previously On" was too quiet. I loved it. Sometimes, the setup is and needs to be emotional, and everyone involved just knocked this one out of the park. My favorite episode thus far.