In the penultimate episode of WandaVision, “Previously On” takes us on a journey through Wanda’s life.
However, we actually begin at the Salem Witch trials where Agatha is being tried by her own coven for breaking their rules. Quickly she over powers the lot of them and we are transported back to where we left off last week with Agatha revealing herself to Wanda. In an effort to understand Wanda’s powers, Agatha takes her on a journey through her memories from the death of her parents through her relationship with Vision to the creation of Wanda’s Westview. We discover that Vision’s body was in fact never removed from S.W.O.R.D. as Hayward had stated, instead S.W.O.R.D. had dismembered Vision’s body – basically dismantling it for parts – and Wanda created a new Vision from herself.
This episode packed some serious emotional punches. Throughout, Wanda’s traumas are accompanied by the presence of sitcoms – contextualising the sitcom homages. This begins with a beautiful and heart-breaking scene where Wanda and Pietro as children watch The Dick Van Dykes Show with their parents. The joy on Wanda’s face as she experiences the antics is heart-warming only for a bomb to explode a moment later, resulting in the death of her parents. It’s a brilliant moment that completely disrupts the peace and happiness brought about by the sitcom – framing perfectly why Wanda has done what she has.
Some of the most interesting moments in this episode were the almost self-referential bits of dialogue – when asked by Vision how she knows that a man didn’t actually hurt himself in a sitcom, she says “it’s not that kind of show.” It’s like there’s a tension between the show that Wanda created, the sitcoms, and WandaVision, the show we watch every Friday. What “kind of show” this will be in terms of who gets hurt is still up in the air.
Elizabeth Olsen again shines in this most emotional episode – her visiting Vision’s body being particularly standout. But Kathryn Hahn’s Agatha, who accompanies and provides hilarious quips, was also excellent with Agatha shaping up to be a truly fun and interesting villain and finally Wanda is given the title of “Scarlet Witch”. But despite Agatha almost strangling Wanda’s kids, it must be that Hayward is going to the true villain of WandaVision, as that post-credit scene does suggest.
The storytelling in this episode has provided an intriguing set-up for next week’s finale. I’m longing for the final episode where hopefully all our questions will be answered but at the same time I’m really going to miss this fun creative show.
Episode 8 | Disney+ | Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Kat Dennings, Teyonah Parris, Randall Park