We’re running a weekly recap of WandaVision on Disney+. There are spoilers, duh! You’ve been warned.
Let’s not forget how it felt when Marvel Studios first announced it would produce original MCU shows for what was then a non-existent streaming platform called Disney+. The idea was to pluck secondary characters from its vast collection of films and decades of ancillary comic book ethos, and weave the narratives of these new streaming series into the regular cadence of annual “event” films.
On its face, it was not at all apparent that this should or could work. WandaVision was a gamble that toyed with the bottled lightning that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And now that this first series has come to an end, it’s clear this was an experiment that pretty much nailed its landing on the very first try.
My point is, WandaVision has no right being as gosh darn good as it is. But it really is that good. And I think it’s okay to resent them for it, just a little.Agatha asked Wanda, “Do you think maybe this is what you deserve?” That’s the question that poisons all our hearts.
I admit coming into this last WandaVision episode with mixed feelings of excitement and dread, the way one feels any time a beloved book series or film franchise must eventually end. After all, the episode was aptly named, “The Series Finale”—emphasis on the word series. There is no second season. This little nine-episode arc is all there is.
Here’s what we’ve learned.
The song is wrong, apparently. It was Wanda all along, not Agatha.
As K. B. Hoyle wrote last week in her guest recap, “When Wanda finally feels her feelings, she doesn’t destroy—she creates.” And later, “In her grief, Wanda recreates her husband. She creates their children, and a home, and an ideal community. She protects that community from outside attack. Wanda is a wife, mother, caregiver, protector. These are markers of her strength.”
The Westview anomaly is Wanda’s making. Its residents were unfortunate captives of a creative force that Wanda didn’t even know existed, let alone one she could wield herself. It’s a force so powerful that it attracted Agatha Harkness, a centuries-old witch with a knack for absorbing the power of those she deemed “undeserving.” As a woman well-versed in the witchcraft of old, Agatha covets Wanda’s naturally supernatural power.
And so it comes to pass that in their final confrontation, Wanda proves herself a more astute student than Agatha expected. Upon rebuilding the Hex to stop her family’s literal disintegration, Wanda casts magical runes all along the Hex’s borders, thereby rendering Agatha’s abilities impotent. After all, as we learned the week earlier, only the witch who casts the runes can summon her abilities within the confines of those runes.
Adding insult to injury, Wanda re-absorbs the full extent of her Mind Stone–enhanced abilities back from Agatha, along with all (or at least most) of Agatha’s powers too—powers that Agatha herself absorbed from an entire coven of dusty old witches 400 years earlier.
And so, by sponging up Agatha’s blue and purple powers into her own red and yellow powers, Wanda is over halfway through completing her ROY G BIV collection of power colors.
It’s not the finale’s only showdown. We also see Good Vision fighting Bad Vision. He wins by using a Ship of Theseus thought experiment to convince Bad Vision that he’s not bad after all. He’s just Vision. And if any of that went over your head, just know that it’s the philosophy equivalent of asking, “Why are you punching yourself?”
Newly minted not-Bad Vision flies away, along with all the memories of Good Vision firmly implanted in the synthezoid’s mainframe, almost certainly to someday return to the MCU because it’s apparent Paul Bettany loves playing this character and will keep doing it as many times as they’ll keep resurrecting him.
Wanda and Good Vision return to their home, tucking their kids in for a final good night with the understanding that it’s their last on Wanda’s earth. Vision asks Wanda the question we’ve wanted to know all along. “Who am I?”
Her response: “You, Vision, are the piece of the Mind Stone that lives in me. You are a body of wires and blood and bone that I created. You are my sadness and my hope. But mostly, you’re my love.”
And with that, as a single tear falls down Vision’s vibranium face, the Maximoff family—and the Hex that made them—vanish, leaving Wanda alone in Westview once more. Only now she’s the pariah of a town who resents her for the pain and suffering her creation inflicted on them.
Several weeks ago I shared, “I would welcome the MCU introducing a hero who isn’t acting all that heroic, someone to root for who needs forgiveness.”
In its own way, the finale gave me my wish. I’ve never placed an entire town under my spell and locked away its children for several weeks in order to satiate my Partridge Family roleplay with Mrs. Poppe. (Made it weird. Sorry.)
But here’s what I have done.
I’ve hurt people. More than I know. More than I can count.
At the series finale, Wanda finally got to say she was sorry. Monica, in particular, was quick to forgive. But sometimes the inventory of your wrongs is too large. Even if you remember them all, it can feel like there aren’t enough sorries to make it right. What do you even do?
Well, Wanda does what most of us want to do. She leaves. Perhaps she has no choice. Perhaps it’s either that or prison.
But either way, she literally flies away to a cottage in the mountains, far far away from the reach of mankind. And it’s there where she begins the work of putting her newfound Scarlet Witch abilities to practice, studying the Darkhold, and perhaps maybe, just maybe, to bring her family back for good this time.
Back in episode 7, as Westview was crumbling and Vision was missing or dead, Agatha asked Wanda, “Do you think maybe this is what you deserve?”
That’s the question that poisons all our hearts. It’s the internal monologue behind every struggle, the demonic whisper meeting us at every failure. And as we see Wanda, isolated, alone, in WandaVision’s final moments, we’re seeing her in a state of self-immolation and penance, but also terrifying rebirth. As she grows more powerful, I fear what will happen if the poison does its worst.
I don’t want to see Wanda get what she deserves. I want her to get better than she deserves. Someday, I hope, she’ll get a moment reminiscent of Thor’s delight upon wielding Mjolnir once again. “I’m still worthy,” he laughs.
Of course he is. Wanda is too. We all are.