Season 1 Episode 8
After the shocking (yet not completely surprising) reveal at the end of the last episode, WandaVision leaves the sitcom world behind and ramps up the drama. The episode starts in Salem as we are given the backstory of Agnes aka Agatha Harkness. We see her use of magic and how she taps into the dark arts. Backstory is the theme of this episode and it serves to give context to the two characters at the center of it.
After capturing Wanda, Agatha marvels at how she was able to create and maintain the simulation of Westview. She also wants to know how it was done. In order to get to those answers, Agatha will give Wanda a crash course in confronting her traumas by taking her through the events of her life and how they shaped Westview. Starting with the event she discussed in Age of Ultron, we see the influence classic sitcoms had on young Wanda as well as hints that her powers might not have just come from the Mind Stone.
As we’re taken to the event that unlocked her powers, we are shown a vision that teases Wanda’s final form. A scene that is brilliantly shot with great special effects. As awesome as the scene is, what comes after is one of the most well acted scenes in the series as well as the most on point exchange about the show’s theme. Vision and Wanda sit together after the events of Age of Ultron as Wanda put voice to her grief. It’s a powerful scene that is bolstered not only by Elizabeth Olsen’s performance, but by Paul Bettany’s brilliant tone as Vision.
Their exchange is so innocent and pure that not only do you marvel at the acting performances, you can see how the characters gained a deeper connection. That connection is what drives the rest of the episode as Wanda is forced to confront her grief of losing Vision again along with the dark reality of what comes next for her after a discovery that sets everything in motion. It’s another brilliantly done acting scene for Olsen as her grief spills over and explodes both literally and figuratively.
The end of the episode has some amazing reveals for Wanda and Vision, but this episode is all about the performances of Elizabeth Olsen and Kathryn Hahn. Olsen masterfully delivers as a character being forced to relive and confront her trauma and you feel both for and with her as she relives some of the darkest moments of her life. Hahn is brilliant as always and shows great range outside your typical villain role. She is not only hilariously sharp with the quips, but she even shows some level of compassion for Wanda that makes the viewer continue to like the character despite her actions and motives.
The penultimate episode of WandaVision concludes with an after credits scene that is both shocking as well as revelatory about Hayward and S.W.O.R.D.’s motives. It also does a brilliant deep dive into themes of loss, grief and love. The series consistently hits the mark, but this episode puts it over the top in the realm of great television.