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WandaVision episode 8 review: The beginning of the end

Agatha gives Wanda a blast from the past as WandaVision approaches its grand finale.

Published: Friday, 26th February 2021 at 9:34 am
A star rating of 3 out of 5.

And now, the end is near, and so we face the final curtain...


Yes, we're now just one week away from WandaVision's finale, which is rumoured to be absolutely stuffed with massive Marvel action, big twists and (maybe) even more surprise cameos. It's a far cry from the black-and-white dinner party we started with in January – but then, who could have thought back then that we'd have spent a good week singing a jaunty song about a witch played by Kathryn Hahn?

Certainly, it was hard to stop humming "it was Agatha All Along" during this week's penultimate episode, which saw our new favourite witch take a trip down memory lane with Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda, hoping to discover the source of the latter's unusual powers.

In a way, this week's function was a little like WandaVision's fourth episode, solving a few lingering mysteries and letting us know what happened "behind-the-scenes," even if it didn't hugely advance the plot itself. For example, fake Pietro – or "Fietro," as Agatha called him – is obviously not Wanda's brother. Rather, he's just someone she's controlling as necromancy was too much effort at this stage. And Wanda's powers? Genuinely just magic, albeit untrained, which means despite Wanda's strength she's easily contained by a more experienced witch.

The latter in particular is an interesting twist that ties more closely to the comics, where Wanda is a magic user rather than some kind of telekinetic, and could tie into Olsen's confirmed presence in Doctor Strange 2.

Really, there's a lot to get into...but before we get bogged down in theorising, it's time for reruns! In the sitcom parlance of Agatha, that's what she calls the regular flashbacks in this episode, which she uses (after her own little sojourn into her past in the 1690s, where we see her drain a group of witches) to discover how exactly Wanda created such a powerful illusion.

First stop? Wanda's Sokovian childhood, where her obsession with classic US sitcoms helped her through the loss of her parents, even as her and Pietro were trapped in their collapsed home with a Stark bomb (as previously mentioned in 2015's Age of Ultron). But here, a different reading of the scene is presented – what if the bomb wasn't faulty? What if instead, Wanda was a "baby witch" who was able to stop the bomb somehow, and her powers were simply enhanced by the Infinity Stone later in life?

I mean, it doesn't fully explain where Pietro got super-speed from, but let's go with it. Certainly the show seems to think so, jumping forward to Wanda's time in a HYDRA facility to show the moment her full magic red voodoo was unlocked thanks to her exposure to Loki's sceptre (aka the Mind Stone). As Wanda sees the yellow stone within, a cascade of energy reveals a familiar, pointy-headed silhouette...that of her classic Scarlet Witch costume...and later, the entire exchange has been edited from the CCTV.

(L-R): Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Agatha theorises that the stone enhanced the magic that would otherwise have "died on the vine" - but it still doesn't explain how Wanda pulled off the whole WestView anomaly Hex doodad. How can we find out? Why, another door, to another memory - this time, to the Avengers compound some time after Age of Ultron.

Here we see Wanda once again watching a sitcom – if nothing else, the episode may be helpful in identifying some of the Dick van Dyke and Malcolm in the Middle references in previous episodes – and also see more clearly the role Vision had in comforting her after Pietro's death, suggesting to her, "what is grief if not love persevering?" He did have a way with words, the old (young?) romantic.

It's an emotional moment - even Agatha wipes away a tear - but it also sets up what comes next. In Agatha's own words: "Parents dead, brother dead, Vision dead. What happened when he wasn’t there to pull you back from the darkness, Wanda?"

Well, we soon find out. After seeing glimpses in earlier episodes, this week finally shows us what happened when Wanda went to SWORD to claim Vision's body, only to find (as has been suspected for some time) that he wasn't just in cold storage.

Paul Bettany as Vision in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. Disney

Instead, Director Hayward and his team have been taking Vision to pieces, trying to see what makes him tick, in a faintly demeaning and unsettling visual of Paul Bettany chopped up onto various tables.

"We’re dismantling the most significant sentient weapon ever made," Hayward says, in a sentence that makes you think SWORD are still really trying to justify that acronym. Crucially, he's curious to see whether Wanda could bring Vision back to life...but if she isn't going to try, he can't let her have him.

"He’s all I have," Wanda says.

"Well that’s just it Wanda. He isn’t yours," Hayward replies.

And after a slightly tense stand-off, Wanda kind of agrees! At least, he's not her Vision any more. Leaving the corpse of her lover behind, Wanda instead drives over to Westview, New Jersey, spotting the "real" versions of several of her sitcom pals before heading to the house she and Vision were (apparently?) going to live in together. Clearly, New Jersey suffered quite a lot from the "blip", even if it just came to lawn maintenance.

At her and Vision's home, Wanda finally breaks, falling to her knees and crying...and that's when it happens. A cascade of red energy bursts from her, transforming the town and recreating Vision. We're back in the 1950s-esque setting, the colour has drained and the last missing piece has been revealed. This is how it all started.

And's not that big a surprise? I had kind of assumed "Wanda was sad and had a little breakdown, and changed everything" was the given, and that the show might add a little more of a twist on top of that. But I suppose we do still have Agatha.

Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

And Agatha, of course, still has the boys. Outside in her full costume (with a hint of comic-book Agatha's trademark choker necklace) Kathryn Hahn's witch lays it all out as tendrils of her magic choke Tommy and Billy.

"I know what you are. You have no idea how dangerous you are," she says, noting that Wanda's "supposed to be a myth".

"This is chaos magic, Wanda," she continues. "And that makes you…a Scarlet Witch."

Roll credits! Literally and figuratively. Yes, for the first time someone has said Wanda's actual comic-book name in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while it was a little laboured, who are we to judge? If they can sneak "Quicksilver" in before the end we'll be even happier.

And like last week the episode didn't leave it there, delivering a post-credits scene to tease what's coming. Back outside the Hex, we see Hayward and his goons have siphoned off some of Wanda's energy, and finally got something working - a reconstructed, pale Vision. Or White Vision, if you're a comic-book fan.

In case it wasn't clear before, Hayward lied about Wanda stealing Vision's body. Clearly he's been lying all along, just looking for some way to get his pet project up and running (whether that means stealing Wanda's second Vision or just getting her to make his work) and now he's found it.

Now it seems like we're set for a Vision-vs-Vision, witch-vs-witch smackdown in next week's finale, and I honestly can't wait to see what level of action Marvel is capable of on the small screen. If nothing else, we've come a long way from breakfast for dinner.

Overall, this was an episode full of clarity (yes, the WandaVision commercials were specifically exploring Wanda's trauma) and fun moments, even if I am still a little sad they couldn't get Aaron Taylor-Johnson back to cameo as Pietro one last time. WandaVision may not have the most surprising twists, but there's something satisfying about seeing the jigsaw puzzle pieces come together, while the central story of Wanda's grief makes for an unusually moving Marvel product.

As for whether there are still some surprises in store next week, we'll have to wait and see. Now that we know some real magic is involved here, it's hard to imagine a certain Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) wouldn't want to check in, and I'm sure we're in for some pretty big action moments whatever happens.

Personally, I'm just hoping WandaVision can bring it home after a brilliant series. And if they throw in a new theme tune or two, I wouldn't complain.

Want more WandaVision content? Check out our guide to the WandaVision cast, the WandaVision release schedule, Agatha Harkness, the Darkhold and the creepy WandaVision commercials. Plus, we ask: When is WandaVision set, how did Vision survive, and can we expect a WandaVision series 2?


WandaVision releases new episodes on Disney Plus on Fridays. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.


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