It seems fair to say that Marvel Studios’ first Disney Plus rollout has been successful, with WandaVision pretty much taking over the pop culture conversation over the past nine weeks.
Sure, it wasn’t meant to be the first – that was the planned fate for The Falcon and the Winter Solider, before COVID filming issues pushed that series to second place – but WandaVision has definitely shown what that mighty Marvel machine can do on the small screen, finally giving Elizabeth Olsen more to do than spout a few lines in a team-up movie and transforming a vibranium android into an unlikely romantic idol.
And this week, that all came to a head in the kind of exciting, CGI spectacle that we've come to expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, combined with an emotional conclusion that may stand as one of the more affecting superhero stories in recent years.
Was it full of everything fans had hoped for and more? Well, perhaps not quite – a few hoped-for cameos and plot twists were absent – but it was still a satisfying ending that concluded this chapter of Wanda's story, and also provided some intriguing hints of what was to come.
And of course, there was plenty of action. After last week's talk-heavy flashback episode, this week kicks things into high gear from the start, with Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) drawing out Wanda for a pitched battle in the streets of Westview. At first, Wanda keeps the upper hand with a judicious application of car to face (with a great Wizard of Oz visual when Agatha's trapped underneath), but the scales are tipped when White Vision turns up.
"Oh, this is awkward. Your ex and your boyfriend together at the same party," Agatha quips as the two Paul Bettanys clash, barreling through the skies and phasing in and out of solid matter as both try to destroy the other. It's a true spectacle that shows just how much WandaVision has been holding back in the weeks until now, and really it's just the start of the visual feasts this episode will offer.
Back closer to the ground, Agatha unleashes some real pain on Wanda by "releasing" her "meat puppets", AKA the residents of Westview she's been holding captive. Emma Caulfield's Dottie (real name: Sarah) pleads for her daughter to be given a role in the sitcom, even as a villain, so she can be let out of her room. Others plead for death, leading Wanda to attempt to lift the Hex for them, only to be reminded what this would mean for her husband and children.
Instead, she leaves the spell where it is, sending her boys to "handle the military" while she deals with Agatha. Meanwhile, Vision and White Vision have finally found a pleasant shared interest – long discussions of Greek mythology, specifically the story of the ship of Theseus and whether it could be called the same vessel once all the planks were removed, especially if the planks were reassembled into a new ship (or the 'when are the Sugababes not the Sugababes' theorem based on replacing original parts of a whole).
"Neither is the true ship. Both are the true ship..." they both end up agreeing, and this is enough for White Vision to abandon his mission of destroying "the Vision", as neither of them is quite the original.
In turn this leads the new, nasty Vision to let nice Vision unlock his memories, providing a flood of footage from older Marvel movies and turning his eyes closer to something like the original. At a stroke, he shoots off into the sky (and probably, another spin-off project), not to be seen again in this finale.
Back in the main square, things are also wrapping up nicely. With the help of Monica (Teyonah Parris) and her handy new powers, Tommy and Billy easily subdue the military, while nasty Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg) gets taken out by Kat Dennings' Darcy in an ice cream truck (oddly, the only appearance she makes all episode). No, he wasn't Mephisto, but he did try and shoot some pre-teens in the head so still not a particularly nice guy.
And with all these other threads snipped off, we're down to Wanda and Agatha's final clash. Wanda's Age of Ultron mind tricks don't work on her former neighbour (and, in fact, inspire a kind of horrible zombie vision, not to be confused with the Zombie Vision we saw a few weeks ago), so Olsen's Avenger tries something else. Blasting Agatha over and over again in the sky, it appears Wanda is giving up on her chaos magic for good... but really, she's just putting some magical theory to work, drawing runes around the Westview Hex that stunt Agatha's powers the way hers were in the last episode.
Taking back the power, Wanda goes full Scarlet Witch in a new outfit, rewriting Agatha as a normal person (specifically her "nosy neighbour" character) and promising to find her again if she ends up needing her magical advice. It's a victory – but it comes at a price, with Wanda finally realising she needs to let go of the world she's created.
"It’s time," Vision says. "Shall we head home?"
As the Hex unwrites behind them and they bid a difficult farewell to their boys in bed, it's hard not to feel a little emotional. Is some of the dialogue here a little cheesy? Well, yes – Wanda calling Vision a creation of her "sadness and hope" and "mostly my love," could cause a gritted tooth or two. But after nine episodes, this kind of sentiment feels earned in a way it never would on the big screen, and as Vision finally dissolves into a pattern of gold you might find you have a lump in your throat.
"So long darling," Vision says. Whether or not we see him again (or what colour he'll be), it's hard not to admire what Paul Bettany's done over the course of the series.
After this farewell, Wanda wraps everything up, almost literally. Her house disappears and Westview returns to normal, and dodging the evil eye of the townspeople she flies off to learn more about her abilities. In a later post-credits scene (there are two this week) we see her working hard on the magical Darkhold book, possibly trying to bring her boys back to life while she also masters her power.
And, back in Westview, Monica has her own tease, as a surprise Skrull turns up to hint that Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) has a job for her, with a suggestion that space travel could be in Monica's immediate future. You've got to love a teaser.
Sadly, no such hints were forthcoming for fans who'd hoped to see Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange turn up to tease Olsen's presence in his next film, Doctor Strange 2. Though Agatha does tease that Wanda is now "more powerful than the Sorceror Supreme," which could be something that picks up Strange's attention in his next movie, it's clear that film will have a more self-contained story than many had theorised.
In other words, there's no Multiverse to see here – and that also applies to the much-theorised "Fietro", AKA the Fake Pietro played by Evan Peters, who's here presented as a brainwashed actor called Ralph rather than the X-Men universe's Peter Maximoff. Given how many theories about WandaVision were rushing around, we were bound to overstretch ourselves eventually (with apologies to anyone still holding out for Nightmare or Mephisto to turn up as well), but who knows? Maybe there's still more to learn about Peters' character in future movies. Personally, we'll never give up.
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And anyway, this series was about more than Easter eggs and fan theories. Overall, WandaVision has been a great advert for this new, streaming age of Marvel. At a stroke, fans have seen that the big-screen storytelling can be transferred to a new medium, while also offering the chance to spend more time with characters who are easily swallowed up by the large casts of the main movies. It’s been a brilliant showcase for Bettany and Olsen, who’ve done some of their best MCU work in the last few weeks, and also shown just how much mileage can come from previously-dismissed side characters like Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis.
In short, it was great – and it’s hard to know whether the slightly less mysterious, more straightforward storytelling we’re expecting from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in a couple of weeks will scratch the same itch. No Bucky pretending to be Hal from Malcolm in the Middle? Hard pass.
And who knows? If the usual big cinema releases return in the coming months, maybe Marvel's Disney Plus offerings won’t have quite the same cultural cachet, forced to compete against their own silver screen stablemates for attention and virtual column inches (which are just pixels, we suppose). In other words, we might never see the kind of attention and excitement WandaVision has inspired ever again.
If that is the case, well, at least we'll always have this show to go back to. If nothing else, this show has made a good case for the ultimate power of reruns.
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?
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.