There have been as many ways in which Marvel’s WandaVision collection finale may have ended as there are other ways to process grief. Each of the season’s 9 episodes teased this out—new plot twists that threw audiences for loops all meant to obscure, however not erase, the truth that regardless of all of the energy she’s placed on show, Wanda Maximoff was falling aside lengthy earlier than she set foot in Westview.
“The Series Finale” is what WandaVision’s been constructing towards this complete time, and it actually brings a finality to this chunk of Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) briefly picturesque lives collectively in New Jersey.
With all the hype and thriller revolving across the episode, it was considerably unsurprising when collection director Matt Shakman made a point of letting WandaVision’s fans know that whereas the fandom’s theorizing concerning the plot and potential cameos have been appreciated, they weren’t issues the present was ever essentially attempting to, or ever planning to, contact upon. Some of that hypothesis was relatively warranted contemplating simply what number of free threads and unanswered questions there have been about WandaVision’s core plot and sitcom conceit forward of “The Series Finale” premiering.
After winking and nodding at viewers all season by taking part in with its model and format in ways in which inspired audiences to suppose extra critically about how we engaged with the present, the finale actually does away with the majority of WandaVision’s extra impressed trappings with a purpose to turn into what’s simply recognizable as one thing akin to the final 30 minutes or so of just about each Marvel film. Depending on how you’re feeling about big-ish, ridiculous VFX-heavy MCU struggle scenes, this may very well be both a constructive or a unfavorable. But as what’s meant to be considered one of WandaVision’s extra vital “big battles,” it has the impact (maybe deliberately) of coming throughout a bit like one thing from a Disney Channel unique film.
In place of any form of sitcom-esque intro sequence, this time it’s a tough minimize proper again to the scene in entrance of Wanda and Vision’s house, the place Agatha had beforehand recognized Wanda as the Scarlet Witch after rummaging around in her mind final week. As Agatha hovers within the air with Wanda’s kids ensnared in magical threads, no matter uncertainty Wanda nonetheless feels is pushed apart by her intuition to struggle the elder witch with a flourish of vitality blasts that Agatha gobbles proper up like a Sanderson sister. Delightful as each Kathryn Hahn and Elizabeth Olsen have persistently been in every episode, most every little thing about their character’s standoff falls relatively flat within the sense that it’s lots of concurrently telling and exhibiting (with an emphasis on the previous) that all the time makes these fights type of drag. In case it wasn’t abundantly clear already, Agatha focuses on draining the magic of others, which she explains as she performs with a handful of Wanda’s vitality and Wanda watches her hand start to shrivel and gray.
Because WandaVision’s earlier episodes put a lot vitality into determining new methods to depict what being a hero (saving Mr. Hart from choking in “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”) and being a villain (see: “Agatha All Along”) may seem like, Agatha explaining her evil plan whereas the episode nods to The Wizard of Oz appears like one thing of a slight step backward and to the aspect. Had Agatha gotten right down to brass tacks and simply walloped Wanda on sight, there’s an opportunity she might need been capable of finish issues then and there.
But “The Series Finale” chooses to highlight Wanda’s development and path to triumph through the sequence by alluding to plenty of her flashier moments from earlier motion pictures that, right here, really feel like a reminder that the character’s meant to dwell on in future MCU installments. When she smashes Agatha right into a home utilizing a automobile as a sneak assault, it appears like a direct callback to her battle in Captain America: Civil War the place she did the identical to Tony Stark. The Civil War parallels proceed when Cataract—a.ok.a. the White Vision constructed by Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg) and SWORD—arrives on the scene to discover a shocked Wanda, who doesn’t instantly perceive that this reanimated model of her accomplice means to homicide her.
While Vision’s dalliance with whiteness in Marvel’s comics left him impassive and alien to the individuals who knew him, WandaVision’s Cataract as an alternative reads as explicitly malicious and performing on Hayward’s orders as he makes an attempt to crush Wanda’s cranium whereas musing about how highly effective he was informed she could be. To be sincere, a full-on Cataract character examine wasn’t crucial upfront and would have solely gotten in the best way of the episode’s legitimately fascinating struggle that kicks into gear as soon as the Vision Wanda created arrives proper on time to save lots of his spouse.
Even although the playing cards have been laid out for WandaVision’s characters at this level, it’s fascinating to consider how a lot of what occurs in “The Series Finale” would possibly truly be influenced by the Hex, particularly when you think about issues just like the a number of hero landings and quantity of narrative remark that takes place. If Agatha was actually about her villainy, one imagines she wouldn’t float round cracking clever about Wanda’s two-Vision-problem, or fly off to Westview’s water tower as if she have been a boss transferring to the subsequent stage of a battle in a recreation. Because every little thing else about Westview seems to nonetheless be underneath the affect of Wanda’s final revision that turned the city right into a slice of life from the early aughts, it’s attainable that a minimum of a few of what’s occurring is being formed by Wanda’s experiences she lived, not as a fan, however as somebody who’s precise experiences learn as film clips as a result of, for viewers, that’s what they’re.
Some day, the general public will study that studios and actors actually don’t have any qualms messing with followers’ minds with a purpose to drive curiosity in numerous collection and movies, and on that day individuals will start taking these grains of salt we’re all the time harping on about. Though Paul Bettany’s tease of an upcoming WandaVision cameo was a well-executed troll, the scenes targeted on Vision and Cataract’s struggle with each other turned out to be a number of the collection’ most riveting and philosophical.
Something that always will get misplaced within the dialog concerning the Scarlet Witch and Vision is how the character of identification inside the context of twinhood can, at instances, be a sophisticated topic. Beyond Wanda and Pietro and Billy and Timmy, who’ve all been depicted as extra easy twins in Marvel’s comics, there’s been a type of non secular kinship between characters like Vision and Wonder Man, and extra lately Vision’s synthezoid spouse Virginia whose mind patterns have been modeled after Wanda’s within the comics. In Marvel’s books, that exact type of dynamic has virtually all the time led to turmoil and strife, and it’s fascinating to see WandaVision incorporate that vitality right into a struggle sequence that follows the 2 humanoid machines as they beat each other up throughout city.
One of the various questions urgent questions looming over the Disney+ collection earlier than “Previously On,” was simply how a lot of the Westview anomaly the remainder of the world was conscious of—particularly after Wanda expanded the Hex considerably with a purpose to save Vision’s life in “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!” “Previously On” casually tried to gloss over this exterior the Hex the place SWORD director Hayward triumphantly defined his villainous plan all alongside to an viewers of operatives, who all appear cool with harboring a secret, sentient weapon of mass destruction who explicitly informed them to depart his corpse the hell alone.
True to Hayward’s (and the episode’s) common on-the-nose-ness, Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) defiantly tells the director that he’ll by no means get together with his dastardly plan, and in considered one of WandaVision’s actually uninspired moments, Hayward makes a pun about Woo’s lack of “vision” that, if we’re being sincere, was type of beneath the story that was being informed. WandaVision’s time exterior the Hex has by no means been particularly fascinating, save for moments following Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), who’s woefully underutilized within the finale, but additionally current sufficient to make the episode’s missteps fairly obvious. While Jimmy rushes to make a secret telephone name to Quantico meant to reveal Hayward’s treachery, Monica bides her time in Agatha’s home underneath Pietro/Fietro’s (Evan Peters) watch. Nothing a lot comes from their interplay apart from the revelation that the person everybody was led to consider was Wanda’s brother was truly Agatha/Agnes’ off-screen “husband,” Ralph, of the Bohner household.
Reactions to Ralph Bohner are prone to be cut up amongst followers due to what all Evan Peters’ presence in WandaVision may have (and truthfully, nonetheless would possibly) imply concerning the MCU’s future. Though the nods to the existence of Fox’s X-Men franchise and a recontextualized origin story for the Maximoff twins very strongest recommended that the Marvel collection may be an entry level for the MCU’s tackle mutants, Peters’ casting was additionally very clearly meant to be a giant joke relating Disney and 20th Century Fox’s merger and the character of how sitcoms have labored prior to now. That doesn’t imply that there’s no risk for Wanda to turn into part of no matter future X-Men tasks Marvel greenlights, however it does imply that some individuals labored themselves right into a frenzy about Magneto and Reed Richards exhibiting up as a result of they couldn’t settle for that typically jokes are actually simply jokes.
The finale does toss a relatively vital bone of lore followers’ manner, nevertheless, as Wanda chases after Agatha into the city sq., and Ms. Harkness reveals that in some unspecified time in the future after Agents of SHIELD and Runaways, however earlier than the start of WandaVision, she in some way managed to get her palms on the Darkhold. For these unfamiliar, the Darkhold (which has plenty of completely different names and varieties) is a magical tome cast from energies native to the Darkforce Dimension the place Doctor Strange’s greatest bud Dormammu dwells. After beforehand being framed as a type of MacGuffin unto itself, Agatha brings Darkhold to WandaVision as a supply of knowledge extra for the viewers and Wanda’s profit than the rest. While she doesn’t clarify that the e-book’s able to instructing its proprietor arcane secrets and techniques, she does reveal that it accommodates a chapter devoted to the Scarlet Witch, a mythic being whose energy surpasses that of the Sorcerer Supreme.
If Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) ears have been burning someplace on the market within the MCU, we gained’t know till he reveals up and says so in subsequent yr’s Multiverse of Madness. The man makes nary an look right here, despite the fact that you’d suppose that the brand new incarnation of a magical goddess would set off some alerts within the Sanctum Sanctorum. If there have been any such alarms, Strange apparently didn’t hear them in the identical manner that Wanda didn’t, or extra precisely wouldn’t, hear something Agatha mentioned, selecting as an alternative to insist that she couldn’t be a witch.
Because denying the plain has been Wanda’s factor as of late, her reluctance to listen to Agatha makes a type of sense. It additionally makes Dottie’s (Emma Caulfield Ford) return to the collection that rather more tough to look at when Agatha breaks the spell over her with a purpose to present the Avenger the reality. Free of Wanda’s affect, Dottie’s (whose title is definitely Sarah) sitcom frostiness provides technique to panic and concern for her younger daughter who’s been trapped in her room in moments the place she’s not allowed to turn into a part of “the show.” As Agatha wakes up extra of Westview’s residents, you start to get a greater image of the very actual agony and torture Wanda was placing them via by forcing them to expertise her traumatic nightmares in instances when she put them to “sleep.”
When the “Yo-Magic” business first premiered earlier within the season, one of many common theories hypothesized that the hidden message within the advert was truly about Wanda draining the life drive out of the individuals trapped inside the Hex. While that concept wasn’t solely correct, it wasn’t wholly off the cash both. As Mrs. Hart (Deborah Jo Rupp) begs Wanda to easily let all of them die, it’s a legitimately chilling second of despair for everybody current as a result of it locations the blame squarely on Wanda for harming civilians.
Every huge feat of magic that Wanda pulls off this episode represents a possibility for Agatha to siphon a few of it off in a manner that bears an uncanny resemblance to a few of X-Men: Dark Phoenix’s flashier moments. When Wanda briefly begins to lift the Hex, it provides the residents an opportunity to flee, however it additionally causes Vision, Tommy, and Billy to start breaking off into chunks—which critically evokes Joe Quesada’s House of M #1 variant cover. It’s from this level on that WandaVision kicks the comedian e-book film issue up in ways in which typically work, and typically don’t.
As Agatha, Cataract, and Hayward’s SWORD goons all converge on the household, the 4 of them break right into a set of hero poses which are going for The Incredibles, however find yourself supplying you with extra of ABC’s No Ordinary Family (a present the community seldom mentions today). After Vision flies off to struggle Cataract in a library, and Wanda follows Agatha into the sky, Billy and Tommy are left on the bottom to deal with SWORD, and the boys make quick work of disarming the adults utilizing their powers collectively. “The Series Finale” actually misses the mark in an uncharacteristic manner, nevertheless; as soon as Hayward steps out of his automobile ready to gun down the twins himself, and Monica—who simply occurs to point out up—jumps in entrance of the boys to intercept the bullets.
It’s quite common to see Black comedian e-book characters imbued with powers and put in conditions that very hamfistedly try and make a touch upon or draw inspiration from the experiences of precise Black individuals. Luke Cage’s bulletproof pores and skin is each a type of safety from hurt and a relentless reminder of the racist abuses of the carceral system which result in the experimentation that made him Power Man within the first place. The Black Panther is a relatively specific embodiment of Black excellence meant to be seemed as much as, however the character additionally embodied an thought of Black perfection that, in some methods, was simply as stifling because the interval Sam Wilson was known as the gangster “Snap” Wilson.
By first having Monica’s (one of many present’s sole Black characters) heroic origins rooted in her making an attempt to assist and cease Wanda (somebody who repeatedly harmed her) and then demonstrating a brand new aspect of her energy set by having her take a bunch of bullets fired by her former boss for Wanda’s kids, the story finally positioned Monica right into a discomfiting field. There is a really particular energy and bigger that means behind pictures of Black our bodies being shot basically that, sadly, the finale tries and fails to do something with because it focuses on how Monica’s physique drains the projectiles of their kinetic vitality as they part via her. To make issues worse, Billy’s capable of catch one of many bullets by his rattling self because the sequence involves a detailed, and whereas WandaVision tries to play the second for laughs, there’s…nothing significantly humorous about it!
“The Series Finale” is way stronger elsewhere, when Vision and Cataract are busy duking it out with each other within the native library, to attractive impact. Though the synthezoids’ brutal dance of fists and phasing is a visible delight, it’s how Vision brings the struggle to an finish with purpose that’s actually memorable. Though Vision’s “soul” perished together with the Mind Stone, Vision causes all of Cataract’s recollections should be positioned somebody inside his onboard storage, and he convinces his duplicate that these recollections are each what hyperlinks them collectively and what separates them. In another present, a robotic convincing himself to cease combating by working their manner collectively via the concepts behind the ship of Theseus thought experiment could be ridiculous, however right here it really works utterly because the form of factor that will give each Vision and Cataract purpose to pause.
After Cataract realizes the reality of what Vision’s telling him, he merely peaces proper out of Westview just like the best way the Hulk dipped after Age of Ultron to everybody’s confusion. Here, although, as a result of there are two of the synthezoids working round, nobody stops to contemplate Cataract’s departure, and Wanda takes Agatha unexpectedly, sneaking up behind her and hitting her with a thoughts hex just like what she obtained Tony with in Strucker’s laboratory (the callbacks, you see, they’re plentiful).
Rather than convey us again to a brand new nightmare for Agatha, Wanda’s hex brings us again to Salem on the night time of Agatha’s would-be burning on the stake, and for the briefest of moments, it appears like Wanda’s about to full-on give Agatha a dose of her personal chaotic medication. Instead, Wanda’s phantasm bounces again on her and the witches from Agatha’s previous all activate Wanda, finally binding her to the stake. Agatha’s reasoning, that’s solely however so convincing, is that whereas Wanda’s Scarlet Witch powers are formidable, her lack of formal coaching makes her ability at wielding it relatively paltry, and Agatha guarantees that if Wanda simply palms over the drive dwelling inside her that Agatha will give her and her household what they need.
From there, the boss battle adjustments areas as soon as extra as the ladies take again to the skies and Wanda lobs hex bolts at Agatha that solely appear to make her stronger. The manner Wanda’s physique withers as she makes use of her powers mirrors the best way she ages in James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch collection, and right here it’s revealed to all be a part of Wanda’s bigger plan to lull Agatha right into a false sense of safety.
By the time that Wanda’s hovering within the air, seemingly empty of magic after quite a lot of of her assaults having missed and smashed into the Hex’s partitions, Agatha had drained sufficient of her chaos magic to, in concept, do one thing wild with it. When she tries, although, she finds that her powers now not operate. Those “misses” have been Wanda having purposefully drawn the identical runes she’s seen in Agatha’s basement on the Hex. One may argue that Wanda’s plan was sure to work despite the fact that she had little information concerning the runes past their form due to her being the Scarlet Witch, however it’s simply as fascinating to see Wanda and Agatha’s complete ordeal because the very first classes in magic that Wanda ever discovered from her comics mentor.
The second the define of Wanda’s Scarlet Witch headdress begins to kind round her face, “The Series Finale” begins talking in Dark Phoenix’s visible language as soon as extra. Wanda siphons the chaos magic again out of Agatha and embraces the witch she was destined to turn into. Though these Dark Phoenix parallels might need derailed the present in the event that they went on lengthy sufficient, the story brings them to a much-needed finish with Wanda creating a brand new costume for herself and Agnes very genuinely warning Wanda that she doesn’t know what she’s accomplished by turning into the Scarlet Witch—even going as far as to inform her she’s destined to destroy the world. To Wanda, it’s all one thing of a moot level as she hexes Agatha one final time to “trap” her in her Agnes guise in Westview the place Wanda can all the time discover her, and you may clearly see the overall form of the character Wanda may be when she turns up subsequent in Marvel’s motion pictures.
What’s considerably off about the best way “The Series Finale” involves an finish is the best way that everybody inside Westview—that means Wanda, her household, and Monica—all form of simply go together with the strangeness of the day. Perhaps as a result of they’re all outgrowths of Wanda herself, Vision and the boys don’t in any respect query what the deal is with Wanda’s new getup or why all of them needed to struggle Auntie Agnes. As the Hex begins to come back down, Wanda and Vision convey their sons house to place them to mattress and allow them to know the way intensely pleased with them they’re. What little hope there was for Billy and Tommy in some way surviving exterior of the Hex is dashed when Wanda thanks the boys for selecting to be their mom, and you may really feel her ache when the digital camera cuts to a shot of the deteriorating Hex within the distance. Both Vision and Wanda know that their lives collectively will come to an finish as soon as the Hex is totally gone, and for one of many first instances within the collection, the pair are capable of joke and be sincere about how uncommon their lives have been.
“The Series Finale” comes very near topping the “What is grief” line with Wanda’s revelation that this Vision isn’t only a projection of her love, however an echo of the Mind Stone that lives inside her, and that’s all Vision must know to hope that, in all of his life’s insanity, there’s nonetheless potential for him to return in a brand new kind. In a small, touching manner, Vision’s questioning what he would possibly return as subsequent appears like WandaVision’s manner of exhibiting that, for all of the drama and ache that Wanda’s introduced into his life, he loves her that rather more for it, and that concept sticks together with her as she leaves her plot of land, pulls up her hood, and semi-shamefully walks again to the city heart. There’s a stiffness to Wanda and Monica’s dialog as our “hero” apologizes for what she’s accomplished, guarantees that she’ll study extra about magic, and adjustments again into her Scarlet Witch costume to fly out of city as police sirens press in from the space.
When you are taking a second to recall that WandaVision was all the time meant to be a narrative about Wanda confronting and attending to the underside of her grief, the collection’ first ending is sensible despite the fact that there’s a lot about it which may disappoint some viewers. Wanda got here, she cried, discovered a little bit of magic, and peaced the hell out. But alongside the best way, WandaVision did plenty of wondrous issues that advanced its central forged into new, fascinating variations of themselves, a few of whom shall be very fascinating to see within the futures closely teased within the finale’s mid and post-credits sequences.
With Hayward in cuffs and Jimmy having been the agent accountable for exposing his treachery, he and Monica are happy as hell as the remainder of the FBI swarms on the placement to start investigating the anomaly. When an agent pulls Monica apart into a close-by theater, the lady revealing herself to be a Skrull doesn’t faze Monica in any respect. However, the Skrull’s point out of being despatched by an outdated buddy of Maria Rambeau’s provides the lady pause, as does the Skrull’s supply to turn into a part of a brand new mission up in area the place SWORD gained’t let her journey anymore. While this thread’s certain to be picked up in Captain Marvel 2, WandaVision doesn’t actually come to an finish till after one other transient scene set within the mountains the place we discover Wanda sitting alone on the steps of a easy cabin.
Witchy as chilling alone in forest cottages is, issues take a correct flip when Wanda wanders into her house to seize a kettle off the range, and the digital camera pushes in to disclose that Wanda isn’t precisely alone. While one “Wanda” could merely be a projection meant to idiot anybody wandering via the realm—presumably, Wundagore Mountain—the Wanda behind the home is busy floating within the air atop an enchantment circle whereas studying the Darkhold with eager curiosity. Even extra shocking is the best way Wanda snaps to consideration when she hears her kids’s voices shouting for assist in her thoughts earlier than the scene cuts to black as a reminder that the Scarlet Witch shall be again earlier than later.
“The Series Finale” was neither WandaVision’s strongest episode nor its weakest, however it was very a lot one thing that lent itself to a number of interpretations and takeaways relying on what it’s you got here into the present anticipating from it. At any given cut-off date, it was attainable to take a position one’s energies into the precise textual content WandaVision was presenting or into the discourse across the present, each of which may very well be worthwhile efforts inside purpose, however hype and purpose have seldom gone hand in hand.
As the primary of Marvel’s new episodic tales that should irreversibly change the arc of the bigger MCU, WandaVision set the bar extremely excessive for the shows that’ll follow it. But whilst its personal story that was all the time meant to be a deep exploration of an underserved character, WandaVision was a bona fide knockout.
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