WandaVision Episode 8 Review

Taking a look back brings some great emotion, but prevents forward momentum for the series finale.

Back to the Future

Oh boy. I’m sorry everyone, but I am feeling mixed on this week’s episode of WandaVision as well. Although it addresses my complaints from last week and gives us some great emotional moments via Elizabeth Olsen’s performance, it feels more like a retread of information we already know rather than propelling the conflict towards its conclusion. I certainly hope that the season finale next week can bring it all together in what has definitely been a fun and weird MCU experience.

We get a lot of answers this week to the questions that have plagued our thoughts since the season premiere and these answers range from okay to exceeding expectations. The reason that there has been a sitcom element for the past 7 episodes is because Wanda grew up on watching reruns of old family sitcoms back in Sokovia. Not only that, she watched them as she was undergoing experiments with the Mind Stone and used them as an escape when Pietro died. This is a good explanation, but one that I feel a lot of people predicted (myself included) in the earlier episodes. It makes sense, but it doesn’t add anything new to the show that we wouldn’t have already known.

On the other hand, the reveal that Wanda made the Hex in response to the continuous heartbreak and grief she has been feeling was a fantastic and emotional scene that certainly melted even the hardest of hearts. Wanda and Vision were going to live in Westview and live an idyllic sitcom lifestyle that Wanda had always dreamed of. To know that the dream had been stripped away from her just like everything else in her life finally came to a powerful explosion of her power as she created the Hex to escape from the pains of the current reality and live in a life where she could be happy. Olsen sells these scenes extraordinarily and I love how this show at its core is about the pains of grief and the ways we try to cope with it. The heroes of the MCU have endured a lot so its refreshing to see the mental and emotional fallout some of them experience, something that I personally felt really worked with Thor in Endgame.

Showing Wanda in Sokovia, and undergoing Strucker’s experiments felt too much like the show was trying to remind the audience of what Wanda had endured. I realize that this show has to appeal to both the casual viewer and the longtime MCU fans, but for those of us who already knew that Wanda got her powers from the Mind Stone or that her family died at the hands of Tony Stark’s weapons, it felt more like a “in case you forgot” rather than giving us new information. Ultimately, the pace of the episode is slow but the quieter moments when Wanda is talking with Vision about grief are far more impactful for the episode. “What is grief if not love persevering?”. Loved this quote from Vision

Director Hayward (more like Jerkward), faked the footage to make it appear like Wanda stole Vision’s body when all she wanted was to say goodbye to her love. Hayward is trying to make a weapon out of Vision and by the looks of the mid-credits scenes it seems as if this Chrome Vision will be fighting against Wanda and Hex Vision in the finale which sets up some promising excitement. It’s sad to see that Hayward devolved into such a generic, one-note villain in the end of the show but it’ll be interesting to see how his character and the rest of S.W.O.R.D. wraps up.

Then there’s Agatha Harkness, who we get a little bit of backstory on from the Salem Witch Trials but it feels more tacked on and rushed than something we truly deserved. It doesn’t seem like the show will be too interested in giving us more of her motivations or fleshing her out to be a more three dimensional character. She is mainly interested in seeing how Wanda created this Hex and how she could be so powerful. It does seem a little misleading from last week for us to think it was “Agatha All Along”, since the biggest things she did was create Pietro to get a confession out of Wanda and kill Sparky. Kathryn Hahn definitely delights in chewing the scenery making her fun to watch, but her character isn’t adding much at this point. If anything, it sets up another encounter for the finale where Wanda will have to embrace her “Scarlett Witch” persona to take her down and free the children.

There certainly is A LOT the show has to wrap up in its finale, and frankly I am feeling concerned and maybe a little pessimistic that they will be able to pull off a satisfying conclusion. There’s the fact that Wanda still has the residents of Westview held captive, the confrontation with Chrome Vision, the confrontation with Agatha Harkness, what happens to Billy and Tommy, and ultimately what this means for Wanda going forward. With the pace of how this season has been going, they are going to need a full hour episode (without the 7 minutes of credits…ugh) to truly wrap everything up and set up what’s to come. Here’s hoping they can do that, because I feel like some of these arcs may just be dropped or have a quick fix.

Overall, this felt like another calm before the storm episode. While I am happy that we have done away with the sitcom element, this episode needed more high stakes conflict to balance out the emotional backstory that we are mostly familiar with. Those quieter moments are nice, but with it being the penultimate episode I needed more of a full acceleration as opposed to a light tap on the gas towards the finale next week. Hopefully it will be long enough to wrap up everything well and tie it in to the future MCU projects.

(B -) Repetitive

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