Leaving the sitcoms and, in a way, Westview behind, Episode 8 delivers a much-wanted trip down memory lane. Exposing not only some secrets of Westview, the episode focuses mostly on Wanda, her past, her powers, and her grief. Episode 8 is a noticeable departure from sitcom tropes and the musical number at the tail end of the last episode and is much more reminiscent of a standard entry of the MCU. The episode covered a lot of ground and subject matter previously unseen or unheard of in WandaVision or the MCU at-large. The result is an exciting, dense collection of scenes and moments that, taken together, nearly fills in the full picture that is this series.
First, there is much to be said about Agatha Harkness. While last episode gave us musical-number Agatha, this episode worked hard to give us its more genuine version of that character. The episode begins with a flashback to her past, confirming that she is a witch that lived in Salem, Massachusetts in the 17th century. While being killed as punishment for breaking the rules of her coven by learning magic stronger than allowed, Agatha easily overtakes the coven and kills them instead. One member was her mother, and the aloof way she acknowledges her actions brings us into present day with a better understanding of her personality and potentially her motives.
Her strength as a witch is revisited in her basement lair with Wanda. Wanda is unable to use her powers, because Agatha used protection runes. Agatha berates Wanda for not understanding this basic magic and questions her worth as a witch. This moment is perhaps one of the first we see where Wanda is the weakest in a matchup, which only serves to give Agatha more credibility. It also reminds us that Wanda is indeed a witch, not just a woman with powers from the mind stone. Despite Agatha clearly being set up as the antagonist of this episode, her winding explanations of magic to Wanda and her subsequent role in leading Wanda to discover the origins of her powers and Westview suggests that she may ultimately play a future role in aiding Wanda with her powers, much like her comic book counterpart.
The remainder of the episode follows Wanda’s “reruns”—Agatha, seeking to figure out how Wanda created Westview, forces Wanda to relive important moments in her life—and the result is the Wanda Maximoff backstory we’ve all been waiting for. The first rerun we see takes place in Sokovia when her and Pietro were young. Her father smuggles home a suitcase full of sitcoms on DVD, giving us our first hint as to why Westview manifested the way it did. This flashback also encompasses the death of Wanda and Pietro’s parents in the blast and the twins’ being trapped under rubble watching a Stark weapon blink and beep on and off as if it would explode at any minute for two days. Behind the explosive, the television has landed on some rubble, still playing a sitcom. The biggest revelation here, as pointed out by Agnes, is that the Stark weapon did not go off because Wanda cast a probability spell on it. Wanda was unaware, but Agatha exposes that at that time, Wanda was a “baby witch” still uncapable of accomplishing anything even remotely close to Westview. Previously, the MCU suggested that all of Wanda’s powers came from experimentation with the mind stone, so the news that Wanda already had magic powers may have some major implications, such as whether or not this makes Wanda a mutant.
The next rerun is Wanda at HYDRA, being experimented on with Loki’s staff. While the HYDRA personnel only see what looks like a glitch in the video recording, we see what really happened: the mind stone itself removed itself from Loki’s staff and floated over to her. We get a major tease as we see a silhouette of what looks like a “classic” (costumed) Scarlet Witch floating towards Wanda. Ultimately the mind stone does its work on Wanda. In a holding cell afterwards, Wanda watches a sitcom. Agatha again explains that Wanda’s powers are clearly her base magic powers which are amplified by the mind stone.
Third, we get our first and only pleasant rerun with Wanda talking to Vision at the Avengers compound. Wanda is watching a sitcom as Vision comes into her room. Wanda reveals the extent of her grief, foreshadowing her future mental struggle. Vision reveals that he has not felt grief, but that it must be love that perseveres. It’s a tender moment between the two, and arguably the most intimate of the series. It highlights the immense grief Wanda has, as her parents, brother, and partner have all died. She realizes in this scene that she wanted Vision back.
In our last flashback, Wanda heads to the S.W.O.R.D. headquarters, where we saw previously in the series her on video provided by Director Hayward. Wanda demands to see Vision’s body to bury him as his next-of-kin, implying that the two were married before Infinity War. Hayward callously shows her that S.W.O.R.D. is dismantling Vision and that she cannot have his body. She burst through glass to approach the body, but leaves without it after she could not sense any essence of the Vision she knew.
As she gets in her car to leave, she looks to an open letter in the passenger seat. She drives to Westview, New Jersey, where we see the real-life counterparts of some of the residents we’ve seen over the series. Wanda ends up at a lot with the bare foundation of a house. The letter she has is from Vision, with a land deed and a note with a heart that says “A place to grow old.” This is the moment we see Wanda totally lose her grasp and control and breakdown. Her powers seem to explode out of her. First, she builds the house. A second burst of energy sweeps over all of Westview, turning everything in the 1950s-styled sitcom we saw in the first episode. Lastly, a final burst of power (which is yellow rather than red) creates from scratch a new Vision.
After finishing the reruns, Agatha holds Billy and Tommy hostage in the street, and tells Wanda that she has learned what Wanda is. She is someone capable of using chaos magic and spontaneous creation. Such a person, Agatha says, is supposed to be a myth. To end the episode, Agatha finally names Wanda—it all makes her “the Scarlet Witch”. The fact that Wanda finally gets her superhero moniker is surely a sign of big things to come not only in the next episode, but in the MCU down the line.
A mid-credits scene shows S.W.O.R.D. with a reassembled, white Vision, ready to use it against Wanda and the Hex. Not only would a Vision be a strong adversary for Wanda in any event, but Wanda needing to battle the body of her dead husband will take the fight to a different, mental level.
5 Scarlet Witch Drives a Red Audis out of 5
The penultimate episode delivered on a new and different level than previous episodes. Leaving the sitcom behind, the episode is a true-to-form MCU production. The episode also boldly steps into the world of magic and witches which although not entirely foreign to the MCU, is nonetheless a large leap into new subject matter and new possibilities. We finally get an episode longer than half an hour, and the result is a pulse-pounding, awe-striking expedition.
- Agatha lets us know that the proper name for fake Pietro is, in fact, Fietro.
- Agatha aptly points out that Wanda’s accent really comes and goes.
- Where was Monica Rambeau in Westview this whole episode?