Disney+ Marvel MCU Television

WandaVision Episode 8: “Previously On” – Review

Well that was a doozy of an episode wasn’t it? “Previously On” dropped the sitcom shtick entirely (unless you count this as a clip show), and instead decided to focus on giving us the answers that we have all been waiting for. The way they did this was maybe the only weak point of the episode that I can think of.  The structure of Agatha narrating and holding our hands through these emotional moments in Wanda’s life is a trope that can bother many–even if it didn’t personally bother myself in this instance. 

As Agatha’s personal journey of discovery commenced, we were treated to a walkthrough of Wanda’s life–and to say the least, it was nothing but trauma. It was great to be able to visit these important moments, while really getting to know Wanda, and where all of that deep sadness stems from.  Seeing that fateful moment with Stark’s bomb was awesome, and the way the scene was portrayed, made it impactful to say the least. That sudden cut was masterfully played. Her Sokovian childhood also gave us a perfect explanation as to why we’ve been witnessing a faux sitcom.  They were Wanda’s comfort food with her family, and it became the perfect outlet to retreat into when overwhelmed by the crushing weight of her guilt. That scene, along with the next one in the Hydra base, gave us one of our first big comic-styled retcons. 

In this case, it was the big reveal that Wanda never received her powers from the MInd Stone, but rather the Mind Stone simply unlocked them–maybe empowering them a little as well. She had them all along. This reveal played into the idea that Tony’s Stark bomb may not have been a lucky dud after all, and that it was in fact Wanda subconsciously using a probability hex to keep it from going off. There aren’t enough naturally powered heroes within our MCU, so knowing that Wanda had her Witch powers all along is a neat little detail. Even neater? That amazing tease of a future version of herself–and that tiara!

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

WandaVision didn’t stop there though–they dug their heels in for more, even more heart wrenching moments.  We got what is personally my favorite scene from the episode: a gentle and calm scene between Wanda and Vision, taking place shortly after Pietro’s death. Vision is truly a Synthezoid of wisdom–dropping quotes like no one’s business. The entire scene was a nice respite to everything, and was phenomenal in showcasing that subtle and gentle connection that the two have with each other.  I also just want to point out how great it is that they stuck in a scene of Wanda grieving her brother prior to Civil War–as his death was not even mentioned in Civil War. 

Then we came to the final stop on this emotional train: how it all started. Seeing your former loved one being dismantled and torn onto a table can certainly trigger someone–and if there is anyone you don’t want to do that to, it’s Wanda. That said though, it would certainly seem that Hayward was very purposeful in his words and actions–seemingly planting the entire idea of Westview in Wanda’s head. Nonetheless, if that scene wasn’t enough to break your heart, Wanda visiting their future place of residence–one to grow old together–might have been enough.  It certainly was for her, as we watched her grief and trauma literally overwhelm her and explode–using her mind stone fueled chaos magic in the aftermath to create Vision. I don’t know about you guys, but this all felt like a really satisfying and justified explanation to everything happening in Westview. 

(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.

That’s a lot about Wanda, so let’s talk Agatha.  The show presented to us a really near scene at the Salem Witch Trials, showcasing her birth as the villainous witch. It was a really neat scene, and set the stage perfectly to show us the threat that has just been introduced to us. Kathryn Haun is perfect for this role, and is not someone that I would have thought about for such a big villain role–though clearly Marvel has a better eye for casting than myself. There’s still plenty of questions surrounding her presence in Westview. We know that she was looking into Wanda’s off the charts powers, but how did she get there in the first place? What tipped her off?

“Previously On” provided WandaVision with its best episode yet, right up there with Episode 5’s “On A Very Special Episode”. One of the things that I feel the series has been lacking was a focus on the emotional level for the respective characters–and that’s something that this episode tackled with full force.  We now know why the Westview anomaly exists, alongside the events that led up to Scarlet Witch’s (wasn’t that an unbelievably satisfying namedrop?) grief explosion. With everything on the table, the Maximoff family is going to have their hands full in the finale.  Not only will they have to contend with Agatha, but it seems that they may be facing off against White Vision. A perfect set-up for a momentous finale. Can WandaVision stick the landing?

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