Over the last month, WandaVision seemingly opened the door to a much larger multiverse, but still left several crucial issues unresolved.
Episode 8, “Previously On,” gave us a few answers, and seemingly ruled out some of the more wild-eyed possibilities.
Well, maybe. It will be difficult to separate red herrings from genuine truths right up until the end-credits scene of next week’s final episode. For now, we do have some unambiguous clarity about what’s been happening in Westview.
Agatha was as confused as we are: Revealed to be a centuries-old witch who dispatched her own coven in Salem in 1692, Agatha arrived in Westview after sensing enormous use of magic. Like Monica, Agatha entered the hex looking for answers. Unlike Monica, Agatha / Agnes had the ability to prevent Wanda from discovering or controlling her.
This episode was, in effect, Agatha’s inquisition into how Wanda could do what she did. This is especially perplexing for Agatha because Wanda is achieving all of these various effects as a completely untrained witch.
The show connects the dots for us. Wanda was (probably) born with latent magic-wielding abilities—abilities that would have simply died out as she grew older as a child in late 20th / early 21st century Sokovia—but didn’t because of the Mind Stone.
The show implies heavily that the Stark Industries bomb that landed in her childhood home didn’t go off because she intuitively cast a simple probability spell, likely without even realizing what she was doing. But the key, here, is that the emergence of her powers is tied to trauma and loss. Oh, and the connection between old American sitcoms and emotional comfort.
From there, we see her time at HYDRA, where the Mind Stone awakens her dormant powers, even giving her a glimpse of what she truly is, or could become. We also see her post-Ultron interaction with Vision, when she reveals that the only thing she truly wants is to see Pietro again (which can then be analogized to Vision later).
Director Hayward has been lying: Finally, we get to Wanda’s actions at SWORD HQ after the Blip. Despite what Hayward claimed a few episodes back, Wanda did not take Vision’s body. Note that the only footage he showed to Monica et al was of Wanda magically opening the door to the hallway and subsequently breaking the glass above the room where SWORD workers poked and prodded the disassembled Vision, misleading those viewing it into thinking she had violently stolen the remains.
This wasn’t the case, and, as we see in a post-credits sequence, the real Vision, less the Mind Stone, has now been reassembled and powered-on thanks to the recovered, Hex-charged drone from earlier in the season. This is important, because it means . . .
Wanda’s Vision, and probably her children, aren’t “real”: I’ve been speculating for weeks that the Hex Vision isn’t the real Vision. His remark last time about how it seems like all of the things Darcy describes happened to a different person clinched it for me that this is someone else.
I’ve been thinking “multiverse” the whole time, but, as we see in this episode, Hex Vision was simply created from nothing by Wanda—a fact that scares the crap out of Agatha. Agatha also implies that Wanda created her children with a similar technique.
Wanda is the Scarlet Witch: As Wanda leaves SWORD, she has with her what turns out to be a deed to a plot of land in Westview, New Jersey. Per a handwritten note, this property appears to have been Wanda and Vision’s long-term plan to settle down. When she arrives, it’s just a foundation in an otherwise-empty lot in a town that has clearly seen better days.
Wanda’s grief causes a . . . I don’t know what to call it . . . magical explosion? This wave of energy creates the Hex, totally “overwriting” the existing town and re-making it into a black-and-white, idealized 1950s American hamlet. Notably, there is an unmistakable amount of “yellow energy” in the mix as this process unfolds, not only relating to Vision, but also reminding the audience that Wanda’s own abilities have been dramatically enhanced by her interaction with an Infinity Stone.
Once Agatha has seen this occur in flashback, she now grasps the magnitude of what she’s witnessed. Namely, Wanda is apparently the “Scarlet Witch” of ancient legend, able to wield something called “chaos magic,” which is supposed to be a myth. Yet, Wanda is somehow able to create something from nothing, which Agatha notes is extremely dangerous.
Although we learned a lot, we still have several crucial questions going into the finale:
What’s up with Quicksilver? This is the one that worries me the most, because Agatha implies that he was just chosen at random for Agatha to mind-control and pose as Wanda’s brother because her “real” brother’s corpse is “on another continent.” It’s simply an attempt to figure out what happened and how Wanda is able to be so powerful, especially without any formal “training” (before Agatha moves to the more direct approach to inquiry that we see in this episode).
If that’s the correct interpretation, then all of that multiverse stuff I said before doesn’t apply—at least not yet. It would also be pretty disappointing, because we would have to believe that it was purely a coincidence that he looked like the Fox Quicksilver.
Maybe I’m just an optimist, but I don’t think they would do that. It would leave a few holes in the plot (e.g. how does this guy have the exact powers of the other one if he’s just a civilian), and it would be a huge letdown to fans. Plus, we know there’s a multiverse coming in Spider-Man 3 and Dr. Strange 2.
I’m still holding out hope for a Professor X or Magneto cameo!
What happens when Hex Vision meets Zombie Vision? Specifically, what happens when “real” Vision goes through the Hex? Will he be changed somehow? And, if not, what will he be like now that he’s sort of a zombie?
It seems like the reanimated Vision may just be a sentient weapon—one who may or may not be controllable by SWORD. My guess is that he will be an amoral but very deadly threat (sort of like Ultron, but without the emotion) before he somehow “merges” with the Hex Vision to restore the old Vision fully (sans Mind Stone), in a way that allows him to exist outside the Hex and to return to the MCU in perpetuity.
Either that or the Hex Vision will have to sacrifice himself again to stop zombie Vision. Whichever!
Where is Reed Richards?!? Ok, ok. I don’t mind that they’re saving the identity of Monica’s friend until the finale. I can wait.
Is Wanda the big bad? We now know it’s not Agatha. Agatha is scared of Wanda’s power. So, although I was right about a nefarious force being behind Evan Peters’ Pietro, that force and the “big bad” of the show are not the same.
But that leaves the question open—is Wanda the “big bad,” here? Or, as implied by the “Yo-Magic” commercial a couple of weeks ago, is there some other force at work that wants to manipulate Wanda’s immense, Infinity-Stone-augmented power?
That isn’t Agatha. She feels an obligation to prevent Wanda from using chaos magic. But is there someone still lurking in the shadows who wants to unlock Wanda’s unique skills fully, and then use them for his own gains?
I think that’s where we’re headed, but, as I said before, I don’t think we’ll get that reveal until the very end of this season, along the lines of the Thanos reveal at the end of Avengers.
What I expect in the finale:
- A segue into Multiverse of Madness, possibly with a Dr. Strange cameo (or at least a reference) in the post-credits scene.
- A definitive answer about why Quicksilver looks like that.
- A definitive answer as to Vision’s fate (does he stay a zombie, is he restored, is he dead for good?).
- The destruction of the Hex and the restoration of Westview.
- A non-definitive answer as to Wanda’s good / bad alignment, possibly including her killing Hayward.
- Agatha, a natural tweener, winds up on the side of “good” by the end of the episode in an effort to contain Wanda.
- REED RICHARDS (or, in a swerve, Victor Von Doom)
- A fully-powered Monica / Spectrum.
- An hour-long episode, or close to it.
What I’m far less sure about than I was a few weeks ago is whether we’ll actually get a hint of the multiverse itself. To be clear, #1 above means that Wanda will remain at large and a (magical) threat, and someone will realize the only thing on Earth that can stop her is the Sorcerer Supreme.
Yet, Dr. Strange 2 is still a year away. So, there may not be any need to tease the actual existence of a multiverse at this point. There’s enough plot to cover without even delving into that.
Still, the fanboy in me will hold out hope that we’ll at least get confirmation that Pietro / Peter really is the Quicksilver from another reality. And, perhaps, “chaos magic” will be revealed as, in actuality, being able to pull things into this reality from another one, rather than truly creating them from “nothing.”
If so, that would present one way both to explain how Wanda is doing all of this and segue into an MCU with a multiverse. And the fact that only Wanda has this power (endowed or enhanced by the Mind Stone) would also provide a canonical explanation of why we’re only just now getting a glimpse of this multiverse in the MCU.
Or, maybe I’m just grasping at straws in the hopes that the multiverse is still in the mix, and that we get an Ian McKellen cameo in the finale. See you then!