WandaVision: The Series Finale
March 5, 2021 12:45 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The events of WandaVision come to a head, and the destinies of all who took part are determined.

There are extras mid-credits (after the fancy animated credits), and post-credits.
posted by Pronoiac (276 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
whaaaaaat
posted by sixswitch at 12:49 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


As cendawanita noted in a previous thread, the "major surprise appearance actor" that Paul Bettany had teased was (drumroll) himself!
posted by Pronoiac at 12:52 AM on March 5


I adored the bit where Hex-Vision uses the Power of Logic to defeat White Vision. But I think I’m still processing the rest.
posted by scorbet at 12:54 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


In one week, on the 12th, there will be an episode of Assembled, about the making of Wandavision. In two weeks, on the 19th, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres.

About the Ship of Theseus argument: "Is it literal millennia of arguments, or is it really the same argument for millennia, with its participants constantly being replaced?"
posted by Pronoiac at 1:08 AM on March 5 [31 favorites]


I enjoyed that. I will say though, as a casual middle-aged Marvel viewer (who had a headache before this even began) I do wish they'd figure out how to end stories without such hullabaloo.

Question: does the mid-credit sequence in the theatre make sense if you're know the lore? Specifically, are we supposed to know what/where/who the shape shifter thing is referring to?
posted by chill at 1:19 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Specifically, are we supposed to know what/where/who the shape shifter thing is referring to?

Yes, the shapeshifter is a Skrull, and they were in Captain Marvel along with a young Monica and her mother Maria Rambeau. It's probably a nod to either the future Secret Invasion Disney+ show, or Captain Marvel 2.
posted by scorbet at 1:24 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


I love this show and I’ve been all in so far, and this was the only episode that has felt unsatisfying.

I’m upset that the people who predicted it would devolve into a CGI shoot-em-up were basically correct. The twins being wiped out of existence should have gotten a more heartbreaking goodbye. Monica’s powers should have been properly acknowledged. Where is White Vision now? Why was Hayward arrested? (We all know he’s a bastard, but did he actually do anything government agencies don’t routinely do?) Why did Darcy appear for only one quip? If Wanda’s punishment of Agatha was turning her into Agnes for real, what does that mean now that she dispelled the Hex? And considering all the unaddressed issues, it was annoying that the mid-credits scene was a teaser for future SWORD/Monica/Skrull adventures, and not something WandaVision related.

There was a lot of great stuff this episode too—I loved both the Visions fighting using their density powers, and the way they decided to just have a rational debate. I thought Vision saying they’ll meet again to Wanda was very touching and sweet. I loved how Wanda was confronted by the people of Westview.

I loved this show and can’t wait to binge re-watch it. I’m disconsolate that it’s over. I’m sure I’ll enjoy Falcon and Winter Soldier, but WandaVision was absolutely wonderful.
posted by ejs at 2:03 AM on March 5 [16 favorites]


Specifically, are we supposed to know what/where/who the shape shifter thing is referring to?

also, the last time we saw Nick Fury was on the Skrull ship (was that the Endgame credits scene?) so maybe we'll get some MCU Samuel L. Jackson in one of these stories
posted by kokaku at 2:39 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


maybe we'll get some MCU Samuel L. Jackson in one of these stories

He's announced as being in Secret Invasion. (And I think he was last in the latest Spider-Man)
posted by scorbet at 2:53 AM on March 5


I know a lot of people wull be dissapointed in this final, bu I think as a meditation on Grief - which the entire show has always been an exploration of - then I personally found the finale to be good.

Not perfect but a Solid Good.

Lots of unanswered questions, but I'm at peace with that.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:20 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


I'm a casual MCU watcher who started off this series going "Wanda, who?" and a few weeks later, I am definitely the person who would drive a humvee-funnel-cake-truck into anyone who dares to harm Wanda or her family. I'm not ready to say goodbye! I want to magic up an episode that's twice as long just so I could spend more time in this world with these characters.

I loved the way the show played with story-telling and tropes of television -- especially since I'm sure I'm not the only who's used TV shows (particularly comfort TV shows that I've seen a million times before) as a way to soothe and escape from the uncertain, chaotic world around me -- like I did during this past year due to the pandemic, grief over family members passing away, and another family going through cancer treatment. Sure, I may not have control over anything else in my life, but at least I can control the remote.

I loved that the central story was Wanda inside the Hex, and Monica outside the Hex (with sassy BFFs Darcy and Jimmy!), with a dash of Agatha at the end. All women! Plus it was helmed by a woman! Which just goes to show that the MCU doesn't have to be all big-name super-dudes beating each other up all the time.

I would love more of this kind of show, but it feels so near-perfect as is -- special and unique -- that to create a bunch of copycats would sully it. I'm also wary because Disney seems to grab a trend (especially one that's surprisingly popular) and run with it until it's a ragged shadow of itself. But I'm hoping that this means more showrunners can be braver and feel like they don't have to follow the formulaic superhero stories that we've seen a million times before.

-------
Also, on preview:

Your opinion is definitely valid, ejs, but here's my (non-expert, just watched the finale and don't know anything beyond these characters beyond what I've seen in the show or gleaned from some of the convos online) take on your questions:

I’m upset that the people who predicted it would devolve into a CGI shoot-em-up were basically correct.

Yeah, but I loved that the big Vision v. Vision fight came down to an age-old philosophical debate in the middle of a library.

The twins being wiped out of existence should have gotten a more heartbreaking goodbye.

I kinda agree with this. Maybe she could have done more than say "thanks for choosing me to be your mom" (ooof, what a line, though) but considering the Hex was created out of her unbearable grief, it was kind of step forward -- showcasing that Wanda was now more in control of her emotions.

Definitely sucks to be the boys, knowing they will be magic'd out of existence... except the show has proven that Wanda doesn't have complete control over them, from getting them to stop crying to them aging themselves up (that didn't seem to be Agatha's doing, as she seemed more to be testing the boys and what power they had). Also you can hear them crying out to her in the post-credit scene, which presumes that they still exist, just in another dimension, which is perhaps a major motivation for her astral-projection magic studies.

(Plus the comic-reading folk are hoping they'll show up for the New Avengers one day.)

Monica’s powers should have been properly acknowledged. [...] And considering all the unaddressed issues, it was annoying that the mid-credits scene was a teaser for future SWORD/Monica/Skrull adventures, and not something WandaVision related.

Definitely agree! Especially since this was just as much her superpower origin story as it was Wanda's story of becoming the Scarlet Witch. But that's why I assume the mid-credit scene was to let us know that we'll get to know more about her story (either in the upcoming Captain Marvel sequel or in something else -- it's not an MCU story if there isn't a segue into the next franchise).

Where is White Vision now?

Idk but someone somewhere online said "soul searching" as a joke and it made me laugh, but tbh it's probably not all that wrong. He's just received all of the mind-stone memories, so he's no longer the logical killing machine Hayward was attempting to create, and probably has a lot more philosophizing to do about his purpose in life. Maybe he's in his own cabin on the edge of the world somewhere going through all of the mind-stone memories and trying to make sense of it all. Or maybe he's making himself crazy by having philosophical arguments with himself.

Why did Darcy appear for only one quip?

Her lack of screentime this ep did make me sad (where's the director's cut????) but honestly her role was in the beginning... er, episode 4... making everyone aware of Wanda's sitcom broadcasts (and fangirling over them with the rest of us). Also she had to wait for the puppies to cross the road before she finally reached the center of town! (Kidding... but I do wonder if it was really Agatha putting up all those roadblocks and not Wanda.)

If Wanda’s punishment of Agatha was turning her into Agnes for real, what does that mean now that she dispelled the Hex?

It means that Agatha is stuck in the real Westview, under Wanda's "nosy neighbor" spell. Kinda ironic that the rest of the town is freed from Wanda's mind-control, but the one person Wanda couldn't mind-control in the Hex is now the one person who can't escape it.

Why was Hayward arrested? (We all know he’s a bastard, but did he actually do anything government agencies don’t routinely do?)

The FBI seems to think he's a shady dude for wanting to secretly reanimate Vision to be used as a weapon while tampering with evidence that shows Wanda didn't steal the body. Idk what the SWORD budget is like, but that was a lot of manpower and destroyed equipment to run after a fool's mission. Also he tried to shoot/kill two innocent kids and a fellow SWORD operative who was the previous director's daughter. I'm not saying there wouldn't be government shenanigans that keep him from going to prison and going full "the super-powered must be stopped at all costs!", but there's likely enough for an investigation to keep him busy for awhile.

------

My lingering question is who was Jimmy's person in witness protection? I really want it to be Fake Pietro aka Ralph Boner just to mess with the fans making these huge conspiracy theories about the Fox Pietro showing up in the MCU, only to be disappointed that it was just as a kind of wink to the camera so we would be as unsettled as Wanda about the "familiar-but-wrong" sensation -- but then to be sideswiped when it turns out it really was the Fox Pietro all along that the FBI was hiding away!!!!!!!

(No, but really, who was the missing witness???? I need to know, it's driving me crazy.)

So yeah, over all it wasn't tied up as neatly as it could have been or to everyone's satisfaction, but I feel like the MCU likes to give themselves wiggle room for future potential storylines (and more seasons and movies). I did feel like there was better resolution than Endgame, at least.
posted by paisley sheep at 3:47 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


I really liked it!

I didn't think it was a boring slugfest like some of the movies are prone to, they ultimately both used their brains to win. Red Vision used logic and reason on White Vision. Wanda memorized the runes and used them on a large scale, presumably the final witch battle was all just a simulation to find out whether Agatha would really keep her promise.

The second post-credits sequence reassures me that Billy and Tommy are around somewhere, though I guess we could be waiting a while to find out where.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:57 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Has anyone found an explanation for the commercials, and who the two recurring actors were?
posted by AD_ at 4:31 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I’m glad the Vision fight ended up being a logical/philosophical debate, because watching them shoot lasers at each other and miss repeatedly was getting dumb fast. Also, the witch fight of throwing orbs of witchpowers dragged on for a bit long.

It’s great that Wanda solved her own problem. I guess they left Agnes/Agatha trapped so she can return at a later time.

I am disappointed that FakePietro didn’t end up being FoxQuicksilver for real.

I was hoping for a Dr Strange cameo at the end instead of Skrull cameo. Meh. This whole thing could have tied into the next Dr Strange movie.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:33 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


I do have lingering questions about how the Pietro thing was handled. I'm OK with it being a stunt casting if that's all it was, but I feel like too many hints were given that it was something else. If Ralph was already in the town, how was he not under Wanda's control?

I didn't mind the CG fest because the battles actually felt like they were about something and they were paced well and didn't go on too long.

Wanda's Scarlet Witch costume is gorgeous.

I like that this didn't let Wanda off the hook for her behavior and I think she's going to be dealing with her actions for a long time.

I thought it was all pretty beautiful and satisfying. I'm still kind of processing it and I think I'll need to watch it again and probably the entire series again.
posted by edencosmic at 5:51 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


It means that Agatha is stuck in the real Westview, under Wanda's "nosy neighbor" spell.

In the comics Reed Richards dealt with the first Skrulls the FF encountered by letting them transform themselves into harmless cows, then hypnotising them into contentedly believing they belonged that way. Maybe the Agnes outcome you describe was a nod to that?
posted by Paul Slade at 6:02 AM on March 5


I was hoping for a Dr Strange cameo at the end instead of Skrull cameo. Meh. This whole thing could have tied into the next Dr Strange movie.

I too was expecting a cameo from the Doc, it would make a lot of sense. But I respect the writers choice not to, as it feels like having a male come in to help or warn or something with Wanda would take away from her story, and this was firmly about Wanda.

On reflection, there's a good argument for the Doc not showing up. While Wanda certainly misused her power in her grief, she ultimately chose to do the right thing, as she did in Age of Ultron. I can see the Doc letting her work that out for herself, because in the end, it's far better that Wanda choose to do right and recognize the incredible power she can wield.

Hattip to Olsen and Bettany for their work in this series, they've both been extraordinary and really made this weird relationship real.

I am annoyed that Darcy only had a brief appearance, but it was SO Darcy, down to skipping out on the debrief.

Overall, I'd give the episode and series a very solid B+ or low A-. There was a little too much superhuman battling in the end, but not terribly so. I would have preferred to see a bit more back and forth with town's people and Wanda in the end, but yeah, what could she say at that point? "Sorry" would say so little, but some attempt at it would have been more fitting.

I love forward to seeing Agatha again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


The number one thing I am happy about is no Mephisto or other evil magical dude AND Wanda gets called more powerful than Strange. So many Marvel fanboys were SO SURE about there really being a dude behind it all.

As Agatha would say, HA!
posted by emjaybee at 6:23 AM on March 5 [42 favorites]


they ultimately both used their brains to win

in a finale that ended pretty much largely where I expected it to end (i'm stating this objectively, i don't mean that negatively or otherwise), this bit of character choice was an excellent turn. and lol, so that's how mcu!agatha taught wanda.

on some reflection i'm mostly satisfied with the narrative choices the show made, and i bet if i were to watch it consecutively, the theme of dealing with grief will be something that will get me crying sooner than in the finale (and boy, did i). that said, the necessity of having a wanda who survives the plot does add to an-ever growing pile of mcu!wanda in particular being the one textually to have directly hurt actual people repeatedly and consistently (this is sorta followed by bucky but at a more distant second) and yet, never quite getting the in-world consequences of the society (just psychological anguish of having to live with it) because she has the plot armour to never be the villain.

i think i was low-key hoping for some character work done there, but *shrugs* fodder for the next adventure, i'm sure. still, i admit i'm dissatisfied that the people of westview, canonically established to have been made to live through wanda's pain, was not utilised to show a moment of grace to wanda. like, idk, a hug? post-blip westview surely suffered just like monica and wanda. but, i can buy the argument that it's too soon. still... that's just a minor point but i am dwelling on it like a good proper fan who's fond of consuming metas and essays.

that said, all in all, i *did* like that no man came in the end as the ultimate villain or solution-provider.

anyway, here's to wanda, fully living the witch in the (gothic) woods aesthetic.
posted by cendawanita at 6:45 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


The twins being wiped out of existence should have gotten a more heartbreaking goodbye.

In the comics they had a...uh, similarly convoluted origin story, then were reborn somewhere else with vague memories of being Wanda's children imprinted. In this show, they called for help after being "wiped from existence" so the plot of Wanda's next MCU appearance is going to revolve around how they're alive and doing fine.

Monica’s powers should have been properly acknowledged.

Her powers are very new and she got acknowledged by getting a whole spinoff.

Where is White Vision now?

In hiding. He has no memories of the hex, he remembers wanda tearing him apart and then she's got kids with a clone of him and is some kind of weird TV dictator? Seems pretty reasonable to break up with your girlfriend over being a TV dictator who married your clone, tbh.

Why was Hayward arrested? (We all know he’s a bastard, but did he actually do anything government agencies don’t routinely do?)

He was evil to a MAIN CHARACTER while ON CAMERA, which is way worse than real life government agencies.

Why did Darcy appear for only one quip?

Because sometimes Marvel is full of jerks.

If Wanda’s punishment of Agatha was turning her into Agnes for real, what does that mean now that she dispelled the Hex?

Mind controlling Agatha was a different spell from the hex, so dispelling the hex didn't dispell the mind control.

And considering all the unaddressed issues, it was annoying that the mid-credits scene was a teaser for future SWORD/Monica/Skrull adventures, and not something WandaVision related.

It was a teaser that Spectrum/Photon/Monica Rambeau's powers are going to be properly acknowledged in all kinds of TV, movies, everything. There was a whole second credit scene that was all about Wanda and her weird magic kids.




Anyway, I constantly hear people talk about how there's no stakes for Superman because he's powerful enough to destroy the world or whatever. Turns out people powerful enough to destroy the world can still have interesting problems.
posted by fomhar at 6:48 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


Dr . Strange was referenced as the sorcerer that the Scarlet Witch can best and I'm good with that being the tie-in.

I am actually ok with the dangling strings. I am not sure why Fietro/Ralph has his superpowers in the scene with Monica so I have made up in my head that he is in the witness protection program and is a someone.

I thought the scene with the twins at the end was good because again in my head, Wanda was - not putting her grief on them, which is a step forward. But clearly they still exist so phew.

Definitely a serious lack of Darcy and that was almost unforgiveable.

I'm not upset that it turned into a CGI battle; I thought it was a reasonable one and this is after all, the MCU, and like every superhero has his Kryptonite so too the series has its big battles. Since this one kept it reasonably smart, I found it a decent ending. I'm not sure any ending would have satisfied me actually because the genius of this show is that it's made me actively care about Wanda's inner/personal life.

I also feel like there's an interesting marriage of the MCU and the 2-kids-white-picket-fence American Dream that may make an interesting contrast to the reflection on American might in the first Iron Man movie, like I can see some essays forming on this topic in the two post-9/11 Americas - those who want to take the US back to before it experienced Imperialist consequences and re-establish America as, well, Great, and those who want to de-colonize. I find it interesting that Wanda de-colonized the town to be a hero.

I also think it might owe a bit to Maleficent, maybe in Disney's willingness to back the experiment.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:00 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


In the comics Reed Richards dealt with the first Skrulls the FF encountered by letting them transform themselves into harmless cows, then hypnotising them into contentedly believing they belonged that way.

Huh. I used to read Fantastic Four very rarely — they were kinda square, I always thought — and I had never encountered this story. Given the eventual fate of most cows, that is pretty grim for a comic book story.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:13 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


I think the darkest thing in the show is how basically Wanda can never be held accountable for kidnapping & mind-violating all the residents of an entire town for - however long that was, 10 days? Like , jesus christ, she froze all the children inside their own bodies in locked rooms; were the children conscious on the inside the whole time? There's no reason to think they weren't, because it seems the rest of the town certainly were!

And she gets to walk away from all of it to her lovely little hut because there is literally nobody in the universe who can force her to pay back her debt to society. Never tries to make amends or restitution, for instance. Just sashays away ... because she can. *Shudder.*

This inability to hold her accountable is, at the core of it, what's driving people like Monica (and indeed the writers) to excuse her actions and make her a sympathetic character. However much Monica might be able to rationalize it, the fact remains that she is powerless to apply her sense of justice to Wanda even if she wants to. She has no real choice. Given that she doesn't have a real choice, reasoning her way into empathizing with Wanda and forgiving Wanda is merely a coping mechanism, just like the townspeople glaring at her is also merely a coping mechanism. Since true choice is impossible, the best anyone can do is cope.
posted by MiraK at 7:13 AM on March 5 [36 favorites]


I mean that's true of all superheroes; if Thor smashes up your town, and doesn't feel like making recompense, what could you do about it?

I assume that the big agencies' job is partially to clean up such messes/rebuild damaged buildings, etc.

Which, if paid for by taxpayer money, seems...iffy.

Probably best not to think too hard about the economics of dealing with superpowered beings.
posted by emjaybee at 7:17 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


At the end, Agatha thinks she's tricked Wanda into a stupid CG slugfest (the poor girl keeps missing half her shots) that allows Agatha to steal her power.

Actually Wanda is pretending to fight so Agatha doesn't notice she's inscribing runes on the walls of the hex.
posted by straight at 7:28 AM on March 5 [20 favorites]


WhiteVision did not get his memories back from the Mind Stone power. The Mind Stone power (like WandaVision himself) did not contain Vision's memories. The yellow energy appears to have been more like Vision's soul (which makes sense - Stark could create AI like JARVIS or ULTRON, but it took Thor's Asgardian magic and an Infinity Stone to make Vision into a real boy). And it looked like WandaVision might have transferred a bit of that yellow stuff to WhiteVision.

Hayward incompetently deleted the memories from WhiteVision's memory banks, but didn't completely wipe them so WandaVision was able to trigger an undelete routine.

Or maybe WandaVision more directly did whatever he did to allow the townspeople access to the memories Wanda had suppressed but not erased. He was the Mind Stone, after all.
posted by straight at 7:41 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


It's also possible that Hex!Vision downloaded his memories to White!Vision in the process of dismantling the firewall around the pre-SWORD memories and passing along some Mind Stone juice.

As far as consequences go, I think the Hulk is probably a better model for accountability. As Bruce himself put it, at one point he visited New York and broke... Harlem. He gets a pass because of how much good he does when pointed in the right direction, and because it's clear that at that time he had functionally no control over his actions. By the time we see him in Infinity War, he's had (a) a metric buttload of therapy and (b) some good PR -- and lo he has fan clubs. Wanda was similarly experiencing trauma and a sudden massive influx of power, so she gets the same Temporary Insanity defense Dr. Banner gets for all the smashing of residential communities he did while running from General Ross.

I'm not going to get into the whole comics existence/non-existence of Tommy and Billy and the nature of their souls independent of Wanda's will because... yikes. Even as convoluted backstories are concerned, that is one Gordian knot I do not want to touch. I will suggest that the significance of "thank you for choosing me to be your mom" implies that Wanda at some level knows they are more than projections of her will. I have no idea what version of their reincarnation the MCU will eventually go with. I am still half expecting a Young Avengers franchise to pop up somehow, given that we've already met Tommy and Billy and Cassie Lang, and can expect Kate Bishop to turn up in the new Hawkeye series. I've also read reports that America Chavez has been cast. That's half the team right there. I will definitely keep an eye out for a tease about Eli Bradley turning up in the Falcon & Winter Soldier series. (NB Eli Bradley's backstory is also a bit of a rabbit hole.)
posted by Karmakaze at 8:25 AM on March 5


warriorqueen, I think Fietro/Ralph has his superpowers previously and in the scene with Monica because he's wearing the magic necklace controlled by Agatha, he loses them when she pulls it off him.

I loved this ending, and the whole season as a meditation on grief. I can't wait for the movies to come back into our lives, and the ridiculous number of TV shows in development!
posted by ellieBOA at 8:26 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


So wait, currently White Vision has programming that is telling him to eliminate Vision, and also he has just been convinced that *he* is Vision? Is that why he flew off the minute the admitted he was Vision - because he now has to go somewhere and self-destruct? And I suppose what's countering his self-destruct is all his recovered data (memories), plus his conscious recognition that those who programmed him wanted to use him as a sentient weapon. Whoa.
posted by MiraK at 9:02 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Overall opinion of the episode is that it was a solid ending--not spectacular, but saved some crucial time at the end for the quiet moments that this show deserved. Some particular points to cover, especially as they've been addressed by others already:

- MiraK makes some valid points above, although I'd push back a bit against the idea that "there is literally nobody in the universe who can force her to pay back her debt to society." It's a big universe, and Captain Marvel probably eclipses her in sheer power, although I don't know if she'd be able to withstand SW's reality-warping abilities. I think that there's an argument to be made that she was operating at diminished capacity because of the cumulative trauma of losing her parents, her brother, and her lover, and that that should be balanced against the good that she did as part of the Avengers. There's also the idea that she's not precisely beyond anyone's reach, but that the only way to stop her would be to kill her, which is, again keeping in mind the good that she's done, really excessive, even for the number of people that she had held/mind-controlled against their will; per what Karmakaze wrote above, she's not even the first person in the MCU to fit that category, and maybe someone might have coaxed her into therapy before she reached the reality-warping stage. I will also note that, at the end of Captain America: Civil War, she's on the Raft (super-duper prison) with the rest of Team Cap, wearing what looks like a power-suppressing collar, although she may be beyond that sort of thing now. (With the full awareness of her power, she may have been able to take Team Iron Man solo.) If the MCU starts leaning more heavily toward magic, maybe someone will deputize Stephen Strange or someone else to handle this sort of thing... (And I was generally fine that Strange didn't appear; his upcoming movie should be enough--in fact, when Elizabeth Olsen appeared on Jimmy Fallon's show to do a WandaVision bit with him, she mentioned that she's in London filming it.)

- Loved the idea that Ag[atha|nes] is still in Westview, living a sitcom life in a Springsteenesque town. I'd still like to know what she's been up to in the last three centuries or so. Maybe she'll check out some Wicca books from the public library and start a new coven?

- Still holding out hope that Fietro will somehow become/turn out to be the real deal. "Ralph Boner" seemed to have a lifestyle that was a close approximation of how Peter Maximoff lived in his mom's basement in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

- Jimmy Woo to the rescue! With a flourish, even. Also super-appropriate that Darcy is a deus ex machina, since she's met a real god.

- I was kind of expecting WandaVision and White Vision to simply merge, or be merged by Wanda, but I appreciate both the pathos of WandaVision fading away and White Vision having his "I am more than my programming" moment. I'm going to speculate that, if this season was about Wanda dreaming up her dream family and town and coming to grips with the reality of the situation, then S2 might be about her assembling a family for real, with all their imperfections and shortcomings.

- Pleasantly but not terribly surprised that Monica seems to be plugging into the Skrull/Secret Invasion thing. Speaking of which:

In the comics Reed Richards dealt with the first Skrulls the FF encountered by letting them transform themselves into harmless cows, then hypnotising them into contentedly believing they belonged that way.

Huh. I used to read Fantastic Four very rarely — they were kinda square, I always thought — and I had never encountered this story. Given the eventual fate of most cows, that is pretty grim for a comic book story.


During John Byrne's solo run on the FF, he followed up on that story by asking: what if someone milked those cows, and drank the milk?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:12 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


That was maybe more of a punch-up and less of a sitcom than I was hoping for, but WhiteVision saying "... request elaboration" at hearing just the first confusing fact of his backstory was one of the best gags of the whole series.
posted by EatTheWeek at 9:28 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


I would like a Jimmy Woo series, please.
posted by RakDaddy at 9:45 AM on March 5 [28 favorites]


I think the darkest thing in the show is how basically Wanda can never be held accountable for kidnapping & mind-violating all the residents of an entire town for - however long that was, 10 days? Like , jesus christ, she froze all the children inside their own bodies in locked rooms; were the children conscious on the inside the whole time? There's no reason to think they weren't, because it seems the rest of the town certainly were!

Monica's line about "They'll never understand what you sacrificed for them" was the one thing that rang really false in this whole series for me. Wanda has just done something really unspeakably terrible to that entire town, something morally far worse that collateral damage during a superhero slugfest. I really think we needed to see a lot more evidence of contrition from her, and Monica really shouldn't be letting her off the hook so easily. "If I could mind control a whole town to bring my mom back, I'd probably do it, too" is ethically bankrupt. I get that Wanda dealing with her culpability would complicate the final episode, but maybe it should have been long enough to for her to express some genuine regret. Using her magic to ease the trauma they've experienced would have been a nice touch. And, yes, the focus is on her processing her grief, but part of processing grief sometimes is making amends for the horrid things you did while you were temporarily insane with sorrow.

It was going to be hard to wrap things up in a way that really met the level established in the previous episodes, but there were some unnecessary missteps here that made the conclusion much weaker than it needed to be.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:51 AM on March 5 [28 favorites]


When Wanda was saying goodbye to the kids, I got such strong Donna Noble vibes from "Forest of the Dead".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 9:57 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


warriorqueen, I think Fietro/Ralph has his superpowers previously and in the scene with Monica because he's wearing the magic necklace controlled by Agatha, he loses them when she pulls it off him.

I can see that. But I still have hopes.

On several hours from seeing it, I think the main reason I was not overwhelmed at artistry for this episode is that in the end, they let us, the audience, off on the grief a little bit.

Vision's demise on a note of hope is actually pretty in character for WandaVision love-powered Vision (and perhaps from that angle a little creepy if you think about it too hard rather than feeling) but between that and White Vision's escape I think as an audience we have a reasonable expectation that they will be reunited. So does Wanda a bit.

And then the twins are clearly still Around, which I am glad for, but again - less grief, more hope.

And that doesn't at all make all the prior grief unreal or undo the storytelling but for me it's a little bit like...people who have lost loved ones who are, at least on the surface, very happy to know everyone will be reunited in Heaven. I am happy for them but I do not have this assurance. So for me that's not resonant.

I will add on a very personal note that March is the month in which my husband and I both had our first child, and decided to remove ventilator support for her as her birth resulted in terrible brain and other organ damage.

The medical team recommended we remove life support quickly not because she was dying, but because she was learning to breathe better, which was going to put all of us into a very different ethical world, and her brain damage was such that she had no sight or hearing or swallow reflex or higher brain function at all; her life would have been a very bad quality based on all the evidence we had at the time, which we felt was conclusive.

Anyways, that's the background to my appreciation for the way they handled Wanda's moral dilemma in this story. While I would hope that I would be able to balance my ethics and humanity against that desire, if you had approached me on March 16, 2004, I had really only room for two things: 1. A very, very deep sense of how terrible it is to be a parent with the power and responsibility of choosing life or death for your breathing child and 2. My own pain at both the loss and the choosing.

I really hope I'd've not enslaved a town and I definitely hope that I would have sorted it out if I had but - yeah. I think I'm with Wanda on this one.I'm okay with her kind of stoic, you-don't-get-it regret. In fact, if you asked the Catholic side of my extended family who did judge us for that choice you'd probably get an answer that I looked about the same as her down to the hoodie.

A bit deep for Fanfare I guess, but hey.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:59 AM on March 5 [99 favorites]


Overall, I loved it. I'd have liked to see a little more for Monica, because her central importance can be kinda overlooked in how this plays out. But I'm mostly real happy with it.

Where I'm a little disappointed is on the issue of accountability and consequences. They definitely missed a moment of Wanda saying something like, "I need to find a way to make this up to you (people of Westview), somehow. But anything I do right now would be too dangerous because I don't really understand or control my powers."

But turning herself in does no good for anything or anyone. Jailing her isn't just pointless, it's dangerous, because it furthers her lack of control over her powers. It only makes her available for another abusive government goon who thinks he can use her.

Related: A central theme of the MCU (Marvel in general) is that the government absolutely fucking cannot be trusted to manage or direct super-stuffs. We've seen it over and over.

Mostly, it's a good theme. It's legit, because imperialism, militarism, racism, etc. But "gov't can't be trusted" is also the central thesis of Republican propaganda--it's the thing Republicans say to drive votes, but the GOP clearly doesn't believe it. I'm frustrated when I think of how many viewers will see this theme of the MCU and have it reinforce that propaganda rather than seeing it for its real substance.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:07 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


and Captain Marvel probably eclipses her in sheer power, although I don't know if she'd be able to withstand SW's reality-warping abilities

Apropos of nothing, DC's Captain Marvel is made out of magic.
posted by mikelieman at 10:10 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I was really shocked at how disappointed I was with this episode. Almost every interesting thing in the series had a disappointing resolution.

Last episode, Agatha was intrigued. She had an almost sympathetic scientific curiosity: "How on earth are you doing this?" This episode, she's just a cackling villain. Instead of having any sort of interesting conversation with Wanda she's monologuing about "YOU ARE THE SCARLET WITCH" (which is boring in exactly the same way as "YOU ARE THE PHOENIX") and "I WILL STEAL YOUR POWER HAHAHA!" Her ranting was so poorly-written I spent the whole episode cringing. The closest thing she shows to any bit of personality is the Whedonesque let's-review-what-my-powers-are quip: "Stealing power is kinda my thing."

Monica? Really only there to get some superpower that's completely vague because her actual superhero origin is gonna happen somewhere else. (She can let bullets pass through her and steal their kinetic energy?) She has no interesting part to play in Wanda's story. Hayward? Cartoonishly bad and dumb. Defeated by running out of bullets in his hand gun and getting into a car wreck. Darcy? Using her scientific genius to wreck Hayward's car. Jimmy? Heroically calls some good guys to show up after everything is over.

WhiteVision? Too busy having a dumb CG fight to give us any creepy sense of how he is but isn't the Vision we and Wanda love. He might as well be a completely different robot that just looks like Vision and has his powers. Pietro? Just some guy Agatha ensorceled as a minor, disposable bit of her attempt to wake Wanda up.

Vision? He's gotta go not because Wanda has any had any interesting development in her grieving process but because of some technicality Agatha mentions about how Wanda did the spell wrong so she can't keep Vision without continuing to enslave the whole town. The kids? A hint that they are real, but mostly a plot kicked down the road for next time.

The townspeople? They've just been nightmarishly tortured for weeks by Wanda the consequences for which was her non-apology "I'm sorry they won't understand it wasn't my fault." Monica (who experienced a tiny fraction of what they endured) forgives her on their behalf without their permission. I like Karmakaze's comparison to The Hulk, but Wanda's exile at the end seems to be focused more on studying magic to master her power find her kids than to make amends for the harm she did.
posted by straight at 10:11 AM on March 5 [22 favorites]


I was enjoying the first few episodes of WandaVision so much that despite not being a comics person, I read through House of M. Ultimately I was underwhelmed by House of M, and I was a bit worried for WandaVision, because Scarlet Witch is really more of an obstacle for the other characters than a protagonist or a human with agency in that run. I was very satisfied the show found a way to keep what was interesting about House of M -- Wanda overwriting reality, her grief, and the choice between living the life you've always dreamed of and doing what's right -- but kept Scarlet Witch centered as the hero of her own story.

I also liked that WandaVision demonstrated a willingness for the MCU to circle back and do justice to side characters whose origins in the movies were thin. I hope the MCU keeps bringing us Scarlet Witch, and I hope the depth and humanity this show developed for her character stick.
posted by Rinku at 10:17 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


I was enjoying the first few episodes of WandaVision so much that despite not being a comics person, I read through House of M. Ultimately I was underwhelmed by House of M

A consistent issue of Marvel's big "event" storylines is how they fail to really deliver at the end. Many have a great premise and then fail to stick the landing. Some are bad from start to finish--Civil War is so bad. Anyway, the MCU, including the Netflix shows, have on the whole done a really good job of taking the good from the comics and either dropping or fixing the bad.

Civil War is my least favorite of the movies, I don't really ever want to see it again, but wow is it an amazing salvage job considering the source material.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:23 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


How would she make amends, though? Not to let her off the hook, but how?

Maybe giving them all amnesia about what happened? That would also be an invasion, assuming she knows how to do it safely. And they'd know something happened.

I was actually thinking, "hey, you could let them keep all the nicer clothes and houses and repaired downtown" but would they care?

The government could (and should) offer free lifetime therapy, free college for all the kids, enormous cash settlements and so on.

And also...did getting zapped into/out of WandaWorld mess anyone up physically? Cause...mutations...? Like with Monica?
posted by emjaybee at 10:23 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Huh. I used to read Fantastic Four very rarely — they were kinda square, I always thought — and I had never encountered this story. Given the eventual fate of most cows, that is pretty grim for a comic book story.

During John Byrne's solo run on the FF, he followed up on that story by asking: what if someone milked those cows, and drank the milk?


Then Mark Millar and Grant Morrison gave us The Skull Kill Krew - people who got superpowers from eating the meat after the Skrull Cows were slaughtered. Which was EDGY just like Millar's Ultimates, his EDGY take on the Avengers -- which modeled Nick Fury after Samuel Jackson without his permission, so when his people called Marvel and said "ahem," they apologized and promised to cast him if they every made a movie with Nick Fury.

If you think this is the darkest timeline, you should see the one where the first Avengers movie was Zack Synder's adaptation of the Ultimates.
posted by straight at 10:29 AM on March 5 [16 favorites]


One thing that this particular Wanda Maximoff does not have is any reason whatsoever to believe that justice would be the result of turning herself in to any government body. I hope she atones, but SWORD and SHIELD can't help her with that.
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:30 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


Jimmy? Heroically calls some good guys to show up after everything is over.

I rather liked that Jimmy's plan hinged on misdirection, and a magic trick. "Flourish!"
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:36 AM on March 5 [17 favorites]


I can't help but notice a repeat of a beat from Winter Soldier here, too. Once again, we see a fictional gov't agency going off the rails, doing stuff evocative of the actual abuses of our real-world agencies... and it's those very same real-world agencies that step in to take over and clean up that mess.

Lots to unpack there.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:51 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


I feel better about Wanda's incredibly high power level in Infinity War. She's not some rando that touched an infinity stone -- she's a legendary being that was foretold in the Book of the Damned.

(I was curious about the chain of custody for the Darkhold between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Wandavision so I googled a little. Some speculate that there are multiple copies, like it was published in hell or something.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:08 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


(Like a demon goes to Burns & Ignoble and sees the Darkhold in the reference section next to the Necronomicon.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:10 AM on March 5 [35 favorites]


I can't help but notice a repeat of a beat from Winter Soldier here, too. Once again, we see a fictional gov't agency going off the rails, doing stuff evocative of the actual abuses of our real-world agencies... and it's those very same real-world agencies that step in to take over and clean up that mess.

See also: Star Trek, where all (or most, most of the time) of humanity's foibles get outsourced to various alien species.

Burns & Ignoble

Now we need an MCU hell appearance just for that joke.

Also, there could easily be more than one copy of the Darkhold. "What, you think we don't have printing presses? You've heard of a printer's devil, right?"
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:31 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


There's a ridiculous amount to unpack here and I'll be thinking about it for quite a while. I was a little surprised that we did not see Dr Strange making a cameo. After all he keeps track of "individuals and beings from other realms who may be a threat to this world". It is pretty likely he would be aware of Agatha and somewhat alerted to what was happening in Westview. Maybe we'll get an explanation in the coming movie. I also suspect that he has a copy of the Darkhold and I can just hear Cumberbatch saying, "yes, I have read it. The book is RIFE with inaccuracies."
posted by Ber at 11:35 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


They definitely missed a moment of Wanda saying something like, "I need to find a way to make this up to you (people of Westview), somehow. But anything I do right now would be too dangerous because I don't really understand or control my powers."

THISSS. It was ridiculous that even her meager "I'm sorry," was said to Monica rather than the people she literally tortured.

How would she make amends, though?

Imagine if Captain America had been mind-zapped somehow, ended up accidentally torturing everyone in that town the way Wanda did, and then he finally woke up. What would he have done? I'm guessing it would involve apologizing to each person, finding a way to help them in any way he can with something in their lives, sticking around to work selflessly for their benefit, etc. I get that Wanda isn't the Cap but at least the show could acknowledge the ways in which she falls short of that ideal...
posted by MiraK at 11:38 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. should just not be considered MCU canon any more. The Darkhold that appeared in that series (and in Runaways) is alternate universe.

We’re getting a different version of Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird in the upcoming Hawkeye series, too. There’s no reason to strain yourselves trying to connect anything that doesn’t have a Kevin Feige, PGA credit on it to the MCU.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:46 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Huh, I hadn't heard Agents of SHIELD wasn't entirely canon. I think it might be reincorporated, at least in part? It sorta looks like multiple cast members might reappear in the MCU - Coulson, May, Quake, and possibly others, I haven't been keeping an eye out.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:26 PM on March 5


Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was previously set for release on May 7, 2021,[4] but was pushed back to November 5, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[31] before it was further shifted to the March 2022 date after Sony rescheduled Spider-Man: No Way Home to the November 2021 date.

So the original plan was for a gap of a couple of months between this and Doctor Strange, not the over a year we've got to wait now.
posted by fomhar at 12:41 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


MiraK I'm with you on the apologies, but I really don't think they'd want her around.

I did not watch Jessica Jones because I couldn't deal with the superpowered abusive ex story, but wasn't it also about helping people deal with the aftermath of the alien invasion? Maybe her folks can open a NJ branch.

I think there's a lot of great story opportunities for "traumatized NJ townfolk seek justice" but I feel like Wanda's big screen stories are gonna be nonstop wizard battles, so maybe a comic series could tackle it.
posted by emjaybee at 1:01 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


I feel like Wanda knows an apology will fall on deaf ears, and justifiably so. It's why she doesn't try. She more or less says so, but the line could've been worded a little clearer to that effect.

I don't think tells Monica she's sorry because she's hoping for forgiveness there. I think she tells Monica she's sorry because she is sorry.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:05 PM on March 5 [9 favorites]


Having just rewatched it, I do think Wanda felt incredibly guilty and sorry for what she did, but yeah, what was she supposed to say to make it right? She couldn't take back what she did and there's no system of justice to punish her with (because possessing a whole town with magic kind of falls outside the law) so ...

I think the second credits scene with her isolated seemed to be "Let me go far away from people and spend time trying to understand this power so I can control it." And I think that's good.
posted by edencosmic at 1:17 PM on March 5 [10 favorites]


I agree with scaryblackdeath: the best thing Wanda can do for these people is to get out of their lives FOREVER. I admit that her apologizing to everyone might have been nice, but wasn't going to make much of a dent in the long run.

I'm not sure what to say about this show ending. I guess I'd say it was very fitting, resolves how it was going to resolve with the husband and kids gone, etc. Vision vs. Vision and Agatha vs. Wanda worked for me overall. You can't really punish someone superpowered so well, especially if you can't catch her 'cause she flies. The goodbye with Vision was touching, and I did enjoy him ah....arguing with himself, I guess we'd call it. And thwarting Agatha with her own trick. (Not sure from the "choosing me to be your mother" thing as to what that's about--AFAIK she didn't poach any RL kids or anything, right?)

I am rather disappointed at the near total lack of Darcy and Jimmy and Monica not getting that much to do either, though. When you don't have to fit commercial television airing restrictions, why not throw in a bit more of them?
Also kind of vaguely annoyed at the loose end-y stuff, like "I guess Jimmy's witness wasn't important then?" and "ditto that engineer or whatever that was" and there wasn't that much explanation on Fake Pietro other than "he's an actor with a magic necklace," I guess.

I'm not quite sure what was going on in the end credits with the Skrull (who/what was that referring to?) and uh...why the witch version of Wanda and the kids screaming, whatever the hell that was.

That said, I'm gonna miss not having anything to look forward to, at least until Falcon/Soldier comes out, I guess.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:20 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


> "I think the second credits scene with her isolated seemed to be 'Let me go far away from people and spend time trying to understand this power so I can control it.'"

So ... she's punishing herself with a quarantine-style staycation?
posted by kyrademon at 1:25 PM on March 5 [17 favorites]


I guess you can count me among the disappointed. I felt like they put so many potentially interesting balls in the air they couldn't possibly catch them all. But now I'm not sure if they managed to catch any of them.

I think Agatha would have been much more interesting as a morally dubious mentor for Wanda and the cackling CGI zap battle at the end kind of squandered her as a character. White Vision seemed to just exist only to show up for its own CGI zap battle at the end, too. And why bother casting the Fox Quicksilver if it was just going to end up being misdirection?

Totally, 100% okay with not getting Dr Strange pop in at the end, though.

I loved the show up to this point, but this was a pretty underwhelming finish. I do want that Jimmy and Darcy show, though.
posted by synecdoche at 1:26 PM on March 5 [7 favorites]


After all [Strange] keeps track of "individuals and beings from other realms who may be a threat to this world".

Which would include Loki crossing over from Asgard or someone from the Dark Dimension and maybe even Avengers from another timeline wanting to borrow an Infinity Stone. ("Sorry, we broke ours.") You'd think he also keeps track of magic-users native to his realm like Wanda and Agatha, but that's not what he says. Maybe in the MCU he's primarily a border guard.
posted by straight at 1:26 PM on March 5


The Skrull at the end says to her that a friend of her mother heard she was grounded and wants to fix that. One assumes that the friend is Nick Fury and what he actually said was, "Monica's grounded? BullSHIT. Motherfucker, get your ass down there and pick her ass up."
posted by wabbittwax at 1:26 PM on March 5 [18 favorites]


I'm not quite sure what was going on in the end credits with the Skrull (who/what was that referring to?)

End credit scene for Spider-man: Far From Home

and uh...why the witch version of Wanda and the kids screaming, whatever the hell that was.

Doctor Strange used astral projecting to study while he slept. His leitmotif plays over Scarlet Witch doing the same thing while walking around conscious.
posted by fomhar at 1:30 PM on March 5 [7 favorites]


So ... she's punishing herself with a quarantine-style staycation?

What does punishment look like for her?

She cannot turn herself over to any kind of government custody. That inevitably leads to another mediocre white dude in a uniform or a suit trying to weaponize her, causing further harm. The MCU has buckets of examples there, including this very series and what happened to her husband('s body).

The best thing she can do for herself and the world is go somewhere isolated and get a grip on her powers... and herself. She needs help for the latter, because she clearly needs some kind of therapy, but from whom? From where? And is that safe before she gets hold of her powers?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:41 PM on March 5 [7 favorites]


Wanda has still probably done less harm to the world than Tony Stark.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:45 PM on March 5 [29 favorites]


Everyone is getting into the ethical considerations of a super hero universe.   Meanwhile, I'm still cackling (as it were) over the image of Agatha's boots as the only thing apparently surviving being crushed by the car.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:47 PM on March 5 [61 favorites]


Witch's shoes always survive crashes.
posted by kyrademon at 1:49 PM on March 5 [17 favorites]


It only just sunk in now, perhaps the show title itself was always a sly reference to the obvious fandom construct of Wanda!Vision, because that's really a better title than Hex!Vision for the version of Vision we mostly saw during this series.

In that sense, it seems certain that, while there might be a future TV series staring Olsen and Bettany, it wouldn't be WandaVision. This series was a full beginning, middle and end for Wanda!Vision's story. (While still being about Wanda, not him, which is a deft bit of writing itself.)
posted by bcd at 2:05 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


It really was no miracle, what happened was just this: the car began to twitch, to roll and pitch, and suddenly the handbrake started to unhitch; just then, the witch, fed up with all the kitsch, went flying through the drywall as her plans unstitched.

And oh, what happened then was rich! The Hex began to glitch, while Vision made his pitch, and Wanda fought the wicked witch but pulled a bait and switch - which was not a happy situation for the wicked witch.
posted by kyrademon at 2:10 PM on March 5 [77 favorites]


Regardless of if WandaVision stuck the landing 100% or not, it succeeded in making me care deeply about Wanda, a character previously at the absolute bottom of the list of MCU characters I cared about. Vision is still a bit of a cipher to me (heh) but I am so invested in Wanda now and so interested in what happens to her next.
posted by merriment at 2:39 PM on March 5 [19 favorites]


Is there a thinkpiece yet about the metaphor of the Grief Buick being used to pummel Agatha?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:09 PM on March 5 [10 favorites]


In terms of superhero ethics & (lack of) punishments, I keep thinking about a set of crossover episodes where The Boys discover what happened at Westview.

It bugs me a little that there probably won't be consequences. And I understand why. Pursuing consequences would turn the MCU into a very different place. Still, I hope there will be billboards all over Westview six months from now. "Were You a Mind-Slave of an Avenger? Seek Compensation Now!"
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 3:12 PM on March 5 [10 favorites]


I was enjoying the first few episodes of WandaVision so much that despite not being a comics person, I read through House of M. Ultimately I was underwhelmed by House of M.

In my case it was these Metafilter threads rather than the series itself (and I am a comics person), but I was prompted to read House if M for the first time too, and had exactly the same reaction you did. There's an interesting idea somewhere at the heart of that book but it just ends up getting thrown away.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:27 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


It really was no miracle, what happened was just this: the car began to twitch, to roll and pitch, and suddenly the handbrake started to unhitch; just then, the witch, fed up with all the kitsch, went flying through the drywall as her plans unstitched.

Bettany has been spoiling this moment for years: Witches End Up in Ditches
posted by straight at 3:31 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


And also...did getting zapped into/out of WandaWorld mess anyone up physically? Cause...mutations...? Like with Monica?

Remember that Strongman from the circus. Short guy, stocky. Looked like... what's his name... The guy from The Greatest Showman...

Totally, 100% okay with not getting Dr Strange pop in at the end, though.

This show needed 0% mansplaining. If you're giving me a gratuitous cameo, Jimmy was in freaking GODZILLA SQUAD, so let's hear that roar over a dark screen...
posted by mikelieman at 3:39 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


At the risk of sounding a little apologist, I want to point out that the pain the people of Westview felt was Wanda's pain and the nightmares were Wanda's nightmares. In addition to the puppet-ing and the family separation and such, they also got a full dose of literal sympathy. They can feel why Wanda was doing what she was doing and understand it probably better than we do. Doesn't make it OK, but I got the impression that they were very angry at hurt but also very sad for her about what was happening.
posted by shesdeadimalive at 4:44 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


The magic in this series has been so weird, subtle, and unsettling that I was disappointed the final battle was just trading energy blasts that looked no different from a Captain Marvel fight with different colored CG. I felt that way about the Doctor Strange movie too (Infinity War was somewhat better). Magic needs to be weird and visually inventive!

But! I think that's the point. Wanda doesn't know any magic. She's just fighting with her superpowers (or magic she learned to use intuitively): throwing cars with telekinesis, mind games that make her enemy relive a traumatic experience, and energy blasts. The only magic spell she knows is the one Agatha showed her and she's actually using those "boring" energy blasts to cast it.

The only other feat of magic she's able to do is cancel the hex she inadvertently unleashed. And I think that solves some of my misgivings about her culpability. I think the hex was more like making a wish on a monkey's paw than being a magical puppeteer. It was based on her desires, but she didn't make a choice about how her wish was fulfilled.

Wanda was caught in the hex just as much as the other people. It continued to respond to her wishes in various ways, but her memory and identity were suppressed just like the rest of them until Agatha snapped her out of it. Her moral responsibility was not that she was choosing to hurt people, but that she was the only one capable of stopping it, which she did very shortly after becoming aware of what was going on.

She wasn't like Tony Stark choosing to create Ultron knowing the risks that it could go wrong. She was a person in pain who rubbed a lantern that she didn't know was magic.
posted by straight at 5:04 PM on March 5 [28 favorites]


Some better writing for Agatha could have made all this more explicit. "C'mon Wanda, enough of your Avengers tricks. Your Chaos Magic is the only thing that can defeat me."
posted by straight at 5:11 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Oh, no. It's the same plot as Wonder Woman 1984.
posted by straight at 5:15 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


That's gotta be Wundagore at the end. It's fun to think about a bright magenta High Evolutionary and weird animal people off in the distance of the sweeping scenic shot.

Also, the thought of a Secret Invasion storyline where arch-manipulator super spy Nick Fury runs crews of shapeshifting Skrulls on Earth is a fun twist. "I had good intentions but whoops sorry about replacing all difficult world leaders with duplicates" is a very on brand move for Fury, it'll be interesting if it goes there.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:15 PM on March 5 [9 favorites]


Watching Agatha absorb Wanda's powers and, as a result, Wanda' hand turning dark really felt like a nod or a throwback (deliberate or not) to what happened when Whitney Frost encountered the dark matter in Agent Carter.

Overall, the series wasn't a waste of my time, even though the ending was disappointing. It's funny, but originally I wasn't really looking forward to this show. Of the new crop of Marvel TV choices, I had the highest hopes for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but the previews look terrible. The previews for this, on the other hand, at least promised something that was visually interesting and stylishly compelling. The acting and the story (up until this episode) have been a nice bonus. It was an interesting ride with some great online conversation. It's been a pleasure chatting about this show with everybody--even the people who held diametrically opposite views about this show from me.
posted by sardonyx at 6:58 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


not dead kids

i'm really not ok with the kids dying, even if they're theoretically alive in some other dimension

sob
posted by medusa at 7:28 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I want to focus on the dead kids.

Dead kids is the one thing you can't do in American entertainment. You can rape and kill any number of adults; but kids you don't touch. OTOH kids are placed in peril all the time for our entertainment, you just can't show them actually suffering.

But they did show them suffering, at least a little, in the showdown in town square where Wanda was letting the town fall apart. And there are her children, falling apart in what looked like agony. It was awful. And then she stopped it.

And so then instead she and Vision just kiss the kids to bed knowing they won't wake up? And mumbles some platitude about how we can never be separated? Do you suppose they just peacefully slept through their disassembly? It was bad enough Vision sacrificed himself, again, knowing it was the "right thing". To let his sentience be snuffed out with some vague mumbling hope maybe something good would happen. The kids don't know enough to understand what's happening to them. Or make a choice. Is that an OK moral lesson? Apparently it passed the review of the TV censors.

The second post-credits sequence reassures me that Billy and Tommy are around somewhere

Maybe they really are still around, as that last credit sequence hinted. Living in some Purgatory even worse than the one Wanda made for Westview. That'd be nice, huh?
posted by Nelson at 8:10 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


This parallels my experience with Game of Thrones, which I followed through media, watching an episode now and then when it was on someone else's TV until I finally signed up to watch it for the final season which was disappointing.

I've been watching snippets on youtube and the discussions here and finally signed up and binge-watched episodes 1-8 of WandaVision, which I loved. Then this episode wasn't bad, the Ship of Theseus discussion was amusing to see, but it didn't live up to the previous episodes.

Did the big government agency bearing down on the perimeter of an anomalous alternate reality remind anyone else of the David Koresh / Waco debacle? Especially as depicted in Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker article. Where the Feds in charge (BATF?) were adversarial and conducting psychological warfare when all indications were that negotiation and some understanding of what was going on inside could have defused everything. I was reluctant to make the parallel between that abusive guy and Wanda, who is our hero, but there are ways to see her as pretty abusive too, though probably not as culpable.

Another thing... I got a sense from the first two episodes that there was something JOYOUS about this sitcom life. The hijinks. The small domestic disasters avoided by scrappy thinking. The post mortems of this show emphasize dealing with trauma. It wasn't a choice the creators made, but I could imagine some in Westview might have their own traumas they might want to forget by living a sitcom life. Being Agnes didn't seem so terrible. It's only terrible if you're a centuries old witch with ambitions for power.

But it seemed out of character for Vision in his parting to be so concerned about who he was. He always spoke out against valuing permanence above all. Did he enjoy married sitcom life with Wanda? Did she? Maybe it wasn't REAL, and Vision's continuity with the original seems preserved only through the magic of the Mind Stone... Maybe a line like, "We'll always have that magic show!"

Or maybe that would make Wanda more problematic if we allowed her to take away some joy in a Westview she'd coerced into her vision...
posted by Schmucko at 8:11 PM on March 5


The "kids" were never alive and part of WM's task is letting go of the fantasy that they were -- a falsehood which might have helped her cope in the moment but which was inseparable, as Agatha points out, from the falsehood she was allowing herself to impose on others.
posted by escabeche at 9:07 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Dead kids is the one thing you can't do in American entertainment.

Sometimes I think I'm the only person on the planet who remembers that Mary's baby died in a fire in Little House on the Prairie and a girl went back in after the baby and you actually see her in the flames unable to get out. Not that I think this is definitive but man, that episode gave child me nightmares for weeks and weeks. Tommy and Billy wouldn't, probably because it is pretty unclear whether they exist.

I am not sure I'm the person to defend that scene for reasons stated above, but I read it as the parents keeping things 'normal' for the kids, the way you do when your child's in hospital or (this I haven't experienced thank god) diagnosed with something awful and you keep their routine going because it's what will bring them comfort. It is a little odd and when Wanda thanks them for choosing her I sort of wondered if she was seeing something about them being elsewhere as well.

Sacrificing your kids - immigrant kids, via Wanda - for the good of the town seems sort of almost quintessentially American on some horrible level, but.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:24 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


The kids are really unclear because they don't entirely act as you'd expect; she couldn't use magic on them properly for one thing. If they were just puppets that wouldn't be an issue. I'm willing to accept a hand-wavey "when a magical person as strong as Wanda creates a pregnancy, even a fake one, it creates new life in a really weird way," but I really don't want the kids-are-part-of-Mephisto storyline because it's stupid and I hate it. *

So maybe they are real people, just made out of magic/the universe/bits of Infinity Stone and they need the right spell/whatsit to make them real boys on this plane.

*also it would be very un-Disney to create cute, likeable kids and then reveal they are just part of some Satan-like dude, haha too bad suckers. **

**I was seriously dreading a Mephisto reveal because it's just so fucking hokey to have Literal But Not Really But Really Cosmic Satan. Just, UGH please no. Maybe the Cthon dude, I guess Lovecraftian monsters are not entirely worn out as an idea yet. Just no red dudes with horns unless you are doing a Hellboy crossover.
posted by emjaybee at 9:38 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


I really enjoyed that this ending about impermanence and memories in a robot man had a movie showing at the theater called Tannhauser Gate

overall I could have done with less MCU Ending CGI Punch-‘em-ups but they at least stuck the landing on the emotional story beats to deliver us an MCU-style Solid B. I agree with the description advice: not an enduring classic, but not a waste of my time, either.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:43 PM on March 5 [8 favorites]


I don't want to take away from any of the productive threads above on how much this does/doesn't parallel grief and loss; what accountability means, and so on, but I need to note a couple of things:

1. Ralph Bohner

It's not just a gag that this is the guy's name, is it? I'm holding out some hope that that's exactly the sort of pseudonym that a disaffected, superpowered teen entering the Witness Protection Program sometime in the 90s might choose.

2. Witch's shoes always survive crashes.

"Why don't they make the whole airplanehelicarrier out of the same stuff that they use to make the black box witch's shoes?
posted by pykrete jungle at 9:45 PM on March 5 [11 favorites]


Wait, was HE the Ralph that Agnes kept referring to
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:58 PM on March 5 [24 favorites]


The fact that I had to pause the first episode thirty seconds in when they're in that kitchen because of the absolute overwhelming nostalgia, like going to a childhood home, was enough for me to say I loved this show. They could really not fail after that point for me. I was in for the ride no matter what.

A few disappointing results, Quicksilver being a metajoke, no distinct reveal of whatever major story arc is coming, the huge loose end of WhiteVision but otherwise just an incredibly enjoyable experience. It reminded me a lot of Logan in the sense that it is an emotional family story that happens to involve superheroes.

Dead kids is the one thing you can't do in American entertainment

Magically created hexchildren may have been real to Wanda but I never bought it. The fast aging really ruined it for me, they were illusions. Of all the slightly disappointing plot points, the twins being what drives Wanda's next arc is the worst one for me. If somehow they're in some other realm seemingly scared and asking for help it feels like Wanda will never be able to move on. You can take the girl out of the hex but not the hex out of the girl, as it were.




deraiI: I remember Bong Joon-ho's The Host being the first movie I saw where the death of children was front and center. It certainly felt like killing kids was taboo here in the US but Stephen King has been killing kids for years and recently the Doctor Sleep movie and HBOs The Outsider have visualized it. Also True Detective s1 and s3 really hit you over the head with child murder. Seems the trope of dead kids in American entertainment is, well, dead.
posted by M Edward at 10:36 PM on March 5


I'm very surprised at the number of people on here that are disappointed this show turned out the way everything in the MCU turns out. Of course it ended with a CGI battle, that's what happens in super hero movies. This is the first entry in MCU Phase 4. I like how it sets up for the future shows/movies. They left Agatha open-ended to possibly come back in some sort of mentor capacity. I would be shocked if the post-credits scene with Monica isn't a set up for Captain Marvel 2. And definitely at the end, Wanda is studying the way Dr. Strange did in his movie, so that seems to be a tie in as well. The only thing disappointing for me is the Fietro thing. I really was hoping it would be an X-Men crossover, but I just re-watched the X-Men movies and realized Peter is 15 in the 60s. There would have to be some serious time traveling / universe altering for them to really be twins. Although the X-Men movies have a really wacky timeline as it is, but I digress.

Overall, I thought this was a good show and I'm excited for the other new MCU stuff coming out this year. Appreciate this show for what it is: a wrap up of Phase 3 and intro to Phase 4.
posted by DEiBnL13 at 10:39 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


WRT the dead kids thing: I'm old enough to remember the Dragnet episode in which the hippies let their baby drown in the bathtub because they were stoned. And, you know, much more recently in The Walking Dead where apparently (I didn't watch it, just read about this particular thing somewhere) they let the fate of a young girl hang in the air for several episodes, only to have her show up zombified. So, yeah. As far as Tommy and Billy go, there are two main possibilities:

- Purely Wanda-created; this is made less likely by their acting independently outside of Wanda's presence. Of course, so did WandaVision.

- Real kids who are... somewhere. Not necessarily "Living in some Purgatory even worse than the one Wanda made for Westview", but maybe somewhere not nice. It would be nicely circular if the kids were actually somehow summoned (astrally, if not physically) from somewhere that was as bad as, say, the war-torn Sokovian landscape that Wanda and Pietro were orphaned in.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:50 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I dunno, man. It's not that surprising that in the end it wasn't as brave of a swing for a superhero story as Legion, which feels like an obvious comparison here. Is the first Dr Strange the only Marvel joint that hasn't ended via pew pew pew now still? I did like that they let it be its own thing and didn't jam in some major character or lead-on to other story right at the end - that would have felt really cheap.

I did think that the resolutions to a lot of the threads were way less interesting than they felt like they could have been. And I really can't get past how lightly they let Wanda off the whole mind controlling hundreds of people thing! I feel a lot of the defences of her upthread are adding stuff, headcannon, that wasn't in the actual text - the show gave her the hero's romantic clinch! The noble sad goodbye to the kids! Monica being like nah babe don't worry about it, they won't understand! The show treated her as the hero, but... what she did was really terrible!

And ok fine yes superhero ethics and yes most other heroes have done similar or worse but for a while this show teased that it might have been shooting for some big meditation on grief and some fan reaction certainly treated it like that and it's ultimately just... more of the same. Which we're going to get weekly, forever now. Which is fine! But the show definitely feinted at more interesting and satisfying things.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:04 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Wait, was HE the Ralph that Agnes kept referring to

👉👃
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:33 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


I could be misremembering some things (almost surely am, in fact) but is this the only MCU story so far without a body-count? Not counting RedVision and the Twins, who were in some ways constructs of the Hex (and who are implied to be still existent in some manner anyway) it seems like everyone (Westview citizens, Feds, SWORD, etc., even WhiteVision, Agatha and Hayward) survived.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:34 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


The coven, maybe?
posted by ominous_paws at 11:46 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


How could you forget about Sparky?!?!? :)
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:55 PM on March 5 [12 favorites]


I keep coming back to Wanda not saying sorry to the townspeople at all and yeah, it bothers me. We were shown multiple people terrified of being captive and tortured, and there's no attempt to square that.

I like the character and think Elizabeth Olsen has been doing a great job with it, but the lack of any attempt of closure is troubling. Dottie, once freed, does the classic parent, begging for kid to be set free and we're just left hanging on that stuff. Perhaps if we had seen Dottie hugging and comforting her kid after being finally freed, then angrily extolling Wanda to get out and seek help. Or nodding to Wanda as a thanks and then asking her to leave. Or even uttering "What the fuck". Or even the crowd chanting "get out, get out". Something, instead of them all just standing there, looking at her.

I enjoyed the series, but that lack of anytime of closure or attempt at it bothers me. It's almost like we need another episode just dealing with that fallout. Though I wouldn't be surprised if Westview is later cited as why people hate or distrust superbeings or the eventual mutants.

This is all weighing on me as we go into Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which has Bucky. Who was tortured and brainwashed into killing people, including Tony Stark's parents. That's never really been addressed either. It's a troubling trend with Marvel, to have this fantastical spectacle, hint at darker themes, but never really address them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:12 AM on March 6 [6 favorites]


This thread puts form to some of my hesitations on Wanda's actions very well.

It has Wanda look at others’ pain, then has her look away because we can’t consider her too monstrous. A major failing of IP-driven franchise filmmaking is its frequent timidity in confronting its protagonists as anything other than gods who make things right by doing them.
posted by ominous_paws at 1:22 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


That looked expensive.
posted by transient at 1:31 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Me: It was upsetting to watch the kids die.
Thread: Let me tell you about other shows and movies where kids have died with details of their manner of death.
Me: ...
posted by medusa at 5:35 AM on March 6 [11 favorites]


Monica Rambeau literally catching bullets for the kids? WORTHY.
posted by whuppy at 5:47 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]


Since true choice is impossible, the best anyone can do is cope.

One of my favourite villains in all the MCU is Zemo because he recognised this. He chooses to cope thorough an elaborate revenge plan but he understood that you cannot beat superheroes by taking them head-on. You have to wonder if the traumatised people Wanda left behind might also choose not to just move on.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:52 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


The more I think about the finale, the more confused I get about all the loose threads.

Beyond stunt casting Evan Peters, what was with all of the stuff about them having children? ("For the children," plus Agnes' fascination with the children, and Wanda's ability to create life or resurrect it). What was with the big focus on Dottie in the one episode, only to have her never be a meaningful character? Why does Agnes talk about Ralph so much if he's just some dude living in her attic? What happened with the witness who Woo was hunting? I feel like with the way things turned out there was just a lot more noise than signal. I can get behind a few red herrings but there was a lot going on here.

I mean, maybe it's going to all get explained away in another movie, but I guess I just don't feel like the finale really followed up on the best parts of the story they were building in the name of having a big huge setpiece laser battle.
posted by synecdoche at 6:07 AM on March 6 [4 favorites]


And I really can't get past how lightly they let Wanda off the whole mind controlling hundreds of people thing!

I don't think they let her off! I think they made it quite clear -- Agatha even says it straight out -- that Wanda is cruel. Not because she went through trauma. It's who she is. Look at the pleasure she displays as she locks Agatha into the torture she just released the Westviewers from, not for a week, but for, well, maybe forever? (Agatha has already been alive a long time.) Olson is a very good actor and can convey a character who is truly, deeply, profoundly loving towards some people and cruel to others -- you know, the way actual people often are, though they are not always allowed to be that way in superhero movies.

(PS whether this was a satisfying choice for the creators of the show to have made, I'm not sure! But I think it's the choice they did make; to make Scarlet Witch, if not a villain, certainly not a hero.)
posted by escabeche at 6:16 AM on March 6 [12 favorites]


I could have done with less MCU Ending CGI Punch-‘em-ups

Counterpoint: It *was* inside a Reboot game cube, so I'll forgive a lot.
posted by mikelieman at 6:31 AM on March 6 [4 favorites]


We liked it. We'll certainly have to tamp down some of our theorizing in-between episodes for The Next Thing.

I expected a cameo or reference of some kind and we more or less got them - indirectly to the Sorcerer Supreme and again in the mid-credits scene for Fury. I am also glad that no one really got added to Wanda's ending in terms of last-second help.

Also caught the Tannhauser Gate reference - I thought that was nicely done. I suspect the kids are somehow still around and we'll be seeing them again somewhere down the line. Wanda's extra scene clinched that for me.

See you all in the Falcon and Winter Soldier threads!
posted by jquinby at 7:01 AM on March 6


Overall, I feel like the finale was a somewhat shorter and less violent version of what I thought (feared?) it would be; a CG battle-fest, but with added high-school-level philosophy (the Ship of Theseus problem) masquerading as deep thinking. (Interesting, that the only entities even attempting higher-level thought here were machines.)

The witch battle was a bit of a meandering mess. The detour back to Salem seemed senseless except to have a few more witches tell Wanda she's the Scarlet Witch. Wanda's runes-in-the-sky reveal was pretty neat, though.

The whole Hayward/SWORD involvement ended up seeming somewhat nonsensical in the end, and riddled with logic holes.

Given the delightful world-building done in the previous episodes, the finale seemed to be from a completely different, generic, superhero show. It was entertaining, for what it was, but it certainly let the previous episodes down, which seems to be kind-of par for the course with almost anything superhero comic book related. I'm not sure how you avoid this sort of thing, though, given that the rules governing superheroes seem to be such that violence/battle is the only possible way to resolve problems. I suppose I should be happy that the combatants didn't level entire city blocks (implying massive civilian casualties) this time.

So, I guess I'd recommend anyone thinking of watching WandaVision take the Battlestar Gallactica viewing approach...absolutely watch the show, but skip the ending.

Odd question...At the beginning of the first mid-credits scene, did anyone else see subtitles for the first few lines of dialogue between Jimmy and Monica?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:02 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


Loved the 'runes on the hex walls' reveal. I'd been thinking "why are you being stupid and throwing power at someone who wants you to throw power at them... oooooh!" I also liked Wanda embracing the Scarlet Witchiness resulting in her having that same backlit profile thing that young Wanda saw when she was exposed to Loki's staff.

I do think I'd rather have had a different ratio of "cgi punch-fest" to "actual character moments", but overall, an okay wrap-up.

So, was the "FOR THE CHILDREN" earlier in the season just Wanda really really wanting kids and manifesting that desire by having the townspeople get weirdly creepy cultish?

I'm curious where Wanda is hanging out at the end of the credits - maybe that's somewhere Sokovia-ish like Mount Wundagore (that's where the Hydra base was where she got her powers, wasn't it?)
posted by rmd1023 at 7:11 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


So on reflection, there was a lot I loved here and a lot that frustrated me, largely due to the first eight episodes setting an almost impossibly high bar.

The juice in the Wanda/Agatha stuff was in Agatha tempting Wanda based on the myriad consequences of the Westview stunt. While the payoff about the runes was shout-and-clap fantastic, more manipulation and less red-and-purple-squiggly-doos to get there would have been cool. Especially given how clever Agatha had been through episode 7, it would have made more sense, and been more dramatically compelling, for her to reveal herself more as a mentor/ally towards the end here - something they kinda-sorta got to in Episode 8 with their immersion-therapy session. "The mythologized über-powerful witch is out there now and somebody needs to teach her" is, even as just a cover story, a more interesting motivation than "there's power out there and where there be power, I gotsta go steal it."

The juice in the Vision-on-Vision stuff was, of course, the philosophizing, but here I feel like WhiteVision needed to be even more of a clear threat for that to really pay off. He shows up, tries to crush Wanda's head, then immediately RedVision is the only character interacting with him anymore before he flies off through a skylight into "maybe we'll see him again or maybe not?" I think, like with Agatha going full heel-turn and force-choking the kids, this was mandated by a need for Episode 8 to end on exciting cliffhangers that hamstrung this episode in terms of what it could really do. A different reveal of White Vision over the last several episodes could have stuck this landing better.

Finally, the stuff with the Townspeople was mostly good and unsettling, but I feel like we lose momentum and motivation that was really earned and necessary in exchange for a weak goodbye between Wanda and Monica.* Between SWORD, the Feds, and especially the Townspeople, what I'd really love to see at the end there is the last of the Hex coming down around Wanda and VIsion's tearful goodbye, for Wanda to find herself surrounded by (metaphorical) torches and pitchforks, clearly contrite (and still distraught from having just lost her family) and showing, not telling, the others not recognizing what Wanda just sacrificed in order to end this, and Wanda choosing to fly off because she can't get through to them nor will she use her powers against them in any way.

*Monica definitely felt underused here as well, like she's choosing to remain trapped by Fietro because she doesn't want to risk harming a Westview Resident, except that it's not until she recognizes him as such that she makes a move. So what we get is Monica letting herself be held captive by a dude who, yes, is super-fast, but whom she could at least attempt to overpower, especially right after her rebirth as a Superhero. So weird and limp.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:31 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


So, some thoughts on the show as a whole --

A couple of years ago (god, was 2019 really only a couple of years ago?) there was a movie review which made what it thought was a grim prediction:

The next “Lost in Translation” will be about Black Widow and Howard Stark spending a weekend together at a Sokovia hotel; the next “Carol” will be an achingly beautiful period drama about young Valkyrie falling in love with a blonde woman she meets in an Asgardian department store.

Now, to be fair, I think it was talking about the dominance of tie-in media properties as opposed to superhero movies per se, but given how it was phrased, my reaction at the time was:

Am I part of the problem if that sounds amazing to me?

And WandaVision pretty much encapsulates why. This show, taken as a whole piece, shows what genre media can do SO WELL if it bothers to try. It makes metaphors real and tangible; it externalizes the internal.

So, a couple of Avengers in an extended meditation on grief and loss? Yes. I'm absolutely here for that.

Was it perfect? No. And in fact, some of its main problems were precisely the problem of being a media tie-in property and a Marvel property in particular: too much setting up of future shows, diffusing the focus of this one; a big shoot-'em-up finale that, however clever it was, ended up being among the least interesting parts. Those are real issues that have been endemic in current iteration of superhero genre films, and they shouldn't be ignored or brushed over.

But was it amazing?

Yes.
posted by kyrademon at 8:35 AM on March 6 [17 favorites]


The one thing that bugged me most about this episode is they abandoned the sitcom conceit. Really they did that a couple of episodes ago, and it makes sense and is justified within the story. ("Wanda cancelled the broadcast!") But the sitcom remakes were the defining characteristic of this show, the real novelty, and I wish a cleverer writer could have figured out how to make that work all the way to the end. Instead, as everyone says, we got a bunch of Marveltastic flying superhero CGI.

I did like the Rune trick too, that was pretty great. And I also liked how Vision neutralized his enemy with logic even if it was sort of freshman philosophy stuff. It's interesting how he did it making himself vulnerable. This isn't Captain Kirk telling the Computer or the Mudd Robots they're inferior and bad. This is Vision himself saying he doesn't really know if he's real. But he feels real, and that's good enough for him.

Which brings us back to the dead kids, I just found that whole plot line very disturbing. I think it's interesting most folks here are like "well they aren't real kids so it's OK they disappeared". I'm glad that explanation works for you. But it doesn't for me. They don't know they're real kids. They seemed as real as Vision did to me; sentient, self-aware, independent minds. Hell they even have superpowers. For them to just be.. snuffed out while asleep seems very grim for an American superhero movie. I'm not even mad about that, I kinda like how Scarlet Witch is this very ambiguous thing. But she killed her children. With nothing but a goodnight kiss as an emotional marker. Damn.
posted by Nelson at 8:42 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]


But the sitcom remakes were the defining characteristic of this show, the real novelty, and I wish a cleverer writer could have figured out how to make that work all the way to the end.

Yes, I was very much hoping that the final episode would double down and get meta and weird. Maybe that the the episode would take place in an episode of a sitcom called “WandaVision,” or at least have the witch-fight cycle through the previous sitcom worlds we’ve seen. To just abandon the central conceit entirely is why this felt more disappointing than a normal MCU final fight—there was so much more that could and should have been done.
posted by ejs at 9:16 AM on March 6 [12 favorites]




The thing about the Ship of Theseus is that Freshman-level philosophy is exactly what can play in something like this, and they wrote that scene for people who were unfamiliar with the concept, without overwriting it so much that it would make those who are familiar with it roll their eyes. And the question of "which one of us is 'real'?" was only half the point - really it was about getting WhiteVision (Colonizer Vision, as Alexandra Love called him on the Boars, Gore & Swords podcast) to stop and think for himself, at which point he stopped being the Toaster that White Vision represents (in the comics.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:51 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]


They did cycle through the sitcoms at the end; Wanda's house went backwards through all the previous iterations before disappearing while she kissed him.

Technically as long as the Hex was up, it was still a sitcom world, as we saw when Agatha released people from their "scripts."

Ironically, most of the complaints people are voicing (too unresolved/too pat/didn't deal with complexity/shallow characters, etc.) are exactly the same problems you get with a sitcom. So in that sense, it was as sitcom-y an ending as you could wish.

Flourish!
posted by emjaybee at 10:33 AM on March 6 [8 favorites]


I keep thinking about Vision vis à vis Vison as it rang true for me in a way that took me a while to nail down. Eventually I got it though - they're both parts of The Vision and The Hex Vision doesn't really need to persuade Spectral Vision he just needs to spark something. To borrow from Sir Terry once again:
"Hello, Sam" said the other Vimes, staring not quite at him. "I can't see you but they say you can see me. Remember the smell of lilac? You thought about those who died. And then you told Willikins to hose down that kid. And, uhh, you've got a pain in your chest you're a bit worried about but you haven't told anyone... That's about enough, I think. You know I'm you."
That excerpt mostly gets where I'm going but the very next line is so apropos here:
"Now, there's some things I can't tell you. I can know 'em because I'm in a---" the speaker stopped and looked away, as if he was taking instruction from someone offstage "--a closed loop. Er... you could say I'm twenty minutes of your life you don't recall."

In a similar vein choosing to say good night to the twins was, from where I sit, soul crushing. I really didn't need the story to have any more poignancy than that. Wanda can't bullshit HexVision and together they've experienced his death twice already. This time neither he nor the twins are going to to be fighting to escape the Hex, or fighting to retain literal and figurative existence as the Hex ebbs. No this time the Hex is already gone and WiIe E Coyote like they're still walkin' and talkin' until gravity takes notice. Or, in this case, the event horizon overtakes them.

The may, all three of them, continue on in some form. Their creation was certainly more than 'breakfast for dinner' but right there right then Wanda is going to lose them. Again.

To move past Night Watch and quote Thud instead - in Wanda's emotional arc of trauma and recovery what's to stop her from going all in on "WHERE'S MY COW? ARE YOU MY COW?" and letting the Scarlet witch Nexus destroy this realm.

In Thud Sam Vimes perseveres with his love, anticipated grief and lose and masters his rage in the face of his own magical demon:
A shape appeared in the mist.
It drew nearer.
Water cascaded off a metal helmet and an oiled leather cloak as the figure stopped and, entirely unconcerned, cupped its had in front of its face and lit a cigar.
Then the match was dropped on the cobbles, where it hissed out, and the figure said: “What are you?”
The entity stirred, like an old fish in a deep pool. It was too tired to flee.
“I am the Summoning Dark.” It was not, in fact, a sound, but had it been, it would have been a hiss. “Who are you?”
“I am the Watchman.”
“They would have killed his family!” The darkness lunged, and met resistance. “Think of the deaths they have caused! Who are you to stop me?”
“He created me. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? Me. I watch him. Always. You will not force him to murder for you.”
“What kind of human creates his own policeman?”
“One who fears the dark.”
“And so he should,” said the entity, with satisfaction.
“Indeed. But I think you misunderstand. I am not here to keep the darkness out. I am here to keep it in.” There was a clink of metal as the shadowy watchman lifted a dark lantern and opened its little door. Orange light cut through the blackness. “Call me… the Guarding Dark. Imagine how strong I must be.”
The Summoning Dark backed desperately into the alley, but the light followed it, burning it.
“And now,” said the watchman, “get out of town.”
And that, right there, is a Scarlet Witch story I'd like to hear; my recollection of the comics left my thinking of the Scarlet Witch as grief driven force of nature that the actual Good Guys™ evade, overcome or circumvent to win the day.The conclusion to WandaVision leaves room, I think, for a far more interesting take on the Scarlet Witch inside the MCU than just some chaotic neutral Demi-god doomed to be forever rooted in grief and loss.

More than that explorations on the idea of "Super Heroes as Super-double-edged-swords with Super-unanticipated-consequences" has been covered in similar ways with The Boys, Watchmen, The Incredibles, Days of Future Past, even Civil War. It's not a new idea and it's not particularly interesting beyond the novel twist. I'd really really like to see a treatment of (particularly) Dark Phoenix or Scarlet Witch that was a lot less deterministic and exercised a lot more self agency. What might their Guarding Dark look like?
posted by mce at 10:48 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]


The detour back to Salem seemed senseless

That sort of surreal psychological battle--where you trap your opponent in a nightmare except, oh no, now it's your nightmare--is precisely the sort of thing I want when witches fight, rather than generic magic laser blasts.

And forcing her opponent to relive a traumatic memory is one of the main things Wanda knows how to do with her power. Setting that up is the reason we flashed back to Salem the first time. And if she's really been intuitively casting a spell rather than just flexing Infinity Power, it makes sense that Agatha would know how to turn the tables on her.
posted by straight at 10:55 AM on March 6 [15 favorites]


Here are the things I was wondering about:

Why did Agatha need to know where Wanda got her power? How did it make any difference to her?
What did Wanda mean when she thanked the kids for choosing her to be their mom? If she made them, it was hardly their choice.
Agatha's just a nosy neighbor in Westview with no home or job?
posted by amarynth at 11:08 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Witch's shoes always survive crashes.

Why don't witches just construct their outfits out of whatever their footwear is made of?
posted by detachd at 11:11 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]


I was left wondering a bit about how time worked inside the Hex and how that resolves some of the other in-Hex bits. Wanda kisses Vision at sunrise at the front window, and once the red wall has passed, it's midday--she appears to be standing in precisely the location and time of day that she was when she put up the Hex. Based on the townspeople's responses, it wasn't clear to me whether they were even fully aware of what happened the way the people outside the Hex were. Monica certainly seems a little discombobulated after getting tossed out the first time. In any case, I'm okay with time and power being a little bit squishy when there's magic involved.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. The story starts with Wanda, in her rage and grief, walking farther through the door labeled "What If" than any of us mortal grievers can manage, to the point of seemingly rewriting her own memory to gloss over the loss. It's cozy there for a while, but the cracks show through, and they grow and mutate until she realizes she has to walk back out that door again, no matter how painful. The emotional hook was a lot more important to me, and they nailed it pretty well for me.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:17 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


Wanda can't bullshit HexVision and together they've experienced his death twice already. This time neither he nor the twins are going to to be fighting to escape the Hex, or fighting to retain literal and figurative existence as the Hex ebbs.

Yeah, a real tragedy of this story about grief is that Wanda exits it with even more grief than she entered it. Pre-WandaVision Wanda lost her parents, her twin brother, and her only love, twice. Now she’s lost her parents, her twin brother, her only love three times, and her two kids, plus she’s even more guilty about causing pain to even more innocent people. No wonder she’s exiling herself.
posted by ejs at 11:32 AM on March 6 [11 favorites]


You know what would have made a good finale episode pastiche? The Good Place. Have competing realities/premises built up and thrown out every fifteen minutes, would still allow for the ship of Theseus argument, a lot of discussions about emotions and owing to community and relationships.

All in all, Wandavision is still my one of my favorite MCU properties, but I agree that there was too much time on screen dedicated to wirework and CGI throwing and not enough sticking some of the emotional landings, especially regarding the communties response to Wanda's actions and the kids' 'deaths'. This is also the one that looked the most like an MCU movie in lighting and staging, and it just highlighted that the cinematography in most MCU movies is kind of subpar.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:38 AM on March 6 [11 favorites]


This was an ok ending, but I agree with people who feel it could have been stronger.

As much as I am here for scenery chewing Kathryn Hahn, I think having her go full ranting villain so they could have a witch fight was a boring choice. I'm holding out hope that Wanda putting her in nosy neighbor limbo in Westview means they'll pull her out of storage for morally dubious mentor hijinks in some future installment.

I thought the final mid-credits scene was more horrorifying in terms of the fate of the twins than allowing them to be erased from existence (given that the other option besides their erasure was to continue mind controlling the people of Westview forever). They sounded extremely upset in that brief clip of shouting for mom, where the hell are they? And did Wanda know they'd be tucked away in some other dimension from which they came, hence the weird "thanks for choosing me to be your mom" line? I don't get what Wanda already knows about her powers here.

I agree that the people of Westview got an extremely raw deal, but I think restorative justice is the only way Wanda could go, and it makes sense for her to take some learning and self assessment time before attempting to make amends. Whether the MCU bothers to do anything with that concept remains to be seen (I mean, I suspect the cinematic universe will not provide any justice for Westview, but we'll see.)

I think Monica letting Wanda off the hook was not meant to imply Wanda is letting herself off the hook, but a lot depends on what exactly Wanda plans to do once she's studied up on her powers.
posted by the primroses were over at 1:07 PM on March 6


Upon rewatch I think a lot of my disappointment stems mostly from how poorly they handle how the show fits into the larger MCU. The outside the hex scenes are good when they introduce Monica and the after effects of the snap but in the end had so little to do with Wanda I feel like they should have been an entirely different show.

Basically just give us a Jimmy/Monica/Darcy solve mysteries show. Which I think is what Marvel is trying to set up with them but it just didn't work very well in the context of WandaVision. Two very different tones going on there.
posted by M Edward at 1:11 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


"Basically just give us a Jimmy/Monica/Darcy solve mysteries show."
Oh dear lord yes. I'm thinking flavours of The Lone Gunmen maybe? Would it be too much to ask to have them work occasionally with X-Con Security Consultants? And maybe have Michael Peña recap "last week on..."?

Or not. Either way please more Jimmy/Monica/Darcy.
posted by mce at 2:06 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


Witch's shoes always survive crashes.
To borrow from Sir Terry once again:
"Granny Weatherwax strecthed out her legs and looked at her boots. they were good strong boots, with hobnails and crescent-shaped scads; you couldn't believe a cobbler had made them, someone had laid down a sole and built up from there."
posted by mikelieman at 2:09 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


"Basically just give us a Jimmy/Monica/Darcy solve mysteries show."

"Basically just give us a Jimmy/Monica/Darcy and Godzilla solve mysteries show."
posted by mikelieman at 2:11 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


Two very different tones going on there.
After watching the last episodes, I have the feeling that WandaVision started life as a standalone Scarlet Witch movie that followed the traditional MCU recipe, down to the final CGI fight/beams of light etc., and that the concept was reworked as a (short) TV series with an emphasis on the sitcom gimmick. It could even be possible to shuffle scenes around to create a 120-150 min long "movie" cut.
posted by elgilito at 2:12 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


I think it's interesting how so much of this discussion is about how Wanda got off too easily and also how unbearably grim it is that she sacrificed her kids to set things right. I think there's something in there about the true horror of excessive power, that you easily end up in scenarios where the only way to end the damage you caused causes a different damage to someone else (if we assume that the kids have some form of existence independent of Wanda, which however Wanda really has not much reason to, when she lets them go gently into that good night, even though"thank you for choosing me as your mom" seems to suggest otherwise).

I admit, I am a bit disappointed about Agatha's motivations, but I can see how a last-minute-male-villain-pulling the strings behind the scenes would have also been bad, and if you absolutely need a cartoon villain for a climactic battle, better her than Mephisto.
posted by sohalt at 2:57 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


just give us a Jimmy/Monica/Darcy and Godzilla

A talking gorilla will suffice.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:30 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


The punishment for Agatha is startlingly cruel. What am I missing -- why did she deserve it?Wanda did far worse things and got to walk off to her beautiful cabin.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:01 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


There is no one to punish Wanda, except herself.

Agatha sort of woke up her power, then tried to steal it, so I’m not shedding too many tears.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:11 PM on March 6


This is all weighing on me as we go into Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which has Bucky. Who was tortured and brainwashed into killing people, including Tony Stark's parents. That's never really been addressed either. It's a troubling trend with Marvel, to have this fantastical spectacle, hint at darker themes, but never really address them.

Yes, I’m a bit worried about the trailer’s “buddy cop” feel, especially because of a quote I saw online from someone involved in the series — they said something like, “It’s great because Sebastian Stan kind of gets to play himself!” Plus, Bucky basically just got abandoned by Steve soon before the series begins, so...
posted by trillian at 4:48 PM on March 6


I feel the lack of closure is a feature because: a) this is the start of phase 4 and b) Wanda is an imperfect character, but really a super hero in the classic sense.
posted by signal at 5:21 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


I rewatched the entire show immediately before watching the finale. I agree with a large part of the analysis of the finale that's been thoroughly articulated in this thread: unsatisfying to a degree, with a lot of wasted potential thrown aside in favor of obligatory but unnecessary CGI violence.

Nevertheless, some scattered thoughts/observations from rewatching:

- Knowing that Agnes isn't being mind controlled makes the early episodes so much better. She's just having fun with it!

- I kind of like that the actors in the commercials were just...actors in commercials.

- Vision saying "my wife is from Sokovia" and Mrs. Hart being charmed by her European values is just, fully ignoring Vision's English accent?

- It seems like maybe Dottie breaking through is just her being a strong-willed person, or maybe her part allowed her more freedom? It did seem like they were setting her up for more.

- "Westview: Home Is Where You Make It"

- Hayward upon first seeing the broadcast: Are we recording this? I need immediate analysis. Get me a Film Studies PhD stat!

- Hex. Because she's a witch. She cast a hex.

- Paul Bettany is a very attractive man. That suspenders look was gone too soon.

- It's clear in retrospect how Hayward cherry-picked the footage from Wanda's visit to shield to create a false impression. The recontextualization of previous scenes is deftly done throughout the show. It makes rewatching as satisfying as trying to figure out what going on was the first time through.

- "There is no time for you to diminish your colleagues" is my favorite line in the whole show, Randall Park is a gift and Jimmy Woo deserves his own show.

- Why was Agatha in the car at the edge of town? How did she know Vision would come to that location? Why did she want to push him like that?

- The stunt casting of Evan Peters was cool, if that's all it was, but feels unfair given that we know the multiverse is an upcoming thing. Almost a "why are you hitting yourself" towards fan speculation.

- I wish I could see all the designs of the house through the decades side-by-side. I like that we got a glimpse of the modern-day decor at the very end, but it also felt the most boring.

- I really do wish they hadn't made Monica's eyes blue. Just...problematic.

- Kathryn Hahn is so charismatic, it's impossible to really dislike Agatha even after the reveal. Her characterization in the finale really felt like a left turn, though, and made her much less interesting. I still hope we see more of her.

- Of course Wanda becoming the Scarlet Witch involves a magical girl costume transformation. Her new costume is great, though!
posted by cosmic owl at 5:43 PM on March 6 [8 favorites]


I'm going to push back (a little) on the idea that the climax was *just* a CGI slug-fest, which was something I was worried about even going into the show. Now, yes, there was a lot of flying and lasers and hex magic, etcetera, but the real battle was two Visions having a conversation in the library and Wanda messing with Agatha in Salem and then the rune reveal. So, in the end, even though there were lots of explosions - and so much infrastructure repair left for WestView to clean up, the real battles were psychological.

How did that compare to the intense trip through Wanda's history last week? Not well. How did it compare to the previous episodes where Wanda struggle to maintain control of her emotions and the world? Not great. But, in the end, it wasn't about Wanda destroying Agatha and Vision killing White!Vision, it was about tricking them both.

I was also thinking about the lack of body-count, as well. Yes, poor witches and poor Sparky, but quite remarkable how no humans died during the story itself and none by Wanda.
posted by crossoverman at 5:48 PM on March 6 [9 favorites]


I really do wish they hadn't made Monica's eyes blue. Just...problematic.

They were blue when she came through the Hex, but were gold/amber when she was showing off her power in the finale. I'm hoping that's her powers evolving.
posted by crossoverman at 5:51 PM on March 6


I really do wish they hadn't made Monica's eyes blue. Just...problematic.

What’s problematic about it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:02 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


"I mean that's true of all superheroes; if Thor smashes up your town, and doesn't feel like making recompense, what could you do about it?"

My (9- and 11-year-old) kids are starting to watch superhero stuff, because all their friends at school watch it and they ask to, but they're super-cynical about it. I sort-of blame The Incredibles? But I more blame their lawyer parents. Anyway, my kids are always like, "SUPERHEROES ARE A TERRIBLE IDEA, THEY DESTROY ENTIRE TOWNS, AND NOBODY PAYS FOR IT." Whenever they watch Marvel movies or things like WandaVision, they spend half the time going, "WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS??? IS THIS SUPERHERO INSURED????" Like they were very into Wandavision right up until damage to the town started happening, at which point they turned into insurance adjusters.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:10 PM on March 6 [27 favorites]


MetaFilter: very into Wandavision right up until damage to the town started happening, at which point they turned into insurance adjusters.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:24 PM on March 6 [13 favorites]


They were blue when she came through the Hex, but were gold/amber when she was showing off her power in the finale. I'm hoping that's her powers evolving.

They also are purple when she uses her powers to spot FoxPietro’s magic necklace. I think it depends on what she is doing at the moment?
posted by Fleebnork at 6:27 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


One might say her eye color has an entire... spectrum
posted by emjaybee at 6:41 PM on March 6 [23 favorites]


Anyway, my kids are always like, "SUPERHEROES ARE A TERRIBLE IDEA, THEY DESTROY ENTIRE TOWNS, AND NOBODY PAYS FOR IT." Whenever they watch Marvel movies or things like WandaVision, they spend half the time going, "WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS??? IS THIS SUPERHERO INSURED????" Like they were very into Wandavision right up until damage to the town started happening, at which point they turned into insurance adjusters.

This is kinda the whole crux for the plot of Civil War, though. Not just that Superheroes acting with no oversight authority is akin to trusting in the benevolence of God-like dictators, but also that so far, it seems like Tony's generally paying for the damage out of pocket. So when everything goes to hell in Lagos and Wanda magics a bomb away from a town square, but the bomb still ends up killing a number of Wakandan aid workers*, that's enough for the world governments to say enough, and Tony's guilt over Sakovia is enough for him to go along with it, at least at first, but Cap's side of that argument ("We know best and should do what we see fit," basically) has no philosophical standing with the guy who has to cover all of the financial damages in their wake is quite reasonably wishing to stop doing that.

*Something which can hardly be called Wanda's fault, and the other characters in the movie are protecting her, but man, not nearly doing enough to make the point that fucking Crossbones set off a bomb, and that Wanda was just reacting within that split second to keep people from dying, but it's also too realistic that everyone in the narrative would put the blame on her instead of where it belongs, grrr...
posted by Navelgazer at 8:19 PM on March 6 [6 favorites]


My impression was that Wanda wasn't aware of the horrific consequences of retreating into her sitcom fantasy world when she initially created the spell, and that she was partly under it herself, playing out her own role. She seemed confused and surprised when the illusion was broken, for instance when Agnes/Agatha said "So are we going with that or should I come in again" (or something) in the Seventies episode, or in the Sixties episode when Dottie says she doesn't trust her not to harm them.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:57 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


I'm weirdly disconcerted by how emphasis there is on "Wanda got off too lightly, needs more punishment!" in this thread. Not a lot of focus on "rehabilitation and reentry to society" for a some folks who probably at least intellectually lean more towards the "Abolish prisons!" side of politics in other contexts.

Why does Agatha deserve a harsher punishment than Wanda? Because it's not about punishment, it's about rehabilitation. Wanda already wants to be a better person; she wants to learn how to control her powers and to not ever do anything like that again. Punishing her further serves no purpose to society except to please that primitive part of our brains that wants to see people who do harm suffer. And I don't see how anyone can possibly argue that Wanda has not suffered enough already.

Monica, at least, has been to the briefings and knows what Wanda has been through already. Do the people of Westview understand what it's like to have to personally destroy your own beloved to save the universe? Do you think anybody thanked Wanda for that sacrifice, ever? Thanos undid it thirty seconds later, so I'm guessing not. But Wanda still did it; she still made that choice to murder someone she loved for the greater good. And then, at the end of this series....she effectively had to make that same choice, again. Monica's line makes sense to me in that context; it's honestly a pretty traditional superhero-solidarity sentiment to say "yeah the regular folks will never understand the shit we have to go through." The only thing that undercut that line for me wasn't that Wanda was somehow unworthy or undeserving of Monica's sympathy but that this particular batch of regular folks has apparently been getting Wanda's nightmares and so probably do understand, more so than truly "normal" people could anyways.

Agatha, on the other hand, has shown no (convincing) remorse whatsoever. Will spending (however long) trapped as Agnes rehabilitate her? Probably not (do prisons actually help rehabilitate people ever?) but trapping her in her own mind at least removes her as a threat to the world. At least for the next 15 minutes or so before she inevitably gets released and decides she'd like to snack on Dr. Strange, or whatever.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:05 PM on March 6 [12 favorites]


I'm weirdly disconcerted by how emphasis there is on "Wanda got off too lightly, needs more punishment!"

Wanda enslaved thousands of people at their most intimate level. Denied them their selfhood. Denied them caring for their children. Kept them in a state of terror. Did so for at least weeks. Maybe longer.

Sure, it was an accident or whatever. But even accidents from negligence get at least some small punishment. It's a pretty terrible thing Wanda did. The fallout will be immense. Many of those people will never feel safe or normal again. Especially those who were children when it happened. Grief and sacrifice don't give Wanda a blank check to do what she did to Westview.

I don't know what the response should be. I know, with the MCU being what it is, we won't see one. It's a little satisfying to imagine this storyline play out in The Boys where, at minimum, someone would have confronted the misbehaving supe with a line like: "I know you suffered. I know you're grieving. But couldn't you have just had a big cry like a normal person? Instead of... this."
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 10:39 PM on March 6 [8 favorites]


Not a lot of focus on "rehabilitation and reentry to society" for a some folks who probably at least intellectually lean more towards the "Abolish prisons!" side of politics in other contexts.

Well this is a little heated of a way to go after people for their feelings about a superhero show ;)

For my own part - much of what I've been left thinking about is trying to answer the question "why did the finale to this show, which broadly I enjoyed a lot, feel weirdly off and unsatisfying to me?". And a part of the answer is that Wanda did a very terrible thing, and the show totally fails to reckon with it, treating her uncomplicatedly as the hero of the piece. We're asked to consider how the townspeople felt for just a few seconds before things are moved on.

Is her stint in the cabin at the end rehabilitative? Is she working to some restorative end? I don't know! I don't think it's clear how the show feels about what she's done, and I don't think that's down to deliberate ambiguity. The most the text alone here says is - oh, that was sad for those people! Oh well, supes gotta supe! And this isn't uncommon in superhero media, and maybe we shouldn't expect so much of it. But the show writes cheques playing with these heavier themes of trauma, can't cash them, and in the end just sort of skips out on the whole business.

Anyway while I'm here and typing - you know the by-now-cliche about bad fight scenes, where it's all just a whirl of short cuts and you never know where any given character is moment to moment and it's confusing and unsatisfying? I kind of feel like that's happening at a macro, political level n the mcu right now, like - who is legitimately in charge? Who reports up to who? Is the top level good or bad and who are they aligned with? Why is that one guy going to jail, who above him have our heroes exposed him to and for what? Is it just because he shot at some imaginary kids? Wha?
posted by ominous_paws at 11:56 PM on March 6 [11 favorites]


I'm weirdly disconcerted by how emphasis there is on "Wanda got off too lightly, needs more punishment!" in this thread.

She didn't apologise to the people she hurt or even attempt to make amends. She kinda shrugged and said "they'll probably never forgive me so I'm absolved of having to try, ok byeeee". She also put Agatha into a mental prison, with seeming glee.

I haven't read the comics but I got the distinct impression the show ended with Wanda not necessarily being "good" anymore.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:46 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


I was impressed by how carefully they'd set up the interesting conflict between Wanda, who we-the-audience were predisposed to see as the hero, and Agatha, who seems obviously villainish (she's a witch, fer chrissakes!), but that's because I thought they were setting up a surprise reversal:

WANDA: You're evil!
AGATHA: I'm evil? You've enslaved an entire town.
WANDA: You killed those witches in Salem!
AGATHA: Those witches in Salem were trying to execute me. The only thing that saved me was discovering that I absorb magic.
WANDA: You killed Sparky!
AGATHA: Sparky's not real. You made him. Wanda, what are you doing here?
WANDA: You're hurting my children!
AGATHA: Wanda, you don't have any children. You made them. What are you doing here?
WANDA: No! I know they're real because I love them! And I love Vision!
AGATHA: Maybe, but that's not Vision, either. You saw the real Vision earlier—he tried to crush your skull. Wanda, you've left me no choice. You're not worthy of this power, and I have to take it away.
WANDA: If you can!
AGATHA: [nods] If I can.

I'm not sure how that leads to having Wanda around for future Avenging, but it certainly would have been a more interesting payoff than what we got. (And would have resulted in Kathryn Hahn returning as a major good-ish force in the MCU.)
posted by The Tensor at 3:14 AM on March 7 [17 favorites]


i find it so interesting that a lot of people want Wanda to make restitution.

To take the MCU to its mythological level and not its human level, I've long held the habit of looking at the MCU as a post-9/11 American meditation on power; a kind of pick-your-hero version of who does the US want to be in the face of the realization that there are people in the world for whom America is an oppressor to be beaten back, not "out there" but who will bring that to your country and crash it into buildings of innocent people, simply because they are American. (Or, like Wakanda, simply either don't care, or pity the US for its being stuck.)

From that perspective, Wanda Maximoff represents America's relationship with the last elements of the Cold War - the only superpower besides China* to threaten American domination and still very much in the US consciousness, especially among the Boomers and to some extent Gen X. The idea that she is mind controlling Americans in a small town to recreate the idealized sitcom America from the 1950s tracks with Russian interference in the election to Make America Great Again. I can see how her simply withdrawing feels incomplete, and it may be addressed in Dr. Strange 2.

But for me, it makes a lot of sense. She has some kind of moral centre - she withdrew the Hex. But Americans are not her people and like a military withdrawal, the withdrawal is the statement. And of course that leaves Americans unsatisfied and seething.

The push-pull in the MCU is "forwards or backwards," and I feel like that is very grounded in the two Americas - those who are looking to restore the power structures of the past (conservative) and those are are looking to restore the progressive movements of the past that were undoing them. That's one reason I think Steve Rogers' choice to go back in time and live a quiet life was unsatisfying both because it seemed like he should end up with Bucky, but also because as the one superhero who really is the moral apex of the series, he withdrew himself from the discussion. However on a human level I think we all got his exhaustion because it's exhausting.

I think the MCU's creators are making movies not completely as a progressive answer (although I enjoy it because I think it leans that way) -- I think they want to continue to appeal to the biggest audience possible, and so they present a lot of questions that they don't definitively answer...but that's okay. I mean Dido in her cave laments, Aeneas is not a perfect hero.

I'm less satisfied with Wanda's leaving Agatha in the town. I think that's kind of a personal revenge thing -- you locked my kids up and threatened them -- but it is disproportionate. I think it's more a plot device so that Agatha will be there when wanted, and it does feel less nuanced than the rest of the series and kind of dumb.

I also think Agatha is a truth teller and she has identified that Wanda is the person who ends the world - chaos. If Wanda does become a kind of massive change agent, or villain, I think that makes this series an even more interesting choice as the one which meditates on grief. Would that mean that people who grew up in countries the US bombed, whose grief has been brought forward and meditated on, and who then inflict pain and trauma on Americans are - just bad? Understandable but bad? Human? Achieving a form of justice?

I dunno but whenever I think about it that way I get more interested in the next series, which from the trailers asks a Black American to become the hope for the American people.

*China is enough of a threat, and a big enough economic market, that it's simply left alone in the series, but you could argue that Thanos's views align with the one child policy.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:41 AM on March 7 [9 favorites]


I don't remember so many people complaining about, say, Walter White or Tony Soprano or Vic Mackey not being contrite or punished in their early seasons. Why can't Wanda Maximoff be morally ambiguous or an antihero?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:16 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


'Cause moms can't be morally ambiguous.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:18 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


warriorqueen, that is an interesting reading, and i can go with it for the course of your argument. but i suppose, i must ask, especially from my non-american perspective, how would you read the fact that the storytellers are themselves american (or america-aligned) when anti-russia/soviet-coded sentiment is very much still a fact of american pop culture? i feel including that makes your reading even less forgiving to the intent of this particular narrative.

i definitely am more skeptical of the entire notion of being wholly sympathetic to wanda, simply because i don't feel the text has left her in a place that earned it. and no, i'm not seeing it as just because she's a woman. in fact, i'm going to say it: it's because she IS a white woman.

but this isn't a finished narrative, so who knows where we go next. but uh, i didn't watch game of thrones either (advanced radar for narrative screwiness i guess), but now i'm feeling like i'm reliving the threads discussing danaerys. and we know where that ended up...
posted by cendawanita at 6:24 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


All the comments here wrestling with the question of whether the narrative of the show has let Wanda off the hook too easily are interesting to me, because the thing that struck me most about the finale is that the writers refrained from walking back the show's premise. I absolutely expected them to walk it back; I expected there to be a magic get-out-of-moral-culpability card they'd play, a plot device whereby Wanda would "reverse" the terrible thing she'd done. You know, something like "I can make everyone forget! Or I can roll back time and make it so it never happened!" This is a comic book show, after all. They absolutely have those options if they want to use them.

But they didn't. And I think they must have been tempted to do it, or considered it during an earlier draft, because there's a moment where Vision says, "Wanda, I know why you made this world, but this..." and she interrupts to say "I can fix it!" and he responds "Can you?" And no: she can't. She can let everyone go, that's the best she can do, horrifically insufficient as it may be. And she sort of has to be morally cornered into making even that choice: she starts to panic when confronted by the crowd, and sees garrotes appear around everyone's neck, automatically, before she really absorbs how bad her actions have been.

It's not clear to me that they've "let her off the hook", exactly. I think they've set her up as a villain, straight up. I think that's her role in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel. And I think the events of this show, along with J. Jonah Jameson convincing the world that Peter Parker is responsible for all the destruction over in Europe during "Far From Home", is going to be the cause of significant public outrage in the MCU going forward. Tony Stark and Captain America, by far the most popular of the Avengers, are both gone. I think the Marvel super-heroes are in for a serious public relations problem for the next little while. Which will possibly make hostility towards the X-Men a bit more logically consistent than it's ever been in the comic books, where some super-heroes, even super-heroes who look like monsters, are a-ok as far the public is concerned, but somehow Cyclops is a bridge too far and everybody hates mutants.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:37 AM on March 7 [13 favorites]


OK, I've seen enough. The MCU is wrestling.

1. Nothing ever ends. There is always a continuing story to keep you tuning into whatever the next thing is, which is usually something you'll have to pay to watch.
2. Everything is resolved by the good guys physically fighting the bad guys. The battles, even when different characters are involved, often tend to wind up looking kinda the same.
3. After that big wrap-up battle, somebody new comes in and here we go again for the next thing.
4. Bad guys sometimes stay on top for months on end.
5. People surprisingly switch from good guys to bad guys or vice versa as needed for plot reasons.
6. New characters show up, and casual fans are like "who is this?" but people who watch other promotions^W^W^Wread the comic books know who it is and get all excited.
7. Fans fantasy-book what they think the storyline should be and get disappointed when the actual story isn't as good as they imagined.
8. The loser in a loser-leaves-town match sometimes comes back looking slightly different.
9. Nobody ever really retires.
10. It's unclear exactly what supernatural powers certain characters have.
11. People sometimes come face-to-face...with themselves!
12. Occasional time travel.

(Specifically, MCU is probably WWE and DC is definitely old WCW.)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:55 AM on March 7 [12 favorites]


I forgot 13. If they announce some weird stipulation for a match, that stipulation is definitely going to affect the outcome of the match.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:06 AM on March 7


I think the Marvel super-heroes are in for a serious public relations problem for the next little while.

i think this is it. also, one of those vloggers in their review laid out the projected phase 4 timeline with regards to Wanda, and she'll have a role as well in Spidey's Far From Home (which as you say, will definitely grapple with the PR problem which in Spidey's case is a 'gift' Mysterio left for him) before her full co-star billing in Dr Strange's Mountain of Madness. It's possible her comics connection to the X-Men is still in play.
posted by cendawanita at 7:10 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


And let's look at the other antagonists for the other upcoming MCU:

- Falcon & Winter Soldier: Zemo - whose whole MCU thing is his hatred for how superheroes ruined his home and family and was driven to 'expose' them to the world.
- Doctor Strange 2: Mordo should definitely reappear again, and his whole MCU thing is the horror at the implications of the power the Sorcerer Supreme had.
- Spidey: if they (I mean Sony) could actually get over trying to tie everything back to Tony Stark, fighting against bad public reputation is Peter's whole problem.

And honestly the whole impact of the Blip is still unwinding (to use a financial market term) within MCU. Spidey 2 was eight months post-Blip, this one was barely a week.
posted by cendawanita at 7:17 AM on March 7


So I want to clarify that, at least on my part, my wish wasn't for Wanda to have more consequences to her actions or be punished or anything, it was more to spend more time featuring Wanda confronting the communities' reaction to her without undermining it - have her actually give an apology to someone besides Monica, or even choose not to give an apology and say that her decisions were justified or unintentional. The part that felt like a negation or a walking back of the premise to me was Monica saying 'they'll never understand what you gave up' - for one thing, 50% of the people in town lost the other 50% for five years. They probably grieved! They just got them back! And the thing that seemed to bother the townspeople the most was feeling Wanda's emotions.

The problem we're looking at here is not incomprehension, but whether or not they would empathize with Wanda, or state that whatever Wanda's going through, it wasn't enough to justify what she did to them.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:59 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]


Wanda doesn't get to be morally ambiguous not because "moms don't get to be morally ambiguous" but because (imo imo imo ofc) the show doesn't write her as morally ambiguous. The sopranos was really, really good at drawing you in to rooting for Tony and then sucker punching you as you realised what a monster you'd been rooting for. This... was not that! We're left feeling that big parts of the finale would make more sense if she became a future big or at least medium bad. But if she does... that to me sits really weirdly with the romantic clincher with vision, the sad goodbye to the kids, the much more straightforwardly good character telling her it's ok, your victims just wouldn't understand you. You don't write that if you want people to see the character as morally ambivalent... do you?

I don't know if I'm really saying anything more or more clearly than i have in previous posts, so I'll zip it now... I just really feel the dissatisfaction here is more down to the writing choices than people being unable to accept moral ambiguity in female characters, crikey.
posted by ominous_paws at 8:17 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


i suppose, i must ask, especially from my non-american perspective, how would you read the fact that the storytellers are themselves american (or america-aligned) when anti-russia/soviet-coded sentiment is very much still a fact of american pop culture?

From my American-born Canadian perspective, I'm not really sure there's a definitive answer? But if I take it through the framing, it's not like there have been any consequences for Russian interference - because that interference has been perceived by about 74 million Americans as having supported the right side.

I mean, I'm happy to be wrong but I feel like it's likely as a epic/mythic storyteller grappling with the question of power and might with an American perspective that those themes will seep in.

I just really feel the dissatisfaction here is more down to the writing choices than people being unable to accept moral ambiguity in female characters, crikey.

That could be for sure and I think the writing was softer than the rest of the series; I know how I would have written it and it would be different. I find it hard to defend all the choices except I also think it's partly because I liked some of the earlier ones so much.

But I think some of the response -- some here, but a lot on Twitter -- does in fact relate to Wanda's being a woman. I wasn't as into the MCU and frankly had less time when most of the other films came out (my family watched them all chronologically starting the week of the shut down.)

But I am skeptical that the male characters would have to not only destroy their Hex and family but, you know, be required to apologize better/fix their trauma in order to have a satisfying arc at the end.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:00 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


I feel like "Wanda apologizes to Monica" comes down to the writers basically trying to be efficient. Monica is basically the co-lead of this show (underserved by the finale, which is my only real complaint). She & Wanda had to have some final interaction at the end, so that's one element. The other is that Monica is basically the outsider who is 1) most affected, and 2) the audience's biggest connection external to Wanda & Vision.

She doesn't apologize to the townsfolk, because the writers (I think) felt like a personal interaction would hit deeper than talking to a group... and we never got a townie who was developed enough to make that personal to the audience.

I'm not saying that makes it better or okay, because I think it was the wrong call. But it plays to the same efficiency thinking that drives a lot of the MCU stuff, like how almost all the individual movies are hero-vs-dark-reflection-of-themselves. We saw that again here, too--where I think it largely worked, but the pattern has its flaws, and I think they showed up with that apology.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:18 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


She doesn't apologize to the townsfolk, because the writers (I think) felt like a personal interaction would hit deeper than talking to a group

I actually appreciated the fact that she didn't apologise to the townsfolk, as I'm a bit tired of the Hero Messes Up, Hero Explains Reasons and Apologises, All is Forgiven arc. I don't think this was the right time for a big apology - it would have been more about Wanda saying sorry than the people's pain. (I'm not quite sure if the writers were going for Wanda realising this, or whether they were going for Wanda being a bit more morally grey as I could read the scene either way.) There's still too much of an expectation that the victims have to acknowledge an apology (and often forgive too) so it was interesting to see it play out without the big "I'm so sorry. How can you ever forgive me" scene.
posted by scorbet at 9:48 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


FWIW I thought the scene where all the villagers woke up was the most horrifying part of the whole series. Their pleas and cries and anger. Wanda seemed pretty upset about it too. Not a real punishment or even restorative justice, but she did at least have to confront the damage she'd done. Also ending their continuing suffering is why she chooses to kill her husband and children. Plenty of consequences, although admittedly no insurance adjusters involved (yet).

(Pretty sure that in the MCU insurance contracts have an "acts of superhero" clause right next to the "acts of God" clause.)
posted by Nelson at 10:06 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


Instead of Wanda walking through the red force field they missed a golden opportunity for another series. A take off on the Mash intro with an old style chopper landing, Darcy as Hawkeye, Monica as Hunnicutt, Woo as Radar and Hayward as an exceptionally incompetent version of Col. Potter. Weakness of imagination or serious IP rights conflict.
posted by sammyo at 11:03 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


FWIW I thought the scene where all the villagers woke up was the most horrifying part of the whole series. Their pleas and cries and anger. Wanda seemed pretty upset about it too.

I suspect this is huge part of why people are wanting an apology or contrition from Wanda. There has been no angry or frightened bystander before in the MCU or at least not to this scale. This is new for Marvel and I'm curious if they have the guts to follow up on the ramifications of this. That this has occurred in a tv series and not a blockbluster movie makes me think there's a chance of this being addressed.

Again, I'm very curious to see if and how Bucky's murder of Tony Stark's parents (via brainwashing) will be address at all. To me, that's as huge as Wanda's actions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:14 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]


The interesting thing to me about the demands for resorative justice or say least an apology is that it's all doctors on what Wanda should do. But really, has anyone ever apologized for three things that were done in her life? Did anyone ever apologize for the bomb that killed her parents? Was there any restorative justice for her being experimented on? What was the response for creating a robot that killed her brother? (Oh yeah, Tony coerced her into being in his team). Did anyone even say "I'm sorry" for being imprisoned after Lagos, or for her being forced to kill her husband? Probably Not- they were busy celebrating and morning the guy who caused all this mess

Wanda lives in a world where the powerful do horrible acts to others, and then the only thing to do is deal with the pain and move on. If anything, Wanda is going to be aware that the ideas of restorative justice or even apologies ring hollow at best, and at worst are inflicted on the vulnerable.
posted by happyroach at 12:30 PM on March 7 [16 favorites]


My take on Wanda's lack of apology is that she's well aware she fucked up, and that an apology would be neither sufficient nor appreciated – at least, not at that time.

As for the townsfolk, they're hardly going to rise up in pursuit of one when they know Wanda is fully capable of killing them all at a moment's notice. All they can do is look extremely pissed off and hope she doesn't hang around, which is exactly what happens. This doesn't mean it's right, but it does feel real.
posted by adrianhon at 3:24 PM on March 7 [7 favorites]


Any 12 year old kid from Westview is going to have grown up with the consequences of the snap/unsnap and then this torture shortly afterward. That's a town's worth of supervillain origin stories.
posted by cmfletcher at 3:54 PM on March 7 [9 favorites]


In which case the bar set by Spider Man Far From Home is fairly high.
posted by mce at 4:41 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


(PS whether this was a satisfying choice for the creators of the show to have made, I'm not sure! But I think it's the choice they did make; to make Scarlet Witch, if not a villain, certainly not a hero.)

Yeah, the framing of the moment where Wanda is revealed to be astral projecting is very ominous. I literally thought as the camera was zooming around the corner, "Oh god, something horrible is about to happen." I would not be surprised if this is a set up for Wanda to turn somewhere darker.

I was disappointed at the cabin in the middle of nowhere because I thought, what a horrible message to send. Dealing with your trauma should not be done isolated with no one to support you. That's just a recipe for Wanda to further draw in on herself and continue to re-traumatize herself just like the entirety of WandaVision was re-traumatizing herself. And... I think that might be what we're going to get. But that might be crediting the writers too much, I dunno. But that would track with:

Yeah, a real tragedy of this story about grief is that Wanda exits it with even more grief than she entered it. Pre-WandaVision Wanda lost her parents, her twin brother, and her only love, twice. Now she’s lost her parents, her twin brother, her only love three times, and her two kids, plus she’s even more guilty about causing pain to even more innocent people. No wonder she’s exiling herself.

But Wanda still did it; she still made that choice to murder someone she loved for the greater good. And then, at the end of this series....she effectively had to make that same choice, again.

I feel like the message of this series is that refusing to deal with your trauma just leads to more hurt/trauma. Both to yourself and others. And I can see that storyline crossing more than just this series. So I was ready to be pissed off if Wanda went off in a cabin for 6 months or whatever and came out of it better. People keep saying "Wanda needs to take some time to work on herself" but that's not how you do it. Yes okay she's so powerful she can't have a therapist, whatever. Give her a cat at least, for god's sake. Some sort of companionship as she faces what she's done and what has been done to her.

But I suspect that's not actually what she's doing. I think Wanda is continuing to not deal with her trauma. She did the spell wrong and fucked it up and hurt people and what she learned from that was "I need to control my powers so I can do the spell right." I don't think she's let go. She's finding another way to bring Vision (and now the kids) back.

"We'll say hello again."
posted by brook horse at 5:56 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]


I would really like Wanda to not take a turn into being a villain -- I mean, even more than she already has. But much like I didn't think this show was going to end well for her (and it didn't!), I do worry about her fate in the MCU. I do think there will be some redemption for her, but she's already clearly a character who has faced a lot of pain as well as causing a lot of pain.

But I actually like that -- I came out of watching this caring deeply about Wanda and what happens to her.

I still feel like Wanda letting go of her husband and her kids for the greater good is a step in the right direction. She gave up what was the most important to her (even if they weren't "real" -- although they were!) because she knew she was hurting a lot of other people in keeping them. Still, no, we haven't seen Wanda reckon with that decision. I hope we get to.

The MCU hasn't really given us complex women characters overall. We have one with her. I hope they continue to do right by her.
posted by edencosmic at 6:37 PM on March 7 [10 favorites]


What’s problematic about it?

"A little black girl yearns for the blue eyes of a little white girl, and the horror at the heart of her yearning is exceeded only by the evil of fulfillment." - Toni Morrison

As pointed out elsewhere in the thread, Monica's eyes change colour depending on what she is doing. But I read people's complaints about her power up moment coming through the Hex where she's assigned "blue eyes" as part of her leveling up, because of the Toni Morrison quote above. I think the problem is ameliorated by the fact her eyes are different shades depending on the power she is using, but also see how the earlier scene reads badly.

Though, of course, gaining superhero powers is also a double-edged sword, so this could be the "evil of fulfillment" made manifest.
posted by crossoverman at 11:07 PM on March 7 [9 favorites]


There has been no angry or frightened bystander before in the MCU or at least not to this scale.

I think the closest we've had was after the explosion that killed King T'Chaka, which was also due to Wanda's actions.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:36 AM on March 8


No it wasn’t? That was Zemo, a vengeful Sokovian?
posted by bq at 9:00 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Plausible - I was thinking of Zemo as a full-on antagonist rather than an angry bystander.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:05 AM on March 8


Wanda bears more responsibility for Ultron killing Zemo's family than any of the other Avengers besides Tony.
posted by straight at 10:26 AM on March 8


> the explosion that killed King T'Chaka, which was also due to Wanda's actions.

No it wasn’t? That was Zemo, a vengeful Sokovian?


Wanda diverted an explosion at the beginning of the movie, which resulted in the death of several Wakandan aid workers. That's what led to the Accords and the conference to ratify them, where Zemo's bomb kills T'Chaka. Ultimately, T'Chaka's presence at the Accord conference and subsequent death can be tied back to Wanda's power usage in Lagos.
posted by hanov3r at 10:38 AM on March 8


Captain America led a team of Avengers to engage Hydra in a populated urban area which resulted in Crossbones detonating a bomb in the middle of a crowded street. Wanda saved all but a small fraction of the people who would have died in that blast.

It was the Avengers unilaterally choosing to fight there and then that led to the Accord conference, not Wanda's particular role in the battle.
posted by straight at 10:56 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Black Twitter has been having fun re-imagining WandaVision. Ie: "LaWanda and Vishawn J’arvis Maximoff is black twitter’s best creation".
posted by Nelson at 11:02 AM on March 8 [7 favorites]


It was the Avengers unilaterally choosing to fight there and then that led to the Accord conference, not Wanda's particular role in the battle.

I'm not sure this is the place to relitigate the Accords, but I don't think Wakanda would have had a royal presence there without the deaths of the Wakandan aid workers, which likely would not have happened had she not moved the explosion to where she did.
posted by hanov3r at 11:17 AM on March 8


As someone elsewhere pointed out, Tony Stark has done far more damage to the world than Wanda ever did. Even before he became Iron Man. Hell, Tony has done more damage to the world in the process of atoning for the damage he's done to the world, than Wanda ever did.

Maybe, given that example, we don't want Wanda to try the atonement route. Hell, let her be supervillain; she'll probably still do less damage then Tony as a hero
posted by happyroach at 12:07 PM on March 8 [7 favorites]




Parts of later episodes were re-edited as a reaction to online theories. For a show that spent a majority of its time proudly calling attention to its shifting era-appropriate editing and writing and acting and camerawork, I think this was a mistake. The rough edit and lack of focus in the final episode stood out.

(Apparently the bunny was supposed to be a demon. I find this slightly amusing because Dottie’s actor played a demon on Buffy who was afraid of bunnies.)
posted by lazugod at 12:54 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Parts of later episodes were re-edited as a reaction to online theories.

Joanna Robinson from Vanity Fair refutes that (now deleted) tweet (it seems like it took the director's comments out of context?) although the part about the final episode having a rushed edit does seem to have truth to it.
posted by bcwinters at 1:36 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


That tweet was deleted, but later tweets in the thread survived, with a links to the original interview video.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:19 PM on March 8


I doubt they re-edited anything due to fan speculation (mostly because I imagine it was all more or less done before it even started hitting Disney+), but I have heard that the pandemic did affect some of the plans. What plans, I don't know. But as noted previously, this was supposed to lead into the next Doctor Strange movie over a much shorter timeline. I wouldn't be surprised if they reworked the storyline a bit because the next phase of the MCU has been delayed and reshuffled.
posted by edencosmic at 3:57 PM on March 8


BGR (not familiar with this source, but): This is the epic scene that Marvel cut from its ‘WandaVision’ finale
Marvel was under huge pressure to finish the episodes in time for the scheduled release, however. Shakman explains that they finished the finale just two weeks before the official release date. They would have had to delay the final episode if they stuck with the original three-episode launch...

Shakman also revealed that the finale would have had a spectacular scene showing how Wanda ended up getting the Darkhold. At some point, Monica would have teamed up with Ralph (Evan Peters), Darcy (Kat Dennings), and the twins to steal the magic book from the basement.

They would have had to beat Scratchy, the rabbit that many people theorized might be Mephisto.
This addresses my one real complaint, being Monica's less-than-big-deal role in the climax. Production delays and schedule pressures.
I'm really bummed, but at least I know where that came from now & it wasn't an oversight or a failure of inclusion in the creators' original plan.
...although I'd have gladly waited a month or more on the finale if it meant Monica having a bigger role there.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:02 PM on March 8 [9 favorites]


Wait, they cut a scene where a rag tag bunch faced off against a demon rabbit? Ok, now I hate the ending. (Kind of kidding...)

I would be theoretically interested in a Wanda villain arc, but I don't see a way to do that in a Dr. Strange movie that does not infuriate me, so I hope her story goes elsewhere.
posted by the primroses were over at 4:11 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Coming from this as a comics fan, the not-infrequent interest in seeing Wanda as a villain is kinda gross to me.

I'm already used to Wanda being the bad guy and/or catalyst for bad things, because Of Course She Can't Handle All That Power, She's a Lady and Hysterical. It has hit over and over again. I really feel like this show did some repair work on that sort of stuff and I want her MCU character to continue in that direction.

Everything Is Wanda's Fault isn't really all that satisfying. I've read that before, and it just comes off as dudes bothered by the idea of women having power.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:26 PM on March 8 [10 favorites]


Wait, they cut a scene where a rag tag bunch faced off against a demon rabbit?

... and then the cops would show up and force them to stop filming.
posted by hanov3r at 4:40 PM on March 8 [15 favorites]


Everything Is Wanda's Fault isn't really all that satisfying. I've read that before, and it just comes off as dudes bothered by the idea of women having power.

Seriously. I was nervous about how those stories would make it to the screen. I'm less nervous about what's to come, given how well most of WandaVision worked.

I would have been happy to wait awhile for that rat fight finale. Reading comics through the 90s numbed my irritation with blown deadlines, especially if the holdup is to get the art looking great. Also wish it had stayed a little weirder through the end, but I don't hate what they did. There's always Doom Patrol if I really need to see something committed to staying strange.
posted by EatTheWeek at 5:13 PM on March 8


Not a fan of this conclusion. When one character asks another with genuine puzzlement, "What am I?" and the other responds with a bunch of cliches, if one of them has to be euthanized I know which it should be.

The most interesting characters in this narrative were those with ambiguous ontologies -- Vision, the older children, the brother, Agatha -- even Wanda and Rambeau for a time. But as each became more aware of their reality, they became progressively less interesting -- except for Vision: puzzled, sympathetic, thoughtful to the last, until he was murdered by his wife.

I'm sure the show will return to these issues and perhaps resurrect the children, though Vision himself may be doomed to be replaced by that pale simulacrum. But regardless of what happens next, the moral and narrative sins of this episode largely overlap.
posted by chortly at 6:25 PM on March 8


I'm already used to Wanda being the bad guy and/or catalyst for bad things, because Of Course She Can't Handle All That Power, She's a Lady and Hysterical. It has hit over and over again. I really feel like this show did some repair work on that sort of stuff and I want her MCU character to continue in that direction.

But...isn't that exactly what WandaVision did, too? She was overwhelmed by grief, lost contral, and enslaved a town?
posted by The Tensor at 11:40 PM on March 8


Never one to resist an opportunity to bring down the tone of a discussion... Does Vision have a penis?
posted by merriment at 4:10 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


My wife notes that the most important thing is that the actor playing Vision does have a penis, and that'll do just fine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Everything Is Wanda's Fault isn't really all that satisfying. I've read that before, and it just comes off as dudes bothered by the idea of women having power.

Unfortunately, here we have a storyline where Wanda does horrible shit, shows little remorse and zero desire to make amends. How can it be anti-feminist to expect the show to reckon with that? Letting women escape moral culpability isn't rah rah girl power, it's another way to infantalize women by treating them as incapable of moral agency - ohnoes, the poor little dear is too fragile or too oppressed or too emotional rn to handle the true horror of what she did.

MCU knows how to do this right when it's male superheroes! Look at how Bruce Banner is portrayed in pre-Infinity War movies:
  • Introspects in moral terms - recognizes the harm he inflicted on others while Hulked out; expresses enormous remorse and even self-loathing (contrast with Wanda's "They'll never understand what I sacrificed for them" line... as if she did the town a huge favor when she stopped torturing them for personal jollies)
  • Makes amends - Bruce Banner spends years providing medical treatment to poor people in the slums of Mumbai as a way to make amends to society (contrast with Wanda who, because she feels little remorse and endless self-pity, sees no need to make amends for her crimes)
  • Rejects his destructive powers - he commits to never letting Hulk take over, even when confronted with serious threats, even when his friends beg him to change (contrast with Wanda leaning gleefully into her powers to mind-control Agatha immediately after being confronted with the truth about what she did to the town with those powers)
  • Works to lock down powers - Bruce works and works until he finally achieves the solution of being "angry all the time" as a strategic defense against slipping accidentally into Hulk mode (contrast with Wanda whose efforts are all towards learning more witchcraft, growing more powerful... kinda like if Bruce Banner had spent his time studying boxing and martial arts to make Hulk a more effective fighter!)
  • EARNS non-destructive powers in the end - his final evolution into an integrated HulkBruce is the result of all of the above, all that struggle, all that growth... i.e. the result of truly taking responsibility and holding himself accountable for his powers (contrast with Wanda who is all about power and no responsibility whatsoever)
I could write out a similar list for the Winter Soldier as well. It's super disappointing that Wanda is given a potentially phenomenal character arc at the beginning of this show only for MCU to yank it away from us with a "Girl power!" handwave. If "Girl power!" was the point, then maybe write her a story where she doesn't violate the minds and bodies of hundreds of people, children included!
posted by MiraK at 7:59 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


It's Monica's line, not Wanda's line, about the "sacrificed for them."

I have a non-standard view on the astral twins, as well as on Wanda's grief, but I still don't quite understand why Wanda's giving up her family and undoing the Hex is perceived as no action whatsoever.

My memory may be fuzzy because I found the whole "does time in a third world country" as a little too Eat Pray Love for me and it's been a while, but I also don't recall that Bruce went to the families that he Hulked at and personally apologized.

We don't really know what Wanda's going to do next so pre-judging her seems a bit weird to me at this point.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:07 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


For reference:

Monica: They'll never know what you sacrificed for them.
Wanda: It wouldn't change how they see me.
Monica nods.
Wanda: And you, you don't - you don't hate me? (question mark in captioning)
Monica: Given the chance and given your power, I'd bring my mom back. I know I would.
Wanda: I'm sorry. For all the pain I caused.
Monica: I know.
Wanda: I don't understand this power. But I will.
(sirens approaching)
Wanda: Goodbye, Monica.
Monica: Bye, Wanda.
(wanda takes off, outfit changes)
Monica: Good luck.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:16 AM on March 9


For the record, I think if the line had read "It wouldn't change their pain." or "It wouldn't change what I did to them," there would be a clearer amount of contrition, and until the next appearance it's hard to tell whether that's a deliberate characterization or just a missed opportunity.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:19 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


I can only relay the black women intellectuals i follow on twitter didn't find much to admire in that moment and how Monica was utilized as a character. (I mean Tressie McMillan Cottom directly stated Wanda's a slavemaster and she had no problems engaging with those who disagreed)

to me, the differences in reception this time to this finale has less to do with complex narrative resolution than some members of audience are finding just as valid critical takes on where Wanda as a character ended up (even accounting for real world production considerations). People aren't just seeing things, likely they're catching a set of cues that's unplanned but regardless, unfortunate.
posted by cendawanita at 8:37 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


Has anyone found an explanation for the commercials, and who the two recurring actors were?
A bit late to the party, but ScreenCrush has a very comprehensive WandaVision: Every COMMERCIAL Explained video. And a lot more interesting videos analyzing the series in that playlist.
posted by Cogito at 9:13 AM on March 9


Yeah, I don't like the line, and I saw some of the discussion on Twitter about Monica's role and I kind of agree, it's like the whole SWORD bit just collapsed at the end with Darcy absent, etc. But it's still unfair to characterize Wanda as having it.

I actually think the section that weakened Wanda's moral arc wasn't the exchange at the end, but 1. that White Vision was hinted as as now having all the memories and therefore being a possible Vision-to-Wanda, so less grief for her? 2. That HexVision was so hopeful - in character maybe but it really backed off the goodbye and 3. That you heard the astral twins in the post-credits.

So her sacrifice of her family -- a tricky line to walk for female superheroes, especially ones that utter "family is forever" a zillion times -- didn't entirely stand up in her Hero's Journey. For me that's the flaw, although there I do think they were in a bit of a catch-22 - if you drew the kids' deaths out, it was disturbing, but if you didn't, it was disturbing in a different way.

But I don't personally have an issue with her not displaying enough contrition at the end. She's realized the impact of her unwitting actions, corrected them, and withdrawn to her Batcave/Alberta cabin/Fortress of Solitude. That's not like, Perfect Superhero but it's well within the bounds of acceptable superhero practice as long as in the next movie they're not all cavalier about it.

I will say that I was pretty unhappy that Natasha Romanoff threw herself off the cliff to preserve the American Homestead Dad/serial killer, so for me personally it might just be relief that we didn't go through that kind of thing again.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:40 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


Yeah....that "thank you for your sacrifice" absolution felt like an absolute howler. If I'm being generous, I'd say that it's character work for Monica -- she's the kind of person who, confronted with a woman in pain, offers empathy and understanding. But...in context, yeesh, it was just absurd. It also complicates my understanding of the Wanda Problem, which (as someone said like 100 comments ago) is basically just the Hulk Problem all over again. Here is a person who would rather help people than hurt them. This person is dangerous enough that you would like to restrict their power, but also powerful enough that attacking them is more dangerous than letting them be. Or: if you come for the reality-warping chaos witch or radioactive rage monster, you best not miss. The most practical thing to do is nothing (like at the beginning of the Avengers film, where we learn that SHIELD is surveilling on Bruce Banner but not interacting with him).

That sucks for the town people, but there's nothing new about some people being too powerful to be held to account. Wasn't that the whole point of the busybody government officials that Tony Stark blew off in all the Iron Man movies? I think there is something dark about going from the child whose world is torn apart by one reckless power and becomes the reckless power that destroys others' worlds. But grief can be selfish. That's not even meant to be judgment; it's just that sometimes you feel so much yourself that it's hard to take notice of other people. How do people climb out of that grief? In my experience, through the awareness of their friends, family, and the community around them. But Wanda doesn't really have any friends. And her family is dead, and also kind of fake (?). And her job recently ended in disaster. And the community around her was a bunch of people she was accidentally torturing. So. She ends up in the Dexter hermit wilderness. Where else would she go?

Changing topic a bit, I liked the show as a vehicle to age Wanda up a bit. Elizabeth Olsen was in her mid-20s filming Ultron, but I had the impression her character was supposed to be around 18. Adolescent. The actress is now in her 30s, and not much MCU time has passed since her introduction in Ultron. Showing her as a harried sitcom mom is a weird way of aging her up to the full-grown woman that she is, but it was pretty effective! I thought there was a noticeable lack of girlishness compared to past Wanda MCU appearances, and I liked it.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:32 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


There has been no angry or frightened bystander before in the MCU or at least not to this scale.

We can argue about scale, I suppose, but Miriam Sharpe (played by the awesome Alfre Woodard) is clearly seething with anger and grief when she confronts Tony Stark while he's waiting for an elevator near the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, slapping a picture of her son who was killed in Sokovia up against his chest with, "You murdered him." She gets even more savage from there: "You think you fight for us? You just fight for yourself." The bit where Tony misinterprets her reach into her handbag is perfect, too.

This is a great conversation, y'all, about the weirdest and most fascinating TV superheroics since Jermaine Clement took off the diving helmet and put on that jazz record in the equally wondrous first season of Legion. Count me among the disappointed re: the last 2 episodes of this one, which clearly dropped the ball on the delightfully baffling strangeness of previous episodes, but overall it was very enjoyable.
posted by mediareport at 10:41 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


All women! Plus it was helmed by a woman! Which just goes to show that the MCU doesn't have to be all big-name super-dudes beating each other up all the time.

This element hasn't gotten enough attention. It's not just that the "created for television by" credit at the end of each episode goes to a woman, Jac Schaeffer. Midway through my binge I thought "damn this writing is much better than usual" and checked the episode credits on Wikipedia. Schaeffer wrote episodes 1 and 9, Gretchen Enders wrote #2, Megan McDonnell wrote #3 and co-wrote #4, Laura Donney wrote #8, and Mackenzie Dohr co-wrote #5.

Five of the 9 episodes are solely credited to a woman, 2 others are co-credited to a woman, and of the men, 2 appear to be African-American. You can see most of the writing team in this pic, which a bunch of them have shared on Twitter.

It makes total sense that one of the smartest and most interesting superhero TV shows we've ever gotten came from an unusually diverse writing team.
posted by mediareport at 10:57 AM on March 9 [11 favorites]


More interviews with Jac Shaeffer:

Deadline: ‘WandaVision’ EP & Head Scribe Jac Schaeffer On Scarlet Witch’s Grief & Who Didn’t Show Up In “The Series Finale” – Q&A

We didn’t think this series needed a big bad. I mean, the big bad is grief, you know, and that’s the story that we were telling, and then we got a bonus baddie in the form of Agatha Harkness who ended up facilitating Wanda’s therapy, so yeah, I think we feel pretty good about that.

NYT: How the ‘WandaVision’ Creator Brought Her Vision (and Wanda’s) to Life

We were trying to figure out who to cast, and Kathryn had come in [to Marvel] for a general meeting and we heard she was in the building. It was like, Oh my God. Everyone got really still. Any writer on the planet, in television, in film, is in love with Kathryn Hahn and wishes for Kathryn Hahn. You sit down for your writer prayers at night and say, bring me a Kathryn Hahn. The next day or the day after, she came in and we pitched her the whole show.
posted by mediareport at 11:27 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


I have a non-standard view on the astral twins, as well as on Wanda's grief, but I still don't quite understand why Wanda's giving up her family and undoing the Hex is perceived as no action whatsoever.

Giving up your imaginary friends is not a sacrifice, not an action at all. Wanda violates the minds and enslaves the bodies of hundreds of people - the minds and bodies of real adults and real children! - to provide herself with imaginary friends. It's genuinely the most horrifying thing I can imagine, straight out of a nightmare. What happened to "Norm"/Abhilash's sick dad in those two weeks he spent as Wanda's puppet? What did all the town's children go through while they were awake and conscious inside their frozen bodies that were locked inside their rooms for two weeks, denied contact with their parents?

Like, jesus christ, even Thanos had nobler motivations for committing genocide. He snapped people away because he wanted to create a *real* paradise of plenty on all the worlds, not because he wanted to play pretend with dollies.

Maybe Thanos would become a Marvel superhero if, after snapping people out of existence for a couple of weeks (no torture, no mind violation, no body violation, no ghoulish puppeteering of conscious people), he had grudgingly agreed to snap them back... No apology, no introspection, no recognition that he committed genocide for two weeks. Not necessary. As long as he mentions his childhood trauma from losing his whole planet (!!!!!!) that would make him a true blue Marvel superhero and he would even have earned the right to keep all his infinity stones too because of his goodness (i.e. unsnapping).
posted by MiraK at 12:00 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I hear you MiraK.

But I agree with an earlier post in this thread. Wanda didn't sit in front of her house for a few days and contemplate enslaving the town - she found herself in a sitcom with no real memory of how she got there. Then she found herself pregnant and caring for her kids. Then she learned it was all a result of her new-to-her powers and within the day she learned that from Agatha, she undid the Hex, watched Vision and the twins start to disintegrate in front of her, redid the Hex, then undid it again knowing what would happen to her family. More a magic lantern than a plot. Thanos set out to destroy half the universe, deliberately and over time.

Okay, non-standard talk. Sorry for the more depth in this thread.

As someone who has been formally diagnosed with a dissociative disorder, I have to tell you that Wanda's level of evilness isn't something I'm going to agree on. Because I've been there, although with less flourish. When I was a young adult, there were lots of things that I did that I wasn't aware of or didn't remember or didn't understand. It's okay if you don't believe that; a lot of people didn't believe me then and a few don't believe me now, and how my brain works now, after therapy and healing, is very different.

But at that time I lived a lot like Wanda did in this show - I was aware of being at school, although fuzzy on how I got there (all the stuff about 'getting somewhere on autopilot reinforced for me that this was normal, although it was not normal for me because had you put me down in the middle of the route I would have had a longer than average time figuring it out), never remembered certain classes, was very hazy on what went on on weekends, and could not for the life of me have told you what my family did when we went to visit my extended family.

Meanwhile, people in my head who did remember those things - did not remember what was said in geography class.

Why didn't I ever sit down and wonder what was going on with me? Two main reasons. 1. I hadn't experienced what I would now term regular life, that is, life without long dissociative stretches of time. 2. I had really bad feelings that I would die if I examined parts of my life too closely, like overwhelming anxiety that would cause me to immediately, well, bury my head in a book or go pick a fight with someone (therefore providing a retroactive excuse for my bad feelings.) I cannot really express how deeply ingrained those feelings were, but they were there.

Even after doing enough therapy to recognize those feelings as the red herring they were, after my daughter died, I remember passing a woman with a baby on the street and having a very intrusive thought that the woman was going to turn around, give me her baby, and leave, and then I would have a baby.

I knew 100% that this was crazytown and that it wasn't going to happen and I made no moves towards the woman or anything. But I remember, viscerally, how surreally powerful that thought was, and I it was coming from the depths of both my grief and the spark in me that refused, as a child, to lie down and be conquered by abandonment and despair, but instead was ready to reconstruct my experienced reality in order to preserve my spirit.

Anyways, I guess what I'm saying is - as someone who has personally committed human-level sins of being a completely whacked out human being, like been unaware that someone else in my head started a fight with a boyfriend but personally ending it brutally level badness ("But you said!" "no I didn't!!") - there is a badness that comes from unawareness.

And then there's the evil that comes from being aware that you're doing that - and not stopping. That I don't know so much about because that was what got us into therapy and kept us there, just wanting not to pile our shit on anyone else more than necessary.

So - for me this show really worked, because it showed Wanda's trauma-on-trauma and yeah, she broke. She broke herself into two pieces, and she broke reality itself. Because she's a superhero and that's way more engaging than that I used to practice piano for hours and then be in the middle of a competition and not be able to either remember or read music at all. But there it is.

And it would have been evil, would be evil, I spend a few minutes at the start of every day checking in on this evil, to be currently in the world, parenting my own kids, and not being present with actual reality with all its freaking coronaviruses. But was it evil at the start? If it was, it was the evil of the people and the world that put me in that bind.

I can agree on the horror of the results - the townspeople were horrifically traumatized, and they deserve all the compensation and support. But yeah I don't believe Wanda is evil, and I think it shows the writers were trauma-aware in their writing that they didn't feel they had to take a stand at this point. Depends on what she does next.

Since I'm being crazy anyway, I'll just say I'm kind of amazed at how well the astral twins are adhering to astral child rules. They do exist, on some level, because it's the MCU and because - astral. Once Wanda accepted a relationship with them as their mother, then that is, as she said a lot, a moral relationship to them - to be the parent to them that her own parents died before they could be.

In a sense, it's like if you define yourself as a journalist and then you write stories that are complete lies, it's obviously morally worse than defining yourself as a fiction writer -- even if you never sell a story. The trunk writing journalist who lies is training themselves to be an amoral person and is basically acting out their worst nature, and for themselves it actually is a bigger stain on their soul to do that, than to be trying to earn a living out in the real world and get pressured into deleting a fact. The reason it's worse is they're making a choice out of thin air to write untruths.

In this case the astral twins, whatever they are originally, are in relationship with her as their mother. Once they are in that relationship, how she acts counts a lot. If she didn't raise them right, reassure them when they are sad, protect them when needed, and feel their loss, then personally, she's betraying her own ability to grow, to make a family, to regain what she lost in Sokovia.

And yet weighed against actual living people, OF COURSE the twins have to die/be undone. There is no other possible moral action.

But for her, she loses her and Vision's children.

Man, sorry, I should have kept my old multiple blog up but I hope anyone who made it through this found it at least interestingly crazy.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:48 PM on March 9 [23 favorites]


Yeah I get your point too, Warriorqueen. Wanda clearly isn't evil, and that's kind of why her choices at the very end threw me for a loop. Every single thing she does until the point she punishes Agatha is human and understandable and heartbreaking.
posted by MiraK at 1:58 PM on March 9 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I read that mostly as Wanda being really nasty about Agatha's locking the twins up in the bewitched basement and putting nooses around their necks. If I had astral twins that were threatened by a centuries-old power-mad person I might not be very nice.

But I agree, it didn't sit quite right and felt more like they were setting up another plot. I'll be disappointed if they don't go fetch Agatha from Westview at some point.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:04 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Everyone will be disappointed if they don’t bring Kathryn Hahn back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:09 PM on March 9 [8 favorites]


And just in case you want your toy fix. (egads the Disney Store doll is awful) -
posted by drewbage1847 at 2:47 PM on March 9


Giving up your imaginary friends is not a sacrifice, not an action at all.

They weren't friends, it was her dead lover, who she sacrificed for the greater good, only to see that sacrifice be in vain.

They weren't imaginary either, they were extremely real in pretty much every way. Their creation wasn't anything traditional, but I don't see how anyone could call them imaginary or why they would choose to call them that. Those beings, whatever they were, provided Wanda with a bit of solace and joy and for her to choose to give them up, because she realizes their creation is harming others, is a sacrifice, one of many she's been forced to endure and not a damn person has apologized to her for all the grief she's endured.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:14 PM on March 9 [6 favorites]


Like, jesus christ, even Thanos had nobler motivations for committing genocide. He snapped people away because he wanted to create a *real* paradise of plenty on all the worlds, not because he wanted to play pretend with dollies.

Nobler. Intentions. For. Committing. Genocide.

I've seen some strange logic for condemning Wanda this week, but this takes the cake.

In the end, what Wanda did was unintentional. Thanos planned genocide for years. Enslaving people for a week unintentionally DOES NOT EQUAL murdering half the people in the universe. He could have snapped and wished for more resources.
posted by crossoverman at 3:17 PM on March 9 [8 favorites]


I've seen some strange logic for condemning Wanda this week, but this takes the cake.

Agreed, definitely a very non-traditional take.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:22 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Btw, is there a consensus or production note about the wanda who stepped outside the hex? Even if it's split, but that episode onwards broke the illusion to me that Wanda's completely unconscious about her actions. Again, i get that it's a matter of scale of her human psychology generating a literal reality-bending outcome, and from her pov it's not fully sunk in still by the finale (before end credits). Also we as the audience are in an uncomfortable place with regards to a character coded as a superhero and for at least for the span of time after Ultron was not telegraphed as a grey character. But I am still stuck on the perspective of the townspeople (and minor point on apologies - I'm neither interested in personal apologies from her or TO her, at this point in her mcu journey. Personal sorrys disguised the point about consequences to me, which is that she's not 5).
posted by cendawanita at 4:31 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


"A little black girl yearns for the blue eyes of a little white girl, and the horror at the heart of her yearning is exceeded only by the evil of fulfillment." - Toni Morrison

Ah, thanks for referencing that.

I'm pleasantly surprised to find that that I wasn't seeing that or Monica's willingness to sacrifice herself for the kids as a racial issue. It doesn't mean it's not problematic, but it was nice for a few minutes to not think about all the bad background shit embedded in our society.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Like, jesus christ, even Thanos had nobler motivations for committing genocide. He snapped people away because he wanted to create a *real* paradise of plenty on all the worlds, not because he wanted to play pretend with dollies.

Have you considered that maybe the dude who clearly enjoyed slaughter and torturing people was, in fact, full of shit?

Thanos is a big purple space Paul Ryan. He put on a sad face and spouted some pretend-principles bullshit while carrying out exactly the cruelty he clearly wanted and savored. Nothing he said could be trusted.

Kinda like Agatha, btw. She went out of her way to show that.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:58 PM on March 9 [6 favorites]


yeah I feel like the creators went on the record and were like "hey you don't have to take Thanos's words at face value, because he is very obviously a little off-kilter in his reasoning here"
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:46 PM on March 9


Even if it's split, but that episode onwards broke the illusion to me that Wanda's completely unconscious about her actions.

I love this grey area in the character and in the narrative. I hadn't really thought about it until now, but by that point she has Vision and she has two five-year-olds and no real conscious memory of having made the Hex, but she also clearly knows it is a Hex and some of the rules of that. She doesn't know she's keeping people hostage but she is happy to live the fantasy life; you can know you're living a fantasy and not want to withdraw from it. That she steps out of the fantasy to protect it does suggest on some level there is something to protect, but not enough for her to want to risk learning more.

I also wonder about the TV episodes being broadcast at all; why did she do that? If that too was unconscious, what was her subconscious trying to tell people? That everything is okay in here? Or "please help"? Is there a part of her that did want to be pulled out of the Hex? Was it a cry for help?

I don't need answers to these things, I just love that these questions exist. Questions suggest a rich story to me, a full world and complicated characters. None of these questions puncture the drama but enhance it.
posted by crossoverman at 1:32 AM on March 10 [8 favorites]


I don't know what to do with genre stories where characters like Bucky are demon-possessed or mind-controlled to do terrible things. Then afterwards people are mad at them (even if they supposedly understand the circumstances) and usually the characters themselves feel guilty, but the audience understands that they're not really responsible. What do those stories mean for us? Are they a worthwhile representation of something in real life, or a fantasy about letting ourselves off the hook for harm we've done?

In Wanda's case, she doesn't remember who she is or how she got there, but she knows she and Vision need to hide their true nature and she has some level of awareness that she has arranged a safe place for them and that she has the power to defend it. (When Wanda leaves the hex to toss out the drone, she reverts to her modern look, but doesn't say anything to indicate she knows who she is and what exactly she has done.)

So I don't think she chose to enslave the neighborhood or realizes that they are suffering, but she doesn't want to know about it. When Vision or Monica start to confront her about what's going on, she doesn't want to hear it. She doesn't want to consider the possibility that their safety is coming at someone else's expense.

I never asked anyone to kidnap children and force them to work harvesting cocoa. I just wanted a chocolate bar. But I'd rather not think about where it came from. And if those kids could see me eating it, I don't think it would be unjust for them to think I'm partly responsible for their suffering.

To Wanda's credit, once Agatha freed her mind completely from the spell and she saw what was going on, she dispelled the hex that very day, even though it cost her a lot more than a chocolate bar.

I think Wanda had a moral obligation to free those people, particularly because she was the only one who could, but I don't think she was really responsible for abducting them. And maybe that also makes sense of a character like Bucky. If you hurt someone without intending to, whether by accident or because someone else arranged for it to happen, it might not make sense to feel guilty about it, but maybe you have a particular responsibility to do whatever you can to fix it?
posted by straight at 1:47 AM on March 10 [12 favorites]


but maybe you have a particular responsibility to do whatever you can to fix it?

this is the thing for me, absolutely. like, within the strict confines of the initial meta nature of this show, i was ruing the missed opportunity to have wanda 'return' to that sitcom life, except maybe this time she's the open secret of the town - everyone knows she's the resident witch. if this show wants to have that balance of that light-hearted twilight zone horror, maybe this time it's more like a goofy goosebumps kind of genre, where she's on self-exile at the end of the street because no one could stand to look at her still. but the point is she goes around making the town (which we have discussed is either deliberately dressed to look run down or is an actual reflection of an american town circa 2020 in which case, um RIP your development budget) better, maybe?? after literally inventing the truman show for herself, what's a fresh coat of paint?

am i saying an mcu version of hocus pocus? maybe i am saying hocus pocus.
posted by cendawanita at 2:32 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


I'm still trying to work out the logic behind the fingerless elbow-length gloves worn with her sleeveless final costume. Is it that her forearms are cold but her upper arms are fine? Are they like weightlifting gloves for hauling heavy stuff around without getting blisters? Would fingers get in the way of shooting magic from her fingertips, because it seems more like the magic-balls form just off her hands anyway? Is she one of the Imperial Radch?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:27 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


They prevent witch fire balls from singing her arm hairs?
posted by warriorqueen at 3:39 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


On reflection, I've messed up. I should've said The Addams Family. There's a nice symmetry of going back to the first era of sitcoms we opened with but instead of the happy family one, the purposefully counterprogramming weird one.

I'm still trying to work out the logic behind the fingerless elbow-length gloves worn with her sleeveless final costume.

I don't know if this is the fantasy aesthetic of every girl, but it's certainly the fantasy aesthetic of this girl. Also! Maybe she's working on mastering the art of magical fingersnaps.
posted by cendawanita at 3:48 AM on March 10 [10 favorites]


Addams Family! There it is, that's what the finale was missing for me. The big brassy campiness of It Was Agatha All Along could have signalled the beginning of WandaVision's move into the "monsters among us" Sitcom genre. Holy shit what a blown opportunity. Imagine what Gomez Vision could have been like. They could have continued the riff into shows like the Munsters, Alf, Small Wonder, 3rd Rock From the Sun, show after show about good, loving families with strange, difficult to explain backgrounds trying their hardest to live in our strange world.

Gaah, I knew I wasn't 100% satisfied with the ending but I couldn't say exactly what I wish had gone differently, but you're exactly right cendawanita - WandaVision should have climaxed with The Addam's Family.

I'm still trying to work out the logic behind the fingerless elbow-length gloves worn with her sleeveless final costume. Is it that her forearms are cold but her upper arms are fine?

I thought these were there to honor the big Hot Topic Energy of her first MCU costume.
posted by EatTheWeek at 8:33 AM on March 10 [6 favorites]


To Wanda's credit, once Agatha freed her mind completely from the spell and she saw what was going on, she dispelled the hex that very day, even though it cost her a lot more than a chocolate bar.

The most inexplicable choice the show made was to have Agatha demonstrate to Wanda, clearly and unmistakably, what she was doing to the townspeople, then have Wanda begin to undo the Hex (yay!), but then change her mind when she saw her children and Vision dissolving. We're shown that Wanda understands exactly the harm of what she's doing, then she confirms her choice to continue to do it, right in front of us. So...she's the villain now, right? And Agatha is the hero for opposing her, but trying to give her a chance to reform? No, the show doesn't think so.

(Compare with Rey reaching out to Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi and him rejecting her overture to confirm, to her and us that he's the Big Bad now.)
posted by The Tensor at 11:07 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


I don't see that as inexplicable, but very human. She wants to make things right, but then pauses when it comes to killing her husband and kids. I can't be made at her for pausing at that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:25 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


I don't think it's evil for her to pause and think, "Wait, no, I'm doing this wrong. There's got to be a way to dispel this hex without killing my family..."
posted by straight at 1:01 PM on March 10 [7 favorites]


I know they pre-lampshaded Wanda's costume in the Halloween episode as a 'slakovian fortune teller', but STILL hold out hope that her headgear points the way to her eventual link with Magneto and The Gifted's (still the best X-thing ever on the screen) Polaris.
posted by signal at 1:46 PM on March 10


I don't know what to do with genre stories where characters like Bucky are demon-possessed or mind-controlled to do terrible things. Then afterwards people are mad at them (even if they supposedly understand the circumstances) and usually the characters themselves feel guilty, but the audience understands that they're not really responsible. What do those stories mean for us? Are they a worthwhile representation of something in real life, or a fantasy about letting ourselves off the hook for harm we've done?

Oh man I don’t know what the answer is but having reread some Greek mythology I see some real parallels with the way the gods are used as personifications of our worst impulses. Is Hercules responsible for murdering his wife and children when Hera literally drives him mad? But then real men do murder their families, don’t they - and isn’t that an action so abhorrent that we say people must be insane when they commit such crimes? Even though Hercules was driven mad by Hera, he still has to expiate his sin to reenter society - and there is a defined way for him and other heroes who commit blood crimes to do this.
posted by bq at 3:57 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Because I am a jackass who rewrites lines in his head...

Monica: "They'll never know what you sacrificed for them."
Wanda: "How much did I care about Tony Stark's pain when I was staring at that shell, waiting to die?"
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 5:21 PM on March 10 [7 favorites]


I ran across Emily Vanderwerff's take on the Wandavision finale today, and I thought it was worthwhile. Same with Gavia Baker-Whitelaw talking about the way motherhood was portrayed.

And yeah, I still think they could have better used their time in the episode - I think it's pretty clear that they didn't quite hit the mark in letting the audience know how Wanda feels about the whole deal, given the very different interpretations within this thread. The kids definitely deserved more of a goodbye, and maybe more of an explanation as to what they were (the 'thanks for choosing me' line was weird? did I miss something?). Monica definitely deserved better than to be reduced to the shield for some kids of dubious reality and then the way the show validates the white woman's actions. I don't actually have a problem with her being sympathetic; they showed the reasons why she would be sympathetic, but Monica never got a chance to even say 'you caused me pain', and that doesn't seem right.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:02 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


The kids definitely deserved more of a goodbye, and maybe more of an explanation as to what they were (the 'thanks for choosing me' line was weird? did I miss something?).

For whatever reason, my immediate thought on hearing that line was that the kids are real in the sense that they have souls. Somehow Wanda managed to bring those souls into her created world and "birthed" the kids.

Again, total conjecture on my part, but it definitely seems like the kids are real.

Which brings up the interesting question of how could Wanda "kill" her own kids. Man, she just doesn't get a break, does she? But yeah, she's probably leveling up her powers to bring them all back, somehow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:59 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I think the most satisfying way to bring Wanda's story to the Doctor Strange movie would be if he thinks she's doing something dangerous to bring her kids back that has to be stopped. They can fight. He can be right that she unleashes some evil but then Wanda can be right that the two of them together are able to vanquish that evil and recover her kids. Strange can end up grumpy about it and determined to keep an eye on her without making Wanda either his enemy or his student.
posted by straight at 8:07 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Jenny Nicholson's opinion about Washington Post's baddest of bad takes.
posted by Pendragon at 2:10 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


FWIW for me the kids exist without bodies (astral kids) but Wanda gave them the taste of physical existence and a forever family so now they want it back (as well as that she wants them back).

While this is a wacko belief in many ways, ghost children, fae, spirits that visit, Zeus turning into swans, etc., all are well-represented in fiction so I'm happy to link them up to that tradition.

Intratextual reasons for my belief include:

- the way Wanda couldn't put them to sleep, even though she could zap Vision backwards and mostly didn't only when she was pausing to listen to him ask her not to
- the pregnancy and the tv-age-skip also was less under control than it seemed like it should have been
- in particular, the aging up, especially the "oh we can have a dog at 10? We'll be 10 then!" which to me is the hallmark of a spiritual being just having a laugh at their time with humanity
- the superpowers/you were born for this line delights me; it reminds me of the best of the best superhero movie ever, which was of course The Incredibles
- their general giddiness at life, which is also age-related but the sheer verve of it
- and yes Wanda's 'thanks for choosing me' line which to me makes me think she could sense something about them was present beyond the Hex

However I also still think the last episode did back down on a lot of that, which was a miss. I'd've eliminated the weird Salem flashback in favour of more nuance in the Hex destruction.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:15 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


The kids definitely deserved more of a goodbye, and maybe more of an explanation as to what they were (the 'thanks for choosing me' line was weird? did I miss something?).

They (well, Wanda's pregnancy) did just sort-of appear out of nowhere, without any overt trying by the couple and surprising everyone. So, it wouldn't be entirely off-base to think they chose her, I guess.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:57 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Jenny Nicholson's opinion about Washington Post's baddest of bad takes.

The Washington Post isn't wrong, WandaVision definitely selected the easy route with Hayward, who wasn't completely wrong. There was a reality warping super being that has already taken hostages. Killing Wanda is a reasonable solution, to protect the greater good, especially after another super-being killed half the universe. Viewed in that light, it's amazing that more forces were called up to destroy the Hex.

Hayward lived through The Dusting, oh wait, let's call it some milquetoast, like The Snap. He lost people, no doubt. The creators of the show missed a golden opportunity to make him a bit more human and relatable, as opposed to generic government bad guy. Folding his story into an overall theme of people doing terrible things because of grief could have worked out really well. But for whatever reason, the creators felt we had to have traditional, one dimensional villain and that's a shame.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:16 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


Hayward had one moment where he talked about living through the 5 years in between Snappenings and that gave a teasing glimpse of the opportunity they missed. They really could have expanded on the idea from Ultron/Civil War that all these superpowered folks running around is not an unmitigated good (and frankly pretty terrifying when a battle can destroy a city or half of everybody can turn to dust suddenly and the survivors have no understanding of what just happened and then after trying to make peace with that for years, just as suddenly everybody returns).
posted by kokaku at 7:37 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I keep hoping Marvel will do a show or movie that covers more of both the five years, and the year or two right after; I think it's interesting material and they mostly brush over it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:19 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


Seriously! We've not seen any flashbacks of it even, have we?
posted by EatTheWeek at 11:28 AM on March 11


You could blow your mind and place the events of The Leftovers directly after The Snappening.

The timelines don't really match for the great restoration, though.
posted by jquinby at 11:38 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Oof, yeah, I don't want to give them any ideas. Until further notice, I'm going to place most the now sort of non canon shows where it's kind of weird that the Avengers don't at least check in on the massive end of season threats into that hole.
posted by EatTheWeek at 12:01 PM on March 11


Seriously! We've not seen any flashbacks of it even, have we?

Yes we have, in various places. Specific to WandaVision, we see Monica's POV when she gets snapped back in the hospital, and we see lots of other people suddenly appear as well.
posted by cooker girl at 12:42 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


And Spiderman: Far From Home handwaves at it amusingly.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:15 PM on March 11




Until further notice, I'm going to place most the now sort of non canon shows where it's kind of weird that the Avengers don't at least check in on the massive end of season threats into that hole.

Didn't Tony basically cripple the Avengers ability to do anythin, followingg the Sokovia accords?

I mean one of the reasons that Thanatos was able to succeed was there was no coherent super team to deal with him. Half the team was on the run, Falcon was injured, Vision was compromised, Black Panther wasn't returning Tony's daily calls...and post Endgame the Avengers basically was Falcon and an answering machine.
posted by happyroach at 2:28 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Per that article that Brandon Blatcher linked to, it's interesting that they are actively working on the townspeople's anger. But it's also interesting how they didn't comment on the racialized implications of Monica's role at the end of it. Perhaps in a different article. But overall, I'm taking this to mean the critiques aren't misplaced, and in fact fully catching what they're throwing. In that case, let's see what's the next step, but that's not an obligation for anyone who's probably now critical and distrustful.
posted by cendawanita at 5:32 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


We didn't actually see any scenes set during the 5-year gap in either WandaVision or Spider-Man. A big chunk of Endgame is set in the final weeks of the gap. (That's when we see Steve at group therapy, Hulk posing for selfies, Natasha carrying on, Hawkeye on a rampage, Tony with wife and kid, etc.) But I don't think there's been any flashbacks showing us what people were doing in Year 2 or the first six weeks after the Snap or anything like that.
posted by straight at 10:56 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


The Washington Post isn't wrong

The author of that piece tweeted this:

They both want to resurrect Vision. It's just that Hayward has a better reason for doing so (reactivating a Superman-esque weapon that can protect Earth from cosmic threats) than Wanda (enslaving a town of US citizens to play house with her dead hubby).

Which is just.... bad.
posted by Pendragon at 1:15 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


And he denies Vision is a person: he’s not a person, he’s an artificial construct
posted by Pendragon at 1:16 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


btw, should we do a separate thread for the behind the scenes/making of episode? i don't know when it comes out exactly, and i don't know if i'll get to watch it in a timely way (i mean, certainly not in a legal way...).
posted by cendawanita at 8:31 AM on March 12


It's already out - it's not under WandaVision, it's an episode of "Marvel Studios ASSEMBLED" (currently the only episode - don't know if they're doing more with it)
posted by rmd1023 at 9:17 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I'd make a new post for Assembled, and link it here, though it's not doable yet. I've contacted the mods about that.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:22 AM on March 12




From jenfullmoon's link:
> Agnes weaponizes this meta filter to solve the mystery of how Wanda did all this

Aaaaaayyyyyy!
posted by Pronoiac at 9:38 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


I finally made a post for Assembled - sorry about the delay!
posted by Pronoiac at 10:43 PM on March 13


WandaVision’s disappointing finale and the problem with demanding “justice” in fiction
When we say we want Wanda Maximoff to face justice, I think what we’re really saying is that we want the storytellers to show us they know what justice would be, even if she doesn’t face it.

We want, in other words, story karma.
posted by ectabo at 4:32 PM on March 15 [7 favorites]


Oops, I missed the edit window; I should have credited that link to Emily VanDerWerff at Vox.
posted by ectabo at 4:42 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I really like VanDerWerff's article. It captured a lot of what I felt about the show and the ending. I think I disagree with where she ends up, though.

Sometimes "story karma" can be as simple as showing the harm done, showing the people who have been hurt and how it hurts. That's often enough for me to to see that the writers have noticed and care about them, even if they leave the audience to decide how much blame a character deserves and what justice would look like. I've at least been shown that I have a judgment to make.

In a comic book, a story like this would often end with Wanda dispelling the hex and everything resetting back to normal. The people would have no memory of what happened, and we might not see any indication they were aware something was wrong while it was happening, and the only lasting harm would be Wanda's grief over losing her family and making an enemy of Agatha.

They could have easily gone that route. The whole transformation could have been treated as a gag, and maybe there would be no indication the writers realized that kidnapping people, using them, and then wiping their memories is still a very bad thing to do, even if there appears to be no lasting harm done. Most viewers wouldn't be talking about karma and justice except the sort of cranks who complain about Judy being the most corrupt cop in Zootopia.

But instead, every glimpse they gave us of how the people really felt showed great distress and fear and concern for how this was hurting their families and other relationships. The last we see of Westview is a traumatized crowd, not a town getting back to normal. That was enough for me to realize we were in a world with moral stakes and I didn't need any of the characters to tell me how to feel about it.

However, I would have loved for Andrew T. Wilson to have had a chance to write a page of Jimmy Woo's dialogue:
Jimmy: I don't suppose you're going to let me take you in?

Wanda: Take me in?

Jimmy: Yeah. I know you didn't...mean it, or whatever, but you're looking at three thousand counts of kidnapping and false imprisonment; millions of dollars in simple and grand larceny. Maybe bank robbery? If stealing an entire bank counts?

You're a foreign national so it might qualify as a hostile occupation? Are you technically a representative of Sokovia? Maybe some of this falls under diplomatic immunity... Anyway... you tossed Monica a good three miles, that's assaulting a federal agent. Then there's some violations of the Superhuman Registration Act, the clean air act, various FCC regulations, child labor laws, aaand operating a circus without a license.
posted by straight at 10:20 PM on March 15 [13 favorites]


Which would be a pretty hypocritical speech, given that nobody has ever even mentioned bringing in Tony Stark for his war crimes. But he's a guy, and an American, so I guess he gets a pass.

Yeah, show me an Andrew T Wilson speech where Tony gets threatened with arrest for creating Ultron and all the other crimes he committed during his movie career, and I'll buy this as something other than misogynistic bullshit. I'm waiting.
posted by happyroach at 12:05 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


It's more that it's in character as the sort of thing Woo would have said to Ant-Man. It would have been comic relief given his complete inability to detain Wanda.
posted by straight at 6:34 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Today's high brow take: The WandaVision Cul-De-Sac by Aaron Bady
WandaVision is a show about a villain — a super-powered slave master who tortures thousands of people to preserve a way of life she’s never had, but which the universe nevertheless owes her — that can’t stop insisting that she is really the hero, that she doesn’t really understand what she’s done. Her innocence — meaning both her lack of guilt and her lack of knowledge of the crime — is so deeply buried in the premise that no matter how implausible it obviously is, we can’t quite root it out. She is, and must be, a heroine. She is good. She is an Avenger. ... As Abigail Nussbaum observes, this is offensive nonsense
...
There are no naïve viewers of WandaVision
posted by Nelson at 11:42 AM on March 18 [3 favorites]


I just rewatched Infinity War and it’s disturbing how similar Wanda’s cabin retreat is to Thanos’ cabin retreat.
posted by bq at 11:53 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


But the sitcom remakes were the defining characteristic of this show, the real novelty, and I wish a cleverer writer could have figured out how to make that work all the way to the end.
I agree. I really wanted to see all the characters constrained by the spell whenever they were inside the Hex, forced to work within the tropes and genre conventions. Characters like Wanda and Darcy would then achieve victory through their greater knowledge and creative mastery of the sitcom format. (I especially love dinty_moore’s idea of rapidly cycling through different sitcom realities, Good-Place-style.)
posted by mbrubeck at 11:12 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Thanks, Nelson. That Aaron Bady article is excellent.
When Agatha praises Wanda for the world she’s created in Westview — “all those costumes and hairstyles! I couldn't make heads or tails of it . . . thousands of people under your thumb, all interacting with each other according to complex storylines . . . well, that’s something special, baby!” — this is Kevin Feige talking about Kevin Feige.
posted by straight at 6:43 PM on March 29


But there are some comments strongly disagreeing with the article that are also excellent.
It really is time people actually valued human emotion on its own ... Why did Wanda need to wake up from something she created? Because she didn't realize on a conscious level, she'd made it. It was a form of disassociation, which is something lots of people do and is not thank you a political act but one of mental health. An MCU version of complicated grief.
posted by straight at 6:51 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


How Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange Almost Appeared in ‘WandaVision’. The ending was written to include some involvement of Dr. Strange but they cut it out to focus on Wanda instead. This may also explain the teased bit about a big cameo in the last episode that didn't actually happen.
posted by Nelson at 8:20 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Cutting Dr. Strange was exactly the right decision. This was Wanda's story and having the Doc show up at fix things would have undercut the character.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:09 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


Agreed. I guess they could've showed Strange waking up in a cold sweat (having a SUDDEN REALIZATION moment) by way of a cameo. This way he's sort of there in an ancillary way. Nothing of significance was lost in any event.
posted by jquinby at 7:17 AM on May 5


I just wanted Doctor Strange to pick Wanda up at the end of the show and be all "I think we need to discuss your powers here." Could have kind of come out similar to the ending, really, with them both on retreat while she uh...read that book.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:22 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I finally finished WandaVision today, and was surprised to see that despite the ending and the after-credit scene, they're not actually doing a second season!

It seems the original intention was to simply continue Wanda's story through Marvel movies, but then maybe the enthusiasm from everyone after watching WandaVision might get a second season as well.
posted by polymodus at 6:01 PM on June 12




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