WandaVision 1×08 “Previously On,” takes an interesting route for the penultimate episode of the season. It is very similar to WandaVision Season 1 Episode 4, “We Interrupt This Program,” in that this episode takes us backward to move forward — that’s the only way through all of this, according to Agatha. It’s also a convenient way for Agatha to break Wanda down even more as Agatha gets answers to her questions.
Some fans will be sad to discover that “Previously On” isn’t framed as a sitcom. Others will rejoice at the fact that it’s starting to look more like a Marvel Studios movie. Regardless, WandaVision takes the time to stress the importance of sitcoms to Wanda Maximoff throughout her life. While we can’t relate to the specifics of Wanda’s experiences, it is more than likely that a lot of us can relate to using television as an escape from reality and as a coping mechanism — especially right now.
The Scarlet Witch
“Previously On” much like the rest of WandaVision, does the work that the Marvel Cinematic Universe never properly did with Wanda’s story — it tells it. It even rewrites it in a way that gives her back some of the control that’s been stripped away from her throughout the movies. The fact that Wanda was a witch all along — only having her powers fully activated by the Mind Stone — retroactively gives her more agency in situations where she believed she had none. Like when she and Pietro hid for two days. That’s massive and shouldn’t be overlooked, even if it is a bit frustrating to revisit the past so late in the season. The payoff for that trip to the past is so worth it in the end. Yes, it would have been nice to spend at least one scene with Vision and Darcy or Monica and “Pietro,” but we’re trusting WandaVision’s plan.
WandaVision has gone out of its way to exist within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, on its own terms, in order to tell a more intimate story about characters that had less than a fraction of screen time. That’s not an easy task but WandaVision has been doing it with such care that to keep asking for more without looking at what it’s giving us is unfair. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be skeptical or even nervous about what’s ahead in the season finale, especially because there is so much to cover. This is just to say that the endgame isn’t all that matters on this show.
The show has been skirting around Wanda’s trauma as long as she could hold the Westview anomaly together. We’ve always known that this show would tackle this subject matter, but it’s been such a tremendous and emotional journey to go on with Wanda. As much as we want her to process things however she needs to and to get the help she needs to move forward, we are sympathetic to her dedication to complete avoidance and denial.
There have been brief moments of reality peeping through, but none so much than on “Previously On” when Agatha forces Wanda to relive her trauma all over again. That’s why it’s so difficult to follow Wanda through all of those doors, because, just like her, we know what’s waiting on the other side. It’s not easy, but there is some truth in Agatha’s words. Hopefully seeing all of that through a new perspective with the guidance of a pretty wicked witch can help Wanda realize her potential.
“Previously On,” instills all of its trust in what will hopefully be an award-winning performance by Elizabeth Olsen. The entire series thus far has been a showcase of the entire cast and crew’s talent, but Olsen really delivers in this episode. The way her performance transports us throughout time with familiar touchstones, like Age of Ultron and Civil War, is at the very least commendable. There are so many places the show can go next in its final episode (!!!), and we know Elizabeth Olsen will deliver yet again. We get a few peaks at Wanda’s Chaos Magic in this episode and even a look at the silhouette of her new super suit, so we know there is more to come. The Scarlet Witch is here now and we cannot wait for Wanda to step into her power.
Agatha, Hayward, Oh My
We are very glad that this episode isn’t a recap of Agatha’s best evil moments, like a continuation of the instant classic “Agatha All Along,” because that would have been redundant this far into the season. We learn just enough about Agatha with her past in Salem, MA in 1693. This small look into Agatha’s past is basically a confirmation of suspicions that Agatha could last long beyond WandaVision. She’s lasted this long and only came running to Westview because of Wanda’s impressive magic. Again, it would be a mistake to let someone like Kathryn Hahn in a role as iconic as Agatha Harkness go after this show. Plus, we still don’t know what she really wants. We just know that she’s basically jealous that Wanda could do all of this by accident while Agatha had to practice simple spells for years.
Hayward, on the other hand, could be someone that only exists within WandaVision. We’d be more than happy to see him go and for Monica to take over S.W.O.R.D. and do the good it was created to do. Agatha is still mysterious and intriguing, but Hayward continues to be boring and irritating. The most interesting part of him was the perspective he offered about being left behind between the Snap and the Blip. That’s easily forgotten when he’s creating a narrative that benefits him and paints a vulnerable woman as a victim. Wanda clearly didn’t steal Vision’s remains, because he made sure of it. He knew what she was capable of doing — powering what he deemed his weapon. Vision is the exact antithesis of a weapon. That’s why it’s even more heartbreaking that Hayward still found a way to get Wanda’s magic to fuel his evil plan.
A Whole New Vision
This episode finds multiple ways to pull out our heartstrings, and Vision has a major role in all of them. We get to see a missing scene between Age of Ultron and Civil War that is the missing piece the movies needed. It was easy to root for Wanda and Vision together and separately because of the love Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany poured into their roles, but this scene is the glue that bridges the two films together. It could also be pinpointed as the moment that Wanda fell in love with Vision — he was her lifeboat. How can you not become a puddle of tears when Vision tells Wanda, “but what is grief, if not love persevering?” The authenticity and sincerity in this scene are overwhelming. Olsen and Bettany should be applauded.
Not to mention, the reveal that Vision had bought land for the two of them to build a house and grow old together. Cue the tears…AGAIN! That’s when the big bang of Chaos Magic happens, creating the sitcom-based reality we’ve watched for the past seven episodes. It was all born out of Wanda’s excruciating grief but also her overwhelming love. WandaVision is telling such important stories through the eyes of these heroes, and it’s such a pleasure to watch every week.
“Previously On” confirms that Wanda never had a chance to properly grieve Vision after the Snap and the Blip. This was always assumed. It’s entirely different to see Wanda mere weeks after losing the love of her life, fighting a Titan, and saving the universe. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. It’s impossible not to be moved to tears when she stands over Vision’s body and says, “I can’t feel you.” (“I just feel you” is basically their “I love you.” See Avengers: Infinity War.) After all of that, after saving everyone, Wanda is looking for one last chance to save the one she loves the most and she can’t.
Hayward uses that vulnerability against her, and it’s something only a true villain could do to someone. Then, to be conscious of that and still use Wanda’s magic to do something both her and Vision don’t want is insidious. The reveal of White Vision is a gut punch after an episode full of them. (SPOILER ALERT: in the comics, this means Vision is completely void of emotion.) We’ll have to wait until the season finale to see where WandaVision takes this new Vision. It can’t be anywhere good with Hayward spearheading the launch.
Other Dazzling Moments:
- The Pietro, Fietro, Imposter Pietro thing still doesn’t make much sense to me.
- Wanda’s nails are painted in the flashback, and that means a lot to me.
What did you think of this episode of WandaVision? Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of WandaVision drop weekly on Disney+!