‘WandaVision’: Agatha Forces Wanda to Relive Past Traumas, Plus a Major Vision Twist (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for WandaVision Season 1, Episode 8, “Previously On.”]
So, going into this episode we know that’s been Agatha All Along (and we’ve had the song stuck in our heads since then). But this week, we learn why and how Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) created the Westview Hex, and — surprisingly — a major character rises from the dead, but not the way we remember them. Here’s how it happens.
We start with Agatha’s (Kathryn Hahn) backstory, which is pretty darn tragic. In 1693 Salem, Agatha’s put on trial for being a witch — but instead of going on the pyre before angry townspeople, she’s fighting for her life before her own witch coven. This includes her mother, who says she’s betrayed them by breaking their rules and practicing dark magic. They decide to execute her and shoot beams of blue energy at her, but she manages to use her own powers to kill them all, including her mother. Yikes!
In the present, Agatha’s still pretty villainous. She uses a spell to tie Wanda’s hands and feet, and as Wanda levitates in mid-air, Agatha chides her for “not knowing the fundamentals.” She’s studied for hundreds of years to master basic spells, while Wanda’s running illusions and controlling people all throughout Westview seemingly with little effort, and Agatha wants to know how Wanda’s doing it.
But Wanda won’t — or can’t — tell her. Agatha won’t settle for that, so she uses her magic to conjure up some of Wanda’s worst memories, in hopes that a detour through her darkest moments might make her more amenable to sharing her secret with a fellow witch.
Drowning in Grief
The first stop is the night Wanda’s parents died; the night Stark Industries weapons were used in her hometown in Sokovia. (Fun fact: Wanda’s loved sitcoms since she was very young — she, Pietro and her parents were watching The Dick Van Dyke Show when their living room exploded.) That specific trauma doesn’t tell Agatha what she wants to know, so they make a stop at Hydra, where Wanda’s being experimented on.
She’s brought into a lab where scientists have been harnessing the power of the Mind Stone to try to give people supernatural abilities. Apparently, none survived…until Wanda. As she walks over to the stone, it hovers in midair and she sees a vision (ha!) that looks a lot like the Scarlet Witch of the comics, headpiece and all. Then she collapses, alive, and with powers.
The next stop is Avengers Tower, the first home she and the rest of the Avengers shared after Age of Ultron. In the aftermath of Pietro’s (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) death, Wanda is consoling herself by watching reruns of Malcolm in the Middle. She asks for Vision (Paul Bettany) to join her, and he floats through the wall to sit next to her. She says she doesn’t want to talk about her grief, but she ends up describing it as “a wave” and says every time she tries to stand, “it knocks me back down again.”
“It’s just going to drown me,” she says.
Vision says that’s not true, and he finds some beauty in the pain of losing someone: he says the loss she feels is caused by “love, persevering.”
Their last stop is SWORD headquarters, where Wanda storms in to ask — well, demand — that she be allowed to see Vision’s body. When Thanos eliminated half of the universe, she was part of the part that was eliminated. She never got to say goodbye or have a funeral for her love, and she wants that chance now. Eventually, she finds Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg), who shows her exactly what they’re doing with Viz. She sees pieces of Vision on different lab tables, with drills whirring and scientists scurrying around his body.
“What are you doing?” she asks, horrified. It appears SWORD wanted to dismantle Vision to keep him out of commission for good: he’s the most advanced sentient weapon ever made, and they want to be sure he’s never brought back. Hayward doesn’t seem to believe Wanda when she says she only wants to bury him, saying that “not everyone has the power to bring their soulmate back online.”
Well, Wanda doesn’t steal Vision’s body. She leaves the SWORD headquarters after telling Vision goodbye (“I can’t feel you,” she says, referencing their “I only feel you” line from Infinity War). She then drives to Westview, New Jersey, the very same town that she’ll eventually put under a spell, and goes to the place where she and Vision had planned to build a home.
She pulls out the property deed, on which Vision drew a heart and wrote: “to grow old in.” She screams, cries, and…uses her powers. Magic pours out of her, constructing the home they’d imagined, turning the town back to the ‘50s, and creating Vision in front of her. She’s back in her ‘50s costume, too, and the happy couple is all smiles. “Wanda,” Vision says, “welcome home.”
And suddenly, Wanda’s back on a TV set house in the present day, and Agatha is clapping in the audience. She vanishes suddenly, and Wanda hears her children yelling. She runs out of the studio to find Agatha holding them hostage, rings of purple magic around their necks. She tells Wanda she has immense power, but she only uses it to make breakfast for dinner.
“This is chaos magic, Wanda,” Agatha says, “and that makes you the Scarlet Witch.”
Then, in a shocking post-credits scene, Hayward, on the makeshift base, muses that all they needed was a little energy “direct from the source,” which they now have thanks to the drone Wanda threw out of the Hex in an earlier episode. He uses the energy in that drone to bring Vision back to life, except it’s not the Vision we know — he’s all white. White Vision has made the leap from comics to screen!
WandaVision, Fridays, Disney+