Friday, February 26, 2021

REVIEW: 'WandaVision' - An Exploration of the Past Reveals New Depths to Wanda's Identity and Powers in 'Previously On'

Disney+'s WandaVision - Episode 1.08 "Previously On"

Wanda embarks on a troubling journey revisiting her past for insight into her present and future.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Disney+'s WandaVision

"Previously On" was written by Laura Donney and directed by Matt Shakman

On one level, this episode serves as a grand exposition dump for how everything that has occurred so far actually happened. On a much deeper level though, it is a searing examination of grief while continuing to amp up the mystery of these characters as they prepare for a final confrontation. So much of the season has been a deflection for Wanda. Westview served as a way for her to break away from reality. She could alter this world to her will. She could dictate who could be a part of this world and whose self-awareness was detrimental to what she wanted. She also has the power to conjure her own reality. For so long, everyone assumed that she had taken Vision's body from S.W.O.R.D. headquarters and brought him back to life somehow. Director Haywood operated under the assumption that she was the only person who could do that. Vision had a directive stating that he didn't want to be brought back online if it was at all possible. To him, life only had meaning if there was an end. In his short time in life, he learned so much so quickly. It was through his relationship with Wanda that he came to feel less isolated and alone. He found a new form of emotional acceptance. It was devastating when she had to kill him. It was even more tragic when she had to watch him die as she was completely powerless to stop it. She has endured so much pain and misery. Her life is defined by the loved ones who were tragically taken away from her too soon. With Vision, there was the potential for her to do something about it. She didn't have to accept this fate. And yet, that's not the actual story. When she touched his body, she no longer felt his essence. She could no longer sense the man she loved. She wants to give him a burial that has honor to it. Haywood won't allow that because of how expensive and valuable his remains are. In fact, that just covers up his own devious mission of trying to reanimate him somehow. He succeeds in that endeavor by the end of this episode. Again, Wanda's powers are capable of so much. Everyone is in awe of them. She is terrifying as well. The world she created in Westview is impressive. Agatha was attracted to it because she was envious. She doesn't know how Wanda was capable of controlling reality to this far extreme. Centuries ago, Agatha's embrace of the darkness made her the most powerful witch in the world. She claimed a willingness to be good. That never was genuine though. She killed the members of her coven. They were powerless to stop her. She holds some control over Wanda now. She has leverage. She can approach this examination of the past from an analytical standpoint. She needs to understand. This power is so vast. She craves it. In the end, she learns to fear Wanda. To her, this has become a myth proven true. Wanda is a creature that Agatha never believed was real. It's a complete upheaval of Wanda's backstory as well. Everyone was led to believe that experiments with an Infinity Stone gave her and Pietro their powers. In fact, they may have already been gifted before then. That allowed them to survive the blast that killed their parents. The experiments simply amplified these abilities further. Meanwhile, the profound love that Wanda has for Vision allowed her to tap into these new powers. She doesn't question the cost of all of this because it allows her to play out a new reality with the man she loves. They get to live out these various scenarios that echo the sitcoms that have always brought her comfort during her times of grief. Wanda yearned to see her loved ones again after they were lost. Vision was the most devastating death to date. He anchored her in a way. He helped guide her in a way that allowed her to be a hero. Her control over Westview has made her a villain. She truly is just lost though. She is finally given the name Scarlet Witch. That's a massive payoff after years of development and patience. Agatha makes that declaration here. It means nothing to Wanda. She has concern for her children in that moment. They too could very well be real. She has that power. Agatha has that clarity now. Meanwhile, Haywood has his weapon. And Wanda remains the great unknown at the center of the story. This episode puts everything into context. People have lied and deceived. Selfishness dictates so much. It is a powerful motivator. Those malicious intentions corrupt the world. Wanda needs a genuine connection to help ground her. Vision gave her that foundation. She has unlocked new parts of herself. Others have changed as a result. She has allies who want to help though. She has to accept that reality. She is forced to do so here. She can't deny who she is or what she has done. This is one version of the life she could have with Vision. They could get to grow old in Westview. That hasn't been beneficial to many though. Confronting that is a massive development. And now, all bets are off heading into the finale.