Friday, March 5, 2021

REVIEW: 'WandaVision' - Wanda Wields Her Power Even Though She Still Doesn't Fully Understand It in 'The Series Finale'

Disney+'s WandaVision - Episode 1.09 "The Series Finale"

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

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 season finale of Disney+'s WandaVision.

"The Series Finale" was written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman

Agatha argues that Wanda has power without knowledge. As such, it's dangerous to allow her to continue wielding this chaos magic. It must be taken from her before she destroys even more lives. And yet, Agatha would be just as dangerous with both power and knowledge. She has killed numerous witches and absorbed their powers. She's not ashamed of that fact. She knows exactly what's going on. She figures that she can wield the power more responsibly. Wanda doesn't know the cost of her actions on the people trapped in Westview. She has never seen a moment where their true selves wake up and plead for rescue. In their version of events, Wanda is the villain who has imprisoned them in this reality. It has provided so much hope and comfort to Wanda. She sees the error of her ways and allows people to exit the Hex instead of continuing to force her will onto them. And yet, it's devastating when she is forced to confront the reality that this spell is the only thing keeping her family alive. That is positioned as her great weakness. If she succumbs to Agatha's demands, then Wanda can live peacefully in this place with the current spell keeping them all safe. But again, this is Wanda's power. It's ultimately up to her to decide what to do with it. Once she receives a little information about casting spells, it surprisingly becomes easy for her to eliminate Agatha as a threat. She curses her with forever being trapped in this place as Agnes, the nosy neighbor. Agatha is still terrified by the monster Wanda has unknowingly unleashed on the world. Wanda doesn't fully understand it either. Moreover, this finale treats the entire story as one big action climax. It's no longer a love letter to television. Instead, it has fully become a Marvel movie once more. That's a tradeoff that was largely expected. Wanda could only deflect from the truth for so long. It's up to her to decide her fate. That is simply coupled with great sacrifices she also has to make. Neither the Vision she created or the Vision brought back to life by S.W.O.R.D. are the version she fell in love with. They both have fond memories of that experience. They feel a strong connection towards her. And yet, they have no true agency over the proceedings that extends from all that has previously occurred. Instead, they are being manipulated by others. The truth can reveal so much. It also highlights the limits the overall story and the characters have had along the way. This series could have dramatically shaken up the formula of the Marvel universe. It could have expanded what was possible in this world. Instead, it operates as a transition piece. One where Wanda receives confirmation about where her powers come from and just how powerful she is. She needs to learn more. She can no longer be in the dark about what she is capable of doing. Meanwhile, it has served as an origin story for Monica developing powers before she goes off on her own adventure that connects back to the work her mother was doing with Captain Marvel. She hoped to save Wanda. She wanted to uplift the hope and redemption that still exists within her. And yet, the story concludes with Monica mostly just protecting Tommy and Billy when they are being shot at by S.W.O.R.D. agents. The urgency is still real. But again, it feels limited in scope as well. Wanda says goodbye to her family. She watches Vision die for a third time right in front of her. That may further traumatize her. That's the pattern that has come to exist in her life. Of course, it also comes with the certainty that they may all see each other again. This ending doesn't have to complete their story together. In fact, Wanda hears her kids crying out for help in the second post-credits teaser. That further solidifies that the people from Westview will continue to have prominence as her story evolves elsewhere. She is isolated in a cabin learning all she can from the Darkhold she took from Agatha. That's still an ominous thought though because this power could be used to end the entire world. Everyone fears that. It dramatically altered the world of Westview for awhile. Wanda got to reset that narrative. Her grief can't build until it becomes destructive to everyone else around her. That isn't healthy for anyone. She can no longer deny that fact. But the world still hasn't revealed all that she is capable of doing. That makes her a daunting presence. One that wields more power than anyone else. Channeling and controlling that is crucial. It's also pure setup for whatever happens next in an upcoming movie. The viewer is largely accustomed to that in this world with these characters. We prepare for it believing that everything has a purpose. The television projects should perhaps be developed a little differently. However, this season was still largely entertaining and made some powerful statements on grief.