WandaVision: Previously On (Episode 8) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of WandaVision, Previously On, Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) takes Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) through a trip down a nightmarish memory lane that gives us the how and the why of the events that have unfolded.
Anyone looking for more information on Vision (Paul Bettany) heading back to talk to Wanda or Monica (Teyonah Parris) getting captured by the fake Pietro (Evan Peters) will unfortunately have to wait for more next week since this episode is all about Wanda. Agatha has been playing director and this week we get a slightly better insight into her at the start of the episode with some backstory. So, like the comics, Agatha has been around since the Salem witch trials but was actually nearly burned at the stake by her own coven for playing around with dark magic. However, she turned the tables on them to take them out with some gruesome results that have great looking effects. As a whole, it’s great how Agatha’s origins are simple and her motivations to harness the same kind of power as Wanda are equally simple. It’s not over complicated and puts her in a position to be a strong guide through Wanda’s past as she tries to uncover how she did all this.
Hahn is awesome as Agatha with how she really showcases her to be a powerful mental threat as she creates these doorways through Wanda’s past that flesh out her story throughout the MCU and her love of sitcoms. Just as we see Wanda head back into her childhood in war-torn Sokovia, we see why sitcoms matter so much to her. It’s sort of the last connection she has with her family since her father had a whole box full of generational sitcoms that we’ve seen Wanda play out in her own fantasy world. They’d huddle around their small television as a family and tune out the destruction and death around them for a simple laugh together while watching The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Sitcoms are even something that’s persisted throughout the toughest times of her life as she’s seen watching them when initially imprisoned by Hydra and after losing Pietro. It’s great to see that sitcoms play a deeply personal role in Wanda’s life and for the series to embody the impact of sitcoms. Sitcoms are perfect type of family comfort food with hearty laughs and relatable messages that everyone can huddle around the couch to enjoy just like Wanda and her family did. It makes for a view of sitcoms that’s more than just nostalgia and plays into the heart of this episode.
We finally get a greater exploration of Wanda’s grief with her traveling to the past and her and Vision really meeting one another. The whole sequence with her joining Hydra was interesting and all because it gives a great connection to her in Age of Ultron and the mind stone, but it doesn’t even compare to the impact of Vision and Wanda bonding over Malcolm in the Middle. In the films, the relationship between Wanda and Vision always seemed forced, but here the connection is real, and the series does a great job fleshing out their love. On paper, they’re an odd couple, but seeing them chat about life and Vision’s view of grief always stemming from love offers some great messaging about Wanda’s grief. There’s a real emotional connection here that just warms your heart and seeing Wanda arrive in Westview on the empty plot of land Vision marked with a heart so they could grow old together is a real tear-jerker. Hopefully, the series can go a little bit deeper in Wanda facing her grief in the finale, but it’s a satisfying start nevertheless. Also, it’s pretty awesome that Wanda is finally referred to as Scarlet Witch by Agatha and that it’ll likely play a bigger role than just a superhero name.
There’s a lot this episode uncovers about Vision as well since we see what happened when Wanda went to SWORD to see him. While it’s been believed that Wanda has taken Vision’s body from Hayward (Josh Stamberg), that’s actually not the case. Upon arriving, Hayward was dismantling Vision and the Vision that we’ve been seeing in Westview is actually one created by Wanda. It makes sense since this Vision has no previous memories and is unable to leave the Hex without dying. It seems like Hayward wasn’t really planning on turning the Vision off for good though since we see that he’s reassembled an all-white version of his own. We’re likely heading for a Vision versus Vision battle in the finale that could lead to some devastating conclusions.
The penultimate episode of WandaVision takes us down an emotional and impactful memory lane before the wild finale it sets up where worlds, witches, and multiple Visions are about to collide. It may not solve some of the cliffhangers, but it leaves an unexpected emotional impact that makes it one of best the episodes of the series.