Monday, October 18, 2021

Recap: Wanda Must Go Back to Move Forward in ‘WandaVision’ Season 1, Episode 8: “Previously On”

This week on WandaVision, we finally get the answer as to how Westview came to be and why it was Wanda who was able to create it. Agatha takes Wanda through her own memories to figure out how the events of her life led to creating Westview, and it changes the audience’s perspective on the events of the series so far. With the finale one week away, “Previously On” both sets up a final showdown and brings closure to some of the show’s biggest mysteries so far.

The episode opens in 1693 Salem, MA as Agatha is dragged through the forest by shadowy figures. The coven surrounds her as they tie her to a post, accusing her of learning powers and spells beyond her training. Agatha admits that the rules may have “bent” to her power but it wasn’t her intention. The witches begin chanting in Latin as she begs them to help her control her powers. The group pours their magic into Agatha as she screams in pain, but instead of destroying her, her own magic chokes the life from the other witches. Agatha breaks free and the leader of the coven tries to stop her, but Agatha’s magic is too strong and overpowers the other witch. Agatha goes to the witch’s body and steals her broach before flying away.

In the present, Agatha and Wanda are in the basement. Wanda tries to read Agatha’s mind, but Agatha tells her she can’t use her powers here. Agatha has protection spells in the walls, and it’s clear Wanda doesn’t know anything about her own powers, which Agatha is surprised by. She reveals that “fake Pietro” (or as Agatha calls him, “Fietro”) was a crystalline possession since she couldn’t use necromancy on the real Pietro’s body. Agatha says she was astonished by the many spells in Westview when she first sensed it. Agatha calls it “magic on autopilot” and demands to know how she has been creating these illusions. This is Agatha’s true purpose: she has been trying to figure out how Wanda managed to create Westview. Wanda insists she doesn’t know, and Agatha decides to take Wanda through her own memories to find out. Wanda doesn’t want to, but then she hears Billy and Tommy calling out for her. Agatha uses them as a bargaining chip, and Wanda goes along with her.

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They first visit Wanda’s childhood home where her parents Irina and Oleg greet each other. Pietro as a child runs in, and Agatha pushes Wanda into the memory. She transforms into herself as a child and lives the memory as it happened. They watch reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show on DVD (explaining Wanda’s affection for sitcoms). It’s a happy memory, but suddenly a bomb goes off and the screen goes black. Young Wanda wakes up surrounded by rubble and terrified. Pietro pulls her up, and as they run they find they are trapped by a Stark bomb that doesn’t detonate. As they wait, terrified, the TV continues to play the episode they were watching. Wanda reaches for the bomb as if to use her powers and whispers, “by the end of the episode, you realize it was all a bad dream. None of it was real” as Agatha pulls her out of the memory. Agatha asks if Wanda used a spell to stop the bomb from going off, and Wanda insists that the bomb was defective. Agatha theorizes that it was actually young Wanda’s powers that protected them, but she says this still doesn’t explain how Wanda gained the amount of power she would need to create Westview. She says “the only way forward is back” before bringing her to the next memory.

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They next visit Wanda as a teenager, where she is in the middle of being experimented on. The scientists want her to touch the Mind Stone (hidden in Loki’s scepter), and she does as they note no one else has survived trying. The room explodes into yellow light, and Wanda sees a mysterious vision of a witch before passing out. They bring her back to her room, where she watches The Brady Bunch on television. The scientists try to figure out what happened as Wanda telekinetically turns off the TV. Agatha pulls her out again, and she tells Wanda that the stone must have amplified her powers that were already there. It’s still not the full story, and they move to the next memory.

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They find themselves at the Avengers compound while Wanda sits on her bed, watching Malcolm in the Middle. Vision enters when Wanda calls for him and sits on the bed with her. He tells her if she wants to talk, he’s here to listen, having read that talking about grief is helpful. Wanda says the only thing that would bring her comfort after losing Pietro is to see him again. Wanda describes her grief as a wave that keeps knocking her down and will drown her. Vision says he’s always been alone, so he can’t relate to the loss of a loved one. But he tells her not to think about her feelings as loss, because “what is grief, if not love persevering?” They laugh at the sitcom, and when they catch each other’s eye, it’s easy to see they’re falling in love.

Agatha interrupts the memory to ask what happened when Vision wasn’t there to help her with her grief after she lost him. After her prompting, Wanda finds herself in another memory: the day she visited S.W.O.R.D. She goes to the front desk, asking for Vision’s body. She wants to give him a funeral, and as she’s talking Hayward calls to let her in. Wanda blasts the doors open anyway, but it’s far from the break in the camera showed. She walks into Hayward’s office. She asks for Vision’s body as she is his next of kin, and Hayward just asks her to come with him. He shows her that they are dismantling Vision, and she’s horrified. He coldly describes Vision as a “sentient weapon” and Wanda tells Hayward she just wants to bury him. Hayward questions if that’s really all she wants, saying she has the power to bring Vision back. Wanda says that’s not why she’s here, that she can’t do that. He says that’s fine, but he can’t let her take “three billion dollars’ worth of vibranium just to put it in the ground.” He tells her the best he can do is let her say goodbye here, noting that Vision “isn’t hers.”

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This pushes Wanda over the edge, and she breaks the glass. She floats down to his body, and Hayward calls off the guards who surround her. She slowly approaches his body and cries, saying “I can’t feel you” as she tries using her powers to sense Vision. She leaves the body, accepting that Vision is gone, and goes back to the parking lot, getting in her car. There’s an envelope on the front seat. Wanda drives through Westview as it was before and pulls into the driveway of a house reduced to its foundation. She gets out and opens the envelope to reveal the property deed to the land. Vision bought it for them to live in, and the deed has a heart drawn in the center containing a message: “To grow old in. V”. She slowly walks to the center of the foundation and drops the paper, sobbing.

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In that moment, her emotions explode, unleashing her powers in an uncontrolled way. Around her, the Westview we’ve seen so far forms, transforming everything into the 1950s sitcom from the first episode. Wanda finds herself inside the house with a newly alive Vision, who simply says “welcome home” as they both sit on the couch. The present day Wanda is brought back by Agatha clapping. She says bravo as Wanda hears the twins crying. She runs outside to find Agatha holding the children.

Agatha tells Wanda she has no idea of the power she holds, that a being like her is supposed to be myth. She says “here you are, capable of spontaneous creation … and you’re using it to make breakfast for dinner”. Agatha tells her this is chaos magic, which means that Wanda must be … the Scarlet Witch.

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In a post credits scene, Hayward is informed that the launch is ready. Hayward mentions that all this time, they haven’t been able to find a way to power the weapon, but using some of the source power did the trick. Suddenly, a rebuilt, all white version of Vision awakens when the power is turned on. He looks at his hand, and the screen goes black.

WandaVision premieres Fridays on Disney+.

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Jules
I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.

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