“WandaVision” is easily one of the most unique and creative shows I have seen in a while and is easily the best of what stories that can come out of the MCU when they focus in on characters and concepts. Like other MCU projects it does have a weak villain problem but the character drama and how the story is presented is well worth your time if you are a fan of this Franchise or are looking for an original and compelling drama.
The series was created by Jac Schaeffer and inspired by Scarlet Witch and Vision stories from Marvel Comics.
The story takes place 3 weeks after the events of “Avengers: Endgame” and begins with Wanda and Vision living a sitcom life in the suburb of Westview where they are attempting to hide their true natures. All is not as it appears to be though.
The Setup – The setup involves Vision and Wanda going through different eras of television sitcoms as reality outside the sitcom begins to intrude on them as an organization known as S.W.O.R.D. is attempting to free the people trapped in Wanda’s reality at any cost.
The Sitcoms / The Show in a Show – The structure of the show involves jumping into different eras of sitcoms for each episode, with us in the present for episodes 4, 8 and the Final. They nail the appearance and dialogue of each of these eras with my favorite being their “Malcolm in the Middle” and “Modern Family” style stories as I grew up with those. I did love their 60’s style sitcom though where they had to put on a magic show with magic that could be explained. That was also the episode where the alienness of the situation really started to intrude on Wanda’s reality as well adding great tension. This was such a unique take and premise that I would recommend them all as they each contribute to the story and it is cool to see what sitcoms the writers pulled from to inspire the costumers, writing and sets.
S.W.O.R.D. Actions – S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division) is the active force in the show attempting to save the people who are trapped in Wanda’s sitcom reality. They are lead by Hayward who commissions Monica Rambeau when she reappears after the Blip from “Infinity War” is reversed. He sends her to investigate the disappearance of Westview where she meets FBI agent Jimmy Woo and enters the Hex (Wanda’s Reality surrounding Westview) the situation escalates to discover what happened. They were founded by Maria Rambeau from “Captain Marvel” to deal with threats beyond and on Earth.
Jimmy Woo – Randall Park’s Jimmy Woo is back! Last appearing in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” In this he’s the skeptical one in most situations and the calm observer. This provides a nice contrast to Monica’s drive and Darcy’s sarcasm as as well as Hayview’s authoritarianism. He is one of the more minor heroes of this piece but he does help stop Hayview’s plot and helps Monica in her quest to enter the Hex again. Park is great and I really need to see more projects with him.
Dr. Darcy Lewis – Kat Denning’s Darcy Lewis is back and is the one who figures out that Wanda is projecting her reality as a sitcom. I was initially annoyed at how self-aware the character was in all the situations but eventually when she’s pulled into the Hex after it expands she is used to her fullest as she updates Vision on the events outside the Hex as we learn he doesn’t hold any of those memories. I liked how rebellious she is against Hayward too as it was needed.
Monica Rambeau – Monica is the kid we met in “Captain Marvel” who helped Captain Marvel design her suit. It is great seeing her update here and how when she reappears after being annihilated in Thanos’s snap that she has to face her mother died of cancer. In this we see her blame Captain Marvel for never coming back as well as how it is driving her to want to go back into space. Hayward grounds her though as her mother made the order that if anyone returned from Blip they would not be allowed into space. From here she is the one taking action as she enters the Hex and forces Wanda to confront her trauma when she in a moment of lucidity brings up how Ultron killed Pietro. This leads to Wanda kicking her out and from here we discover that she was transformed by the Hex as all were who are in it. This leads to her developing superpowers and her eventual standoff with Hayward to protect Wanda, Vision and their kids. Her final scene involves a Skrull telling her an old friend of her mother is interested in her joining them in space (implying Fury most likely, and Talos somewhat likely). I really liked her character and can’t wait to see where her story is taken next.
The Hex – The Hex is what drives the plot as it is a powerful spell cast by Wanda that has warped people into Wanda’s reality and where she created vision and a family (to twin sons) with her abilities. It can warp your cells and make you superpowered and changes anything that tries to enter it, makes it part of it’s reality. Transforming military vehicles into clown cars for example. No person or thing is safe from the power of the Hex and only Wanda can end it.
Agatha’s Setup – Agatha is Wanda’s nosy neighbor Agnes and is messing with situations from the very first episode. She appears helpful but whenever she is around something is always off as if she is the one creating the problems in the first place. It is a great setup and adds so much potential as we learn later she is a powerful witch known as Agatha Harkness. I loved how things worked up to that reveal as her Agnes persona is likeable and charismatic.
“Quicksilver” / “Pietro Maximoff” – After Monica is kicked out of the Hex by Wanda, “Pietro” shows up, being played by Evan Peters and is great as the Uncle to Wanda’s and Vision’s kids. He is quick, joking around all the time and making chaos. He’s basically an unhinged version of the Fox X-Men version he played. I really liked what they did with him up until the reveal in the final episode.
Wanda and Vision – Wanda and Vision are the heart and strongest aspect of the show. Bettany and Olsen have amazing chemistry and their conflict rests on the illusion of Westview. Vision is the one who notices things are off and asks why he can’t who he is beyond their marriage. It is a powerful setup and they are great parents. Seeing them face neighborhood drama and their own conflicts and how they resolve them is the heart of the sitcoms and it works because of the level of acting and writing on display. I love these two characters and this gives us the romance we never really saw in the MCU films.
Wanda’s Past – So Agnes is revealed to Agatha Harkness and she wants to find out why Wanda is powerful in episode 8, so they travel to Wanda’s past where we see her save her brother from the Stark missile that killed her parents as the implication is she cast a spell that caused the missile not to explode. With this heartbreaking scene we also see that her love of Sitcoms came from her parents using sitcoms to teach them English. Next we get the H.Y.D.R.A. flashback and her powers being expanded by the Mind Stone. We later see the romance that begins with Vision after Pietro’s death to Ultron and finally her visit to Hayward where she doesn’t sense Vision anymore as S.W.O.R.D. is dissecting him. From here her last memory is how she got to Westview following a note from Vision that an empty property is where they’d build their home together. This causes her to cry out in pain as she creates the reality of “WandaVision” with her power. All this leads into Agnes’s belief that her power comes because she is the most powerful witch known as the Starlet Witch who will bring about the end.
“The Ship of Theseus” – So Hayward succeeds at rebuilding Vision as as a robotic weapon and he orders it to kill Wanda’s Vision. It tries to kill Wanda and fights the Vision created by Wanda’s magic. This vision stops fighting when the Magic Vision who knows the truth of who it is says he is not truly vision and they explore “The Ship of Theseus” as they are both recreations of Vision but not the true Vision that was killed, unless they are and the true ship is the rebuilt Ship that has been entirely replaced. From here Magic Vision activates the memories of the robotic Vision causing it call out that it is Vision before leaving. It is a powerful scene and I loved the discussion on “Who is the Vision?”
Vision’s Good-bye – After all of this and defeating Agatha, Wanda ends the Hex but before she gets her last good-byes with her children, who she thanks for choosing her and Vision as they both know he will disappear after the Hex is gone. We learn how much they mean to each other and what the meant to each other. It helps encapsulate their experiences in the show and how they are one another’s motivation. It is easily an example of some of the best writing on the show, especially in an episode that didn’t have much good writing sadly.
The Scarlet Witch – The core arc of “WandaVision” is Wanda becoming the the Scarlet Witch and accepting her trauma, loss, grief and power. It is a great arc as for much of the show she is pushing away that pain, until it finally comes crashing down in the memories and with it acceptance as she has to say good-bye to both her children and Vision as we see her escape and is learning magic on her own with possible plans to bring back her children. She being setup as a possible villain in the future makes sense as she unknowingly held an entire town hostage to her reality and because of it knows there isn’t really a home for her.
Hayward as Strawman Villain – Director Hayward was a character with potential. His desire to save people from Wanda’s spell is great but they have him care more about trying to frame her for stealing Vision, when she didn’t and killing her. He goes from a possible complex character to a strawman who is full “ends justify the means” and is easily one of the weakest elements of the story.
Agatha’s Lack of Plan – So Agatha wants Wanda’s powers and she says Wanda doesn’t know the full potential of her power and what she could do. We never see or know what Agatha would do for it. She is after power for the sake of power and becomes just as weak as Hayward in characterization, which is a shame as she acted really well and her setup and being behind it all was cool. Sadly she falls into the trap of being as boring and generic as most MCU villains in the end. She deserved a better plot and better motivation.
The “Quicksilver” Reveal – Quicksilver is just someone being mind controlled by Agatha named Ralph Bohner, it exists as a joke and functions as a waste of bringing in the better Quicksilver (Fox’s X-Men Quicksilver is so much better than the MCUs). I hope Evan Peters can appear as Quicksilver for real as once he is revealed to be under the spell too and just a joke all the weight of his existence and potential is gone, which just adds to the weak villain motivations and endings.
There was a lot of talk about Mephisto or the Multiverse being behind everything. I really hope we do see these concepts explored further and even a hint at some of these larger ideas and “Quicksilver” being an actual Quicksilver would have helped the show and made it great. As it stands this is really good show that does such an amazing job exploring grief and trauma and I cared about the characters. This is a show I’d recommend as this is one of the best ideas to come out of the MCU and I can’t wait to see where Wanda’s story unfolds as her ending scene struck me as the one with the greatest story potential as she is now fully the Scarlet Witch.
Final Score: 8.9 / 10 Well worth your time.