WandaVision Episode 8 ” Previously On” Review

Agatha Harkness forces Wanda Maximoff to explore her past to discover how and why she created the Westview Sitcom World.

Spoilers Below

WandaVision Episode Eight ” Previously On” returns to a standard serial tv format but digs into why Wanda uses sitcoms as her escape. Agatha wants to know how the younger witch has amassed enough power to enchant a whole town. Agatha blackmails Wanda threatening to kill her kids of she doesn’t travel back in time through these portals. During her journey into the past Wanda learns the truth.

Agatha was the most powerful witch alive until Wanda came along. Agatha was born during the 17th Century in Salem, Massachusetts. Her mother was the head of their coven. Agatha practiced black magic, which was forbidden. The coven tried to burn her at stake for her evil deeds, but she was powerful enough to reverse the spell and drain each them of their life force. Agatha appears not to have full control of her magic but is glad to get rid of her mother. The witch steals a broach off her body before flying away. The broach appears to represent her mother’s authority. After going through Wanda’s memories, Agatha learns that Wanda is a mystical being called the “Scarlet Witch.” The “Scarlet Witch” practices chaos magic. This is the first that the MCU refers to Wanda as the “Scarlet Witch.”

Wanda’s origins are finally revealed in “Previously On” as she is forced to deal with her grief and lifetime of trauma. Agatha leads Wanda through a series of doors that map out her life trajectory. In the first portal, the origins of Wanda’s love of sitcoms are revealed. Her Sokovian parents sold DVDs of American sitcoms ranging from the 1950s to the early 2000s. The Maximoff family learned English from watching sitcoms episodes. The sitcoms distracted the children from war torn Sokovia. The suitcase that the twin’s father carries during the portal-induced memory contains seasons of I Love Lucy, Bewitched, The Addams Family, and Malcolm in the Middle. All those sitcoms except for maybe The Addams Family are references for each of Wanda’s “episodes.” Though Wanda’s favorite sitcom is the Dick Van Dyke Show, which is what the family ends up watching that night. The episode that the Maximoff family watches shows Dick falling over a chair in the living room. Vision does the same thing in the I Love Lucy inspired episode “Filmed Before A Live Audience.” Sadly, a Stark Industry bomb destroys their home, killing both parents. Young Wanda unintentionally uses magic to stop a second bomb from going off, saving Pietro and herself. Even before Wanda was exposed to an infinity stone, she was a witch. The infinity stone just amplified her powers.

The third memory that Agatha extracts from Wanda shows how Vision became her family. After losing her twin Pietro at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda moves into the Avengers compound. Sitcoms have always been a comfort blanket for the witch. Vision enters Wanda’s room while she is watching Malcolm in the Middle. He sees that she is overcome with grief. Wanda refuses to speak about Pietro’s death or her trauma. Vision draws her out of her depression by talking about how he has never felt pain from losing somebody since he has never felt love. He explains that grief is love persisting even when the person is gone. Then Vision laughs when he sees something funny on screen. Instead of being offended, Wanda connects with the fact that Vision finds Malcolm In the Middle hilarious. The two watch the episode together on her bed. Vision is the one person who helped her deal with her emotions instead of pretending nothing was wrong.

Acting Director Tyler Hayward turns out to be one of the biggest villains of WandaVision. Back in ” We Interrupt This Program,” Hayward played Monica a video of Wanda breaking into S.W.O.R.D headquarters to steal Vision’s body. Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy thought that she brought her love back from the dead. Wanda sometimes saw Vision as a corpse implying to the audience that he is a zombie-like figure. In the eighth episode, the truth is revealed. Agatha and Wanda enter the last memory in the S.W.O.R.D. headquarters the day that Wanda created the Sitcom world. Wanda refuses to leave the building until S.W.O.R.D. allows her to take Vision’s body. As the next of kin, she wants to give him a proper burial so everybody can grief. Eventually, Hayward allows her to see Vision. He leads her to an observation deck above a lab where scientists take apart the android’s body. Hayward refuses to give Wanda custody of the corpse because he “belongs” to S.W.O.R.D. All Vision is to him is a billion-dollar weapon. Wanda uses her powers to force her way into the lab to say goodbye to Vision with Hayward’s blessing.

The video is edited to make it seem like she broke into the lab to steal the body, leaving out all the parts showing she is a grieving spouse. Wanda is heartbroken that she can longer feel Vision’s presence. She drives to Westview, New Jersey. Vision brought a empty lot to build their forever home in suburban New Jersey. Vision planned to grow “old” with Wanda in Westview. Wanda stands in the middle of the land, totally heartbroken unable to deal with her pain without any outlet or support. Scarlet Witch’s magic burst out of her grief, first building a new “Vision,” then morphing Westview into a 1950’s Sitcom World. In the present day, Hayward powers up a transformed Vision.

WandaVision Episode Eight reveals Wanda Maximoff was manipulated by two power-hungry villains but is still the hero of this story. For those MCU fans, this episode may feel this episode is overly explanatory, but for those who don’t have deep knowledge, it puts the pieces together.

Post Author: Paloma Bennett

Paloma Bennett is a film and television reviewer based out of Los Angeles. As a member of the LGBTQ+ Community, a feminist, a voracious reader, and a super fan, she’s tapped into today’s mercurial identity-based culture. She brings this engaged understanding of contemporary culture to her film and television reviews. Her work can be found on Whedonopolis, Fandomopolis, Women at Warp, FanBolt, and her blog Decoding the Daemoverse. Paloma has also produced and co-hosted the monthly film podcast “Jump Start Cinema” sponsored by New Filmmakers Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. in Film and Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Cinema Critical Studies from San Francisco State University. Paloma has a passion for everything pop culture, including TV shows, movies, comic books, and podcasts. The first significant fandom she was geeky about was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s a proud member of the Star Trek LA Away Team.

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