Warning: The following article contains spoilers for episode 9 of WandaVision. For a catch-up on all that’s happened previously, click here.
WandaVision comes to its conclusion with the 9th and final episode in a rather explosive matter. After several weeks of unraveling the mysteries of Wanda’s world and learning how it came to be, it all comes crashing down. The series finale of WandaVision doesn’t necessarily do a direct homage to sitcom television this week. However, the finality of this episode does resemble the series finales of great TV of the past. There are many different things that have to come together and reach their natural conclusion. Moreover, some questions left unanswered from last week too. So, while the final episode of WandaVision has a lot to balance, the show manages to do so to varying degrees of success.
With Agatha having been revealed to have exploited Wanda’s moment of immense grief to learn of her power, they finally face off. This final episode wastes no time in returning to the MCU formula we have grown accustomed to. Immediately, we get a face-off between Agatha and Wanda. At the same time, we also get to see Vision face off against his soulless real-world reflection. Overall, this opening to the episode makes for an exciting change of pace. The past 8 episodes of build-up, mystery, and tension building explode onto the screen.
The action is typical MCU fare, and we see for the first time Wanda up against someone with powers like herself. Albeit, more experienced with them than she is. Director Matt Shakman takes the opportunity to add emotion (and exposition) to the action. The scenes with Agatha and Wanda, unfortunately, suffer from some exposition that takes away from the tension. However, it’s the interaction between the two Visions where the episode shines.
Seeing the two Visions face off against each other was the highlight of the episode. Vision putting his full powers on display against himself to a near stalemate was incredible. There is some great choreography and very clever maneuvering between the two. Almost like a dance, the androids go from a battle with each other to a deep examination of what they are. Akin to Ultron and Vision’s final conversation in Age of Ultron, they examine each other/themselves to try and come to a conclusion in regards to who the real “Vision” is. It’s a clever narrative point in the episode that is extremely engaging. The two wax philosophical before the original Vision’s memories are restored. This pretty much resolves Vision’s arc in the show, ending in an efficient, clever, and exciting manner.
In regards to Tommy and Billy, their development falls to the wayside more than expected. The first half of the episode, focused on action, has one scene dedicated to the twins. The sequence in question makes for a fun display of the twins’ power but overall feels forced and awkward. Especially when the morally ambiguous and authoritarian Director Hayward goes full government villain in the cheesiest way possible. His attempt to shoot the twins is thwarted by Monica using her powers. The moment is forced and probably the worst part of the episode. From that point on, with Vision and Monica’s arcs wrapped, they spend most of the episode watching Wanda fight Agatha in the sky. The fight between Wanda and Agatha is compelling enough, however, the random interjection of shots of Vision, the twins, and Monica just staring up at the battle makes for weird placement.
Wanda’s fight with Agatha concludes in satisfying fashion when Wanda uses the witch’s own tricks against her. Forming giant runes in her own hex, Wanda embraces what Agatha had been yelling at her for most of the episode; she is the Scarlet Witch. The moment is a major payoff for the past couple of episodes. Stricken with grief and tragedy, Wanda has struggled in most of her MCU films with finding out who she is. Embracing her identity as the Scarlet Witch makes for a turning point for her character.
Going full-comic-book-persona, Wanda defeats Agatha. At this point, WandaVision takes a turn from typical MCU fare for a more emotional and intimate moment. With half of the episode serving the action that resolves the problem at hand, the aftermath serves for more personal problems to be addressed besides the big bad. That being, the fact that Wanda’s family is a fabrication of her reality has to be undone.
It’s with this moment that WandaVision shows how it can differentiate itself from films. Whereas the weaker MCU films focused on action rather than emotional resonance, WandaVision attempts to reconcile the two in an appropriate balance. With the typical third act showdown out of the way and all the mysteries solved, the show takes time for an emotional and heartfelt conclusion. Vision and Wanda make peace by saying goodbye to their children. In the process, Wanda and Vision have one final conversation with each other. Wanda makes peace with her loss. This scene is one of the most emotional that the MCU has to offer.
This final scene is a testament to what’s possible with the television show format. Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen give some of their best work at Marvel yet with their last scene together. Their reflection on their relationship and what comes after is a beautiful moment. It works so well as the emotional aftermath to the action that had just transpired, a rare outcome to any Marvel movie or comic project.
Overall, while having some odd pacing and uninspired action in some moments, WandaVision sticks the landing with a satisfying conclusion to one of the oddest projects to come from the MCU. The series as a whole broke new ground in its early episodes, however, delving into formulaic superhero content held it back from really rising above the high bar set by films like Winter Soldier or Endgame. Still, the show works well enough and is an entertaining chapter and a new start to Phase Four. Emotionally satisfying and shockingly creative, WandaVision makes for some great television. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 8/10