At the start of the series, WandaVision fully broke the mold for Marvel properties and provided audiences with something refreshingly new. But that unique approach to the story could only last so long. By the close of the series, we were met by multiple advisories with quickly resolved tensions, and the set-up for the next two-to-three storylines going into Phase Four of the franchise.
Unlike my past WandaVision reviews, I’m not going to go through the episode and recap what happened. Instead, I’m going to highlight the things that worked and didn’t work in the finale. As with any popular series, fans were atwitter with theories, expectations, and anticipated outcomes for WandaVision. As a mostly “meh” viewer of all Marvel properties, my only hope had been that they wouldn’t go full-Marvel for this series. Ha.
The series finale is a good series finale, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it stuck its superhero landing.
The WandaVision Series Finale was a Marvel Finish
Overall, “The Series Finale” followed through with the largely anticipated outcome. Wanda accepted her grief, she sacrificed her happiness to free her “meat puppets” in Westview, the big bad was defeated, Wanda watched Vision “die” for the third time, and the post-credit scenes set-up the future Marvel films. Thankfully, there were no major cameos to derail the focus away from Wanda’s story.
One of the most egregious issues with the back-half of WandaVision is the way that Agatha’s introduction effectively shifted the story into weaponizing Wanda’s grief. There could have been a really fascinating story about how Wanda’s grief was her own enemy, but Marvel — being Marvel — couldn’t do a big energy battle with grief itself. Yes, by the close of the episode (and the post-credit scenes) Wanda has reached the acceptance phase of grief, but the journey to get there was a rocky experience.
I wish they had handled the residents of Westview differently. At first, when it seemed like Wanda had no control over the world she created, following the “Agatha all along” reveal, I was willing to extend some grace towards what Wanda was unwittingly doing to the nearly 4,000 citizens under her thrall, but… In the end, her grief hurt people (which is highlighted by the dialogue) and it cheapened the exploration of her grief. It frames a woman in pain as a villain and we already know how people feel about superheroes in this universe. It’s not quite X-Men, but it’s close.
While Monica had one major moment in the finale, overall her character’s potential was underutilized by the series. So much of her character was built around her own grief about her mother’s death and how she sympathized with Wanda in that regard, but we never got a truly satisfactory moment between the pair. The brief interaction in the final moments left me yearning for my own alternate reality where Wanda and Monica could have unpacked their grief together, without Agatha weaponizing Wanda’s pain.
For me, Agatha’s defeat was underwhelming. It was all flashy moments of purple versus red, “big bad” dialogue, and having the concept she introduced used against her. I spent most of the episode thinking about how she was the Disney Channel Original Movie villain thanks to a certain tweet this week. Her final moments fell flat with Wanda forcing her back into the Nosey Neighbor persona. It’s clear we will see her again, given the final dialogue between the two witches. “You’re gonna need me.” / “If I do, I know where to find you.” Maybe I’m just tired of witches always being presented as evil women. It’s a trope that should be retired.
If we want to get really in the weeds, Tyler Hayward was the real villain all along. From his first introduction, fans were quick to label him as bad news and it was nice to see that our assumptions were completely right. Trust no white man in the government. He not only doctored the S.W.O.R.D. footage to make Wanda look like a criminal, but he was more than willing to shoot Billy, Tommy, and Monica! That’s a coldhearted monster right there. Darcy ramming the clown-mobile into his vehicle to ensure he got caught was deliciously satisfying. I’m sure we’re not completely done with that character and the ramifications of his actions will likely be seen again.
The “Fietro” reveal was underwhelming. All of Agatha’s teasing about Ralph throughout the season was just a fake-out. Fake-Pietro isn’t even Peter from Fox’s X-Men universe. The only thing “Peter” about him is Evan Peter’s last name. I was left wondering what the point of that sub-plot was and also left concerned by all of Agatha’s sexual innuendos about Ralph and what she may or may not have been doing to the poor possessed Ralph Bohner off-camera. Yikes.
As much as I loved seeing Wanda fully come into her abilities and powers (and don her gorgeous Scarlet Witch persona) the reveal that it was all prophesied was almost as underwhelming as Fietro. For a show that has had such spectacular writing across seven of its nine episodes, the outcome was anticlimactic. Chalking it all up to a prophecy pretty much implies it would’ve happened regardless of what happened to Wanda throughout her life. I know witchcraft was part of her origin story in the comics, but this is a new introduction to a character that already had a backstory for her abilities. Again, it’s fine. Just fine.
Wanda and her Vision’s final moments were some of the most poignant moments in the finale. I was reduced to tears (stop looking at me mom, I know I was sobbing) the moment the pair and the twins returned home to say goodbye to each other. I was shocked that they went the route of erasing Billy and Tommy, considering Monica pointed out that they were real just a few episodes ago. Of course, with the post-post-credit scene, we’re presented with the idea that they are still out there. Wanda’s story with the boys isn’t over yet.
I loved how they explained that Vision was a creation of Wanda’s sadness, hope, and love. We all knew we were going to lose Vision again, but did it have to hurt so much? This was the sort of “heart stuff” that made WandaVision so unique to the other Marvel properties. Wanda has been allowed to explore her grief, her love, and the hope she has for a better future than her past. I’m going to hold onto their final exchange, otherwise, I’m going to be forced to create my own HEX. “We have said goodbye before, so it stands to reason…” / “We’ll say hello again.”
Elizabeth. Paul. Stop hurting me like this.
On the upside, White Vision is out there somewhere and presumably figuring out who he was before Hayward and S.W.O.R.D. tried to turn him into their personal mindless weapon of mass destruction. At least Wanda’s Vision was able to get through to him and set up a potentially satisfactory outcome for Wanda and Vision in the future. But if they bring him back again, only to force Wanda (and me) to watch him die again, I won’t be as forgiving in the future.
WandaVision was a great series, with an alright finale. Let’s normalize having middle-of-the-road opinions on series that don’t quite hit the emotional satisfaction you’re looking for.
What is a Marvel finale, if not Marvel focused on setting up future movies?