WandaVision Episode 1×08 Review: “Previously On”

WandaVision Ep. 1x08 - "Previously On"
‘Previously On’ – Agatha Harkness interrogates Wanda.

WandaVision’s penultimate episode, ‘Previously On’, answers all of your questions and reveals the heartbreaking truth to Wanda’s reality.

With only one more episode left of WandaVision, ‘Previously On’ had a lot riding on it in terms of being the series’ penultimate episode. That being said, episode 8 dropped the sitcom act and leveled with the deeper story that we’ve all been waiting to hear. With glimpses into what brought Wanda to her final breaking point, fans can finally see the whole picture. Although, it’s safe to say that there are many more twists and turns yet to be seen when the finale drops next week. 

‘Previously On’ begins with more insight into Agatha Harkness’ backstory. Last week’s episode ended with Agnes revealing she is actually Agatha Harkness, the witch from the comics, also handing WandaVision fans the catchiest song of 2021—”Agatha All Along”. In this episode, we find ourselves in Salem during the 1600s, where Agatha is about to be burned at the stake for violating the terms of her coven. However, her powers are too strong and she easily wipes out her fellow witches, including her own mother. 

Interestingly enough, it seemed almost as though Agatha wasn’t completely in control of her own powers. During the opening scene, she continuously says she can be good and that the rest of her coven just don’t understand the power she has inside of her. Even as Agatha’s coven attempts to kill her, Agatha seems relatively unfazed. In fact, it almost seemed like her powers were doing most of the killing. Now, you can never quite say never when it comes to comics and live-action adaptations of comic stories, so I think there’s a possibility there might be another evil magical force at work, using Agatha as a puppet. 

Agatha Harkness in "Previously On"
Agatha Harkness is burned at the stake.

Agatha is determined throughout ‘Previously On’ to understand Wanda and how she received her powers, specifically her reality-warping abilities. She seems genuinely convinced that Wanda is not just some superhero that got her powers through experimentation, but rather, that Wanda is actually a witch with magical capabilities. And yes, this is more in line with her powers in the comics. When the MCU first introduced Wanda, she was basically just a telekinetic and telepath, but this episode of WandaVision has brought Wanda’s comic-accurate powerset to the forefront. 

In order to make Wanda remember, she takes Wanda back through her own memories. She begins with childhood, specifically, the night bombs dropped on her family’s house. This whole scene explains the reason behind WandaVision‘s fixation on sitcoms through the eras. As we find out, Wanda loves sitcoms and frequently watched them with her parents and Pietro. She had a whole collection of shows—including Bewitched, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, and Malcolm in the Middle

And then just as things seem perfect, the apartment blows up. We finally get to see the scene that Wanda described back in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, wherein Wanda and Pietro remained trapped in the rubble of their house, unable to get away from a Stark Industries bomb. The real reason as to why the bomb never actually went off and killed Wanda and her brother gets chalked up to a probability hex. As it seems, Wanda had been using magic since she was a little girl, just completely unaware she was doing so. 

Personally, I feel like Agatha’s determination in trying to unlock an explanation to Wanda’s powers is a hint she might not be the true villain or that she’s working alongside somebody else. Throughout the whole episode, Agatha is really pressing Wanda to figure out Wanda’s magic. It’s odd, considering the beginning of the episode showed us that Agatha was far more powerful than her own coven. And sure, maybe Agatha just wants to be more powerful. That’s a totally evil villain thing to want to do. However, I can’t help but feel as though Agatha is somewhat intimidated by/genuinely interested in the kind of power Wanda holds. 

Considering the fact that Agatha is literally from the 1600s, it’s safe to say Agatha knows her magic. Not just magic, but what kind of magic can be performed. And through taking Wanda down a trip through memory lane, it’s almost like she wants Wanda to embrace her powers. This could be the MCU’s way at getting towards a more comic accurate relationship between Wanda and Agatha. They’ve elected to make Agatha something more of an outright villain, but there are hints at a possible mentor/apprentice relationship brewing throughout this episode. And since Wanda literally knows little to nothing about herself and what she can do, I could see Agatha going on to mentor her in a future film or show. 

Wanda and Pietro in WandaVision
Wanda and Pietro remained trapped in the rubble of their home.

Anyways, Agatha leads Wanda to the next memory—the time she spent being experimented on with the Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter. And this is arguably one of the coolest scenes in the episode. At least, in my own personal opinion. As described in the episode, anybody who interacts with the Mind Stone ends up dying, which isn’t a surprise considering it’s literally an infinity stone. However, when Wanda is brought in to test with the stone, something strange happens. 

Wanda walks up to the Mind Stone and reaches out to touch it, only for it to seemingly “open itself” to her. Somehow, it shows her one of two things. I’m not entirely sure, but the stone either showed Wanda her future or her true potential. Either way, we get a cool shot of another version of Wanda reaching out to her, wearing a totally awesome Scarlet Witch costume. Now, the “vision” from the Mind Stone was intentionally kept blurry as to not actually reveal the new costume. However, I think that it’s entirely possible we’ll see Wanda in her new suit in the finale. After all, the new costume was hinted at in one of the first promo pictures for WandaVision, with a glimpse at the costume on a TV screen. 

Scarlet Witch in Ep 108 "Previously On"
The Scarlet Witch presents herself to Wanda.

Even though ‘Previously On’ felt considerably more tame than previous episodes of WandaVision, I think that this episode was the hardest to watch simply because of how heartbreaking it is. With Agatha walking Wanda through her memories, we’re reminded that Wanda lost her parents, her brother, and Vision. And then we’re led to the moment where Wanda allegedly stormed the S.W.O.R.D facility and stole back Vision’s body. The only problem is that Wanda doesn’t steal back Vision’s body. 

Wanda goes to the S.W.O.R.D facility and wants to take Vision’s body back into her possession so that she can give him a proper funeral. She meets Hayward, who lets her see Vision’s disassembled body, telling her since Vision’s body is so advanced and made up of millions of dollars worth of vibranium, he can’t let her take Vision. However, he does allow her to take one last moment with Vision. And in one of the two saddest moments of the episode, Wanda places her hand atop Vision’s head and sobs, saying that she can no longer “feel Vision”—confirming that he is definitely dead.

Wanda then leaves S.W.O.R.D, empty-handed, but completely heartbroken. And obviously, this is important. Why? Because in a previous episode, Hayward said that Wanda broke into S.W.O.R.D and stole Vision’s body. He even showed doctored footage of Wanda breaking into the lab and destroying cameras. Hayward’s whole deal throughout the entire series has been about him trying to “retrieve” S.W.O.R.D’s stolen property and put an end to Wanda’s hex. However, we now know that Hayward has been lying the whole time and that he’s always had some kind of irrational anger towards Wanda. 

WandaVision Ep. 108 "Previously On"
Wanda says goodbye to Vision for the final time.

And in the second saddest scene of ‘Previously On’, we find out why Westview has been so important throughout the series. Wanda leaves the S.W.O.R.D facility and drives to an empty housing lot in Westview and reveals she has the deed to the lot, which had been purchased by Vision with plans of the two of them settling down together. I don’t know about you, but I cried. It’s just another thing piled on top of all the other things that Wanda has lost throughout her life. Parents, brother, Vision, and the now the future she could have had with Vision. 

As expected, because let’s be honest with ourselves, this kind of trauma would definitely be anybody’s breaking point, Wanda finally breaks down and unleashes her full potential. We see her explode with red magic and literally stitch together her fake reality of Westview. But that’s not even the surprising part. We see Wanda build another version of Vision, one that knows her and can love her while existing within the parameters of the “hex”.

I thought this was a really cool way to reveal things, because back in episode 6 when Vision left the bubble and died, we all assumed that he “died” because he was nothing more than a reanimated corpse, dressed up with Wanda’s magic. And outside of the hex, the body could only exist as spare parts. But now we know that the Vision from inside of Wanda’s bubble can only exist inside because he’s literally part of the fabric of the fake world. He’s a construct of Wanda’s own making. 

Following Agatha’s new insight into Wanda’s power, she reveals she understands Wanda. She explains that Wanda is “The Scarlet Witch” and that what she does is extremely rare and known as Chaos Magic, which allows her to legitimately rewrite the fabric of existence at will. This comes straight from the comics, wherein it’s revealed that she is granted some of this ability from the demon Chthon. These are the same abilities that allowed her to easily eradicate mutant abilities from the world’s mutant population during the House of M story. And I’m so excited to see what Wanda will do with the MCU in the palms of her hands! 

Wanda uses her chaos magic
Wanda unleashes the true power of her Chaos Magic.

Much like last week’s episode, ‘Previously On’ delivers yet another awesome post-credit scene. This one’s a serious doozy, so get ready! 

We meet back in the real world where Director Hayward and S.W.O.R.D have set up shop outside of Wanda’s hex bubble. They announce they’re finally ready to make a move on Westview and take down Wanda. However, that’s not the crazy part. Instead, we find out that Hayward has a new weapon that is ready and capable to go up against Wanda. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Hmm…what weapon could possibly take down Wanda?”. Well, Hayward reveals he has finished reconstructing Vision’s decommissioned body. We get to see Vision again, the real Vision, although he’s now completely white instead of red and green. 

This is such a cool reveal that it’s sure to get comic book geeks all crazed, because White Vision comes from the comics. In the comics, and similar to the events of the MCU, Vision dies. However, he is rebuilt and brought back online. The only problem is that this newly rebuilt Vision is completely without his ability to express emotion. He doesn’t have them anymore. This causes serious problems for Wanda and her family because in the comics they’re married. And when White Vision meets with them, he denounces Wanda as his wife and tells Billy and Tommy that he is not their father. 

White Vision in WandaVision
Vision, rebuilt and weaponized by S.W.O.R.D

Now, I’m psyched to see how this will play out in WandaVision’s finale next week. I don’t think that we’re going to have a tiny family squabble, not with Hayward using White Vision as an actual weapon. I think that we’re going to see a huge showdown between Wanda and White Vision, possibly alongside Monica. This is going to be dramatic for a lot of reasons, but mainly because Wanda’s going to have to confront the now weaponized body of her former husband. 

This somewhat sets Hayward as the main antagonist of the series, despite Agatha revealing herself to be the one pulling most of the strings behind the scenes. And yet, I don’t think Agatha was the one to tell Hayward to rebuild Vision as an Anti-Wanda weapon. I’m interested to see if Agatha sits the finale out or teams up with Wanda. I’m still convinced that Agatha isn’t the main villain and she still might explore a possible mentorship with Wanda in the future of the MCU. After all, Wanda has a lot more to learn about her Chaos Magic and there are very few characters that are qualified to teach her—Doctor Strange is really the only other character that could help her.

Vision - Little Better Than a Beast
Vision Vol. 2 – “Little Better Than A Beast” (Source: Marvel Comics, 2016)

But what do you think? Are you guys excited about the finale of WandaVision next week?

Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Rodney

Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.

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