Disclaimer: this article contains spoilers. I’d recommend WandaVision to everyone if you haven’t seen it, because it’s the best thing that has found itself onto my screen this year. I’d also recommend watching some Marvel movies too, they provide helpful context and are just plain awesome.
I don’t know about you all, but I have been obsessed with Marvel’s most recent creation, WandaVision. For those of you who don’t know, WandaVision follows the “post-Endgame” life of Wanda Maximoff (the most powerful Avenger, hands down), and her perfect dream life with husband Vision, a super humanoid who was also a part of the Avengers. Though Vision was murdered when Thanos ripped the mind stone right out of Vision’s head (Avengers: Infinity War), we see him alive and well in the first episode with Wanda in an I Love Lucy meets The Dick Van Dyke Show themed episode. So, what happened? As the show continues, we see even more strange things occur. Why are the episodes sitcom-themed? Why do they seem to evolve with the decades? Why does it seem like every moment Wanda doesn’t like something, she’s able to rewind the episode? I was very confused for the first two episodes, along with the majority of the show’s watchers.
After a while, the viewer learns the truth: Wanda, stricken with grief after the death of her beloved Vision, unconsciously creates an alternate universe for herself in Westview, New Jersey, the place where Vision had planned to live the rest of their lives together (I’m already crying). She traps everyone living in Westview and takes control of their minds to do her bidding (which in this case, means playing the role of the next door neighbor, the doctor, her best friend, her husband’s coworkers, you name it). She even recreates Vision using the power of the mind stone she was exposed to when she underwent super human experimentation in her home country of Sokovia. Yes, she created this perfect life for herself, but she imprisons an entire city because she is so blinded by her own pain and grief. The whole plot gets even more complicated when we learn that her next door neighbor, Agatha Harkness, is actually a witch, and that the government organization “SWORD” is trying to kill her by reviving the corpse of her dead husband (yikes).
Along with this mess, throughout the course of the TV show, Wanda goes through an emotional journey with her greatest enemy: grief. Wanda has been haunted by grief her entire life, having first experienced the loss of both of her parents, then her brother, and now the love of her life. Wanda has faced so much pain throughout her life and has never gotten the chance to unpack it. Vision was never given a funeral, so she never got the chance to mourn his death. If one pays close attention, each episode represents a different stage of the stages of grief. Although Wanda begins in denial, she slowly comes to terms with her own grief and recognizes the mess she’s made and how to fix it. She ultimately has to give up her made up life (which sadly included Vision), but not before learning about the true source of her power and the true extent of her power.
It was really interesting seeing Marvel portray grief on screen. They did a terrible job portraying Thor’s own grief in Avengers: Endgame, but it seems like they learned from that mistake and tried again with WandaVision. I really enjoyed Wanda’s character development and experiencing the journey with grief with her. It was genuine, difficult, and emotional, but it was important for Wanda to have had her moment. It makes me happy knowing the character is now in a better place and knows what is in store for her in the future.
The last thing I want to mention is that visually, this show was incredible. I loved how every episode took on the aesthetic of a sitcom from a different decade. The theme song for episode two was my favorite. The acting range of each of the actors was astounding, especially Elizabth Olsen’s. I loved Kathryn Hahn: she is a fantastic actor and I was astounded by how well she played the nosy neighbor and the evil witch striving to become all powerful. I laughed, I cried, I loved it.