WandaVision Episode 8: A Trip Down Memory Lane
After finally revealing it was Agatha all along last week, WandaVision’s penultimate episode takes a break from parodying sitcoms and instead take us on a trip down memory lane.
Picking up where we left off last week Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) begins the episode by sharing her own origin story, before casting a spell that allows her and Wanda to travel through the Scarlet Witch’s memories to see what led to Wanda taking over Westview.
If I’m honest this was probably my least favourite episode of WandaVision, it had its moments don’t get me wrong, but this is the first time I’ve ever thought the show’s pacing was off. After episode six’s dramatic conclusion I presumed the pieces were all in play for a dramatic two-part finale, but it turns out I was wrong.
Instead, the show opts to take its foot off the gas and alternatively gives us a more detailed version of Wanda’s backstory. Now there’s nothing wrong with this in theory – and I did enjoy the scriptwriters putting a bit more meat on Wanda’s character – but I take issue with how they chose to do it.
The decision to have an episode take place almost entirely in flashback – though, technically it’s not because of magic, but whatever – brings the story to a dead halt, removes a lot of the tension the show’s been built on, and most annoyingly feels entirely unnecessary because the show’s been well written enough for us to work out all these beats.
I perhaps could have got on board with the flashbacks a bit more if they’d been more substantial, but they felt fleeting and a bit surface level, if I’m honest. In fact, with the exception of the scene showing Wanda as a kid in Sokovia, the majority of the flashbacks felt like a primer for those who haven’t been following Wanda’s adventures for the last five years or so.
Having the whole episode take place in this weird memory bubble also deprived the show of the majority of its incredible cast and I found myself hoping that we’d get a little Evan Peters, Teyonah Parris or Paul Bettany but it never happened.
But as I said it wasn’t all bad, and I appreciate that showing us how Wanda how loss has come to define her life, is necessary for those people who haven’t seen Avengers: Age of Ultron as many times as I have (I love James Spader, he’s the f*cking lizard king).
There were also some intriguing teases about the nature of Wanda’s powers which feel like their building to something that’ll pay off next week or, if the rumours are true, in Multiverse of Madness.
Also, both Olsen and Hahn are great in this episode, especially Hahn who after her reveal last week is clearly having a ball playing the wicked witch Agatha. I really hope she survives the events of the show because I really want to see her interact with the rest of the MCU, and let’s be honest who doesn’t want more Kathryn Hahn.
Seriously Marvel I would watch a show all about Agatha… make it happen… now.
I have to give Olsen her dues as well, there was one scene that had me fighting back a few tears, and she really sells just how broken Wanda is after the loss of her parents, brother and soul mate. You totally understand why she prefers living in the Hex, and I think a lesser actor would have struggled to pull off those scenes with the authenticity Olsen gives Wanda.
All in all episode 8 is a fine episode, it just doesn’t quite live up to the high standards that WandaVision has set for itself, that said I’m still ridiculously excited for the finale next week.
WandaVision concludes next week on Disney+.
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