One witch, two witch, red witch, blue witch: WandaVision “Previously On”
Previously on WandaVision: Vision, fresh from his escape attempt, was running home to talk to Wanda, who was being held captive by newly revealed villain Agatha Harkness, a hipster witch who was into harnessing the hidden forces of the universe before it was cool. Agatha was also holding Wanda’s children Boisterous One and Quiet One hostage, and newly-superpowered Monica Rambeau was being held captive by the soulless facsimile of Wanda’s dead brother Pietro. Director Hayward was planning a full assault on the Hex. Still no word on that mysterious beekeeper; I think we can assume he’s dead.
We open in Salem, 1693. A young Ms. Harkness is led to a stake. Not to be put to death for witchcraft—her captors, as it turns out, are all witches—but for witching harder and darker than she was permitted to witch. She studied dark arts above her station. Agatha protests that the raw magical talent dwelling within her urged her on to these forbidden secrets, and she can be good if she’s only allowed freedom to study. The other witches don’t agree, and begin to execute her with blue magic beams issued from their hands.
But the wholesome blue beams are soon corrupted by perfidious purple magic from Agatha’s body. Agatha gains the upper hand and sucks the life force from all the witches in the circle, and flies away with a cackle.
In the present day, Agatha has cornered Wanda in her basement. She’s protected herself from Wanda’s magic with a series of runes, something that Wanda, having gotten her magical powers from the unholy hands of science, knows nothing about. Agatha says she was drawn to Wanda after sensing all the spells she’s cast. She wants to know how an untrained witch is running a whole system of thousands of interconnected spells, the simplest of which would normally take years of study to master. Wanda can’t answer her.
“It’s been fun playing pretend, but now it’s time for some real reruns,” Agatha says. She plucks one of Wanda’s hairs and uses it to transform a basement door into the door of her Sokovian apartment circa 2000 or so. Agatha encourages Wanda to step into the “role” of her younger self. Wanda steps on “set” and becomes herself as a preteen.
Wanda’s dad Alexei has come home with a suitcase full of bootleg DVDs of all the different TV shows we’ve seen homages to so far. They settle in for a blissful night of classic TV. Wanda picks out The Dick Van Dyke Show, which is so beloved it’s kept in a secret compartment in the wall.
But the vague armed conflict outside escalates, and soon their apartment is hit by a series of missiles helpfully labelled with the Stark Industries logo. Young Pietro and Wanda are trapped beneath the rubble with an unexploded munition and a miraculously still-functioning TV. “By the end of the episode,” young Wanda says, “we realize it was all a bad dream.” The bomb stays inert, but the parents do not come back to life.
Agatha pulls adult Wanda out of her reverie and informs her that, far from being “lucky”, young Wanda unconsciously used a probability hex to make the bomb a dud. This still gives her no clues as to where Wanda’s fantastic powers come from. She conjures a door with a HYDRA logo on it, promising this time to send Wanda back to her time as a lab rat in a HYDRA facility.
In this flashback, a sallow-faced young Wanda is led into a room containing Loki’s scepter with the Mind Stone, which HYDRA got ahold of at some point after The Avengers. She announces herself as a “volunteer”. The science men tell her to touch the stone, though one privately says to the other that it’s proven fatal in all their other test subjects.
Instead of killing Wanda, though, the stone explodes out of its blue covering, reveals its true yellow color, and floods Wanda’s sight with a vision of a terrible avenging angel wearing a double-pointed crown.
Wanda faints, shaken but alive. Later on, Wanda is in her cell watching The Brady Bunch, and the men are trying to review the tape of the experiment, but the pertinent portion is missing. Ominiously, Wanda turns off the TV with her mind.
Agatha is wandering through these flashbacks, putting all the pieces together, but she still needs more. Wanda leads her through another door, which is in the Avengers compound circa 2015, “the first home Vision and I shared”. She’s watching Malcolm in the Middle in her room, and the ever-present Vision is attending to her every need. He sits down on the bed at her invitation and attempts to apply his robot logic to the comedic stylings of Bryan Cranston.
Wanda initially resists talking about her grief in the wake of Pietro’s death. With a small amount of encouragement, she’s chatting up a storm about it. “It’s like this wave, washing over me again and again… it knocks me down, and when I try to stand up, it just comes for me again.” Vision wishes he knew what that was like, since he’s always been alone and doesn’t know any other way to live.
The final flashback shows Wanda, newly un-Snapped, at Vision’s final resting place at SWORD headquarters. The footage we’ve so far seen of this event made it look like she broke in, but here it’s revealed that she pleaded her case at the front desk and was let in willingly by Director Hayward, who meets her cordially in his office. Wanda asks to see Vision, and Hayward takes her to the mad science chamber where they’re taking him apart.
Horrified, Wanda demands that they stop so she can bury Vision, and Hayward remarks that they’re not going to do that because Vision was just too dang cool and good at blowing stuff up. He lets slip that he kinda hoped Wanda would be able to bring him back to life. An enraged Wanda blows out the window and floats down into the exam room. Armed soldiers surround her but Hayward tells them to stand down. Wanda puts a glowing red hand on Vision’s destroyed head. “I can’t feel you,” she sobs.
She leaves peaceably and sadly walks out to her car. On her car seat, there’s a note in an envelope. Wanda drives through Westview, New Jersey, at this point just a normal, cruddy, run-down small town, and stops at the foundation of a house. She gets out of the car and looks at the slip of paper inside the envelope, which is the deed to the lot. A handwritten note says, “To Grow Old In – V.” with a heart around it.
This opens up some interesting questions. Is Vision a legal person and able to own property? Where exactly did Vision get the money to buy this lot? Does being an Avenger pay a salary? Did he take out a mortgage? How was he able to make it through the credit approval? He wasn’t born, so he doesn’t have a social security number. He has no credit history, never had to pay any bills, never paid any taxes… is he even a U.S. citizen? Because he first came online in South Korea, if memory serves. Did he get naturalized? And for that matter, why is Wanda’s name on the deed as well? She’s been presumed dead for the past five years! Well, I’m sure someone is going to make a YouTube about all this stuff… if no one has already.
Falling to her knees, succumbing to her deepest grief, Wanda explodes in a red storm of magic and watches the house she’d always envisioned get built around her brick by brick. She wails again and red mist blankets the town, changing it from grimy to dreamy. Color drains out of all the buildings as the city transforms into the 1950s.
While all this red magic is exploding out of her body, some yellow Mind Stone energy erupts out of her as well and starts drawing a wire-frame model of Vision.
The model solidifies into the cardigan-clad Dick Van Dyke version of Vision that we saw in “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”. Wanda appears before him in her black-and-white Mary Tyler Moore outfit and greets him warmly. They snuggle up on the couch and kiss. The real Wanda is standing behind them, seeing the soundstage where the sitcom is “filmed” in the vivid colors of real life. She’s seeing the stage lights, cameras, and the seats for the studio audience, with the only occupant being Agatha, who claps sardonically. “Bravo,” she says, before disappearing.
Wanda hears her children screaming outside and rushes to investigate. There she sees Agatha, with magic purple ropes around Twin 1 and Twin 2’s necks.
Agatha says she knows now what Wanda is. “You’re supposed to be a myth—a being capable of spontaneous creation,” she says. “This is Chaos magic, Wanda. That makes you the Scarlet Witch.” Uh yeah, we know!
Mid-credits scene: In the present day, Hayward prepares to send a strike team into the Hex. He ruminates that they previously tried everything to get Vision to work again, and all they needed was a little bit of energy “straight from the source”. The SWORD drone deployed in “On a Very Special Episode”, still faintly glowing with Wanda’s magic, sits on a stand in the background. Vision’s reconstructed body, now completely white, stands in a display case next to it. Hayward presses a button, and Vision comes back online with blue-white pupils.
Next week: Man, Vision’s taking a long time to get here, isn’t he? What, did he hit a bunch of red lights in the sky? Anyway, I’m sure he’ll make it next week. He pretty much has to; he’s got Evil Vision to fight.