WandaVision: “Previously On” Review

After being trapped by Agatha Harkness in her basement, the latest episode of WandaVision takes a deep dive in both Agatha and Wanda’s pasts, and the results of enlightening, informative, and downright emotional!

(Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned)

Agatha the Parasite
Upon discovering that Anges the neighbor was in fact Agatha Harkness the witch, the internet was set ablaze with memes and theories.  I’ll admit that the initial reveal was cause for apprehension.

It seemed a bit of a cop out if Agatha was behind everything because it absolves Wanda of the moral and ethical dilemma/consequences of holding the citizens of Westview hostage.  However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Magical rune basement prisons are the worst…

While Agatha has been pulling strings all along, she didn’t trick Wanda into doing any of this, rather she admits that she sensed the massive amount of energy and entered the hex in order to learn and understand.

Her own brief backstory reveals that back in 17th Century Salem, she was persecuted by her own coven (and mother) for practicing dark magic.  It would have been fascinating to see more of Agatha’s own story, but Wanda is the focus of the series.

The Salem subplot does go back to Agatha’s comic book origins.

And it’s very clear that Agatha has taken up a fascination with her.  Clearly Wanda is far more powerful, having changed reality and matter itself in Westview, but Agatha has centuries of experience and knowledge, and lusts for what she could accomplish with Wanda’s raw power.

History of Sitcoms
As Agatha tries to understand Wanda better, the two of them go for an interactive deep dive into Wanda’s memories.  Here, we see a Wanda and Pietro as children in war-torn Sokovia with their parents.

Their father sold DVDs for extra money, but Wanda loved watching all the old sitcom ones.  In an incredibly meta move, we see her watch series like The Dick Van Dyke Show and Malcolm in the Middle, which she would later base Westview around.

Wanda’s dad had good taste in TV shows!

We’re reminded firsthand of her tragic past, having lost her parents in an artillery shelling, having been experimented on by Hyrdra, and having lost her brother and home country in compliments of Ultron.

While her life was met with nothing but heartache and loss, sitcoms were her only window into what a normal, happy life was.  It makes it all the more easier to understand why she created this sitcom world around her, so that for once in her life, she would be happy.

The Heart of the Series
The largest takeaway from this episode is that Elizabeth Olsen needs to win an Emmy, specifically for this one.  She brilliantly portrays Wanda at many different points in her life with many different struggles and emotions.

Amidst all the magic, sorcery, superpowers, and Marvel fan theories, this entire series has always been about a person who’s just lost too much.  Her vulnerability and grief are on full display.  Obviously it doesn’t justify keeping everyone in Westview trapped, but it definitely makes her more sympathetic as we can all relate to someone just trying to be happy.

Vision really was all she had left…

We also get a rather bizarre mid-credit scene where S.W.O.R.D. unveils the reanimated corpse of Vision’s original body (since the Westview version was completely fabricated by Wanda).  The whole two Visions thing is a bit a tired trope, and with only one episode left, it’s honestly difficult to see how they’ll wrap all this up.

As brilliant as episode as “Previously On” was, it probably would have been better coming one or two weeks early (or extending to season to 10 rather than 9 episodes).  But we’ll just have to wait until next week to see how it plays out!

What did you think of this episode of WandaVision?  What do you hope to see in next week’s series finale?  Let us know in the comments!

WandaVision is streaming exclusively on Disney+

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