WandaVision : Season 1
Might contain spoilers.
Amazing, unique, brave, compelling, unexpected: WandaVision is all of these and more. For the first seven episodes, that is. I can’t think of any other show that can or could do what WandaVision did, with even a modicum of its skill and control. It was delightful to watch a story about the last two Avengers you would have expected, not knowing anything at the outset, and gradually discover the truth. I was immensely impressed by the authenticity of the different pastiches, including the pitch perfect Modern Family spoof that came at possibly the darkest point.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are brilliant (the ‘drunk’ Vision and the repeated ‘Flourish!’ had me in splits), as is Kathryhn Hahn. The return of Darcy and Jimmy was a treat. Monica Rambeau is a terrific addition and the way she gained her powers was amazing—I can’t wait for the Captain Marvel sequel.
Sadly, the last two episodes are where the praise ends. They discard everything that made the show unique in order to mold the story into something more conventional, with an undeservedly tidy ending that lays the foundation for the next phase of the larger story. After all the creativity displayed up to that point, wasting the penultimate episode on having Agatha walk through Wanda’s history to clumsily answer all the remaining questions, then devoting the last episode to another instalment of Marvel’s innumerable ‘skybeams’ and CG fisticuffs was a great disappointment (although I will say Wanda revealing her control over the arena was simply great).
The ending failed to confront the true horror of what Wanda had done to an entire town—not that she needed to be painted as a villain, but her actions needed time to be properly acknowledged and addressed. It wasn’t nearly enough for the inhabitants to glare at her as she set off to begin her new life as the fully-awakened Scarlet Witch after she had unthinkingly enslaved them. Nor were her final scenes with Vision and her children handled well. There’s so much to explore in her past and her actions, and WandaVision did it splendidly before that fateful eighth episode. I’m glad Wanda will return and evidently be a central character in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness , but that can’t be used as an excuse to undo everything the series had accomplished.
I’m not quite convinced by the white Vision of the final episode. That performance bordered on the ridiculous and I didn’t find the character all that interesting.