Friday, June 2, 2023

WandaVision: Season 1, Episode 7 Review

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For much of this week’s WandaVision chapter on Modern Family Theft, it’s easy to think the series ditched its first filler episode. With Vision and Darcy stuck in a van for half an hour, the plot is only slightly deeper than the van itself, as Wanda spends most of the time in pajamas making her best impression of Claire Dunphy. But it’s all the calm before the storm, as episode seven drops the biggest twist in the story right before the credits roll, and does it in style. Agnes is revealed to be Agatha Harkness, one of the characters. magic and a huge, insidious part of Life of Wanda in the comics. Far from being captive in Wanda’s illusory world, Agatha has – as the catchy song goes – pulled all the strings of evil from the start. The musical number is used to show many moments from previous WandaVision episodes and reveal that Agatha was behind them, from the death of Sparky the dog to the birth of Pietro.

The footage is a superb display of Kathryn Hahn’s larger-than-life acting skills, complete with big devilish facial expressions and the perfect witch chuckle. With the secret now open, I hope the final two episodes allow Hahn to finally take center stage. She’s been the show’s biggest source of untapped potential, so it’s a shame we had to wait that long to put her in the spotlight.For non-comic fans, this revelation may have come out of nowhere, especially since Agnes hasn’t done anything really suspicious on screen, which detracts from its impact. However, it has long been a fan theory among those obsessed with knowing that Agnes is Agatha Harkness. But as the episodes progressed, she seemed less and less the culprit, especially after her baffled encounter with Vision in episode six. Blowing the candle on that theory, only to rekindle it an episode later, is an act of ideal timing on the part of showrunner Jac Schaeffer, and ensures the reveal still packs a punch, even if it only spends a few minutes at the screen. And with the part of Agatha’s story confirmed, it opens the door to new theories about her intentions for Wanda and her children, as well as the potential for characters like Mephisto or even Chthon to make their debut in the MCU. .

In other big reveals, Monica’s return to Westview through the Hex Barrier appears to have activated her powers, giving her a head start on the road to becoming her comic book counterpart, Spectrum. Glowing blue eyes, eerie electromagnetic vision, and invulnerability to the transforming power of the hex indicate that we may be on our way to getting a Captain Marvel-quality superhero punch in the upcoming finale. It’s also fun to see his SWORD uniform design act as a prototype for his comic book hero costume.

Monica’s material here is all using anticipation rather than immediate gain, however, something that characterizes the episode as a whole. It’s good to track down clues to your past and hear the voices of Captain Marvel, but it’s really an episode about moving all the pieces into the right position for the finale, rather than doing something massive with them. Thankfully, that doesn’t make the reveals any less exciting, but the build of the episode means that all of the characters feel somewhat underserved until the last ten minutes. Jimmy barely hears a word, and the revelation of the contact of Monica – a group of military personnel with a space truck – is particularly un special given some of the surprises WandaVision has put in place in the past.

Of the SWORD trio, Darcy has the most screen time, but is resigned to providing a dump of information to Vision for the entire episode. Again, this is an important set-up for what’s to come, but it does mean that Vision’s place in this week’s story will be entirely a receptacle for the exhibit. He also seems eerily calm about it all, in part because of the straightforward style that permeates the mock documentary format. Surely there would be more sparkle if Vision had learned this from Wanda, but – again – it lays the foundation for something more exciting in the final two episodes.As for Wanda herself, well, Elizabeth Olsen can certainly make a fantastic impression of Julie Bowen. Her hand movements and accentuated delivery are a perfect replica of Modern Family’s Claire Dunphy from Bowen. In fact, the tribute might be a bit too much, as Wanda feels less like Wanda this week until her last meeting with Agatha. However, her homemaking routine gives the show a moment to reflect on her issues so far. Along with the Nexus pill ad, it’s clear that Wanda has progressed beyond her stage of angry grief and depression, perfectly visualized by the unstable house around her. After choosing her as the villain for several subsequent episodes, the show strives to make Wanda likable again, which fits in perfectly with the revelation that she is, at least partially, a victim of Agatha’s ploys.

Isolating Wanda for one episode means Pietro’s absence, but that doesn’t mean Quicksilver’s complete lack. In the show’s first post-credits scene, Evan Peters threateningly arrives to interrupt Monica’s discovery of Agatha’s basement. It’s a hanger that, combined with what we know about Agatha, asks a lot of questions about Pietro’s nature and potentially throws all of our X-Men theories in the trash.


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