WandaVision Finale: Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Sad


The Series Finale
Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating 4 stars


The Series Finale
Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Marvel Studios

Well, folks, we did it. You and I, along with all of our fellow WandaVision viewers, saved the universe — the Marvel Cinematic one, that is. At the outset of this series, it was hard not to feel like the MCU was approaching irrelevance in our brutally disillusioned and attention-deficient era. And yet, over the course of the past two months, this series has, for better or worse, rekindled the fire. It brought in new viewers, it introduced new conflicts, it teased new mysteries, it took new directions, and now it has a new lease on life. To paraphrase Robert Browning: Feige’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.

But did we learn anything? Was this all just remembrance of sitcoms and comic books past? To an extent, that’s what it was, yes. A too-large extent, I’d contend. It was innovative within the context of the MCU, for sure, but not nearly as ambitious on an absolute scale. The meditations on grief were often deeply poignant (especially in this episode), but largely predictable. All of that said, the show did have something to say, and that something is terribly relevant. Around the 35-minute mark of this series finale, it struck me: This was a show that, deliberately or not, was about what it’s like to be in love at the end of the world.

We’ll get back to all that in a moment. For now, let’s jump back right to where we left off: with a bunch of CGI mishegoss. Our first image is Wanda’s face, contorted with concern and effort as she looks at Agatha, who still holds Tommy and Billy in ethereal lariats. Wanda shoots a magic blast at Agatha and the latter’s lariats disappear; Wanda tells the boys to run home and they’re gone. Wanda tries a magic blast on Agatha again, but she catches and absorbs it. “I take power from the undeserving,” the elder witch crows. “It’s kinda my thing.” Wanda looks at her hand and sees it’s become discolored, as if it’s been drained of blood. Wanda throws a car at Agatha, launching her through a window, after which we get a little Wizard of Oz gag: Aggie’s boots sticking out from underneath the wreckage. The wicked witch is dead … or so it seems.

The lily-white SWORD version of Vision — Fake Vision, or Fision, as I shall call him here (although I guess he’s more of the real one than the one we’ve been seeing, but whatever) — drifts down from the sky. Wanda walks to him in disbelief and asks, “Is it really you?” Fision gently clasps her face in his hands and mutters, “Wanda,” then starts to squeeze so hard we can hear her skull creaking. Not so nice a reunion, eh?

But, just in time, a deus ex machina arrives — or perhaps it’s more of a machina ex deus? It’s our beloved, colorful Vision, who throws Fision into a vehicle. Wanda apologizes for not telling Vision everything before and he replies that it’s all right. Then comes a voice from up above them: “Oh, this is awkward — your ex and your boyfriend together at the same party.” ’Tis Agatha! Vision and Wanda fly off to find Fision, but we then see Monica, trapped in the mansion along with Fietro (hey, I’m just using Agatha’s nomenclature), banging at the window and trying to get Wanda’s attention. It’s futile, says Fietro, noodling around on a guitar while wearing a beanie. She tries to run and Fietro taps her, knocking her over. Vision catches up to Fision and they engage in some supremely uninteresting MCU fighting, all laser blasts and impractical effects. I suppose that was inevitable in this series?

Meanwhile, back at SWORD’s operating base, Hayward is barking orders while Jimmy is brought in in handcuffs. Jimmy quietly notices a cell phone on a table and tells Hayward, “You’ll never be able to cover this up.” Hayward says he won’t have to: “Wanda canceled her show, so there’s no footage proving there was ever more than one Vision.” Woo grabs the phone surreptitiously from behind. Hayward, oblivious, continues and says everyone will just be glad that he neutralized Wanda and they’ll think Fision is the same one Wanda tried to steal, thus making Hayward a hero for retrieving a valuable asset. “You could be a part of that victory, Jimmy,” he says, “if only you had a little more” — pause for emphasis — “vision.” (Oh, for Pete’s sake.) Jimmy is then tossed in a nearby barn alone, for some reason, and he uses a safety pin that he somehow had to unlock the cuffs and then, even more improbably, unlocks and uses the pilfered phone to call the FBI for backup. God, all the Jimmy stuff in this series has truly sucked.

But anyway, back in downtown Westview, Wanda finds everything looking contemporary and clean, with a happy populace around her. A wild Agatha appears and hits Wanda with some magic to knock her down, then says there’s an entire chapter dedicated to Wanda’s destiny in “The Darkhold,” which she clarifies is “the book of the damned,” and rambles portentously about the nature of the Scarlet Witch prophecy. “Your power exceeds that of the Sorcerer Supreme,” she says, referencing Doctor Strange. “It’s your destiny to destroy the world!” “I’m not what you say I am!” Wanda counters. Agatha just smiles and says, “Oh, really?”

Agatha chants in Latin (why is it always frickin’ Latin?) and suddenly, Dottie, the local Queen Bee from episode two, who has been standing nearby, gets un-mind-whammied and walks nervously up to Wanda. She says her name is Sarah and that she has an 8-year-old daughter, who could be friends with Wanda’s kids “if you like that storyline” — anything to let the kid out of her room so her mother can hold her. Wanda tells Agatha to free Sarah, but Aggie replies, “She’s your meat puppet, I just cut her strings.” Agatha then removes the mind control of everyone in the town square, who suddenly look at Wanda, their captor, with hatred and vengeance in their eyes. Ruh-roh!

Monica and Fietro are still back in the mansion, which Fietro says is his “man cave” where he has a “place to chillax.” Monica sees a bank statement on a table for someone named Ralph Bohner, as well as an actor’s headshot of this Mr. Bohner, who happens to look exactly like a younger Evan Peters. “Agnes doesn’t live here,” Monica says, realizing what’s going on. “You do! You’re Ralph Bohner!” Fietro just chuckles: “Boner. Heh.” Monica grabs and tosses Fietro and pulls off his necklace, which is conveniently glowing like a necessary object in a video game, and that gets rid of Fietro’s mind control, somehow. “Please spare my life!” he whimpers. Elsewhere, Billy and Tommy look through another window at the reddening sky, but Billy gets magic visions of what’s happening downtown to their family and they run out to help. Good luck, kiddos!

Back in the downtown area, all the townsfolk are yelling their grievances at Wanda. “When you let us sleep, we have your nightmares!” one says. “We feel your pain!” says another. “Your grief is poisoning us!” cries a third. (All a little on-the-nose, but hey, it’s a superhero story.) Wanda pleads that she didn’t mean to, and that she just tried to make everyone safe, but no one’s buying what she’s selling. Amidst the cacophony, Wanda freaks out and her magic starts to choke all the people around her. “If you won’t let us go, just let us die, please!” a townsperson (the one played by Debra Jo Rupp, God bless her) pleads. Wanda says she’ll let them go and fires a magic bolt into the air. It hits the edge of the Hex, opening it up, and she tells everyone to run out. Westview starts to glitch out, flitting between time periods. Welcome to the endgame. Wait, no, we already had one of those in the MCU.

Speaking of, there’s a bunch more classically MCU-ish video-game scrapping between Vision and Fision up in the sky above the town square, in which Vision is getting his imaginary ass whipped. Below, a SWORD convoy races into the opened Hex. Vision starts to glitch out and disintegrate, as do his kids. We cut to Agatha, who intones, “You tied your family to this twisted world, and now one can’t exist without the other.” Vision and the twins beg Wanda to help them, and Wanda reluctantly closes the Hex back up. Agatha hits them all with a magic bolt, and Wanda’s protection field further drains her, leading her other hand to get gray and gross, too. Then the SWORD trucks arrive and guns are drawn. And then Fision is there, too. We have reached the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.

Fision slams Vision into the library, where Fision says his directive is to destroy Vision and they do some more MCU laser-tag nonsense. “But I’m not the true Vision, only a conditional Vision,” says Vision. “I request elaboration,” replies Fision. Before we get it, we’re back outside, where Agatha is messing with the soldiers: “Same story, different century,” she says. “There’ll always be torches and pitchforks for ladies like us.” Wanda concocts a plan: “Boys, handle the military — Mommy will be right back.” (Okay, I LOL’d at that line.) Billy freezes the soldiers with magic and Tommy zips around to grab their weapons. Well, all but one: Hayward is suddenly before them with a handgun and fires at the boys. However, Monica rushes in to take the bullets, which don’t seem to harm her. Light glows out of her. She has, indeed, become a superhero, which was always pretty predictable, but still — nice for her. Hayward runs into his vehicle, but is slammed from the side by a familiar-looking van. It’s Darcy, here to save the day! And to subsequently never appear again in the episode! Kat Dennings must have a busy schedule these days.

And then we have to deal with a bunch of ponderous dorm-room philosophy between Vision and Fision in the library, as they circle each other. Blah blah Ship of Theseus, blah blah Mind Stone, blah blah memories define our identity, and so on. TL;DR: Vision convinces Fision that he should resist being a weapon and Fision, after having his forehead touched by Vision, suddenly has human-looking eyes (they’d been all robot-y before), says “I am Vision,” and flies up through the skylight, never to be seen again in this episode. So long, white boy!

Our Vision walks outside to reunite with Monica and the boys. Agatha is up on the rooftop, looking diabolical, but Wanda does her classic Age of Ultron move, where she sneaks up behind and mind-whammies her target. Suddenly, she and Agatha are back in 17th-century Salem, in the immediate aftermath of Agatha’s murder of her coven. The dead witches rise up and start to move toward Agatha, and Aggie screams, then smiles as the zombie sorceresses turn on Wanda. Mama Witch wakes up and says, “You are the Scarlet Witch, harbinger of chaos!” “Power isn’t your problem,” Agatha says to Wanda. “It’s knowledge.” A magical crown, in classic Jack Kirby comics style, appears on Wanda’s head. Agatha offers to fix everything and save Wanda’s magical family unit if she just gives her power over to Agatha, “and no one will ever have to feel this pain again — not even you.” But Wanda blasts them all away and tackles Agatha, launching them back into reality.

There’s a lot more MCU silliness with the women flying around and shooting pew-pew magic at each other. (Asking for this show to not conclude with a bunch of expensive filler action was like asking for a fish not to swim, a bird not to fly, a geek not to angrily tweet about their childhood being ruined. Call it reverence for genre tropes or call it inertia, but it was always destined to be thus.) Agatha starts sucking up all of Wanda’s life force/magic/qi/whatever, making the latter desiccated and wrinkled. “Once cast, a spell can never be changed,” Aggie says. “This world you made will always be broken. Just like …” — pause for emphasis — “… you.

Agatha gets ready to fire a huge blast, but it won’t work. She can’t conjure anything. Wanda’s cheeks start to get rosy again and she gestures upward, where runes are forming in the walls of the Hex, meaning only she can use her powers, per Agatha’s previously stated rule. “Thanks for the lesson,” Wanda says. “But I don’t need you to tell me …” — pause for emphasis — ”… who I am.” (Lotta emphasis to be paused for in this ep!) Wanda powers up by sucking the energy out of Agatha and transforming into the Scarlet Witch, in full red regalia and crown. “Oh God,” Agatha says. “You don’t know what you’ve done.”

Wanda lowers them to the ground and the sky stops being red. Agatha asks if Wanda’s going to lock her up somewhere, but Wanda just says she’ll give Agatha “the role you chose: the nosy neighbor.” Agatha pleads: “You have no idea what you’ve unleashed! You’re gonna need me!” “If I do,” Wanda counters, “I know where to find you. She mind-whammies Agatha into being Agnes, who cheerfully says, “Hiya, hon! Say, that’s some kinda getup you’re wearing. Did I leave the oven on, or is that just you, hot stuff!” Wanda says Agatha now lives here and will never be bothered again. “Okey-dokey, artichokey!” is the trapped woman’s reply, and that’s that. (I’d be mildly shocked if we never see her again in the MCU.)

The WandaVision clan walk away as the Hex recedes. They enter their house, where it’s abruptly nighttime. I’m loath to describe everything that happens next in detail, because I’ll start weeping uncontrollably and have to take a break, as I did when I watched it, and that would mean I wouldn’t get this recap in on time. But suffice it to say Vision and Wanda tuck the boys in for bed and tell them they love them. “You know,” Wanda says, “a family is forever. We could never truly leave each other, even if we tried. You know that, right?” They kiss their kids goodnight and walk to the door. Like a grieving Columbo, Wanda turns and says one more thing: “Boys? Thanks for choosing me to be your mom.” Great, now I’m tearing up again.

Wanda wanders the living room, turning off lights, but Vision enters and turns one back on. “I just wanted to see you clearly,” he says. “And?” she asks. “And there you are,” he says. (This was the point at which I started bawling.) The couple hold hands as they stand at the window, watching the Hex recede toward them, knowing what’s coming. “Wanda, I know we can’t stay like this,” he says, “but before we go, I feel I must know: What am I?” Wanda thinks it over and replies that he is “the piece of the Mind Stone that lives in me,” “a body of wires and blood and bone that I created,” and “my sadness and my hope. But mostly, you’re my love.” They caress each other’s faces and hands. “I have been a voice with no body,” says Vision, “a body but not human, and now, a memory made real.” A single tear runs down his wife’s face as he continues: “Who knows what I might be next?” He adds that they’ve “said good-bye before, so it stands to reason …” and Wanda finishes the sentence: “We’ll say hello again.” The Hex arrives. The house changes. Vision starts to disintegrate. “So long, darling,” he says, and disappears.

And this is what I meant about being in love at the end of the world. As I looked at these two beings while they looked at the oncoming cataclysm, I almost woke my spouse up to cry with her about what we’re all facing as a species. But I’m on deadline, goddamn it. I’ll do that this afternoon.

Wanda now finds herself at the real reality, amid the unfinished foundation for her and Vision’s dream home in Westview. She walks to the town square with her hoodie on to avoid the scornful looks from the people of the town. She encounters Monica, who says she doesn’t hate Wanda, because if she had the power to bring her own mom back, “I know I would.” Wanda says she’s sorry and that she doesn’t understand her power, but will someday. Sirens wail. Wanda turns into the Scarlet Witch and flies away as Monica wishes her luck. Wanda reaches the edge of Westview, looks back, and zooms away, out of sight. Roll credits.

But wait, there’s more! In the mid-credits sequence, we see Jimmy telling the newly arrived FBI what to do as they round up the SWORD folks and get everything under control. Thank you, cops! We can always count on cops, can’t we? Anyway, a cop says Monica is needed in the local movie theater, so they enter (the marquee lists a movie called Tannhauser Gate,which is a Blade Runner reference — Vision’s end wasn’t quite as poetic as Roy Batty’s, but it’ll do). Inside, the cop turns into … a Skrull! Y’know, that shapeshifting race of alien refugees from Captain Marvel? “I was sent by an old friend of your mother’s,” the Skrull cop says. “He heard you’d been grounded. He’d like to meet you.” “Where?” asks Monica. The cop just points upward, and Monica looks very pleased. I can’t tell if I’m supposed to know who she’s referencing, but this recap is already too long, so go speculate on your own. Roll credits again.

Ah, but there’s even more! After the credits, the camera soars over mountains and trees somewhere. We get to a remote cabin, where Wanda sits outside with a coffee cup, looking pensive. She goes inside to pour some more, and the camera keeps moving backward into another room in the cabin, where we see … another Wanda? But in Scarlet Witch mode? Poring over that book of the damned from before? And she hears the cries of her kids coming at her, somehow? Cut to black. Am I supposed to get what’s going on here?

And that’s a wrap on WandaVision. I’ll hold my Big Thoughts about it for a future piece, but I will say that I was impressed by how well the creators played me at the end. The general outline of the conclusion, for the most part, could have been pretty easily predicted from the very beginning of the show, but even though they stayed within standard thematic lines and introduced a bunch of dumb punching and blasting, and although the first seven episodes were varying degrees of “meh” (in this recapper’s humble opinion), they mostly stuck the landing. Here in our universe, we’re surrounded by death and are swiftly approaching the end of the world (as we know it, at least). And, like Wanda, we’re all building these elaborate fantasy realms in our heads to escape. But someday, the Hex will recede and we’ll be left with nothing but the grim truth. All I — and the show — can advise you is to find someone’s hand to hold when it happens.

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WandaVision Finale: Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Sad