- Evan Laslo
Wandavision: A Look Into a Whirlwind Show, by Allison Krivda
Warning: This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Wandavision takes viewers on a journey through the decades, reveals dark secrets of characters, and takes an emotional toll on viewers. Once the nine-episode show premiered on Disney+, I, along with fellow Marvel fans, were excited to learn more about beloved Avenger characters, Wanda Maximoff and Vision. I was excited to watch the show because many of the other characters in the Avengers, like Iron Man and Captain America, have stand-alone movies whereas Wanda and Vision don’t, so they were a bit of a mystery to me.
Wandavision takes place in Westview Town, a seemingly normal community. However, it is eventually learned that this place is a “hex,” or a nonexistent place, created by Wanda with her powers. The journey to understanding how and why this all happens, and what implications it has, creates a thrilling, exciting, and engaging show that involves many unexpected turns. The alternate reality that the hex creates contributes to the dynamic and unexpected elements of Wandavison.
The first episode’s classic-sitcom theme intrigued me, and I wondered if that was the only theme that episodes to follow would have. Each episode takes the theme of a classic sitcom in ascending order of decades. For example, the first episode is 50s-themed, in all black and white; the second moves into the 60s, and so forth. This continues until time catches up to our current decade. The decade twist to the show adds a layer of comic relief to the darker picture that is eventually learned. After viewing the whole show, I think this can be seen as a message that situations appearing picturesque from an outside perspective are often filled with corruption. In other words, rarely are things just as they appear.
Throughout the show, Wanda and her husband ,Vision, are shown living a typical married life—getting to know neighbors, having children, and navigating life. A fascinating element of the first few episodes are small hints becoming gradually more apparent, suggesting that the perfect small town situation going on was not all there was to the story. This element really drove me to keep watching and added a mysterious element to a seemingly lighthearted, family-style show. Of course, if you are an avid Marvel fan, you were probably already curious as to why Vision was alive because, spoiler: He dies in the Avengers: Infinity War. One of the first direct references to the outside world from the in-show town comes at the end of episode three “Now in Color.” This episode ends in a cliffhanger that shows a character from the town be violently thrown through a force-field like wall. This moment sucks me in as it reveals a pathway between the two worlds and is the first indication of trouble in Westview Town.
From this point on in the show, there are copious amounts of action, and I always found myself on the edge of my seat. One of my favorite parts of the show was the element of two worlds being shown and then gradually meshing together, creating mass chaos. These two worlds are the hex world and the real world, wherein agents of S.W.O.R.D work to figure out what is going on inside the hex world. Often in shows, I find myself able to predict the plot, but in Wandavision, all my theories were wrong and each new development surprised me. Admittedly, I was sad when it appeared that the main character, Wanda, may be the “bad guy” in the show, as hints led viewers to believe that the hex was created intentionally and with malicious intent. Of course, I didn’t want this to be the case since I didn’t want Wanda to be the antagonist. Of course Wanda wasn’t the antagonist, though, how could she be? Everyone would be up in arms if this was the case.
The last two episodes are where the show shines and where I connect all events that have happened and learn the reason behind it all. These two episodes leave me thinking over and over about the show while also being very emotional—not something I expected. Eventually, it is learned that, yes, Wanda created a hex, but only out of extreme rage because Hayward, a S.W.O.R.D agent, did not allow her to bury Vision. The hex is created involuntarily as Wanda’s moment of rage and extreme powers take over. Seeing this backstory shocked me and also brought the two worlds of the show together.
Through learning the true story behind all the show’s events, it gradually sets in that the “perfect” life Wanda had created, wherein Vision was still alive and they had a family, was not able to stay permanently. In order to set free the town that she had inhibited with the hex, Wanda was going to have to let her perfect scenario go. This inevitable reality shattered me as a viewer who wanted the perfect love story to work out. Certainly, though, I thought that Marvel would not be so heartless—there has to be some twist coming that leaves Wanda and Vision living happily ever after, right?. Unfortunately, no. There was not a happy ending. At least, there was not my idea of a happy ending. Rather, Wanda has to take the un-selfish road. I wanted her to be selfish, but deep down knew that she was doing the right thing. In taking the un-selfish road, Wanda finds the power within herself to lift the hex, leaving her imaginary perfect life behind with Vision and her children. This leaves Wanda alone and in a place of grief but also leaves her as a hero for saving Westview Town.
The most prevalent theme highlighted is that if you love something the most, you will let it go. This is not the lesson I wanted to learn, but is definitely shown through Wanda letting her love go for a second time. Realizing that the life she was living is not real, Wanda lets the love in her heart and memory take control as she lets the hex and Vision go. Another theme demonstrated is that love is not always seen, but rather has to be felt. As Wanda prepares to say goodbye to Vision and her children, it is clear through their facial expressions and the somber mood that all of them are learning this lesson. It is a heartbreaking moment to see, but I can appreciate the lesson being taught.
Through the light-hearted sitcom moments, action-packed scenes, and emotionally draining finale, Wandavision proved to be a dynamic show that left me wanting more. The show wrapped up without an apparent cliffhanger, but a bonus after-credit scene may suggest otherwise. While there are no announcements for a second season, I can only hope that it will become a reality.