Warning: this WandaVision episode 9 review contains spoilers. If you have not watched the Disney Plus show yet, then bookmark this page and come back when you're all caught up...
It was Agatha all along! After weeks of fans theorizing about Mephisto, multiverses, and Marvel’s Avengers turning up, WandaVision culminated in an episode that used the pieces already on the board rather than introduce any new elements. There were no big surprises – no twists or reveals – but a witchdown between Agatha and Wanda, some Vision on Vision action, and the Maximoff twins working with Rambeau to defeat SWORD.
There’s no doubt that anyone following the waves of WandaVision news published across the internet (including here on GamesRadar+) over the last few weeks may be disappointed by Doctor Strange’s no-show, or the lack of X-Men references, or Grim Reaper not secretly being behind everything. Just days before the finale, director Matt Shakman tried to temper our expectations, and Paul Bettany admitted the much-talked-about person he “couldn’t wait” to work with was, in fact, himself. (And even then, Bettany had to awkwardly laugh along as the interviewer questioned whether he was backtracking on previous comments to hide a secret cameo.)
But there was no hidden agenda. The WandaVision finale tied up loose ends by bringing all the major players together for a climactic showdown in WestView’s main square. The result is, unfortunately, a rushed Marvel movie-esque battle that trades subtle character moments for CGI-heavy scenes of people punching each other in the air.
Kathryn Hahn’s Agatha – so excellent throughout this season – is turned into an exposition spouting villain, making sure to hype up Wanda’s upcoming appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness by mentioning that the Scarlet With is “more powerful than even the Sorcerer Supreme”. The actor shows off some serious range, going from terrifying manipulator with horrible black fingers, back to quivering woman strapped to a stake, and finally reverting to nosey neighbor delivering a perfect “okie dokie artichokey”. However, everything happens amidst a mess of red and purple beams as she faces down the Scarlet Witch – there’s simply no time for anything nuanced to be effective.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Olsen, who has previously been on Emmy-worthy form thanks to some lovely character work, was left giving a much more overt performance, trying to offer emotional gravitas over the swirling destruction going on all around. The WandaVision finale was always going to be more in line with the Marvel movies, which so often turn into huge battles that leave entire towns destroyed. Westview survives here, but the battle between Agatha and Wanda feels like a mandate from Marvel’s higher-ups, rather than a natural conclusion to their story. The White Vision taking on Wanda’s Vision initially suffers the same problem, until that game of fisticuffs fittingly turns into a philosophy lesson.
Then there was Rambeau finishing things with SWORD. We have seen Rambeau’s powers grow rapidly, so much so that I expected something more from the character during these moments, but that will have to wait until Captain Marvel 2. And let’s not talk too much about Fake Pietro, revealed to be Ralph Boehner. Marvel had the entire internet talking about Evan Peters’ return as Quicksilver, only to have the character end up being the punchline of a boner joke… Maybe they should have called him Rick Astley, because this could have been the ultimate Rick Roll.
Underneath the bombastic fights and disappointing reveals, though, WandaVision’s true colors just about shone through. This has been a series about a woman dealing with trauma, and seeing Wanda go through the motions as the Westview townsfolk begged for their sanity was gut-wrenching – that is, once you got over the fact Emma Caulfield’s much-talked-about character was, indeed, just another member of the Westview community. After that, when Agatha’s dealt with, the real resolution comes with Wanda finally being able to let go of Vision and their family. It’s a sweet scene and a fitting ending to their romance.
In the grander scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that’s really where WandaVision succeeded: showing us that the superhero studio can deliver a true romance story. Yes, there’s been Steve and Peggy, and Tony and Pepper, and Thor and Jane, but none of them have had this much depth. I would have ideally enjoyed a more low-key WandaVision finale, in line with those earlier episodes that scrapped any expectations, but I’m glad we were given a tender final moment between the stars of this show, Wanda and Vision. Sure, the WandaVision finale may have not had Doctor Strange, but it did have one of the most affecting and, ultimately, hopeful scenes in all the MCU. Hopefully, they will meet again, and when they do, the catharsis will no doubt make every Marvel fan tearful.