WandaVision episode 8 review: "Wanda's grief on full show"

WandaVision episode 8
(Image: © Marvel)

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Warning: this WandaVision episode 8 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...

Marvel may have just delivered the most traumatic Clip Show of all time. That’s not a sentence I thought I would be writing in a WandaVision review, but here we are, at the penultimate episode of this excellent series that, despite Kevin Feige’s warning, really is weirder than anyone could have imagined.

"Previously On" takes us back through the motions of Wanda’s devastating life, showing us step-by-step how the most powerful person in the MCU came to brainwash an entire village. There was a mild chance, perhaps a few episodes back, that Wanda would become simply another "Unstable Powered Woman" – a classic fictional trope that sees a woman turn bad because they have too much power. However, showrunner Jac Schaeffer has made sure that’s not the case with Wanda, explicitly deep-diving into every specific moment that affected Wanda. Grief over her parents, Pietro, and Vision – the power hasn’t led Wanda down this path, but the sheer tragedy she has lived through. And seeing those events unfold does not make for easy watching. 

WandaVision episode 8

(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Agatha uses her magic to transport them back through time and the first magical door leads them to a Sokovian flat where a young family makes the most of their terrible situation. Papa brings out a selection of American sitcoms and Mama looks out the window to the war-torn town below. Anyone who has seen Age of Ultron knows what comes next. An explosion and the parents are killed, leaving Wanda and Pietro to stare at a Stark Industries missile that should have gone off were it not for Wanda’s innate abilities.

That one scene adds so much depth to Wanda’s character – her hatred for Stark made sharper, and the reason for WandaVision’s framing as a sitcom made even more devastating. That’s the beauty of this entire show: giving space for a sidelined Avenger to truly develop as an actual, three-dimensional character. 

The second doorway leads to a Hydra testing facility, where Wanda’s powers are enhanced by the Infinity Stone. It’s perhaps the impactful flashback, there to drive the plot forward by showing Wanda’s visions of the Scarlet Witch. The third scene, which sees Wanda and Vision watching Malcolm and the Middle at the Avengers facility is a smaller, more intimate moment, but it’s one of my favorites from the entire season: watching their love bloom while also knowing the horrendous journey they will eventually go on is soul-crushingly bittersweet.

Next, Wanda breaks into the SWORD facility and, to some surprise, doesn’t actually steal Vision’s body as previously indicated. Instead, she creates this new Vision with her astounding powers after getting a letter, apparently from Vision, about a plot of land they own in Westview. But hold back those tears, just yet! Chances are there’s more to this moment than meets the eye. After all, we haven’t seen who actually gave that letter to Wanda. Could another manipulator be working their magic? 

Whatever happens in the next week’s finale – which looks more and more like it’s going to leave more questions unanswered than answered – there’s no denying that Elizabeth Olsen has been stunning throughout the series, and "Previously On" highlights her acting prowess with Olsen perfectly playing Wanda throughout the decades and anchoring the time-skipping episode. There was already talk of an Emmy hype and this episode seals the deal. Kathryn Hahn also shines as Agatha, though the opening Salem Witch Trials falls slightly flat – the magic doesn’t quite have the same magnificent look on a laptop screen compared to the cinema (a problem that may affect the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier more than WandaVision).

The big question, then, is where does WandaVision go now? Wanda has re-lived her trauma, which should help her come to terms with her loss. However, the post-credits scene teases the appearance of weaponized white Vision, which could open up those wounds again. I’m expecting a huge Wanda and Vision and Agnes and now-powerful-and-still-here Monica to take place (oh, and Quicksilver will somehow get a showing, too). Paul Bettany previously said the final episodes will feature full-on Marvel movie-like action scenes, and that’s certainly what this episode promises. And if there is another villain behind the scenes, someone working with the power-hungry Agnes, then I fully expect them to be the villain of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, as Marvel boss Kevin Feige has said the show and movie will be heavily linked. Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. For now, we can just savor how excellent WandaVision has been so far.

Episodes of WandaVision are being released weekly by Disney Plus. Check out the full WandaVision release schedule for when to expect the next episode. For more Marvel coverage, check out our primer on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.