‘WandaVision’ season 1 recap – episode 9: ‘The Series Finale’
(Courtesy of Marvel Studios)
"The Series Finale"
Directed by Matt Shakman
By Janice Yun
March 7, 2021 11:33 a.m.
Warning: spoilers ahead.
The walls of the Westview mirage are finally broken down, but the Scarlet Witch’s journey is far from over.
After “WandaVision” delved deep into the sitcom genre previously untouched by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, its long-anticipated finale is filled to the brim with tense battles familiar to longtime fans. While Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and her superhuman family fight off everything from an evil witch to a S.W.O.R.D. militia, their greatest struggle ultimately lies in heartbreaking farewells, delivering an action-packed yet emotionally vulnerable ending. And though the final episode brings mostly satisfying resolutions to the show’s major conflicts, many questions are still left unanswered.
Leaving no room for quirky new title sequences, the episode opens with Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) breaking Wanda’s enchantment on the Westview residents, forcing the Scarlet Witch to face the reality of what she has done to innocent people. As the tortured prisoners beg Wanda to let them go, she finally realizes the pain she caused and opens the border for them to flee.
While Wanda’s immediate reaction to the residents’ cries reveals her innate goodness, the show continues to challenge the meaning of morality when she finds her husband and children disappearing as the reality they are tied to breaks apart. At the sight of her disintegrating family, Wanda closes the borders to save them, and the four huddle close to face their enemies together – somewhat resembling another famous Disney superhero family, the Incredibles.
In true Avengers fashion, the heroes split up to take on each of the villains. As Wanda continues her fight against Agatha, the twins hold off S.W.O.R.D. Acting Director Tyler Hayward’s (Josh Stamberg) military with the help of Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Vision (Paul Bettany) combats the Spectral Vision, a peculiar all-white version of the Synthezoid reprogrammed by Hayward’s team to destroy his other form. Bettany successfully embodies both versions of his character, methodically portraying the white Vision’s robotic kill-oriented objective against Vision’s more conscious and pacifist nature.
[Related: ‘WandaVision’ season 1 recap – episode 8]
With their physical combat leading to no clear winner, the two Synthezoids wind up in the center of a library as the original Vision presents a philosophical question regarding who between them is the “true Vision.” After an intense discussion of the “Ship of Theseus” thought experiment, the two conclude that neither of them are the original Vision, but both do contain the essence of the true Vision. From the library setting to ancient Western philosophy, the scene is incredibly fitting for the character who has always been a pillar of knowledge and logical reasoning.
Although the conflict between the androids is resolved through philosophical discussion, the witches’ duel is not so easily settled. The battle reaches a climax after Agatha promises to fix the errors in Wanda’s Westview Anomaly in exchange for the Scarlet Witch’s powers. Wanda appears to take up the offer and hopelessness fills the air as her limp body floats lifelessly in the air.
But as expected of any superhero story, Wanda triumphantly turns the tables as she reveals the hidden runes she cast earlier into the walls of the Hex, which render Agatha powerless. As Wanda proceeds to reabsorb her powers and earn a strangely early victory, Agatha’s final warnings foreshadow more dangerous villains in Wanda’s future.
On top of Agatha’s unexpectedly quick defeat, the anticlimactic reveal of Evan Peters’ Quicksilver as merely a random normal guy makes for a slightly disappointing and mundane conclusion – especially after fans extensively theorized what greater role Peters might play in the MCU.
[Related: ‘WandaVision’ season 1 recap – episode 7]
However, the episode compensates for its less satisfying resolutions with emotionally raw performances as Wanda finally lets go of her family and her Westview fantasy. After returning home, Vision and Wanda tuck in their twins one last time, and Wanda reminds them – or perhaps reminds herself – that “family is forever.”
As the borders of Westview fall and creep toward the house, Olsen and Bettany fully capture both the tragedy and hope in the couple’s tearjerking farewell scene. While the world around them falls apart, Wanda and Vision embrace and maintain their mutual gaze until she returns to reality, standing alone in the empty frame of what was once her family’s home.
But rather than a tragic ending, Wanda’s surrender of Westview depicts her growth and acceptance of her loss, which are necessary for propelling her character forward as the powerful Scarlet Witch. As Wanda sets out to better understand her new powers and carry on without her family, the finale paves way for future character development and adventures. At its core, “WandaVision” is not merely a story about fictitious realities and supernatural events, but moreover reflects the human condition – from love to grief and everything in between.
After a short-lived yet successful journey of genre experimentation and impeccable cast chemistry, “WandaVision” sets a high bar for the remainder of the MCU’s phase four projects.