REVIEW: ‘WandaVision,’ Episode 8 – “Previously On…”

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WandaVision Episode 8

WandaVision Episode 8, titled “Previously On…”, winds back the clock to explore Wanda’s mental state and what led to her crafting her “perfect life” in Westview. Picking up from the end of “Breaking The Fourth Wall,” Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) probes Wanda’s  (Elizabeth Olsen) mind to find out how she constructed the Hex. The journey spirals through Wanda’s childhood and her empowerment by the Mind Stone, finally coming to a close with the truth about what happened to Vision (Paul Bettany).

In the same vein as “We Interrupt This Program,” “Previously On…” turns the spotlight on a character and works through their emotional state. Since Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) was the focus of “We Interrupt This Program,” “Previously On…” writer Laura Donney decides to focus on the trauma Wanda has gone through, losing her parents, then her brother, and finally Vision. It also has a rather simple and relatively heartbreaking explanation for why Wanda has chosen to construct her reality in the form of sitcoms. After watching that scene, a light clicked on in my head, and I thought, “Oh, THAT explains a lot.” It also makes sense because memory is a powerful force; Wanda’s memories of her family were connected to those shows, making sense that the Hex would resemble said shows.

Though Olsen has constantly delivered a solid performance throughout WandaVision, “Previously On…” arguably features her best performance to date. Her accent slips in and out, coming back in full force when she sees her parents and Pietro in the past. Perhaps the most emotional sequence comes when Wanda goes to S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters to find Vision’s corpse. Director Matt Shakman films this scene with a tenderness that tugs at the heartstrings, even sneaking in a reference to Avengers: Infinity War.

Hahn is no slouch herself, injecting a touch of dark humor into the proceedings. Now that she is fully revealed in all her witchy glory, Agatha clearly relishes showing off her powers and tormenting Wanda. Hahn delivered a similar performance as Olivia Octavious in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, making it fairly clear that she loves playing villains. And even though WandaVision is coming to an end, I hope Agatha’s tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not.

My one minor gripe with the episode is that we didn’t get to see more of Monica, Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), or Darcy (Kat Dennings). It’s minor because I understand this is Wanda’s spotlight, but these characters have grown on me and provided a solid parallel to the events inside the Hex. I’m hoping that changes in the finale, given where we last left these characters.

WandaVision Episode 8 serves as an emotional tour of Wanda Maximoff’s past and the trauma she’s suffered and features an emotionally charged performance from Elizabeth Olsen. With a mid-credits scene that finally hints at Vision’s fate, all the pieces are in place for the final episode. Hopefully, the finale ends the series on the same strong note that it began.

New episodes of WandaVision will be available to stream on Fridays on Disney+.

 

WandaVision Episode 8
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

WandaVision Episode 8 serves as an emotional tour of Wanda Maximoff’s past and the trauma she’s suffered and features an emotionally charged performance from Elizabeth Olsen. With a mid-credits scene that finally hints at Vision’s fate, all the pieces are in place for the final episode. Hopefully, the finale ends the series on the same strong note that it began.