Episode 8 is really about one thing – Agatha trying to figure out how in the world Wanda made all of this happen. In the MCU it appears that Agatha didn’t know Wanda before this. She just sensed an incredible number of powerful spells happening all at once and came to see what was happening and how. She’s been trying to get that information out of her since the beginning and now is going to force Wanda to face her past in order to get to the root of her power.
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Read to the end for my key predictions.
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We open with Agatha’s backstory – set in the time of the Salem witch trials but instead it’s her coven that is trying to do away with her for practicing dark magic and acting beyond her station. She’s begging for mercy but a few odd expressions suggest that she knows she isn’t innocent. Still, it’s more than a little harsh that her mother is leading the charge…and so all the more satisfying when she defeats them all, pushing their power back at them and killing them – then taking the brooch that we’ve seen her wear throughout the show off her now dead mother’s neck.
In this scene we also really get the first taste of how it’s useful that everyone’s magic has its own color, as you can see who’s doing what to whom. I have no doubt that this will continue to be useful if and when we see a final showdown in Episode 9.
Then we’re back in the basement. Agatha whispers to her rabbit that “she does look shocked to meet the real us” … suggesting that perhaps Scratchy is just a rabbit after all and his name is just a nod to Agatha’s son in the comics, Nicholas Scratch. Then again, she’s talking to him – and normal rabbits don’t eat meat (including birds and cicadas)…….so maybe not.
Agatha explains that Wanda’s powers are useless here because Agatha has cast the basement with runes. For what it’s worth, I still think that the mystery book is the Darkhold…but I suppose it might also be the Book of Runes that Wanda has also encountered in the comics.
My quick google searching doesn’t turn up any obvious Easter Egg meanings for these runes. It looks like a simple M can refer to twin gods and/or relationships and trust – but I don’t see anything remotely corresponding to the other rune that is shown. The M looks quite different in the House of M comics so it’s certainly not a blatant reference to that.
Though I suppose it could be a reference to Magneto’s helmet.
It’s seeming less and less likely that “Fake Pietro” (“Fietro”…lol) is actually a real crossover from the multiverse – instead just a construct by Agatha to try to get more information from Wanda about what she was doing and how she was doing it. (Hence why Pietro was constantly asking her those questions.) She comes out and says that she duped Wanda with the fake via “crystalline possession” since necromancy of the “real” Pietro (à la Age of Ultron) wouldn’t work – he was on another continent and riddled with bullet holes.
I felt like they were trolling us during the whole cicada scene. Every time she touched it and cast a spell, I expected one of the twins or the ultimate “big baddie” of the show to emerge. But it never did. Instead it’s seeming more and more like maybe Agatha is just desperate to understand the incredible level of magic that Wanda is practicing. “Magic on autopilot!” as she says. And to that end…it’s not even clear that Agatha is all bad. She’s crazy for sure…and more than dabbling in dark magic. (Lest we forget Sparky and that poor bird…) But in a way she also seems intent on walking Wanda through the paces of forcing her to feel her pain and process her grief.
And that’s exactly what we spend most of the rest of the episode doing.
(And as an aside – the spell that Agatha casts with Wanda’s hair to cast them back into her deepest buried memories feels straight out of Harry Potter’s Pensieve.)
TV Night in Sokovia
The first heartbreaking scene is TV night in Sokovia. We see the video tapes that inspired each progressive episode. I Love Lucy. Bewitched. The Addams Family. I Dream of Jeannie. Malcolm in the Middle. Who’s the Boss. And of course Wanda’s choice, Dick Van Dyke.
Wanda’s mother looks outside and sees the war going on just outside the window and we understand at once from what TV night was supposed to be an escape. Wanda chooses Season 2, Episode 21. This episode was in reality about Rob’s always grabbing the check. But when they start to watch, it’s actually a show titled “It May Look Like a Walnut” – which was the previous episode, Season 2, Episode 20.
“A terrifying science-fiction TV program grips Rob while Laura cowers under her bed covers, trying in vain to ignore the show and its blood-chilling music. When the show ends, Rob further tortures Laura by acting out the tale of Kolak, a visitor from the planet Twilo who resembles Danny Thomas and deploys walnuts to destroy Earth’s technological capacity by excising all Earthlings’ thumbs and imaginations. Rob awakes in the morning to a living room strewn with walnuts and an eerily calm Laura preparing scrambled walnuts for Rob’s breakfast. Is Rob dreaming, is Laura having her revenge, or is the valiant comedy writer the only one who can save the planet from descending into the pit of man’s fears?” -IMDB
Sound familiar? Kinda sorta?
Pietro complains that Wanda is always watching sitcoms and Wanda says that sitcom’s shenanigans make problems more silly than scary. Her dad further explains it’s “like a silly mischief that always becomes fine.”
Again, sound familiar?
Then there’s the explosion that we all knew was coming. Her parents are killed and Wanda and Pietro are stuck hiding for 2 days eye-to-eye with the Stark missile that never explodes. Making the same sounds and flashing the same lights as the Stark ToastMate 2000 – the commercial from Episode 1 which was themed to model the Dick Van Dyke Show (among others).
The big item here is that it is suggested that Wanda used a probability hex to stop the missile from exploding. She is reaching toward it when she gets pulled back to Agatha. If this is true, it would likely make Wanda a mutant whose powers were just amplified by exposure to the infinity stone by Hydra. Not someone who was “normal” but mutated by the stone. This might also set the stage to explain why not everyone who passes into the hex becomes a mutant after this series is over. Perhaps you had to have a mutant predisposition like Wanda…or Monica Rambeau.
Heartbreakingly the Dick Van Dyke show is still playing, and Wanda tells Pietro… “at the end of the episode, you realize it was all a bad dream. None of it was real.” And with that, we have the birth of her coping mechanisms.
Hydra and the Mind Stone
Onward to Hydra and their tests on Wanda – aka the Strücker commercial. We see Loki’s Sceptor housing the Mind Stone. She touches the Stone and we see the silhouette of her future form, the Scarlet Witch, walking to her through the Stone’s yellow light.
Wanda recouperates, seemingly almost catatonic, watching The Brady Bunch – which was the theming of Episode 2 when the Strücker commercial aired. Hydra is in another room rewatching the footage again and again, unable to understand how Wanda flashed from approaching the Mindstone to flat on the ground in a split second. It seems this was Wanda’s first foray into altering a transmission that warps what the people watching can see.
Meanwhile, on the TV, Bobby tells Cindy that her dolls doesn’t have any feelings. She’s full of sawdust or rags or something. Wanda approaches the TV, looking exhausted and immeasurably unhappy, seemingly intrigued by the doll’s lack of emotion.
Agatha is beginning to understand – exposure to the Infinity Stone amplified powers that otherwise “would have died on the vine”.
Vision and the Avengers Compound
Next up – Wanda’s first time shared with Vision at the Avenger’s Compound. Pietro was dead. She was alone in a new country. She’s watching Malcolm in the Middle and when a roof falls on the father’s head and Vision worries that he’s injured, Wanda says not to worry. He’ll be fine because this isn’t “that kind of show”.
This scene perhaps more than any of the other looks into Wanda’s past is heartbreaking. She is so tired. So broken. And Vision’s desire to comfort her helps us to understand all at once the depth of their connection. She says the sadness is going to drown her. And Vision says no. It can’t all be sorrow, can it? He’s always been alone so he doesn’t feel like lack. He’s never experienced loss because he’s never had a loved one to lose.
“But what is grief if not love persevering”
That line and that line alone seems to unlock the entire series. Cut back to Wanda and Agatha and even Agatha is wiping away a tear. She asks, “What happened when he wasn’t there to pull you back from the darkness, Wanda?”
And we all know the answer to that….
SWORD and Hayward
She wanted him back. But what we see when she enters the SWORD facility is a very different reality than the one that Hayward played on video for the others. She just wanted his body. She wanted to bury him. She wanted closure. Hayward directs her to his offices. He wants her to see what’s happening.
Contrast Monica’s inability to enter with her expired pass with Wanda’s ability to magic the doors open. In Hayward’s office there’s that hexagon again.
Hayward’s language makes it clear that Vision is an object to him. He calls him “The Vision”, calls him “it”, and talks about bringing him “back online”. He purposefully makes her watch as they dismantle him, calling him “the most sophisticated sentient weapon ever made”, knowing that this goes against what Wanda knows to be Vision’s wishes.
She says she just wants to bury him and Hayward says again and again, “Are you sure. Not everyone has power that could bring their soulmate back [to life].” Every word that comes out of his mouth is carefully measured to trigger her. She blasts through the glass and lowers in to see him – giving Hayward the footage that he uses later to falsely accuse her of stealing his body. She puts her hand to his head and heartbreakingly admits… “I can’t feel you.”
And she leaves. Without him.
The Deed and Westview
When she gets in her car, it seems that someone has planted an envelope on her passenger seat.
Initially without explanation, she drives to Westview and sees a town in shambles. Maybe it’s always been that way. Maybe they just never came back after the snap and the blip. But it’s a town in ruin filled with the familiar faces of unhappy people. It’s easy to see how Wanda wouldn’t have thought she was hurting them by creating her idyllic world. Or at least could have justified it easily.
We see that the mailman is a pizza delivery guy…so now we know that he’s likely just another actor under control in the show.
She steps out of her car onto the unfinished foundation of a home. And pulls out the envelope. Whether this was an envelope that she’s seen before that has magically reappeared in her car (which doesn’t seem likely, as it seems wholly unfamiliar to her) or something that was just planted in her car while she was inside SWORD, it’s the final straw. She opens the map slowly and we see it for the first time.
According to the paper, Vision had purchased this plot of land for them to build a home to grow old in together.
But look who are listed as the grantees. Wanda Maximoff and “The Vision”.
Who called him “The Vision”?
The actual existence of this purchase makes no sense. Wanda seemed to know nothing about it before. He died at the same moment that she dusted. When in the world would he have purchased the land and how would the deed have have ended up in her car…unless Hayward planted it there as the final straw to force her to do what he wanted her to do.
In a wave of emotion she gives in to his repeated suggestion, casting the hex over Westview and… materializing Vision out of thin air.
That’s right…his body isn’t in there. It’s still at SWORD.
Agatha and the Boys and Chaos Magic
Back in the present timeline, Agatha has the boys and mocks Wanda for using her mythical power to make breakfast for dinner.
When Wanda asks for her children, Agatha says “ah yes – Vision, the children, this whole little life you’ve made” – making it sound very much like the boys aren’t real outside of the Hex. I guess we’ll know soon…
And then finally – Agatha understands. Wanda is the Scarlet Witch. The myth. The wielder of Chaos Magic – magic that has the power to warp the very fabric of reality that wasn’t even thought to be real before now.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve predicted (hoped?) for an appearance of Chthon as the big bad of this phase of the MCU. And this might just be a hint that it’s coming. Chthon, the evil elder god, was banished from earth but left the Darkhold behind as a potential means of returning. For that return he would need a powerful vessel – and, as the story goes, he touched the Scarlet Witch with chaos magic, leaving a part of him inside of her. Agatha’s seemingly real fear in this scene might just stem from the fact that she’s realizing that this story – and Chthon and his chaos magic – are real.
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Flash to the end credits scene and Hayward has what he wants. A bit of Wanda’s red magic still surrounds the drone that he sent into Westview. And he uses it to power up what appears to be…White Vision. An soul-less, unfeeling version of Vision that would be Hayward’s ultimate sentient weapon.
And so with two Visions at play, that final scene that Bettany’s been teasing for ages? That big actor that he’s always wanted to work with – with whom he has fireworks on set?
It might just be….himself.
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