This post contains spoilers for WandaVision.
Finales are expected to focus on their main characters. WandaVision did just that, allowing Wanda to finally have her story told. However, the underutilization of her biggest champions both inside and outside the Hex was disappointing. Darcy gets a blip of a moment, and Jimmy gets to lean into his escape artist skills and calls in reinforcements that don’t do much of anything. Then there was Monica Rambeau — the most underutilized character who had invested so much of herself in Wanda’s story, both in the Hex l and outside of it.
In the entire series, Monica has been involved in some way. She figures out how Wanda’s Hex works. She confronts Hayward and questions his motivations. She comes up with a solid idea to reenter the Hex, and when that fails, she fights her way through her own grief and turmoil to get through it. Monica’s story arcs in that seventh episode, and it shows in the finale. The result is a Monica who not only has superpowers now, but a Monica who owns her pain and gives an impassioned speech about doing that very thing to Wanda before being interrupted by Agatha — WandaVision’s big bad. The way Monica is then wasted in the finale is a letdown and more of the same from the MCU when it comes to its Black characters outside of Black Panther, which is not at all perfect in its treatment either. However, the Black women in it at least play integral roles from start to finish.
The lack of imagination for Monica and her powers left so much to be desired in the finale. She’s stuck in a room with Ralph Bohner (fake Pierto) and eventually gets out thanks to her quick wit and abilities. Then the time comes to get in the mix of the final fights between Vision/Wision and Wanda/Agatha, and she’s reduced to taking bullets from Hayward’s gun aimed at Wanda’s kids. Just before she does that, Billy and Tommy show they’re more than capable of handling their own. So, why then is Monica subjected to being a super-powered bullet shield? The optics aren’t nearly as powerful as they were thought to be by the writers. We’ve seen this before with Black characters who have abilities that make them impervious to bullets. Luke Cage instantly comes to mind. For Monica, this moment is nothing more than empty symbolism and unwarranted. This was probably a homage to her phasing through bullets in The Mighty Avengers series, but Monica and viewers deserved more than that.
What would have been more impactful, cathartic even, is if Monica could use her powers to handle Hayward before he even got a shot off. What is the point of controlling any kind of electromagnetic energy if you can’t even move at the speed of light to stop someone? Better yet, why even have Hayward go after the kids when Monica is owed her just due against Hayward. He has done nothing but subject her to microaggressions and outright disrespect for her and what her mother built. And sure, Monica doesn't quite have a handle on her powers just yet, but something other than using her as a human shield could have been done. She held her own just fine when put in a tight spot with Wanda.
The misogynoir Monica has had to deal with has been prominent throughout WandaVision. The presence of it is one of the many things that make Monica is so relatable, because she deals with what Black women deal with every single day. Still, unlike the rest of us, because she is a fictional character, that means she can address it in ways we can’t. There was a moment for her to dole out some retribution to Hayward at the very least. Not even necessarily using her powers to harm him, but to make it known that she isn’t the one to be trifled with and his time doing that was over. What Michelle Obama said about going higher when they go lower was in this reality, and even still, that was something a lot of us don't choose to abide by. So, if that's the case in the real world — there was no need to hold this powerful character to that. Monica owed a moment with Hayward. He did not deserve to be walked away in handcuffs. That was art imitating life in the most unimaginative way possible.
Then there was the utter waste of whatever budding relationship between Monica and Wanda existed prior. Something was there, but in their last exchange in the finale, the chemistry was gone. That’s probably because Monica was reduced to such an afterthought in the final episode. It kind of undid a lot of Monica’s motivation to get back into the Hex to help. Wanda apologizes to Monica, but it would have been better if Monica’s words about owning her pain to Wanda in the seventh episode had some significance. Mostly because the intent was there to connect Monica and Wanda through their grief, it was not enough for Monica to mention that she would have done the same if she had the power to do so or openly sympathize with all Wanda gave up to restore the lives she held hostage.
Monica’s role in WandaVision started so strongly. It’s a shame how that fizzled like a few other things in the series by the time we got to the finale. Again, this is Wanda’s story, but Monica was integral from the start. She was owed more. The stinger hints at the continuance of Monica’s story, but what confidence is there to be had when it’s a story that will be tied to another character's vehicle (Captain Marvel 2)? We’ll have to wait and see, but Monica Rambeau deserves a moment that is entirely hers and no one else’s. Don’t invite Black women to save the day unless you plan to get out of their way and then give them credit for doing so once it’s all said and done.
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