What to Watch Verdict
🔸Appropriate, albeit sad, ending to the story in its current form.
🔸An anti-climactic end to the whole S.W.O.R.D. situation.
🔸Monica is hugely underutilized here.
"Goodbyes are such sweet sorrow" feels like an apt platitude for WandaVision's Season 1 finale. The despair that has driven the show has been there from the jump, guiding the decisions of our protagonist as she desperately tries to be happy for the first time in her adult life. Upon learning that happiness comes at a cost to others, though, Wanda realizes that she has to let it all go. Of course, she'll have to get through a 900 year old witch if she or the people of Westview ever hope to have a happy moment again.
We find Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) right were we left her. Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) has Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne) by the throat, hoping that Wanda will attack her in order to free her kids. The Scarlet Witch quickly discovers why, realizing what the audience had since learned about Agatha's absorption powers. All the same, Wanda's goal is achieved and the boys are freed in time for White Vision to arrive and Vision Original Flavor (Paul Bettany) to stop him from crushing his wife's head. It's a very dramatic five minutes in the Maximoff family's lives, but it won't be the hardest scene they face before it's all said and done.
The battles split off here. It's witch vs. witch, synthezoid vs. synthezoid. The Visions' chess match ends up being the more interesting of the two fights, but it doesn't overshadow Wanda and Agatha for too long. Vision is able to convince his pale counterpart that neither of them is the real Vision, and yet both of them are the real Vision. When White Vision stands down, the OG imparts his memories and sends him free into the world.
Though the battle of the witches is a little lackluster, we at least see how quick of a study Wanda Maximoff can be. While Agatha thinks she's willingly handing over her powers, the Scarlet Witch is really placing runes in the Hex and ensuring the older witch is rendered useless until she can free the town and have a peaceful moment with her family.
The action may be lacking in the final battle, but that doesn't make it meaningless. For the first time, Wanda has a true sense of who she is and what her choices will be. Chaos magic is a hell of a thing to wield, especially when your life has mirrored that volatility, but Wanda Maximoff isn't lost anymore. She knows what she has to do, and she knows the steps she's taking next, personal cost be damned.
Scarlet Witch's costumes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have always been pretty solid, but her full, honest to the gods get-up is incredible looking. That tiara is a hard thing to nail on a contemporary costume, but Elizabeth Olsen was an absolute force in that costume/wig/headpiece combination. You can't play a witch unless you know how to exude power, and our girl was a living, breathing, superhero in that precise moment.
While there are enough fundamental parts that work exceptionally in the season finale, it felt like a lot fell to the wayside. Darcy (Kat Dennings) gets a brief moment and then is off into the ether, Jimmy brings in the cavalry that ultimately doesn't do much, and it almost seems as if S.W.O.R.D. was brought into the MCU solely to be ignored again. After Darcy nails Hayward (Josh Stamberg) with her car, the guy just sits there until the F.B.I comes and carts him off. No one really sees any kind of comeuppance here, whether it be Hayward, the S.W.O.R.D. agents that aided in his plans, or Wanda herself.
Her moment with the criminally wasted Monica (Teyonah Parris) is respectful, brief, and devoid of the chemistry that the two shared in the Hex. That could be a symptom of neither of them being a product of a dream, but it felt like we were building up to something between these two women that ultimately never came. All the same, there's always the chance for the future. Their parting was on equal footing, with the the two of them appreciating the others' actions but feeling no need to have any kind of discussion about the happenings of the Hex.
After all, Wanda did just have to say goodbye to her family.
Billy and Tommy's creation is always so complex that leaving them only hurt because we were feeling Wanda's pain. That's not to say the characters don't matter! It's more that Wanda reading that grimoire in that last cut-scene wasn't for nothing, and the twins' creation is never through "natural" means. We could see them again, so all of the sadness is solely rooted in the fact that Olsen could make any of us break down by simply screwing up her face in the right way. Saying goodbye to Vision stung a little more, but Vision the White is out there flying around learning how to feel things in the same way the original Vision did years ago, and with all of his memories intact. Who knows what might be next?
The first stinger gives hope for Monica's future. We might not have gotten to see a Skrull come into play in the story itself, but Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her Skrull bud are calling for her from the sky. Time for Photon to go do her thing!
Some disappointments aside, WandaVision managed a largely successful finale. I had a huge amount of concern that it was going to turn the despair up to eleven and simply focus on causing the viewer pain for the sake of it. But that wasn't the case. Instead, everything was very intentional. The decisions had meaning and the farewells — though not forever — hit in exactly the right way. We don't know for sure just yet, but I don't have any doubts about Season 2. A fully capable Scarlet Witch will be showing up to help Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in The Multiverse of Madness, and then we'll see what the future has in store for her.
Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.