Warning: This article contains spoilers for “WandaVision” and other MCU films.
Episode 8 of “WandaVision,” titled “Previously On,” was not the climactic addition to the series I was expecting; however, its tear-jerking moments made it a solid episode. “Previously On” follows Agnes holding Wanda captive and forcing Wanda to go on a journey of her past trauma in order to figure out how she created the Hex. Here are four main takeaways from this episode.
1. Agatha was a witch in Salem, 1693
This episode begins with a flashback of Agatha being tied up to a wooden post in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1693 — the era of the Salem witch trials. Agatha has been accused of practicing dark magic. Of course, the accusations are correct, and Agatha affirms that she is a witch, but she pleads to be spared. Evanora Harkness, Agatha’s mother, and the other magicians use energy beams to carry out her execution; however, Agatha’s own powers kick in, and she manages to reverse the spell, sucking the life out of her executioners. After finishing off her mother, Agatha breaks free and steals the brooch off of her mother’s corpse.
The importance of this scene is clear: It hints at how powerful Agatha is. In her conversation with Wanda, we see that she has the powers of mind control, telekinesis and flight. Upon seeing her suck the life out of people, I’m concerned about what she might do to Wanda.
2. We finally see the creation of the Hex
Agatha forces Wanda to relive the past to see how she created the Hex, tracing the origins of Wanda’s powers. While Wanda initially refuses, Agatha — the villain she is — threatens Wanda with the screams of Billy and Tommy. Terrified, Wanda heads through the first doorway Agatha fabricates into a scene from her childhood: the last day Wanda and Pietro spend with their parents.
This sequence reveals Wanda’s love for sitcoms and how her family used American sitcoms — like the “Dick Van Dyke Show,” which appears on their screen and is the basis of the first episode — to learn English. During one family viewing, a bomb goes off behind the siblings and covers their parents in rubble. After Wanda and Pietro regain consciousness, Wanda narrowly protects them from a subsequent bomb.
The next scene is at the headquarters of Hydra, an antagonistic terrorist force in the MCU. Here, Wanda is a teenage radical and has volunteered to touch the Infinity Stone that Hydra recovered, an experiment no one has survived from … yet. When Wanda touches the stone, she sees a beam of light and a mysterious figure, both visible to only her.
The third flashback is at the Avengers Headquarters in upstate New York, where we see Wanda and Vision meet. It’s cute, to say the least. When Vision walks in, Wanda is watching another sitcom, upset about her brother’s death, and Vision consoles her. They watch the show together, sneaking flirtatious glances — the blossoms of a romance.
The last flashback consists of Wanda “breaking into” S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters. After she leaves S.W.O.R.D. emotionally defeated, she finds an envelope with directions that leads her to an empty house lot in Westview, NJ. Wanda soon recognizes the envelope as the deed to her and Vision’s dream suburban home, the words “To grow old in -V.” scribbled over it. Wanda sobs, falling to her knees, as her Chaos Magic pours from her and creates the 1950s WestView of the first episode. Vision soon materializes, and the two begin their happy suburban life together as seen in episode 1. Then the flashbacks end.
3. Wanda is the Scarlet Witch
Many Marvel fans know this, but this is the first time in the MCU that Wanda is referred to as “the Scarlet Witch.” After Wanda reveals how the Hex was created, Agatha realizes she’s wielding Chaos Magic and is capable of “spontaneous creation.” Agatha leaves her house, Wanda closely behind as she hears her children’s screams. With the boys tied up, it is clear Agatha wants to get rid of Wanda to take the power for herself, and she thus reveals Wanda’s identity:
“And that makes you the Scarlet Witch.”
4. The post-credit scene: Hayward is a liar
What event in the past five years, between “Infinity War” (2018) and “Endgame” (2019), has traumatized Hayward to the extent that he holds such a grudge against Wanda?
I ask this because it turns out that he is a dirty liar. One of the flashbacks reveals that when Wanda went to S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters, she didn’t take Vision’s body. Hayward is the one who shows Vision to her and, referring to him as an object, tempts her to bring him back “online” as a weapon. Wanda knows this was not what Vision wanted and refuses.
We then see in the post-credit scene that Hayward is powering up Vision’s assembled corpse with a drone full of Chaos Magic. Theoretically, since Vision’s life and Wanda’s powers derive from the Mind Stone, a new Vision should be created … one that they’ll probably send after Wanda. What does this mean for “Hex Vision?” Will the two entities combine? I can’t wait to see what comes next, including Hayward getting his ass handed to him, in the final installment of “WandaVision.”