WandaVision: Season 1, Episode 7 Review

For much of this week’s Modern Family-spoofing chapter of WandaVision, it’s easy to think the show has dropped its first filler episode. Vision and Darcy being stuck in a van for half an hour moves the plot only marginally further than the van itself, while Wanda spends almost the entire time in her pyjamas just doing her best Claire Dunphy impression. But this is all the calm before the storm, as episode seven drops the story’s biggest twist just before the credits roll, and does so in style.Agnes is revealed to be Agatha Harkness, one of Marvel’s magical characters and a huge, insidious part of Wanda’s life in the comics. Far from being a captive in Wanda’s illusionary world, Agatha has – as the catchy tune says – been pulling every evil string all along. The musical number is used to show off numerous moments of prior WandaVision episodes and reveal that Agatha was behind them, from killing Sparky the dog to bringing Pietro into the world.

The sequence is a great display of Kathryn Hahn’s larger-than-life acting talents, with some great evil facial expressions and the perfect witch cackle. With the secret now in the open, hopefully the final two episodes will allow Hahn to finally take centre stage. She’s been the show’s biggest source of untapped potential, and so it’s a shame we’ve had to wait quite this long to put her in the spotlight.For non-comic fans, this reveal may have come out of nowhere, especially as Agnes has done nothing truly suspicious on-screen, which does dent its impact. However, it has long been a fan theory among lore obsessives that Agnes is Agatha Harkness. But as episodes have gone by, she seemed less and less the culprit, especially following her bewildered encounter with Vision in episode six. Blowing the candle out on this theory, only to reignite it an episode later, is an ideal act of timing from showrunner Jac Schaeffer, and ensures the reveal still carries some punch, even if it does get just a brief few minutes of screen time. And with Agatha’s part of the story confirmed, it opens the door wide for further theories around her intentions for Wanda and her children, as well as the potential for characters like Mephisto or even Chthon to make their MCU debut.

In other big reveals, Monica’s pushing back into Westview through the hex barrier appears to have activated her powers, putting her one step ahead on the road to becoming her comic book counterpart, Spectrum. The glowing blue eyes, strange electromagnetic vision, and invulnerability to the hex’s transformative power all indicate that we could be well on the way to getting a Captain Marvel-grade superhero punch-up in the coming finale. It’s also fun to see the design of her SWORD uniform acting as a prototype of her hero costume from the comics.

Monica’s material here is all in aid of anticipation rather than immediate pay-off, though, something which characterises the episode as a whole. It’s nice to get hints back to her past and hear voices from Captain Marvel, but this is very much an episode about moving all the pieces into the correct position for the finale, rather than doing anything massive with them. That thankfully doesn’t make the reveals themselves any less exciting, but the construction of the episode does mean all the characters feel somewhat underserved until the final ten minutes. Jimmy barely gets a word in, and the reveal of Monica’s contact – a bunch of military people with a space truck – is particularly unspecial considering some of the surprises WandaVision has set up in the past.

Of the SWORD trio, Darcy has the most screen time, but is resigned to delivering an information dump to Vision for the entire episode. Again, this is important set up for what’s to come, but it means that Vision’s place in the story this week is to be entirely a receptacle for exposition. He also seems oddly calm about it all, in part due to the deadpan style that leaks in through the mockumentary format. There surely would be more fizz if Vision had learned this from Wanda, but – again – it does lay foundations for something more exciting in the final two episodes.As for Wanda herself, well, Elizabeth Olsen sure can do a fantastic Julie Bowen impression. Her hand movements and emphasised delivery is a perfect replica of Bowen’s Claire Dunphy from Modern Family. In fact, the homage is perhaps a little too much, as Wanda feels less like Wanda this week until her final encounter with Agatha. Her stay-at-home routine does give the show a moment to reflect on her troubles so far, though. Along with the Nexus pills advert, it’s clear Wanda has progressed past her angry grief stage and into depression, neatly visualised by the unstable house around her. After casting her as the villain for several subsequent episodes, the show is making efforts to make Wanda sympathetic again, which neatly marries up with the reveal that she is, at least partially, a victim of Agatha’s schemes.

Isolating Wanda for an episode means the absence of Pietro, but this doesn’t mean a complete lack of Quicksilver. In the show’s first post credits scene, Evan Peters arrives in menacing fashion to interrupt Monica’s discovery of Agatha’s basement. It’s a cliff-hanger that, combined with what we know about Agatha, poses many questions about Pietro’s nature, and potentially hurls all our X-Men theories into the garbage.



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