(Spoilers from Marvel Studios and Disney+’s WandaVision will be found below.)
WandaVision‘s finale episode arrived as promised with a satisfying showdown between two powerful witches (and Elizabeth Olsen giving it her all alongside Kathryn Hahn, who tugged at the scenery-curtains but admirably refrained from chewing them up). The most immediately impactful happening, though, was how Paul Bettany kept setting up some magnificent trolling during interviews, and the delivery (or lack thereof) on said trolling. He promised an “extraordinary” cameo from an actor who he’d always wanted to work with, and speculation ran wild… would this be a Magneto cameo to further lay mutant-ground in the MCU and a fusion with the FOX superhero universe? Did “extraordinary” refer to an A-list actor who’d emerge as Mephisto and be the real big bad; and would he, you know, be played by Al Pacino? Well, Bettany kept on working the troll job right up until finale time. As it turned out, yes, that cameo really was Paul Bettany (as WhiteVision, not Walter White as I ridiculously joked last week) facing off with himself while holding a Ship of Theseus conversation, and yes, the guy’s a damn rascal. Good job, Paul Bettany.
I freaking admire it, actually. The two Visions squared off, and then Wanda lost Vision for good, but that had to happen, so she could continue on her journey. And after all that build-up, the show kept the focus on the title and looking forward to the rest of Phase Four with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. To that effect, we even saw Wanda ending her own finale, post-credits-style, while studying magic in a very Stephen Strange-like way. Yep, Scarlet Witch was astral projecting and absorbing all the skills from the Darkhold while Wanda’s bod was hanging out and enjoying some fresh mountain air. I believe this was a proper ending to this chapter of Wanda’s evolution before Scarlet Witch goes on to help advance the rest of the MCU’s Phase Four.
Let’s think of it this way. Thank god that cabin shot didn’t lead to some Dexter revelation, right? As in, Wanda deciding to skip that Doctor Strange sequel and just be, you know, a lumberjack while retiring from
serial killing chaos magic. Now, that would be a real troll job, and Marvel Studios and Disney+ knew better than to pull such a move. Instead, there was a tease that we kind-of deserved and a tempering of expectations while guiding our focus to the fact that this was Wanda Maximoff’s story. We did not need some Luke Skywalker-esque moment for this finale, which did what it was supposed to do: put a bow on Wanda beginning to come to grips with all of the trauma she’s suffered (watching her parents die, becoming a tool for HYDRA before watching Pietro die, and, yep, watching Vision die) before going on to become an even more vital part of the MCU.
Kevin Feige did it again. He gave Wanda Maximoff her due after the MCU introduced her in Age Of Ultron as more powerful than any existing Avenger before downplaying her for years. Her badassery was largely forgotten until she vengefully faced off against Thanos during that Avengers: Endgame battle. So, that moment wasn’t simply part of the Phase Three finale montage, it meant something, and we had to wait for WandaVision for confirmation of how important Scarlet Witch is to the MCU, but it finally happened. Seeing an Al Pacino or an Ian McKellan or a Michael Fassbender cameo that equated to a Mark Hamill appearance (which worked for The Mandalorian, obviously, in a different context) would have taken away from what Wanda deserved.
So, Wanda got to finish her standalone story on her own terms (though damn, Kathryn Hahn does not miss, and her Agatha will be remembered), which means that I got one thing that I wanted from this show. A chunk of Twitter disagrees because they truly expected a mega-cameo, but I think they’ll eventually get over it.
— Christopher Sutton (@Christo86830535) March 5, 2021
— Cy-Ana (@CyanSB) March 5, 2021
— Rian💀✌ (@RJoysun) March 5, 2021
— Mikayla she/her (@VertMikayla) March 5, 2021
— 𝙅𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙣👺 (@retrojwr) March 5, 2021
We’re left with some loose ends, of course, like whether Wanda’s kids will resurface one day, and whether the people of Westview will truly go back to “normal,” but there was plenty of stuff we did learn. Jimmy Woo got to look good as authority (good for sweet Jimmy Woo), Darcy decided that she was too cool for school/a debriefing (“have fun in prison,” Hayward), and Monica Rambeau is coming into her Photon powers. The mid-credits scene appeared to set up the upcoming Secret Invasion series while pointing upward toward a sky-bound Nick Fury and Talos. Would I have liked to have seen Ben Mendelsohn doing the Skrull thing again? Well, sure, but there’s time for that later.
Oh yeah, Evan Peters’ Pietro is not secretly Mephisto, either. (He was Agnes’ husband, Ralph! So strange.)
Seriously man, no Mephisto for you! Yet there might be hope for a certain Sam Raimi regular to pick up that role for the Doctor Strange sequel, so we’ll see how that rolls. And we don’t yet know how Scarlet Witch will continue her story in that film. She could go on to spread more chaos magic, or she might get it together and antihero-it-up in a mostly positive way. I kind-of want her to go off the rails even more, though, given that Wanda has now lost not only Vision but her children (and we don’t know entirely whether they only existed in her mind, as with the comics) and might have no f*cks left to give. There’s always Agnes for the future, though, and Wanda knows exactly where to find her if she’s needed. WandaVision did a fine job of setting up Disney+ for the MCU shows, and next week, all eyes are on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
‘WandaVision’ is available to stream in full in Disney+.