“There is one character that has not been revealed and it is very exciting,” Paul Bettany aka Vision told Esquire recently. “It’s an actor I’ve longed to work with all of my life. We have some amazing scenes together, and the chemistry between us is extraordinary, and it was just fireworks on set.” He wasn’t wrong. Bettany might have been trolling the fanbase with rumours of another big-name cameo, but he still shares most of his best scenes in the WandaVision finale with someone… himself.
Sticking to the grand Marvel tradition of ending things with a bang, episode nine packs more fireworks into its 50-minute runtime than most blockbuster movies – and it does it alongside one of the most sensitively written emotional dramas in the MCU.
Everything has been building up to this point. Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) has Wanda’s kids by the throat and she’s goading Scarlet Witch (as she’s now called) into fighting so she can sponge all of her powers. Monica (Teyonah Parris) is trapped in fake Pietro’s (Evan Peters) man cave watching Steven Seagal movies. Hayward (Josh Stamberg) has Jimmy (Randall Park) in handcuffs. White Vision turns up and starts squeezing Wanda’s head, right before Red Vision bats him into a camper van.
“This is awkward,” cackles Agatha, “Your ex and your new boyfriend at the same party!”. And so the fight for Westview begins – with the two witches and the two Visions having separate sky fights while everyone tries to dodge the fallout below.
Beautifully written, the multiple battles criss-cross each other as they swap supersized SFX for real emotional gut punches. True to Bettany’s word, his scenes with himself are seriously impressive – whether firing glowy forehead beams at each other as they rip half the town apart or trying to outwit their other selves in a debate about identity metaphysics.
Elsewhere, Kathryn Hahn and Elizabeth Olsen also get their best scenes together as they break up the destructive magic bouts with teary monologues. It turns out the evil-looking witch book in Agatha’s dungeon was The Darkhold (aka The Book Of Sins, The Book Of The Damned and a mythic comic relic of such dark power that it’s sure to drive the entire next phase of the MCU) and Scarlet Witch is destined to destroy the world with a power “exceeding that of the Sorcerer Supreme” (aka Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange).
When Agatha fails to beat Wanda in a firefight, she tries reminding her what she’s really doing to all the poor townsfolk of Westview (“heroes don’t torture people”), forcing her to break the Hex just long enough to let Hayward and his S.W.O.R.D. goons in without melting her husband and kids.
As Red Vision beats White Vision with logic, the whole family stand together for the final showdown – getting a perfect Incredibles-style super-pose in front of the Westview cinema that advertised The Incredibles a couple of episodes ago (one-upping WandaVision’s easter egg game).
Darcy (Kat Dennings) shows up to take out Hayward in an ice-cream truck, but no one really cares about him anymore as Wanda and Agatha step things up in the sky above – Wanda pouring all of her hate and grief into the fight, trading the fate of humanity for more chance of happiness with her fake family. Or so Agatha thinks… not realising that Wanda has been skywriting magic witch runes on the ceiling of the Hex to turn the whole town into a prison.
Agatha defeated (trapped back in the role of the nosy neighbour), and Wanda now officially wearing the red horns of Scarlet Witch, all that’s left to do is say goodbye. Last week’s episode got a lot of love for its writing about grief and loss, but the real heartbreak is saved for the final moments of the series as Wanda finally says goodbye to Vision, to her kids, and to the dream of a life she never got to live. For a franchise that once killed off half the population of the human race, it’s a testament to creator Jac Schaeffer’s writing (and to Olsen and Bettany’s remarkable performances) that WandaVision lands the most emotionally affecting scenes in the MCU.
Nine episodes down, the show finishes with a satisfying conclusion and a whole lot of questions – not to mention two end credit stings that set up the next chapters. Monica is pulled aside by a Skrull and pointed up to space to see “an old friend of your mother” (cueing up Captain Marvel 2). Wanda is seen studying the evil Darkhold in a remote cabin (possibly Wundagore Mountain?) White Vision is still out there somewhere, annoyingly logical and devoid of any emotion. And we’re all left missing one of the best things Marvel has ever made – now waiting for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness to see what happens next.
- Catch Jimmy’s “flourish” in-joke when he opens his handcuffs – the same used by Vision when he was a 1950s magician
- The Westview cinema is now showing “Tannhäuser Gate Put The Fun In Dysfunction”, a neat reference to Blade Runner (and a likely nod to that film’s own debate about robot consciousness)
- Wanda’s first round with Agatha ends with a not-so-subtle Wizard Of Oz joke – seeing Agatha’s curly witch boots smoking under a crushed car.