What These Eyes Have Seen -WandaVision Episode 8
***CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM EPISODE 8, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***
Delighted to be so wrong about the adverts, but I think that’s maybe kind of the point. I won’t go overboard this time, as after next week all will be revealed so that would seem the appropriate opportunity to go back through the show with all of the facts, or at least all of the facts we’re going to get. These are my immediate thoughts (and I recognise this is mostly for me, but maybe it will mean something to you, too!):
- One of the things that has made WandaVision so fun to watch is the way the format allows and encourages theorising about what’s happening. This is woven into fabric of the show, with things like Jimmy Woo’s whiteboard, Agatha saying “I have a theory, but I need more,” and questions like “Who’s doing this to you, Wanda?” through the radio all acknowledge information gaps and the pursuit of understanding. Nobody — not Wanda, not Agatha, not Hayward, not us — has the full picture of what has happened/is happening. Wanda is content to just accept Westview because she doesn’t want to understand it, she wants to live it. Vision, Agatha, and Hayward are each on their own distinct quests for deeper insight and it is these three who are destabilising the world that Wanda has made. The audience can only know what we’re permitted to know. In our desire to know more — to access the secret knowledge, such as that which was forbidden to 1693 Agatha in Salem — we indulge in apophenia, seeking and identifying clues and connections that are meaningless (perhaps a nod from Wanda in Episode 7’s breakdown). From a creative standpoint, this is a richly successful approach as it motivates ever deeper personal investment from the audience. It’s a fascinating and occasionally dangerous phenomenon, but let’s assume Marvel Studios means us no harm!
- The musical motif that runs throughout the Episode 1–7 themes and Agatha All Along has synergy with what we learned in Episode 8. To make her perfect life in Westview, Wanda creates Vision from within herself. The tritone splits the octave in half, and the other intervals are a perfect 4th and perfect 5th, the two most stable intervals within a diatonic octave.
- I think the reason that WandaVision feels so special in the MCU is that despite it featuring fantasy and magic and superpowers, the heart of the story is much more relatable and human than in the films. Whilst we may see flashes of human connection, the movies play big in a way that intentionally keeps them at arm’s length. Episode 8’s exploration of grief is something likely to be intensely familiar to many people. I, for one, found it incredibly moving.
- The way the show has handled the different trajectories of its characters is absolutely stunning, and it touches on the genuinely complex nature of what it means to be human (or synthezoid). There are no wholly good or wholly bad people within these narratives. We may be predisposed to respond favourably to Wanda because we empathise with her suffering and she has been the apparent protagonist of the show, but Vision, Agatha, and Hayward are each acting according to what they believe is right. Vision is unnerved that Wanda may be harming the people of Westview, and in light of the fact that he didn’t exist before Westview, he has no historical/nostalgic baggage that would keep him unquestioningly on Wanda’s side; Agatha is fearful that the Scarlet Witch poses a grave threat to, well, everything; and Hayward is afraid of what Wanda is capable of doing. Nobody’s ever really had Wanda’s back (except 1st gen Vision), so we WANT to interpret things in a way that marks her as safe and good. That’s why Hayward’s lies about her stealing Vision’s body from the SWORD facility are so easily used to spark hatred. In actuality, he was almost certainly panicked to discover that Wanda had created an entirely new Vision in Westview, knowing full well that dead-Vis had been left back at the ranch. He’s not tracking Vision in the Hex because he wants to destroy Vision, he’s tracking Vision in the Hex because he wants to find Wanda.
- Westview, like Lagos, is a consequence of something Wanda didn’t mean to do. The advert, then, may be a reference to the mess she has made by creating the Hex.