Rewind Into a Dark Past

Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) forces Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) to relive her tragic past in perhaps the darkest MCU entry. This penultimate WandaVision episode, “Previously On”, explains the origins of the Hex and why Wanda came to Westview. Agatha is an ancient witch that destroyed her coven. She seeks the truth behind Wanda’s incredible power. Agatha tortures Wanda in her basement with evil magic. Using Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne) as leverage, Agatha takes a strand of Wanda’s hair to create doorways into her psyche. They explore the events that defined Wanda. Which leads Agatha to a stunning conclusion about Wanda’s magic.

“Previously On” begins with a recap of Wanda’s childhood, Vision’s (Paul Bettany) death at the hands of Thanos, and Agatha’s introduction of her true self. The Marvel Studios intro runs, but turns to purple at the end and evaporates in black smoke. A caption reads “Salem, Massachusetts 1693”, a cloaked figure with a torch walks in the woods. She’s followed by two cloaked women who are pulling a struggling Agatha. She’s taken to a center pillar surrounded by other cloaked witches and burning torches. Her hands are bound with blue magic.

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Agatha Harkness, are you a witch?” the Coven Mother (Kate Forbes) asks. “Yes, I am a witch,” Agatha replies. Mother accuses her of betraying her coven and “stealing knowledge above your age and station. You practice the darkest of magic!” Agatha pleads, but Mother has “had enough of deception.” Agatha claims the power bent to her will. The witches start to chant. Their hands glow blue. Agatha begs as their chanting grows. The witches hit her with a blue spell shooting from their hands. Agatha initially screams, then starts to smirk.

Purple energy radiates back from Agatha’s body and consumes the surrounding witches. They age rapidly and start to buckle. Mother rises into the air and smites Agatha with her power. Agatha’s hands break free of the binding spell. She lashes out and the witches fall dead to the ground. “Please…I can be good,” Agatha tells Mother. “No you cannot!” Mother focuses all of her strength against Agatha. She’s thrown back, but her purple energy consumes Mother, who also falls dead. Agatha walks to her body, takes her broach, and lifts into the air.

In her basement, Agatha strokes her rabbit, Senor Scratchy, and whispers in its ear, “She’s really shocked to meet the real us.” Wanda’s eyes glow red. Agatha laughs, “My thoughts aren’t available to you Toots. They never ever were.” Wanda asks about her children. Agatha mocks Wanda’s accent coming and going. An enraged Wanda tries to use her powers, but nothing happens. “Your magic is no good here,” Agatha uses her purple power to bind Wanda and lift her in the air. “Didn’t you notice, basic protection spell. One on each wall. These are runes. In a given space, only the witch that cast the runes can use her magic. How do you not know the fundamentals?” Agatha wonders.

“Who are you?” Wanda asks. Agatha returns the same question. She was so patient, waiting for Wanda to reveal her true self, “I got close with fake Pietro…Fietro.” Agatha couldn’t use a necromancer spell because “your real brother was dead and on another continent, not to mention full of holes.” Agatha tells Wanda she’s crippled by self doubt and “believed it.” Agatha sensed “this place, the afterglow of so many spells cast at once.” She couldn’t understand it.

Agatha catches a cicada. She chants and sends the creature to crawl on Wanda’s face, “Thousands of people under your thumb, complex storylines, that’s something special baby.” Agatha transforms the cicada into a bird, “It takes years of study to do even the smallest convincing illusion. But Westview…every little detail in place, down to the crown molding.” Agatha snatches the bird and starts to crush it in her hand, “What’s your secret sister?” Agatha throws the bird towards the rabbit. It turns to a cicada en route before being gobbled up hungrily.

Agatha wants to know how Wanda “did this.” Wanda doesn’t know. Agatha viciously throws her into the walls, “I tried to be gentle, nudge you out of this ridiculous fantasy. But you’d rather fall apart than face your truth.” Agatha reminds her of what she said to her “not brother…endless emptiness, feeling alone.” Agatha pulls a hair from Wanda’s head. She floats it toward a purple door that has magically appeared in the dungeon wall. Agatha chants and the door changes into an older white door, “I’m tired of watching reruns.”

Agatha releases Wanda and walks to the door, but Wanda refuses to come. “Don’t forget I have your children stashed in this bewitched basement, ” Agatha warns. Wanda hears the screams of Billy and Tommy. The door opens and they enter. It is Wanda’s childhood apartment in Sokovia. “Charming, I love the Cold War aesthetic,” Agatha mocks.

“Mama,” Wanda whispers. Irena (Ilana Kohanchi) meets Oleg (Daniyar) at the door. Wanda’s father returns home as her mother opens a briefcase filled with DVDs. They embrace for “TV night.” A young Pietro (Gabriel Gurevich) joins them, “The only rule of TV night is that we have to practice our English.” Pietro calls for Wanda. “That’s your cue,” pushes Agatha. Wanda transforms into her younger self.

Young Wanda (Michaela Russell) looks in the briefcase. There are DVDs of “I Love Lucy”, “Bewitched”, “The Addams Family”, and “Malcolm in the Middle”. She wants her favorite. Oleg looks in their “special place” while Irena hears gunshots. Irena looks outside to see firefights in the street. Oleg pulls out a box set of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. Young Wanda beams as they put in season 2, episode 21. The Maximoff family laughs as they watch the original scenes of what Wanda imagined in the first episodes. An explosion rocks the apartment.

Young Wanda gets up surrounded by fire and debris. She sees her parents dead under rubble. Pietro pulls her under the bed. The hear more explosions as a “Stark Industries” missile lands unexploded right in front of them. It beeps red, but doesn’t activate. They hear footsteps coming towards them. She looks at the TV, still playing in the rubble. “By the end of the episode…they realize it was all a bad dream,” she hopes.

Wanda is dragged from under the bed by Agatha, “Did you use a probability hex to stop that bomb.” No, it never went off. She and Pietro were trapped for two days. Agatha walks around the destroyed apartment, “What I see here is a baby witch who loves sitcoms and years of therapy ahead. It doesn’t explain your recent hijinks. Where did you get the big guns?” Another door, a metallic one with a Hydra logo appears.

Wanda doesn’t want to go. Agatha reminds her “the only way forward is back.” Wanda walks through. Two Hydra scientists are in a lab monitoring Loki’s scepter, which is mounted in an adjoining room. Agatha comments that “her reaction to the bombing of her apartment and death of her parents was to join a terrorist, anti-freedom group.” Wanda wanted to change the world.

Wanda watches as her younger self, in a beige prison dress, enters the chamber with the scepter. The scientists ask Wanda to state her name as a “volunteer.” They remark that not one subject has survived. Wanda looks at the scepter. The blue stone shoots out and hovers before her. It approaches, she reaches out, and it shatters…revealing the yellow Mind Stone. It’s yellow energy encompasses her. She sees a silhouette of the Scarlet Witch coming towards her. Everything returns to normal and she falls to the floor. The scientists rush in, “She’s alive!”

Wanda sits in her cell watching “The Brady Bunch”. The scientists keep reviewing video of the incident. But it only shows Wanda walking to the scepter, and then on the ground. In the cell, the TV goes blank. Leaving Agatha and adult Wanda in the room. “So little orphan Wanda gets up close and personal with an Infinity Stone that amplifies what would have died on the vine. The broken pieces are adding up buttercup,” Agatha reasons. Another, more modern door, opens in the wall.

Wanda is in her room at the Avengers compound. “Pietro was dead. I was in a new country. I was all alone,” Wanda whispers. They observe as Wanda sits on her bed watching “Malcolm in the Middle”. Vision materializes through the door and sits with her on the bed. A saddened Wanda tells Vision, “The only thing that will bring me comfort is seeing him again. This wave washes over me. When I try to stand up, it comes again to drown me.” Vision comforts her. He has “always been alone. I’ve never experienced loss because I’ve never had a loved one to lose.” Vision reminds her that “grief is love persevering.” Wanda sees him in a different way. He laughs at the TV. They chuckle and stare longingly at each other. Agatha actually wipes a tear away.

“What happened when he wasn’t there to pull you back from the darkness?” Agatha presses, “You’re right there! Tell me how you did it!” A new door appears beside them. It is a glass door leading to the lobby of SWORD headquarters. An angry Wanda goes to the counter, “I know you have him. When I came back, his body was gone, I know he is here. He deserves a funeral.” Wanda is allowed inside. She uses her power to throw open the security doors and storms to Director Hayward’s (Josh Stamberg) office.

Hayward introduces himself. He leads her to a glass door inside his office. She looks down to see a laboratory where Vision is being disassembled. She sees his severed head, “Stop it! What are you doing?” Hayward tells her they are dismantling the most powerful sentient weapon ever made. She just wants to bury him. Hayward comments, “Not everyone has the power to bring their soulmate back online.” “That’s not why I’m here,” Wanda responds. Hayward won’t allow her to take “$3 billion dollars of Vibranium just to put it in the ground.”

“He’s all I have,” Wanda cries and then shatters the glass barrier. The technicians run as she floats down. Soldiers raise their guns, but Hayward orders them “to fall back.” Wanda looks at Vision’s head. Her hands glow as she raises them over him, “I can’t feel you.” Wanda leaves in tears. She walks back to her car in the parking lot, and then looks at an open envelope in the passenger seat.

Wanda leaves SWORD HQ and drives on the 95 North to New Jersey. She drives into the old town of Westview. As she drives by the boarded up shops and dilapidated buildings, Wanda sees the people who would play Jones (David Lengel) and Mrs. Hart (Debra Jo Rupp) sullen on the streets. The community pool is broken down and filled with weeds. She continues unto a street with an empty lot where the remains of a house once stood.

Wanda takes the envelope and walks to the structural remains. She opens the envelope, it is the deed to the property – 2800 Sherwood Drive Westview, NJ 08801. In red marker on the deed is a heart with the inscription, “To Grow Old In – V”. Wanda collapses on the ground in abject grief. She weeps bitterly. Wanda screams…red energy explodes out her body. She rises into the air as the energy swirls around her. The house is rebuilt. She lands on her feet, throws out her hands, and launches another massive red energy wave. It transforms the town instantly into the 50s sitcom version of Westview.

In the living room, the red energy turns yellow and starts coalescing into 50s Vision. Everything is in black and white, the aspect ratio has changed. In color, Wanda walks towards him and then changes to black and white 50s Wanda. “Wanda, welcome home, should we stay in tonight?” asks Vision. The real Wanda, in color, watches as they embrace on the couch. Wanda looks up to see she’s now on a stage. The living room is in color, a set in front of audience chairs. Agatha is sitting by herself, then starts to clap, “Bravo!” She waves her hand and vanishes in a purple flash.

Wanda hears Billy and Tommy screaming. She opens the stage door and appears in the front yard. She races into the street to see Agatha hovering in the air. “Mom, please help us!” Billy and Tommy scream. Agatha has glowing purple lines around their neck connected to her hands. Agatha is dressed like she was in the 1600s, “I know what you are!” She chokes the children further as Wanda runs toward them. “You have no idea how dangerous you are. You’re supposed to be a myth…a being capable of spontaneous creation…here you are…using it to make breakfast for dinner.” Wanda’s hands glow red, “Let go of my children!” Agatha continues, “Your children…Vision…this whole little life you’ve made…this is chaos magic Wanda…that makes you a Scarlet Witch.”

In a mid credits scene, Hayward looks at the Hex in the new SWORD operations center outside of Westview. A soldier approaches, “Sir the team is ready.” “It’s about time,” Hayward enters a new tent. “We took this thing apart and put it back together a million times. Tried every type of power supply under the sun, when all we needed was a little energy from the source,” Hayward looks at the glowing red drone that Wanda shot down. He looks at the reassembled, White Vision in a glass chamber. The synthezoid comes online and looks curiously at its hands.

Wow…I had expected WandaVision to get darker, but “Previously On” was next level bleak. Agatha seems 100% evil. She sensed Wanda’s powers and infiltrated the Hex to find the source. Wanda’s childhood was pure despair. The scene where the apartment blew up was so shocking. Her interaction with the Mind Stone unleashed her abilities. Did she see herself as the Scarlet Witch?

Hayward lied about her taking Vision’s body. They rebuilt Vision, but couldn’t replicate the power that brought him to lfe. She manifested him from her memories when she created the Hex. We’re set up for a full on witch fight, Agatha versus Wanda. But we still have Monica, Pietro, Vision, White Vision, and Darcy converging on Agatha’s house. I have a feeling the Senor Scratchy is going to join the fray as something other than a rabbit. Is it Mephisto, Nightmare, or Nicholas Scratch, Agatha’s son? We’ll find out next week in the finale of WandaVision on Disney+, where more bombshell reveals are certainly coming.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TVweb.

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