WandaVision, the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, released its finale episode Friday on Disney Plus.
The streaming series, which had been rolling out one episode a week beginning Jan. 15, focused on examining Wanda Maximoff’s (Elizabeth Olsen) journey with grief. The first three episodes, made in the style of ’50s, 60’s and 70’s era sitcoms, were, for the most part, light-hearted and fun. Complete with catchy new theme songs for each episode, they dealt with Maximoff, and her husband Vision’s (Paul Bettany) suburban problems and nosy neighbors in their town of Westview.
While the third episode begins to hint that there is more under the surface than anticipated, it is only in the fourth episode that truths come to light: Maximoff had created an alternative reality in which she can be with Vision, who had died at the end of the film Infinity War. In the subsequent episodes, the audience watches as Maximoff’s reality begins to crumble as the S.W.O.R.D. operatives outside of Westview try to understand what is happening within.
The highly anticipated finale episode had a lot of ground to cover, but the episode wasted no time jumping straight into the action, and where the previous episode had left off: with villain Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) dangling Maximoff’s children on the streets of Westview. Maximoff is able to free her children and, from there, a classic Marvel showdown ensues. Vision and his counterpart, White Vision, join in on the fight, the latter of which is being controlled by S.W.O.R.D. operatives outside of reality.
The fight brought us Maximoff’s acceptance of her identity as the Scarlet Witch, something she had spent the previous episode denying. It also brought closure to Vision, who, after a conversation with White Vision—or another version of himself—comes to terms with the fact that Maximoff had created him. Their conversation also hinted at a reunion between Maximoff and White Vision in the future, as White Vision flies away, freed from S.W.O.R.D. by the memories Vision had restored for him.
The episode ends with Harkness’s defeat, leaving her trapped in Westview at Maximoff’s hand. It is at this point that Maximoff releases the town of Westview, freeing them from the torture they had been struggling with throughout the show. Maximoff’s freeing of the town and acceptance of the damage that she had done also meant saying farewell to Vision and her children, which she had conjured up during the show. In a beautiful display of grief and vulnerability, Wanda and Vision embrace before lovingly parting. In perhaps the most quotable part of the episode, Vision states, “we have said goodbye before, so it stands to reason…” and Maximoff finishes, “we’ll say hello again.”
The hopeful goodbye mimics the larger theme of the show. While obviously about superheroes, as every Marvel installment is, WandaVision explores the deeply personal relationship Maximoff has with death and mourning. It is that which makes the show so effective and unforgettable.