WandaVision: Expectations vs. Reality

Did the finale deliver?

Previously on WANDAVISION

Regardless of how good a series is, its lasting impression is usually cemented by how the viewer feels about the finale. While a mediocre show is rarely elevated to greatness by an amazing final episode, it’s pretty common for the memories of a great show to be razed by a disappointing last impression.

In fact, I’d say it’s fairly common to be let down by the final episode of a great TV show. Sticking that landing is difficult, and when a show was hyped as much as WANDAVISION over the last few months, it can be damned near impossible for those final moments to match how they’ve been built up in our heads. Whether it was the hype train that got a little out of control or just our imaginations, the final episode of WandaVision left me a little cold.

It’s not that the episode wasn’t impactful or emotional. It wrapped up Wanda’s story nicely, leaving us all a little heartbroken for her. She had everything she wanted, but she had to give it all up for the greater good. Any doubt that Wanda was a hero should be wiped away after the finale. She could have kept her life with Vision and the twins, but it would have meant keeping all the residents of Westview under her thrall, which a hero would never do. She kept it all up long enough to say goodbye to her family and then she set everyone free. And then she flew off to figure out how to gain control of her powers.

There was no reverse House of M moment, where she wished mutants into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wanda is still alone. But now, as we saw in the post-credits scene for the episode, she’s studying and learning about her powers. And maybe that moment where she looks to camera and says, “More mutants” comes later in Marvel’s Phase 4 films.

Even the mutant we did get in the series – Wanda’s long-dead brother Pietro – turned out to be nothing more than a resident of Westview that was given speed powers.

There was no reveal of an evil bigger than Angela Harkness. All the talk of Mephisto or Nightmare or someone else being the one pulling the strings never played out. The final battle was between Wanda and Angela – with a little interference from S.W.O.R.D. Director Hayward and the white Vision. But S.W.O.R.D.’s threats to Wanda were just a minor distraction that were easily dispatched by Jimmy Woo’s call to the FBI.

Speaking of Hayward and his plans, he sent the white Vision in to take Wanda out, but he was intercepted by the Westview Vision. After a few punches were thrown, the Visions had a philosophical debate about which of them was the “real” Vision (Spoiler: It was neither of them – and both of them). Then the white Vision flies off and the Westview Vision stays with his family and eventually dissipates. Did I miss something? Where did the white Vision go? It’s not like they made a point of combining them, and if they did, wouldn’t “whole” Vision then be able to stick around when Wanda returns the town back to normal?

The talk before WandaVision started was that the series would be the lead-in to Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, which would in turn lead in to the third Spider-Man movie. With all the talk that characters from past iterations of Spider-Man would make an appearance in the newly-titled Spider-Man: No Way Home, it wasn’t much of a leap to assume we would get other worlds here. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to pass.

Marvel Studios has a fairly good track record, dating back to rejuvenating Robert Downey Jr.’s career with the first Iron Man movie, so there’s no reason not to trust that it will all make sense once we see the next Doctor Strange and Spider-Man movies. It’s just the immediate reactions to the end of the show – which promised a lot more than it delivered, I think – that’s leaving me a little cold.

Hopefully, the upcoming Falcon and the Winter Soldier series, which begins later this month, will have a more satisfying conclusion.