Throughout WandaVision, there have been some major questions about pretty much everything in the Disney+ series and at the center of those questions has been one large mystery: how is Wanda doing what she's doing in Westview? That Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) is hugely powerful has never been a question, but the extent of what she's been doing inside the Hex is off the charts even for her. To answer that question, episode eight titled "Previously On" sees Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) force Wanda through her painful past in order to piece together just how she's become so powerful. That means going all the way back to the beginning, giving WandaVision a major flashback to Wanda's MCU origin -- and an explanation of just how Wanda and Pietro survived the destruction of their home and the deaths of their parents.
In the episode, Wanda literally walks through her own memories starting with young Wanda at home with her brother and her parents, Iryna and Olek in Sokovia. Life is kind of grim in Sokovia, but the Maximoff's are a happy family. The Maximoff home is small but tidy, and while a war rages in the streets literally just outside their window, they are having a TV night watching American sitcoms. Little Wanda gets to pick so they are watching her favorite -- The Dick Van Dyke Show, season two, episode 21 -- but while watching the episode is when things go horribly wrong.
Marvel fans already know this story from Avengers: Age of Ultron. The blast to the apartment killed Wanda's parents and left the twins trapped for two days with a Stark Industries shell that was defective and didn't explode. However, seeing it as Wanda does in revisiting the memory is interesting because it reveals that it might not be that the Stark Industries shell was defective at all. While huddled under the bed, the twins stare at the shell which is beeping as though it may still explode. Young Wanda, noticing the television still playing the sitcom episode in the rubble, naively comments that in the episode, the issues ended up being nothing more than a bad dream, almost as though she's suggesting the same could be said for their current situation and that, by the end of things, it would all be okay. She reaches out toward the shell and then we cut to another memory.
Agatha then suggests that it wasn't that the shell was defective, but that young Wanda unintentionally used a probability hex to stop the detonation entirely in what was probably the first time she ever used magic. It makes for an interesting revisiting of Wanda's MCU origin, serving both as a flashback and as something entirely new as the episode delves deeper into Wanda's magical origins as well.
While this isn't the first MCU flashback that WandaVision has seen -- episode six opened with a flashback to the death of Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in Avengers: Age of Ultron and a further memory explored in episode eight showed exactly how HYDRA's experiment on Wanda went down -- this specific flashback gives more context and detail into the situation, as well as into who Wanda is as well.
New episodes of WandaVision debut every Friday exclusively on Disney+. If you haven't signed up for the service yet, you can try it out here.
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