It was what it needed to be (Wandavision)

Posted by jwsadmin on March 6, 2021

Spoiler warning of course...

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So there's a lot of "that was it?" from some crowds (many male comic/action nerds who are much younger than I). No big bad guy behind the whole thing, no big bad guy manipulating Agatha, no surprise rescue by a super-power...but then, I stop and think of what it was they were wanting: some super MALE to come into the story. The villains all named, yes from the comic references, were all male. The cameo most expected was Dr Strange.

In response to that idea, I predicted that no, just as Monica said, Wanda started this and only she can end it. Yeah, i was right on that.

The main fight was Wanda vs Agatha and Wanda vs herself. To introduce a super-power villain above all that or a super-power hero to help end it would have weakened both characters. It would have undone everything the series was achieving within its gem. It would have elicited cheers from "fanboys", but totally soured the show for everybody else. Agatha and Wanda would just be secondary people even within their own story...and after all this recent history of Bechdel tests and empowered princesses, we should be past that trope. Wanda had to win, over both opponents, and in the best Marvel telling, it wasn't entirely by raw power.

Yeah, Vision did come in and save Wanda at one point...but from only one thing: Vision. That fight was his to have, because it wasn't just a physical fight of supers. He was fighting what he originated as and could have remained - cold, emotionless, soulless. Now we have a White Vision out there with memories of having a soul but not actually having one. This is a great springboard for character development for Bettany to work with in the future - a 'reboot' without a total reset. I see a lot of potential here. And again, the victory wasn't won by strength and power, but by wisdom.

Hayward not being a super-baddie? Well, neither were the Hydra leaders. The comics don't always have super-duper bad guys, so just because the heroes have faced off against Thanos and Ultron and name any of the crazies in the individual films doesn't mean that the ambitious bureaucrat is not still an enemy to be reckoned with. We remain our own worst enemies as humans, something clearly seen over the course of our response to Covid and the recent election and its aftermath on January 6th...and even in the stonewalling of relief and progress now.

Hayward not being a 'super' depresses us more...because we know him already. He's real. He's out there now, working a media message to further power by stopping others from being able to help the way they know they should. And only by EVERYBODY working together (Wanda and Vision, the kids, Photon/Monica, Darcy, and Jimmy) all contributing each in their own way, was he finally stopped. This is a very important lesson to be reminded of, and why again Marvel is just good storytelling, with or without supers.

I've often repeated Leonard Bernstein in his observation that artists tend to see the reality of the world and what it needs even before the 'powers that be' do, and are often more depressed that their efforts to warn of the coming are ignored. Mahler saw the end of Europe coming. Stravinsky saw the violence that would be involved. Some of the artists of the late 60s knew what the early 70s was going to have in store, from CSN to King Crimson.

So too, this. The writers put most of this show together in late 2019. According to interviews, very few things in the scripts changed after the hiatus and move to California to finish production. Our grief, our loss of community (even as the 'trappings' of community remain via "Zoom"), our feelings of everything we do being watched (again, perhaps because of Zoom), the PTSD that some are feeling...and perhaps our fervent wish that something much bigger was behind it all, rather than it being the product of our own inactions. It was all there from the moment the show was conceived.

In 2019 they wrote exactly the epitaph for 2020 that we needed before we needed it. They saw, without seeing, so much of what was coming and how it reflected in the characters they had, and they expressed it in exactly the way we needed it expressed, unifying all of our lifetimes of shared experiences, and resolving it not through power, but through choice, wisdom, experience, and togetherness.

So like Wanda, we should also follow the story's epilogue. In these last few weeks of isolation as the vaccines are given and the prevalence goes down, perhaps we examine ourselves one more time and really realize how we have changed over this period, so that when we do rejoin our communities, we are better people in them.

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