SPOILERS for the Marvel Studios TV show WandaVision follow.
I enjoyed a lot of WandaVision. The old school TV series homages were great. I continue to love Paul Bettany in any scene he’s in. Vision remains compelling to me, though I worry about the White Vision rebirth stealing the emotional resonance of the Infinity War saga. The Ship of Theseus bit in the finale was one of those scenes that makes me love Vision all the more. Elizabeth Olsen displayed amazing range. Incredible actress. I enjoyed the Agatha plot line twist, though I would’ve personally made her more of a guide than antagonist. Anyway, there was a lot to like.
And yet, the show feels the need to recast Wanda’s ultimate decision to give up her imaginary family, as well as her hold over the town, as an act of heroic altruism. “They’ll never know what you sacrificed for them,” says Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), a secret agent turned friend of Wanda, in the final episode.
Rambeau’s line is a moral atrocity, an effort to recast Wanda as the hero of the show, the savior of all these little people. But it’s not what she did for the people of Westview that matters. It’s what she did to them. And what she did to them is horrifying, a form of mind-rape and torture that extended for weeks, maybe months.
The only character who has the correct response to Wanda is the acting director of SWORD (Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division), Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg), who calls in a drone strike on the monstrously wicked and dangerously powerful Wanda. Yet he is cast as a villain despite being the only person who recognizes the dangers presented by this overpowered war criminal. Longtime viewers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know that this isn’t the first time Wanda has done something terrible: the onetime Hydra agent also induced the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to destroy a large part of a Third World city.
This is precisely right. Wanda belongs in jail, though I concede there’s likely no one who could put her there and no jail that could now hold her. The failure to acknowledge this—indeed even to excuse Wanda’s actions and pretend that she’s been noble—is what now makes me conclude that Stark was right about the (admittedly unenforceable) Sokovia Accords.
Thanos said he was driven by compassion after watching his world collapse. So he snapped away half of all life in the universe. That Wanda was driven to madness by grief seems a similarly poor excuse for her heinous actions. I’m appalled that Rambeau accepts this and recasts Wanda as a hero. It’s perhaps even more appalling that we’re meant to do the same. Wanda is no hero; Rambeau’s judgment is highly questionable. That’s not a great lead-in to whatever comes next for these characters.