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WandaVision Static: Exploring Wanda’s Trauma in “Previously On”

wandavision wanda trauma

Wanda Maximoff is a character that hasn’t gotten her time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ve said this time and time again because she’s one of my favorites, and all I wanted was to explore her story. The most recent episode of WandaVision gave me what I’ve been waiting for and more.

**Spoilers for WandaVision’s “Previously On” lie within.**

Time and time again, Wanda has been thrown through the ringer and never given the time to properly unpack what happened to her. This child, she’s forced into reliving her past by Agatha, trying to figure out how exactly Wanda came to Westview and made this sitcom reality.

But in living through her pain and her struggle, we finally get the “origin” story to Wanda Maximoff that we only ever heard about in passing. From her introduction in Age of Ultron, we knew the bare necessities of Wanda. She was born in Sokovia, her brother Pietro died in the battle against Ultron, and she got her powers from the Mind Stone when Hydra was experimenting on her.

It was all very “need to know,” and that was it. But exploring just how Wanda grew into the woman who ends up in Westview is important because that pain that she always had within her, that loss, finally manifested itself in building her own world in the sitcoms she grew up watching.

Agatha starts at the beginning of Wanda’s pain, taking her to the moment her parents died. They’re having a TV night, practicing their English and choosing what show to watch as a family. Wanda picks The Dick Van Dyke show, and it mirrors the first episode we ever saw of WandaVision.

But the show is cut short when a bomb from Stark Industries crashes into their home, not going off but instead trapping Wanda and Pietro underneath their table in fear for two days. Little Wanda says that the episode ends with them waking up and discovering that it was just a bad dream. And it’s that line that really hit hard for me because it feels like that’s how Wanda coped with all her struggles up until she got to Westview.

Time and time again, she wasn’t allowed to grieve, and the only one who really offered her the space to talk about her grief was Vision. As we go through the different periods of Wanda’s life from her time with Hydra to staying at Avengers Compound, she keeps turning back to sitcoms because there isn’t pain. There aren’t stakes that make these things too real for the characters. It’s just familiar, and Wanda seems to cling to them. But through that all, the only person who sat down with her and asked if she wanted to talk was Vision.

So when she lost the only one who seemed to care about her, it makes sense that her grief overtook her. We watch as Wanda goes to the S.W.O.R.D. base. We learn the truth about how she found Vision’s body and what Vision actually exists in her reality. And all of that came from her own grief.

After Wanda says “goodbye” to Vision at S.W.O.R.D., she goes to a plot of land in Westview, New Jersey. She’s looking at a map that has a heart drawn on a plot of land by Vision, and as she falls to her knees and cries, her powers manifest themselves into creating a home for her but it is the home from one of her beloved Sitcoms and as she’s sobbing, the Mind Stone seems to create a new Vision all her own as it is creating the hexagon around Westview.

All of this trauma, all of this pain, has led to Wanda finally trying to cope in the only way she knew how growing up. And then Agatha came to force her to relive why she was here in the first place.

I’ll get into Agatha later and the desire she has for more power, but in talking about Wanda, we do have to talk about one more thing: She’s now officially the Scarlet Witch.

Agatha Harkness scarlet witch

Agatha keeps trying to figure out how Wanda’s powers exist, how she made this reality, and what spells she’s using. Time and time again, Wanda tells her that she doesn’t know. Agatha thinks she’s lying, but it’s clear that Wanda’s powers and Agatha’s are not one and the same, and by the end of the episode, Agatha reveals that the Scarlet Witch is a “myth,” a powerful being who can manifest realities all on their own. And she’s shocked to see that the “myth” is standing right in front of her.

I loved this episode of WandaVision because it let Wanda grieve in a way that she hasn’t in the past. We got to see her pain and how she coped, starting with her life in Sokovia and all the way until we see her in Westview. She’s trying to figure herself out and, true to her entire life, no one is letting her explore her grief on her own or asking her how she’s doing.

I hope the show continues to let Wanda unpack her own emotions and that this doesn’t lead to her bottling everything up again. We still don’t know if the Vision in Westview is really alive or not, and we don’t know what’s going to happen when the hexagon comes crashing down, but “Previously On” set the bar incredibly high for how WandaVision is exploring Wanda Maximoff.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.