How ‘WandaVision’ Explores Identity In The Face of Grief.

As she steps into the black-and-white sheen of the sitcom she had just created, Wanda Maximoff enters a world of ignorant bliss, free from the cruel pain the real world had to offer her. A sense of unknowing relief washes over her as she meets with her true lover, Vision. Her soul broken down with so much tantalising pain that she doesn’t question how or why this is happening. He welcomes her to her very own delusion as they sit down to watch television. Enter, ‘WandaVision’.

After a decade of action and spectacle, Marvel Studios decides to strip back the formula in favor of a character-driven show exploring the immense trauma Wanda has carried with her so far. A character who’s known nothing but loss and loneliness gets sent over the edge and creates an alternate reality for herself subconsiously out of grief. What does that look like? A perfect, all-American dream in the quaint little town of Westview. In this hex, Wanda loses herself in a role which removes everything that made her who she is. Her culture, her accent and most importantly her grief. It is when she interacts with those three elements that she starts to break free from her contrasting role. It is so heartbreaking to see Wanda remove every element of her culture and history because in her mind, the ideal life is that of an American sitcom. Even when naming her children, she wanted a “nice, classic, all-American” name like Tommy. When she starts singing a Sokovian lullaby to the twins she gets reminded of Pietro and her accent comes through. The only times she connects to her roots is when she is being her authentic self. As her show starts to fall apart her identity starts to fog up. She never sticks with an identity because she doesn’t even know what she is anymore. She doesn’t feel like a hero but she knows she hasn’t gone full villain. She’s a wife and a mother but she knows on some level that her family cannot exist in the long-run, at least not like this. When Agatha reveals that she is actually a witch, it starts to make Wanda re-evaluate her entire life. It is only once she faces her trauma that she regains control over her identity.

Beside Wanda is her snythezoid lover Vision, who comes from a similar albeit opposite place on the spectrum of loneliness. You have Wanda, a character who has only known loss and pain and then Vision, a character who’s only known loss because he’s never had anyone to lose. Both are viewed as immense sources of power and nothing else. People fear what they don’t understand which is why the Lagos incident hurt Wanda’s reputation as an Avenger. The immense guilt she has over that incident only proves to her that she doesn’t want to be a part of society or the Avengers. She wanted to settle down with Vision and live a quiet life like they were already doing in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. They are two beings capable of so much power and provoke so much fear from everyone that the only safe place they have is each other. It is this shared loneliness and objectification that they relate to and truly understand each other. While the movies have done a decent job portraying this concept, it’s really ‘WandaVision’ which puts a clear focus on it with the character of Hayward. He is the embodiement of the objectification Wanda and Vision face as powerful beings as he only views Vision as a sentient weapon and Wanda as someone who could bring him back to life.

After learning the truth about her witchy past and facing all of her trauma, Wanda reinvents herself as the Scarlet Witch. She takes control over her identity and becomes the person she was destined to be. It is through grief and unlocking the boxes of pain in her mind that she discovers who she truly is. Vision, on the other hand is left split in two, his soul and memories and his physical self. The entire “Ship of Theseus” conversation perfectly captures his situation. The one true Vision now is the White Vision but he isn’t the one we spent this journey with, it’s the Vision Wanda creates. When it came to saying goodbye, Vision asks “What am I?” to which Wanda replies that he is her grief taken form which goes back to his wonderful line, “What is grief, if not love persevering?” As the Hex shrinks away, Vision feels a sense of relief as he himself now has confirmation of what his role in this entire event was. With her entire family gone, Wanda decides to study her powers in seclusion and it’s important to note that her grief isn’t just magically gone, she is still processing it just from a much better place… hopefully. Reading a book called the Darkhold doesn’t sound like it’s going to do much positivity for anyone. Whether Wanda becomes an anti-hero or a villain in the upcoming ‘Doctor Strange’ sequel is completely up to debate but as far as her arc in this show goes, the writers did a wonderful job.

“Assembled: The Making of WandaVision’ and all 9 episodes of ‘WandaVision’ are now streaming on Disney+.

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