«WandaVision», Episode 9: «The Series Finale»
First off: this discussion of the series includes spoilers! So watch the ninth episode of «WandaVision» before you read on.
I admit it: several of my predictions turned out to be false. Director Hayward, for instance, isn’t the human embodiment of Mephisto, the diabolical demon who rules a dimension we know as Hell. And there I was, ready to bet that Mephisto would still appear. After all, it’s he who has Wanda’s twins on his conscience in the comics.
That’s not the case in «WandaVision».
On the other hand, one specific object is casually mentioned. An object that opens up a completely new world, openly inviting speculation and theorising. What is this object? The Darkhold – the book that could introduce the next, big Avengers villain.
But still... One point for Luca!
First, let me get one thing out of the way: I love Agatha’s costume. It looks a hell of a lot like in the comics. The only thing missing is the white hair.
Agatha explains her powers in a nutshell: she sucks magic out of the «nondeserving». All that’s left behind once she’s done is the victim’s dried up skin and bones – as we witnessed the last episode, in Agatha’s flashback to 1693.
And in Episode 7, «All-New Halloween Spooktacular!» Remember this commercial?
I didn’t get the ad at first. But I did go into it afterwards in the comments. That’s another point for me!
Reply to the comment left by reader damir.l:
The other theory, which relies on the original English soundtrack, seems more plausible to me. When the child asks the shark what he did about his feeling of hunger, he says:
«Snacked on Yo-Magic, bro.»
Let's translate that literally:
«I survived by snacking on Yo-Magic – your magic.»
Okay. What if the shark is actually Mephisto or Agatha Harkness «snacking» on Wanda’s magic? What if the creepy image of the child wasting away is symbolic of Wanda being sucked out of her magic, until nothing remains of her but an empty shell?
Damn right I’m patting myself on the back for that one! Moving on:
Agatha mentions another object of desire. The Book of the Damned – the Darkhold. Its story is not only closely tied to Wanda’s, but could also reveal the next Avengers villain.
The history of the Darkhold
The story of the Darkhold goes way back. All the way back to Earth’s creation – up to Demiurge, a kind of sentient life force that created Earth using its own essence.
It created life in the form of the Elder Gods. The three most powerful ones were Chthon, Set and Gaea.
The Elder Gods populate and rule Earth for millions of years. One in particular stands out from the rest: Chthon. He independently studies the ins and outs of magic, travelling across the universe to learn new techniques. His fancy’s especially captured by evil, incredibly dangerous black magic.
Chthon grows stronger and stronger. So strong that he one day creates an entirely new form of magic:
Chaos Magic – the raw, elemental force of creation itself.
The ability to create your own magic is outrageously powerful, to say the least. Let’s put it into perspective. Imagine Thanos in full possession of his powers and the Infinity Gauntlet. In a fight against a being like Chthon, not only would he not stand a chance; even calling it a fight would be the exaggeration of the century.
To paraphrase Loki in «Avengers»: there can be no fight between ant and boot.
That’s how powerful Chthon is.
But not just Chthon. His brother, Set, who’s reminiscent of a snake, finds out that when he devours his brothers and sisters, he absorbs their powers. One Elder God after another falls victim to Set – the first murderer in the history of the planet. His power increases steadily and other Elder Gods soon follow suit. Lunacy rules the world until war breaks out.
Only Elder God defies the rule of madness: Gaea. Gaea decides to summon Demiurge, their maker. She asks him to give her a son to fight the degeneracy of the Elder Gods. Demiurge grants her the wish.
Atum, god of sun, is born.
Atum – also called Demogorge, or devourer of gods – neutralises the mad gods, one by one. In the end, even Chthon is forced to admit defeat. He makes a pact with Gaea and Demiurg. If he uses his Chaos Magic to create a new dimension (K’lay) and exiles himself to it, Atum will stop hunting him.
Gaea agrees to it. But there’s something she doesn’t know. Chthon wrote down all the spells and magical rituals he learned – including the practices of Chaos Magic – before his exile.
In fact, he wrote an entire book.
Once his work is done, Atum returns to the sun and hasn’t been seen since. Gaea, the last of the Elder Gods, unites with the planet and becomes Mother Earth, watching over and determining evolution. She first creates the dinosaurs and then mammals. Millions of years pass until humans replace dinosaurs as the dominant species on Earth.
Even millions of years later, the Elder God still has followers who pass on the Darkhold generation after generation, pursuing dark objectives. The Darkhold is not merely a record of Chthon's knowledge, but an earthly manifestation of his being. He uses it to maintain the connection between his reality and ours.
His plan is to come back, of course, as he prophesises in the Darkhold:
When the Red Slayer spills blood on sacred stone, he who sleeps shall wake and what walked will walk once again.
But to bypass the pact with Gaea and Demiurg, two conditions must be met:
- Earth’s inhabitants must want him back voluntarily. This requires a ritual.
- He needs a vessel powerful enough to contain him and his magic.
We’re on Mount Wundagore. A secret, magic-enshrouded place where the barriers between dimensions are particularly thin. A young girl is born there. Wanda Maximoff. Chthon senses the potential of the child, who’s a descendant of a lineage of powerful witches and wizards – the Scarlet Witches – and «blesses» her. Or, to be more precise, he marks her.
It’s this mark that allows Wanda to use magic which is far more powerful than the typical kind. In fact, it’s a magic more powerful than any magical source; more powerful even than the Sorcerer Supreme – currently Doctor Strange – could use.
Keep in mind that what you read just now is a very simplified overview. The events are incredibly profound and complex in the comics. But that would be way too much to go into in this article. That’s why I summarised only the stuff that’s actually relevant to «WandaVision».
With that out of the way, let’s get back to the show.
The fight against Agatha
In «WandaVision», what we see is arguably the MCU version of the Darkhold. In the big Agatha vs Wanda fight, Agatha reads the chapter from the Darkhold that’s dedicated to the Scarlet Witch:
- The Scarlet Witch is not born, but formed.
- She belongs to no coven.
- She need not use spells.
- Her power surpasses that of the Sorcerer Supreme.
- It’s the Scarlet Witch’s destiny to destroy the world.
That all sounds very familiar. In the comics, the Scarlet Witch is indeed something like the Chosen One, but with a twist: instead of salvation, she brings destruction.
Meanwhile, Monica Rambeau discovers that X-Men Quicksilver aka Pietro is really Ralph; Ralph Bohner, Agatha's «husband» who’s just a regular guy being controlled by Agatha. And that’s that. Quite underwhelming. I was expecting some sort of shocking revelation. Above all, it means there’s no crossover yet with X-Men.
Then we reach the epic finale. First, we witness a really cool fight between the two Visions. Awesome fight choreography! Vision hasn’t really been allowed to take part in any combat since «Age of Ultron». In «Civil War» he didn't want to hurt anyone, so he was more of a spectator. And in «Infinity War», he was critically injured before he could do anything.
None of that is the case here. Sparks fly. Literally. It’s great.
Just when I think this can’t be topped, it’s time for Wanda and Agatha’s battle in the cloudy sky. Agatha provokes Wanda into firing her magic so she can suck it out of her. But Wanda has secretly created runes along the border of the Hex that stop Agatha from being able to use her magic. Very clever. It’s a trick she actually learned from Agatha.
«Thanks for the lesson,» says Wanda.
And then, Wanda changes. She becomes the Scarlet Witch. A magnificent metamorphosis.
Agatha’s been defeated, and Wanda sets free the city’s residents. The time has come to end the Hex – and say goodbye to Vision and her children.
Now things get really emotional. Unlike in the comics, Tommy and Billy don’t get absorbed and killed by Mephisto. So much for that prediction. Regardless, they don’t survive. Because while Wanda’s powerful, she’s not (yet) powerful enough to make her Chaos Magic creations survive outside the Hex.
So, Tommy and Billy meet their end. At least for now.
Will we ever see them again? I think it’s possible. In the comics, they’re reborn as Thomas Shepherd and William Kaplan years later. Both Thomas and William develop superpowers in early childhood. Later on, they’re recruited by the Young Avengers, a squad of young superheroes following in the Avengers’ footsteps. And that’s when they first meet.
Their nicknames: Speed and Wiccan.
I could totally see Disney wanting something like a «Young Avengers» series to stream on Disney+. So, I maintain that Tommy and Billy might come back eventually.
Then, it’s time to say goodbye to Vision. Wanda explains to him just what he is. Namely, a body made of wires and blood and bone – and the piece of the Mind Stone that lives inside Wanda. Cue the waterworks. Especially when Vision speaks his last words, poetic and infinitely sad:
«I have been a voice with no body...»
«A body, but not human.»
«And now... a memory made real.»
Wanda’s Hex Vision.
«Who knows what I might be next? We have said goodbye before, so it stands to reason... We'll say hello again. So long, darling.»
And just like that, he’s gone.
They’ve done it. Marvel has created a series worthy of its own name. «WandaVision» places two characters in the spotlight who have otherwise only ever stood on the sidelines. And in this series, we get to know them – emotions, depth, ties and all. No cheap tricks. Just a bold and unusual concept for a TV show, especially in the first few episodes. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you tell a good story.
I tip my hat to you, Marvel.
Post-credits scene #1
Wanda leaves Westview. So does the white Vision, who got back his memories from the Hex Vision. I’m certain we’ll see him again in some future movie(s). But, for the time being, his fate remains open.
Same goes for Monica.
In the first post-credits scene, we once again meet rocket scientist Major Goodner. You might remember that I was convinced it would be Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards, until the previously unknown Major Goodner entered the picture. But the rocket scientist really is Goodner. Also: she’s a Skrull. Apparently, she had been sent by a mutual friend.
Nick Fury? Talos?
In any case, Goodner the Skrull wants to get Monica Rambeau back to where the former astronaut belongs: outer space.
Post-credits scene #2
The final scene: a tracking shot. White mountains, fir trees... looks like something in the mountains of North America. But it could really be anywhere on Earth where there are mountains, fir trees and lakes.
Perhaps the fictional Transia from the comic books – where Mount Wundagore is located?
The tracking shot ends at a small house in the middle of nowhere. Wanda’s sitting on the patio, drinking tea. The camera moves further inside.
Her astral projection is busy studying the Darkhold.
In the background, we hear a dark version of the theme from Doctor Strange. Coincidence? Of course not. Wanda’s next appearance will be in «Doctor Strange and the Multiversum of Madness».
This isn’t quite the cameo appearance of Doctor Strange I was hoping for, but it’s close enough.
Meanwhile, Wanda can hear voices coming from somewhere. Namely, the voices of Tommy and Billy.
«Help! Mom, please!»
One thing is clear: Wanda hopes to use the Darkhold to get back her children. Quite conceivably, the Darkhold will corrupt her like so many others before. After all, the Book of the Damned exists precisely for this purpose: to bring its master and creator back into our reality.
In other words: the next big Avengers villain could well be the Elder God, Chthon. The vessel he needs is ready – both willing and vulnerable after the loss of her children...
... the Scarlet Witch.