REVIEW: ‘WandaVision’ explores Wanda Maximoff’s trauma response, powerful abilities

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New episodes of “WandaVision” come out every Friday. (Lori Leiszler | Collegian Media Group)

Wanda Maximoff, also known as Scarlet Witch, faced her fair share of trauma within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Losing your entire family, sacrificing your lover just to see him resurrected and killed again, then being snapped out of existence for five years would harm anyone’s mental health.

Given these traumatic events, she created an alternate reality to live in peace with the man — well, robot — of her dreams.

The Disney+ original series “WandaVision” alludes to early sitcoms like “Bewitched” and “I Love Lucy,” with Wanda and Vision cast as the odd couple in suburban Westview. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles, respectively. Starting in the 1950s, each episode jumps further into the future, transitioning from black-and-white into full color.

As expected from a family sitcom, the episodes are filled with cheesy puns, suburban mishaps and nosy neighbors. However, an air of danger and uncertainty looms over the town.

From the first episode, Wanda has some control over the residents of Westview, including Vision. What’s uncertain is whether or not she understands the control she has over them. Every time she starts questioning her reality, she forces herself back into the illusion. If anyone threatens her imagined suburban life, she simply “evicts” them from this reality.

Sprinkled throughout the series are references to other moments and characters in the MCU. For instance, the first episode refers to Vision’s “indestructible” head, a somewhat cruel joke given his unfortunate demise in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

FBI Agent Jimmy Woo, first introduced in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” is heard over a phone trying to reach Wanda. Her friend Geraldine is actually Monica Rambeau, the grown-up daughter of Maria Rambeau, Carol Danvers’ best friend in “Captain Marvel.”

These references show Wanda somehow influencing her reality, possibly creating a completely new one. She even impregnates herself just to keep the illusion from falling apart. Whatever the case, she clearly uses this world as a response to her trauma.

New episodes of “WandaVision” come out every Friday. As the series progresses, we’ll see how much control Wanda has, and what consequences may come from the creation of this alternate reality. Until then, viewers are left with more questions than answers.

Jared Shuff is the Collegian culture editor and a junior in secondary education. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and the persons interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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My name is Jared Shuff, and I am the current editor-in-chief of the Collegian. Previously, I worked as the arts & culture editor and as a contributing writer for the news desk. I am a senior in secondary education with an emphasis in English/journalism. I grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, and attended Hutchinson Community College before transferring to K-State in 2020.