Spoiler Alert – I’m writing about the end here, people.
Bunch’s point makes perfect sense: SWORD acting director Tyler Hayward was right to send a drone, and then White Vision (Cataract for you old school fans) to kill Wanda. She had mentally kidnapped and tortured thousands of people for what could be months. Wanda is the real villain, Hayward the real hero. This makes Monica Rambeau’s forgiveness of Wanda cowardly and depreciates the show’s daring look at grief.
So why is the audience encouraged to view Hayward as a villain? Because he is.
Hayward never wants to save the people of Westview, NJ. He lies and bullies his staff and outright assaults those he can’t control because control is his ultimate goal. He wants a sentient weapon and Wanda stands in his way. He never struggles over his decision to use lethal force, he conceals it. When Monica pleads with him for time, for a chance to avoid violence, he dismissed her. He wants power and people of Westview are incidental.
Now that doesn’t exactly absolve Wanda, but I disagree that the writers took the easy way out. They made sure both Wanda and viewers were confronted with the horrors Wanda wrought. “If you won’t let us go, just let us die,” Sharon (Debra Jo Rupp) begs of the witch. The morsels of true tragedy are mixed in throughout the show. Along with flying and punching and energy blasts and car crashes.
As it should be. WandaVision’s only mistake was being TOO good. The wily, imaginative step through a young woman’s grief process was so engaging it made us forget that it was first a show about superheroes. Entertainment. It should be celebrated for raising that art form, making it more tangible, all while casting the kind of spells that led us to watch to begin with, not scolded for falling short of Hamlet.
Art has layers. Art does different things at different times. I applaud WandaVision for doing many things at once. It was magical.