BY MATT TUCK
Remember that weird "Yo-Magic" WandaVision commercial no one could figure out? It turns out we were the starving kid all along.
WandaVision is being universally praised for its wonderful and touching conclusion. Just as much, it also is being lauded for trolling fans. Instead of it being a friendly laugh between fans and the series, WandaVision now has a massive plot hole in the shape of a raised middle finger.
At least now the Yo-Magic parody commercial makes more sense now.
Here’s the thing: no one is angry about their fan theories not panning out. I have yet to see any social media posts or blogs breaking out the torches and pitchforks just yet. As for me, I did not fully expect the X-Men or Blade to come walking into Westview, but it was fun to imagine the possibilities.
The Mephisto red herrings were excellently played, and looking back, the allusions actually were pointed at Wanda becoming Scarlet Witch, and it was well done. The problem lies with Evan Peters’ character. As an MCU fan, and especially an X-Men fan, I felt the show’s ending gave me and all my fellow MCU theorists an angry middle finger in the form of Ralph Bohner.
Does this make me hate the MCU? Not at all, and overall, I enjoyed WandaVision. I do, however, find it ironic that a show which can credit much of its viewership to an excess of Easter eggs would essentially flip off audiences for having the audacity to overanalyze and theorize where the show is going.
Don’t get me wrong; I adored WandaVision’s final moments. It was an ending worthy of the high praise it has received, and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany deserve Emmy and Golden Globe nods for their work in those closing scenes alone. My heart broke as Wanda and Vision put Billy and Tommy to bed one final time before it was ripped from my chest when the star-crossed lovers brought an end to their story. It was beautiful and brought Wanda’s story of grief and loss full circle as she accepted the emotional pain and let go of her dream life. In doing so, she became whole again, echoed by her full change into the Scarlet Witch.
With an ending so powerful that it will long be remembered, it is easy to forget the show’s problems, particularly the number of plot holes as a result of the show runners’ trolling. Personally, I love when a creator surprises me. As a writer, I read and view everything from a writer’s perspective. As a plot speeds along, whether on a page or a screen, I ask myself, “What would I do next?” More often than not, I can guess where a story is headed in general because I know how I would have written it. One of the joys of critiquing a work of fiction is when a storyteller takes a hard left turn and upends all my theories. As a reader or viewer, I want the story to defy expectations and keep me guessing. In life, most of us don’t say this often, but these are times I want to be wrong. If I can accurately predict a story’s ending, then it was not original enough. To creators, I say, go ahead; mislead me. Fool me. Trick me. That is what makes it fun and exciting. Distract me with red herrings and circumvent my expectations, but do it in an artful way that doesn’t detract from the story.
In other words, don’t leave massive plot holes that were the result of trolling. Therein lies the trouble with WandaVision. I'm beginning to think the audience was the kid in the Yo-Magic commercial and the creators were the shark, giving us a tantalizing but empty treat.
Take the Ralph Bohner situation. In what could have been a legendary and memorable milestone in MCU history, it was a path that intentionally led nowhere. Rewatching the series, so much of Evan Peters’ appearance makes no sense. After all, if he was merely struggling actor Ralph Bohner all along, then why did Wanda immediately accept him as her deceased brother? Are we to believe that Wanda couldn’t recognize her own sibling? (Don’t tell me that Agatha manipulated Wanda into believing Ralph was Pietro; if that were the case, then Agatha clearly could have skipped a lot of hard work and simply mind controlled Wanda from the start.)
I have read plenty of social media posts and headlines applauding the WandaVision cast and crew for turning all the fan theories on their heads, including my own. I reiterate: I want to be wrong when it comes to my predictions. It’s like finding your Christmas presents stashed away in the closet. By the time December 25th rolls around, there are no surprises waiting under the tree. Where’s the fun in that?
I readily admit that all of my theories about WandaVision were wrong, but more in a Star Wars: Last Jedi kind of way.
Think about it this way. After Force Awakens, fans were intentionally left with questions. Who were Rey’s parents who left her on Tatooine? What was Supreme Leader Snoke’s connection to the Dark Side and even Darth Vader himself? And after close to 40 years, we were finally going to see Luke Skywalker back on the movie screen.
All of it made us excited to see what would happen next, and it prompted much excitement on the film’s opening night. But most of us didn’t leave theaters excited for the next installment because Rian Johnson essentially gave us and our fan theories a giant middle finger.
The film gave us some answers, just in the worst ways possible. They left even bigger plot holes in their places. The awe-inspiring end to Force Awakens with Rey handing Luke his father’s lightsaber was scrapped within minutes of Last Jedi’s opening credits. In its place, we were given a visual gag of Luke carelessly tossing aside the centerpiece of the Star Wars mythology like a used diaper. For the remainder of the movie, Last Jedi did just that with all of our fan theories, too, and fans have yet to forgive the movie franchise (The Mandalorian is another matter entirely).
In much the same way, what began as a playful cat-and-mouse guessing game between MCU fans and the WandaVision’s creators once again became a giant, middle finger-shaped plot hole. All those clues and allusions were never meant to go anywhere. It was simply meant to troll, and in the end it left too many loose ends. I get it; the “Bohner” joke’s on me and all my theories. That would be fine if the end result made the least amount of sense. Now that we know Evan Peters’ Quicksilver cameo goes absolutely nowhere, it is nothing more than a massive plot hole. And the Bohner joke feels a lot like that opening scene of Last Jedi.
Then again, at least Daisy Ridley didn’t tell interviewers that a massive, internet-busting cameo was guaranteed knowing full well her movie wouldn’t deliver.
At least the Darkhold panned out, right? And here I was expecting Dr. Seuss.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.