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WandaVision Episode 8 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode eight of WandaVision series from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus, how does it move the story forward, here’s our review.

Episode eight is all about back stories. Specifically Wanda’s, but it also gives us an insight into the origin of Agatha Harkness.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

The Salem witch trials

I thoroughly enjoy the character of Agatha, and Kathryn Hahn has played her magnificently. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that she has been the star of the show. Agnes has been brimming with humour, cheekiness and fun. But she always given us glimpses into her darker side, and it’s great to see that finally shown in all its purple glory. We see what is seemingly the beginning of her Machiavellian side, back in Salem in 1693. She is taken to task by her coven, which is led by Agatha’s mother, who chastises her for indulging in dark magic ‘above her station’. The coven attempts to kill her, but as a result of the dark magic she’s able to overpower their magic. Then kill them all, stealing their life force at the same time. She also steals her mother’s brooch, which she is always seen wearing.

The mind stone

Back in The Hex Agatha then uses her dark magic to control Wanda, demonstrating her own power. She then takes Wanda on a journey into her past, so that Agatha can try to understand how Wanda’s powers are different, even though they are both witches. Agatha is also the first person in the MCU to refer to Wanda as The Scarlet Witch. We see glimpses of presumably what is to come for Wanda in the MCU during the flashback to Hydra doing experiments on her. We briefly see the silhouette of The Scarlet Witch’s costume through the mind stone before Wanda passes out as she inadvertently absorbs the power of the mind stone.

Agatha admits that she created Fake Pietro (Evan Peters) as she was unable to resurrect the real Pietro on account of him being ‘riddled with holes’. We still don’t know what happened after ‘Fietro’ disturbed Monica Rambeau discovering Agatha’s lair at the end of Episode seven. But this will certainly be paid off in the finale.

It was really interesting to see Wanda being virtually powerless. Particularly after being in almost complete control of everything around her. It showed a side to her that we haven’t seen before. Yes, we’ve seen her feeling vulnerable, but she’s always had her powers to get her out of any situations that she wasn’t comfortable with. In Agatha’s crypt she doesn’t have access to those powers and was at the mercy of her captor. It forced her to retrace her steps and go back through some key moments in her life.

The sitcoms

It allowed us to discover the genesis of WandaVision. Namely her Dad bringing DVD’s of classic American sitcoms into their home in Sokovia for Wanda & young Pietro to watch. As this is Marvel there were a lot of callbacks to things that had happened in previous episodes of this show, and a number of MCU movies as well.

It also allowed us to witness more of Wanda’s pain, from the loss of her parents to the experiments on her by Hydra after their death. The jump backs gave us further insight into her genuine love for Vision. And then her genuine grief after he died at Thanos’ hand in Infinity War. It showed us that she had created him in The Hex using the power of the mind stone, hence why when he tried to escape he was almost ripped apart.

Overall, I found this episode to be somewhat perfunctory. If you’re a fan of the MCU then you already know Wanda’s basic backstory. Even if there were parts to fill in they could easily have been done as cutaways, post-credit or pre-credit scenes. To take an entire episode in a nine-part series at this stage to do that just seemed very odd to me. With Marvel there is always a reason behind such production decisions, and I’m sure it will make sense in time.

Part of my disappointment about this episode no doubt stems from how good the previous seven have been. As a result, I’m desperate for more of that level of entertainment. But, I did enjoy the meta aspects of this episode. Especially Wanda actually witnessing herself in a sitcom studio, while Agatha sat in the audience seats testing her. I’m convinced that any disappointment anyone may have had with this episode will be blown out of the water by the series finale.

What next?

The post-credit scene was an enormous twist, clearly setting us up for the final battle. That battle looks like being between Wanda, Agatha and S.W.O.R.D. With S.W.O.R.D likely using a new white version of Vision as a weapon to destroy The Hex and Wanda. With magic being the key weapon throughout this series, it gives us a clear route into Doctor Strange 2 as well. Expect a cameo from Benedict Cumberbatch in episode nine.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


Thank you for reading our review of WandaVision episode eight. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our WandaVision episode seven review HERE.

Read IMDB information about WandaVision HERE.

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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