In the isolated grief of our pandemic bubbles, we are all Wanda Maximoff

This publish comprises spoilers for WandaVision Episode 8. 

Pay attention. I did not assume I might be referring to a mythically highly effective witch from a comic book e-book superhero present who created her personal alternate actuality TV bubble to stave off the grief and isolation outdoors of it. However a 12 months spent in quarantine surviving a pandemic does unusual issues to an individual.

In the newest episode of Marvel’s WandaVision, we lastly received solutions to exactly how Wanda Maximoff birthed an entire universe of illusions that exist under her control. Seems it was by way of nothing extra and nothing lower than the uncontrollable energy of her personal loss, isolation, rage, (literal) magical pondering, and can to outlive. 

It is a solution that, not like so many different Marvel plots, feels extra human than it does magical (or quite, MacGuffin-y). 

After the singular, unprecedented experiences of spending the previous 12 months in various levels of COVID isolation, I perceive the emotional mechanics of how and why Wanda did what she did. You most likely do too. I imply, assume of all the hobbies you took up that allowed you to create worlds of separation between you and the painful, horrifying realities occurring proper outdoors your window.


To deal with the totality of what we’ve misplaced (and, no, you needn’t have actually misplaced a beloved one in the pandemic to be affected by all the collective forms of grief bred from it), we discovered shops that allowed us to flee into no matter alternate realities we may.

Wanda created a whole town, a new husband, and two kids in her isolation — Shakespeare WISHES

Wanda created a complete city, a brand new husband, and two youngsters in her isolation — Shakespeare WISHES

Whether or not it was your newfound obsession with gardening and crops that reworked your residence right into a forest, the numerous hours you sank into constructing an ideal Animal Crossing island or Minecraft server, or birthing scrumptious sourdough bread or different time-consuming restaurant meals recreation to move our style buds — we grieved every part we may now not have from the Earlier than Occasions by way of bouts of compulsive creation. 

Perhaps, like Wanda, you discovered your self escaping extra into different folks’s creations as an alternative, the TV serving as a window into different worlds the place the imminent, unknowable, uncontrollable threats of our personal actuality weren’t allowed to exist. Doubtless, one of these TV exhibits is WandaVision itself, inviting a tasty layer of meta relatability to the conceit of the present, as we watch Wanda cope along with her grief by watching TV that is as grounding as it’s devoid of her precise actuality.

That is what the isolation of mourning does to an individual’s psyche. 

In mourning, we create to be able to fill the void of absence, that whole loss of that means that comes with the loss of life of a beloved one or an finish to life as we knew it.

Joan Didion famously called it magical thinking in her famed memoir about shedding her husband. Typically, the inconceivability of the loss causes a grieving thoughts to spin illogical alternate realities and narratives quite than face such an unimaginable reality. Magical pondering is why Didion refuses to throw away her useless husband’s footwear, as a result of he’ll want them when he comes again. It is what offers Wanda the energy to create a complete new Imaginative and prescient (the most refined sentient AI ever) together with the home they will develop previous in collectively, regardless of seeing incontrovertible proof that he’s truly a dull pile of metallic and uncovered wires along with her personal eyes.

Grief-stricken magical pondering is why it’s worthwhile to consider that spending sufficient hours investing in the fictional worlds of a online game or TV sequence will hold the endless loneliness of quarantine at bay. Till it doesn’t. Or, for a darker instance of the alternate realities folks spun to deal with the pandemic, simply take a look at all the batshit conspiracy theories during which so many people misplaced themselves.

What I really like most about WandaVision’s understanding of the relationship between loss and creation is the way it dispels with the romanticized model of this common expertise. 

When we discuss the must create whereas in the throes of grief, we do not imply you may be writing your novel or portray a masterpiece. That is the false, naive Shakespeare-Wrote-King-Lear-In-Quarantine notion of coping by way of creation. As a substitute, the creations that grief begets are ones produced from the intuition to outlive, a testomony to the energy of the unconscious to construct illusions of management that really feel extra actual than an insurmountable loss your mind is just not succesful of processing. 

In mourning, we create to be able to fill the void of absence, that whole loss of that means that comes with the loss of life of a beloved one or an finish to life as we knew it.


Sometimes, you need that friend who will force their way through your defenses.

Generally, you want that buddy who will pressure their manner by way of your defenses.

Wanda created her Hex, this ephemeral but uncrossable boundary between herself and the outdoors world the place the dangerous issues occur. This highly effective unreality is as a lot a consolation as it’s a entice, each serving to and hurting her by way of the phases of grief. Equally, we put up our personal defensive pandemic partitions, these incorporeal but concrete protectors to push back experiencing the worst of this loss of normalcy and safety. That’s, till we haven’t got the power to maintain them up anymore, and we crash headfirst into those pandemic walls with all the pressure of the denial that permit us consider false obstacles may hold us secure from the crises.

It isn’t simply Wanda or the Hex, both. Monica Rambeau’s expertise of grief in the post-snap world highlights what a terrific metaphor the Blip is for the purgatory-like mourning of our COVID losses.

Like the pandemic, the Blip prompted a collective, boundless grief characterised extra by uncertainty than the finality of loss of life. This “ongoing grief,” because it’s referred to as, forces you to dwell in a world the place every part is the identical but additionally irrevocably modified without end. Sure, most individuals will come again from the invisible risk that blinked a lot of life out of existence with out warning. However nobody survives any of it unscathed. Returning would not negate the emotional fall out from what we left behind, who we left behind, or the elements of the world we cannot ever actually get again.

Marvel could not have predicted or deliberate for the way relatable WandaVision can be in an unprecedented second like this. Really, it is solely as a result of of COVID-19 that WandaVision was even re-scheduled to be our first foray into Stage 4 of the MCU.

However by some kind of sorcery, we received WandaVision precisely when we wanted its magical pondering most. 

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