What are memes, if not a “WandaVision” moment persevering?
Episode 8 of “WandaVision” took everyone on a trip through Wanda’s (Elizabeth Olsen) past, experiencing her traumas, her blossoming relationship with Vision (Paul Bettany) and one particular moment that got the internet talking.
As Vision comforts Wanda in their early days at the Avengers Compound, he says, “But what is grief, if not love persevering?” And in the moment, the line hits hard.
Following the episode, it was praised by both critics and fans to the point where one particularly effusive and incredibly popular tweet launched it into memedom. “That line” has since become an online discussion point, reaching a level of virality usually reserved for the likes of lawyers who get stuck in cat filters on Zoom.
In an interview with HuffPost on Monday, “WandaVision” director Matt Shakman reacted to the line’s virality, saying, “It’s a beautiful line. And I think part of the reason why it has gone viral — besides being a beautiful line — is that it is the core driving story that we’re telling, which is the story of, how do you process grief? How do you move on from loss?”
“Right now, we’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. We did not expect ‘WandaVision’ to come out in these circumstances. Who could have predicted this?” he continued. “I think there’s added resonance to the show in general, but specifically to a line like that, as we’re all trying to process grief.”
Shakman said he “always loved that line,” giving credit to the episode’s writer, Laura Donney, and explaining how it basically encapsulates all of “WandaVision.”
“The idea of it, the through-line of the whole show, is about how Wanda is processing her loss,” he said. “And she creates, obviously, Westview as a result, and the journey of the whole show, episode by episode, is about how we deal with loss.”
The director also opened up about how Vision’s exact reasons for choosing to settle down in Westview may always be a mystery, and what he hopes fans take away from the show as they experience their own loss when it comes to some of those wild fan theories.
If Vision works on computers in “WandaVision,” how does he get past the CAPTCHAs that ask you to prove you’re not a robot? The people want to know.
[Laughs] I have really enjoyed the memes of him as a traffic light from Episode 6. There’s some very creative people out there.
Episode 8 reveals that Vision acquired a plot of land in Westview where he and Wanda can grow old together, but why Westview?
It’s a great question. You know, I don’t think there’s any definitive answer about why Westview, New Jersey. Obviously, the town that we see in Episode 8 has fallen on hard times as a result of the Blip. But at one time, it was a very cute, small town. Avengers headquarters is just up the way on the Hudson — so within commuting distance, a lovely place to be.
So do the Avengers get paid? Or at least a stipend, I assume, so Vision can afford land, correct?
I would assume so. I don’t think he plucks off a piece of his Vibranium and sells it for some bitcoin and then buys it. I don’t know how it works. But yeah, I assume there’s a salary involved.
OK. Good to know. And since you mentioned the Blip, what was it like showing the traumatic side of people returning from Thanos’ snap? What were the conversations behind the scenes?
There’s been a lot of conversation about that. The show is about grief and loss and putting your life back together after you experience these incredibly difficult moments. [Monica Rambeau’s] journey having lost her mother aligns with Wanda’s journey, and we always wanted those two characters to have a story that overlaps so they would understand each other. And it would help explain sort of Monica’s interest in Wanda. They’re both processing grief. We had seen a little bit of people coming back from the Blip in “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” used mostly for comedic effect, like the marching band appearing in the middle of the basketball game. I love that scene. It’s super fun. But for us, we really wanted to explore how disorienting it would have felt to come back. You were here, and then you’re gone, and then you’re back. What would that feel like? And that’s why we chose to shoot that as just a one shot following Monica as all of this is happening around her, the chaos of that.
This definitely changes the perspective on the Blip. So what’s the deal? Were people dropping out of the sky when they came back?
The exact rules of the Blip — [which] I think Kevin Feige has spoken about before — the idea that planes really weren’t falling out of the sky, that Professor Hulk had a better plan at work to make sure people were safe. But it is really about how we process these moments and what is it like to come back from the void, whatever that was, and realize your mother is gone.
Gosh, you know, I expect that you can’t please everybody. Abe Lincoln said that, right? You can please some of the people some of the time and all of the people none of the time, to paraphrase the great man. But there will certainly be theories that people have that that will not pay off. There will probably be some dangling mysteries that folks will have to continue to wait to learn more about in the future. But for us, as taken as I have been with everybody studying the various mysteries and creating theories, ultimately, as I hope people gathered from the last episode, this is a human story. This is a story about processing loss. That is the core story we’re trying to tell, and that all of the quirkiness and the sitcom exploration — all of that had a real purpose. It was about Wanda trying to escape from that world and turn away from her loss.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.