WandaVision continues to intrigue, as Episode 6 sets up brilliant conflict to come, while also conjuring a host of additional questions.
Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, Randall Park, and Evan Peters
“All-New Halloween Spectacular” propels WandaVision into the early 2000s with a Malcolm in the Middle-inspired take on the classic Halloween episode, giving our characters plenty of opportunity for comic book Easter Eggs, with a gleeful look at Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany) and Pietro (Evan Peters) strutting around town in their classic costumes.
The biggest mystery going into Episode 6 was the reappearance of Wanda’s brother Pietro, previously played by Andrew Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Most of these questions revolved around whether it actually was Wanda’s Pietro, just with a different face, or a different Pietro from the greater Multiverse, seeing as Marvel’s Phase 4 seems to be setting up some interesting conflicts concerning the Multiverse both within Spider-Man 3 and Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness. Unfortunately, this episode doesn’t resolve so much of this mystery as it does deepen it.
Wanda is as suspicious of Pietro as the audience is, which keeps the storyline from being frustrating, as the audience are gently reassured that there will be a satisfactory conclusion, in stead of something that won’t be meaningfully addressed. However, there is something strange about Pietro. While he is a fun presence, nicely bouncing off his nephews and playing the classic man-child character, he knows far more about Westview than any other character does. He prods and questions Wanda about where she’s been hiding half of the people they are seeing, as well as her plans for the children. He also knows that Vision is already dead, yet Wanda herself has no knowledge of having conjured him herself. She also seems deeply uncomfortable when Pietro compliments her for her work with Westview, as if she is not proud of her actions (which would make sense, as she only really wants a happy family with Vision, and doesn’t actually want to hurt anybody specifically). Tellingly, once again, Wanda does not recall precisely how Westview came to be, just that she felt incredibly alone right beforehand.
While this may suggest some sort of Faustian deal, there’s something critically off with Pietro, aside from just his face. Though Wanda momentarily sees him in corpse-mode, just like she did with Vision, it would seem strange to imagine that this is another reanimated body, especially considering the different face that Pietro had while alive. Unless, of course, the decay was so severe that the face had entirely worn away (but that’s a fraction dark). Pietro has a larger part to play within the narrative here, and while it’s nice to see Wanda have somebody she can talk openly and honestly too, he seems to know far too much about the reality of the situation.
With this episode casting suspicion upon the newcomer, it also deflects it away from previous contender Agnes (Kathryn Hahn). Last episode saw her unnervingly present whenever Billy and Tommy aged up, and completely oblivious to all of Wanda’s magic, but if viewers expected her to be the mastermind behind the entire simulation they were swiftly doused with cold water when Agnes appeared to be just as terrified as everybody else when Vision removes her from Wanda’s control. Unless, of course, that’s all a ploy.
This episode returns to the format of enjoying the sitcom world and the common tropes, while allowing the ongoing mystery to rumble on in the background, which gives the audience plenty of time to revel in Wanda and Pietro’s interactions. They do work together as a sibling pair, and it’s nice to see new shades to Wanda when she’s not encumbered by a massive secret. It’s also nice to see the twins develop as real characters, especially as the audience question just how real they truly can be within Westview’s limits.
Most of the adrenaline from this episode comes from Vision’s investigation of the outer reaches of Westview, in which he discovers many inhabitants creepily frozen or repeating particular movements. It’s truly eerie to see him confront, but it’s nothing compared to the terrifying scene when he tries to break through the barrier and begins to be pulled dramatically apart, which is, of course, the inciting moment for Wanda to expand Westview’s limits even further, decimating SWORD’s forces and bringing Darcy (Kat Dennings) into the sitcom world in the process.
The SWORD storyline was far less compelling this week, and was quite plot heavy and didn’t reveal frightfully much. Essentially, Director Hayward is hiding something from the rest of SWORD, and Monica (Teyonah Parris) was seeking help from an ally. The scene at the city limits was intriguing, with Darcy really tugging at the audience’s heartstrings with her stirring pleas to “help him!”, and it was truly chilling to see SWORD watch impassionately as Vision was torn apart.
This episode made it clearer than ever that Vision is only being kept alive through Wanda’s so-called Hex, which also calls into question how real the twins themselves are. The imagery of them wearing their costumes from the comics suggests that they do have some sort of future after the confines of this series, so hopefully there’s not even more trauma in store for the increasingly beleaguered Wanda.
While this episode doesn’t deal quite such a climactic cliffhanger than the previous two outings, with Episode 4 seeing Monica proclaim that Wanda is behind the anomaly, and Episode 5 seeing Pietro’s appearance, it nicely escalates the conflict which seems bound to reach dramatic heights once Wanda and Vision come face to face now that he knows (or thinks he knows) the extents of Wanda’s reach upon the town. With still three episodes to go, there are sure to be many twists coming, but Disney+ is really selling the legitimacy of the traditional episode-a-week model with the way they are releasing WandaVision, and the prospect of seeing Darcy embroiled in the sitcom universe is beyond enticing, especially considering Kat Denning’s inimitable comedic chops.
WandaVision is streaming exclusively on Disney+, with new episodes released on Fridays.