Recap & Review: ‘WandaVision’ Episode 5, In Which Things Start to Take a Turn

Episode Five of WandaVision, “On A Very Special Episode…” went live on Disney+ this morning and boy howdy it is another big one, full of twists and turns and revelations both inside and outside of Westview. Let’s take a closer look.

WandaVision

Seriously. Spoilers galore are coming. You’ve been warned.

This weeks episode in Westview takes place in the next logical era of the sitcom: the 1980s. With the addition of the twins, the show is now a family sitcom, complete with melancholy theme music.

As the story begins an exasperated Wanda and Vision are trying to calm their crying babies. Wanda tries promising that Tommy will be her favourite if he stops crying. Vision tries reading Darwin to Billy, both to no avail. Wanda asks Vision to get their pacifiers and tries to magic them to sleep, but finds that she can’t. Vision returns with their pacifiers in his ears, as you do.

Just as Wanda mentions that they might need some help, next-door neighbour Agnes shows up on her way from Jazzercise. When Agnes offers to take the kids, Vision gets a bout of worry and says maybe they shouldn’t do this. At this point Agnes gets visibly uncomfortable, and asks Wanda if she wants her to “take that again from the top”. There’s a moment of super uncomfortable silence as Vision watches this exchange. Wanda and Agnes start laughing as they get back into the scene.

Vision takes Wanda aside and asks what’s going on, but Wanda feigns ignorance. As Vision gets more visibly agitated, they notice that the twins are suddenly silent. At first thinking the kids fell asleep, it turns out they’ve aged up to the age of five. “Kids. Can’t control them, no matter how hard you try,” says Agnes.

Cut to an 80s style credits sequence, complete with photos of Wanda and Vision as kids and a painted family portrait, and a montage of their lives. After the credits we rejoin Monica Rambeau outside of Westview, being debriefed by Director Hayward. She describes the oppressive nature of Wanda’s control of the town, and how painful and terrifying it is. Jimmy Woo walks in with Darcy Lewis, and after a brief exchange, it’s revealed that the testing done on Rambeau and her clothes is all inconclusive.

In the briefing that follows, we get a brief history of Wanda, from their childhood to their joining Hydra, experimentation with the mind stone, and their time fighting against the Avengers. At this point, Hayward asks if Wanda has an alias or a funny nickname, which Jimmy explains she does not. I definitely chuckled at this scene. They finish up talking about the incident in Lagos, seen at the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which Wanda accidentally killed several people.

Rambeau pipes up and explains that she doesn’t believe what is happening at Westview is a premeditated act of destruction on Wanda’s part. Hayward responds by showing the team video footage of Wanda breaking into S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters, stealing Vision’s deceased body and resurrecting him. It is also pointed out that not only is this a violation of the Sokovia accords, but it also violates Vision’s living will as well.

Back in Westview, the kids have found a dog and are bathing it in the sink. It is an adorable dog and doesn’t have a collar. The kids beg to keep him. Vision comes into the room wearing human clothes and his human, Paul Bettany face. “Why so formal?” Asks Wanda. “I had a hunch someone might pop over, with exactly the item we require” he replies, just as Agnes comes in through the kitchen door carrying a dog house for their new dog. This visibly perturbs Vision. After they decide on a name for the dog, Sparky, Wanda magics a collar into existence which further upsets Vision as they had agreed to hide their powers, Wanda says she is tired of hiding, and Vision asks what she isn’t telling him.

The boys then ask again if they can keep Sparky. Wanda and Vision say that they aren’t old enough, and need to be at least 10 years old, at which point the kids visibly age up to 10 years old right in front of them (and Agnes, who seems unphased).

Back outside, Rambeau is working with Darcy and Woo to find a way to re-enter Westview. After figuring out that they would need a nearly impossible to build vehicle to go into the anomaly, Darcy points out that if Rambeau goes back in “the hex” might wipe her mind again. Darcy explains that she has started calling the anomaly, and by extension Wanda’s powers, “the hex” because of its hexagonal shape. A nice little moment to give Wanda’s powers their comics accurate name. Rambeau starts to text someone she thinks might be able to help make the vehicle they need.

Rambeau also lets them know that everything in the Hex is real despite looking fake on TV when Jimmy asks if anyone has identified who the twins are. The Twins are real, not children from the existing town. Darcy points out that that would take an insane amount of power to affect reality like that, and Rambeau mentions that Wanda came close to taking out Thanos on her own. When Jimmy says that Captain Marvel did, too, and Darcy says that Captain marvel’s powers came from an infinity stone, too, Rambeau says “we’re not talking about her.”

Rambeau has a revelation and heads to the lab. She grabs a gun and shoots her 70s style clothing point-blank. The bullets fall to the ground, and Rambeau realizes that the pants are 80% kevlar because she was wearing a bulletproof vest when she entered the hex, and Wanda is actually rewriting reality inside. They then figure wonder aloud what might happen if they send something that doesn’t require a change?

Back in Westview Vision is at his job at Computational Services, Inc. Setting up an 80s style computer, Norm marvels at the technology in the giant CRT monitor. They dial into the internet and receive their first electronic mail. It turns out to be a S.W.O.R.D. communication about Darcy’s findings, which everyone else in the office recites in unison. Vision uses his powers to free Norm from Wanda’s mind control and Norm immediately panics. “She’s in my head, it hurts. It hurts so much!” Norm begs Vision to “make her stop” before Vision relents and put him back under Wanda’s control.

At home, the kids teach Sparky a trick and want to show their father. Wanda tells them he’s at work and they question this, saying it’s Saturday. Wanda says that it is Monday, but they reply that this morning was Saturday. Wanda says that he needed a distraction, and tells them about her brother, Pietro. Sparky runs to the door at the sound of a propeller in the air.

Wanda heads outside and sees an 80s style drone in the air, piloted by Rambeau. In the S.W.O.R.D. base, Woo points out that Wanda is keeping the drone out of frame, which like the jump cuts they noticed the last episode means that Wanda is deciding what makes it onto the show and what doesn’t. Rambeau tries to take to Wanda, and when Wanda doesn’t immediately respond, Hayward tells another tech to “take the shot.” Wanda’s eyes start to glow red, and both he drone feed and her broadcast go offline.

Outside Wanda emerges from the hex wearing the outfit she wore in the Avengers movies, dragging the drone behind her. She tosses it at the S.W.O.R.D. team there. She warns them to stay out of her home. “Don’t both me, and I won’t bother you,” Hayward responds that the missile was a precaution because Wanda is holding thousands of people hostage. Wanda says she’s not the one with the guns, and Rambeau replies that Wanda is the one in control.

Rambeau pleads with Wanda that she is an ally, and asks what Wanda even wants. Wand replies that she has what she wants and that no one will ever take it from her again. Wanda turns and re-enters the hex, and it turns red behind her.

Cut to another commercial, for Lagos brand paper towels. The most absorbent around! “Lagos, for when you make a mess you didn’t mean to!”

Back in Westview Wanda and the twins are looking for Sparky. “Don’t worry, your mom won’t let him get far. ” says the mailman. They arrive at Agnes house where she has found Sparky dead after eating some poisonous shrubs. Wanda stops the boys from ageing themselves up, and the boy says they know that she can fix anything, even the dead. “You can do that?” asks Agnes. Wanda explains that some things are forever, like death. Just then, Vision shows up and comforts the boys.

Later that night in the house, Vision confronts Wanda about what is going on. He tells her he spoke to Norm, free of her control, and that her control has Norm in pain. Vision tells Wanda that she can’t control him like she controls everyone else. “Can’t I?” says Wanda and the 80s style credits start to roll. Vision doesn’t let her get away with it though, and they end up floating in the air yelling at one another. When Vision asks what is outside of Westview, Wanda replies that he doesn’t want to know. Vision says that she doesn’t get to make that choice for him. “You’ve never talked to me like this before,” she says. “Before what?!” he exclaims. He doesn’t remember his life before Westview and doesn’t know who he is, and is scared. She tells him that he is her husband, and father to her children, and asks if that is enough. He then asks why there are no other children in Westview. She denies that she controls everything, and Visions says that what she is doing is wrong, even if it started unconsciously.

The doorbell rings, and she answers it after denying she made that happen too. The camera pulls back to reveal silver hair and an astounded Wanda. The camera pans around to reveal actor Evan Peters, who asks if he gets to hug his little sister. Yes, Wanda has re-cast her brother. “Who’s the popsicle?” he asks, pointing at Vision, and the episode cuts to the credits.

There is certainly a lot to unpack this week. First, yes, the sitcom styling is once again pitch-perfect, right down to the theme music. The mix of action both inside and outside the hex is sure to be a relief to some viewers. I loved the first three episodes dropping us right into the weirdness, but I know some people didn’t get into it until last weeks episode revealing a bit more of what’s going on.

The revelation that Wanda is indeed re-writing reality with her powers is a big one. That is not something that she is documented as being able to do so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am starting to think that she might be imbued with the power of more than one Infinity Stone. Sure, she was originally empowered by the Mind Stone, but her powers glow red like the reality stone, and who knows what linkages are present between them or what being exposed to the destruction of one of them might do.

There are also multiple references to Lagos in this episode, which is where Wanda accidentally killed a whole bunch of people at the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This event leads directly to the Sokovia Accords, which subjects super-powered individuals to government oversight. Wanda is clearly not handling remote very well, perhaps her guilt over that event is haunting her too. Every incident like this would certainly help push her over the edge and into some drastic action, such as resurrecting her dead lover in a sitcom-inspired life where they can try to be happy.

Wanda revealing herself to the S.W.O.R.D. Agents outside was an excellent show of power and reenforces the theory that she alone is in control. I know there is a lot of speculation about a secret villain, but as I said last week, I hope that that is not the case. For me, this is also reinforced by the way Agnes acts in the episode. Agnes is clearly a little more aware of what is going on than the average citizen of Westview. I don’t doubt that she will turn out to be Agatha Harkness, but when she asks “do you want me to take that from the top” she looks legitimately scared, and when the twins ask Wanda to fix the death of Sparky Agnes responds with real awe and dread when she says “you can do that?”.

The biggest reveal for the characters is Pietro’s reveal at the end of the episode, and that she has recast him. Who knows if this person is just another citizen of Westview, or perhaps the witness that Jimmy Woo came looking for in last weeks episode, but the fact that Evan Peters is playing him adds a wrinkle: Peters played another version of Pietro in the X-Men films, previously owned by Fox, which Disney of course recently purchased. So, is this a great meta nod to that, or has Wanda pulled that version of Pietro into her reality from that one? And if she pulled that Pietro into this reality, is this how mutants end up in the MCU?

I know, that’s a lot to absorb, but stranger things have happened in the MCU, and this series so far, and if she really can re-write reality, what’s top stop her from being able to re-write the entire multiverse? There are so many possibilities being opened up by this show.

Next week is episode six, the two-thirds mark of the series, and presumably the end of the second act. How are they going to deal with the arrival of Pietro? Who the hell is this person playing Pietro? There are so many questions that need answering, and I can’t wait to start getting those answers.

Other Thoughts:

  • “I was just fluffing this pillow with my… face.” Still really enjoying Paul Bettany being ridiculous.
  • The photos of Vision as a child are adorable.
  • Jimmy Woo saying “that’s an oversimplification” when Hayward outlines that Wanda and Pietro Maximoff were radicalized and joined Hydra made me laugh out loud, too.
  • The “80s tech” drone looks pretty damned futuristic.
  • Wanda wearing her red leather coat and speaking with a slight Sokovian accent outside of the hex is a nice touch.
  • Evan Peters playing Pietro like the fun but boorish uncle figure from an 80s sitcom is both pitch-perfect and hilarious.
  • No, seriously, is this how mutants end up in the MCU?

WandaVision Coverage:

  1. Review of episodes 1-3: ‘WandaVision’ is delightfully weird and intriguing
  2. Recap: Episode One: “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”
  3. Recap: Episode Two: “Don’t Touch That Dial”
  4. Recap: Episode Three: “Now in Color”
  5. Recap: Episode Four: “We Interrupt This Program”
  6. Recap: Episode Five: “On A Very Special Episode…”
  7. Recap: Episode Six: “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!”
  8. Recap: Episode Seven: “Breaking the Fourth Wall”
  9. Recap: Episode Eight: “Previously On”
  10. Recap: Episode Nine: “The Series Finale”

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