Recap & Review: ‘WandaVision’ Episode 6: Sibling shenanigans and raising stakes

Last week ended with the appearance of Wanda’s brother Pietro, but now played by actor Evan Peters, who played a version of the character featured in the Fox X-Men movies. It was a hell of a twist, and this week starts to deal with that. A little bit.

WandaVision

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

We now join the family in the what you would expect to be the 1990s, but the opening sequence is straight out of Malcolm in the Middle –complete with a 90s rock theme song and opening sequence filmed on VHS and the twins Billy and Tommy narrating– which ran int he early 2000s. There are some 90s aesthetics in place, but maybe there just weren’t any good 1990s family sitcoms? That was the era of Seinfeld and Friends, after all. I dunno, just a guess.

Anyway, the kids explain that it is Halloween, a time when you can celebrate the thrill of being someone else. Billy is already in costume, and it’s basically his comic book costume (where he’s a magic user called Wiccan). They kids wake up their uncle, who was snoring on the couch, and after some shenanigans involving his super speed Wanda comes downstairs in her comic book costume complete with the headpiece. “I’m a Sokovian fortune teller” she explains.

Pietro says that it’s lame and worse than the costumes that their mother made “the year they got Typhus”. Cut to a flashback of them as children, and an old lady giving them a fish while they trick or treat shoddy homemade costumes. “That’s not exactly how I remember it” ways Wanda. “You probably suppressed the trauma” replies Pietro. This is the first instance of some multiversal weirdness going on since this clearly isn’t this Wanda’s Pietro. The kids pick up on it too, narrating that Wanda has been weird since Pietro showed up because she hasn’t seen him in a long time, and he’s a quote “man-child.”

Vision now joins them downstairs wearing his costume, his original green and yellow comic book costume. After some jokes at his expense, he explains that it’s a luchador costume. THere’s some lingering tension between Wanda and Vision, too, when she thanks him for humouring her with the costume and he replies that there were no other clothes in his closet. Vision then explains that he’s going out on patrol for the neighbourhood watch which catches Wanda off guard because “that’s not what he is supposed to do…”. Wanda is still trying to control Vision, but as he established in the last episode, she can’t control him, and rather than outright confronting her this time he’s playing along just enough that she can’t object.

Vision heads out, and Wanda and the kids head out for trick or treating. Tommy needs a costume, and Pietro speeds them away and returns with them both in their comics costumes, complete with ridiculous windswept hair. Yes, they are wearing similar costumes, as Tommy is a speedster in the comics known by the incredibly original codename Speed.

Cut now to the S.W.O.R.D. base outside the hex, where Rambeau is chastising Hayward for sending the missile that caused so many problems last week. He believes that taking out Wanda will end what is happening. Rambeau clarifies that they actually have no idea what is going on, that they cannot outgun her, and that antagonizing her only makes things worse. In short, helping Wanda is the solution, not killing her.

At this point Hayward throws the blip in Rambeaus face, claiming that the people who went away have no idea what life was like and how it changed people. Did it make him a bad guy? Maybe. Rambeau throws it back in his face, telling him not to use those five years as an excuse to be a coward. Hayward then throws Rambeau, Darcy, and Jimmy Woo off the base saying that Rambeau doesn’t have the stomach for the job and that it was probably a good thing she was gone for her mother’s death.

Of course, the trio immediately overpower the agents escorting them off base, don their uniforms, and get back to work.

Back in the hex Wanda and Pietro have the kids in town for Halloween celebrations. Wanda asks Pietro about a childhood memory, and Pietro doesn’t answer and points out that she’s testing him because he looks different. Wanda asks why he looks different, and he doesn’t know, surmising that maybe she doesn’t want to be reminded of the past. As Pietro grabs the kids to super-speed their way around the neighbourhood and gets all the candy, Wanda speaks with Herb (in an excellent Frankenstein’s monster costume), who gets a radio call from the neighbourhood watch that narrates everything Pietro and the kids get up to in the background.

Wanda suggests that Vision help him out, but Herb replies that Vision isn’t on duty tonight, which again catches Wanda off guard. Noticing this, Herb asks if Wanda is ok, and if “she wants anything changed”. She hand waves him away.

Vision is walking through another area of town and the further away from Wanda he gets the less animate people get. In fact, as he approaches the edge of town, people can barely move at all. One woman, endlessly trying to string up decorations, is showing crying. In case it wasn’t clear from last week, people under Wanda control are not having a good time.

This week’s commercial break is a stop motion ad for “yo-magic” yoghurt. A shark gives a child on a desert island a yo-magic yoghurt cup, but the child cannot open it and eventually starves, dies, and turns into a skeleton. It’s a pretty bleak commercial with a lot to unpack. More on that later.

Back in town it slowly becomes clear that Pietro is in on Wanda having created Westview. He accurately describes his sitcom part (come to town unexpectedly, create tension with Vision, stir up trouble with the kids, and give Wanda grief). Wanda asks what happened to his accent, and simply replies with the same question of her. He says that details are fuzzy, but he remembers being shot in the street for no reason and then heard her calling him.

Tommy discovers his super speed, takes his brother off for candy and is told not to go past Ellis Avenue.

Back outside, Darcy is able to hack into the mainframe and discovers that Hayward has found a way to see inside the hex and is tracking Vision. They notice that people at the edge of town are barely moving.

Back with Vision, he comes to a cul-de-sac where all the residents are stuck in place. He attempts to interact with them but to no avail. He changes into his MCU costume and flies up into the air to survey hat is going on. He can hear the people in town and notices a street with nothing on the other side of it –where Westview effectively ends– Ellis Avenue. There he sees Agnes, stuck in place in her 1990s Volvo at a stop sign. She is not quite as catatonic as the rest of the people, saying she took a wrong turn on the way to the town square.

Vision then frees her from Wanda’s control. She immediately recognizes him as Vision, one of the Avengers, and asks if he is there to help. He explains that he does want to help, but he doesn’t know what an Avenger is. Visibly upset, Agnes asks if she’s dead. Vision asks why she would ask that, and she replies “because you are!”. Vision states that he intends to leave WestView and find help, but Agnes questions how he means to do that when Wanda doesn’t let anyone go, or even let anyone think about leaving. She then has a cackling breakdown before Vision restores her to Wanda’s control.

Vision then begins walking toward the barrier a the end of town.

Outside Rambeau gets a message that her “way back into the hex” will be there in an hour, the aerospace engineer she referenced in the last episode. Darcy has access to her medical scans and points out that Rambeau has been through the barrier twice now, and each time she has been re-written on a molecular level. Rambeau shrugs it off, determined to help.

Back in town, Pietro comments on how nice WestView is. It now becomes 100% clear that Pietro is aware of what’s happening. In the last episode, Vision had asked why there are no children in WestView, and Pietro now asks where Wanda has been hiding all the kids and commends her on handling the ethical considerations of what she has created as best as she could, keeping families together and giving them better jobs and haircuts. When he asks how she did it all, she confesses that she doesn’t actually know how she did it, but that it was born out of a feeling of endless loneliness. She turns away, and when she turns back, she sees a zombie version of Pietro, still full of bullet holes.

Outside, Darcy and S.W.O.R.D. notice Vision nearing the barrier. He pushes his way through it, but it is clearly working against him and appears to be sucking him back in. As his body breaks down, he begs them to help the people inside. Darcy runs out and begs the agents to help Vision; she realizes that he won’t survive outside. Billy starts to sense what is happening to his father and manifests his hex powers (they look the same as Wanda’s red magic, but blue). Billy tells Wanda what is going on, that Vision is dying, and Pietro comments that her “dead husband can’t die twice”.

She blasts Pietro across the town square, freezes everyone in town, closes her eyes, and expands the hex’s barrier. It envelops Vision (who goes back to normal) along with the S.W.O.R.D. base (which turns into a circus, complete with agents as clowns). It’s not 100% clear how far the barrier has expanded, but it appears that Hayward and two other agents might be the only S.W.O.R.D. agents to get away, along with Jimmy Woo and Rambeau, but Darcy was left handcuffed to a S.W.O.R.D. vehicle in the base and is now inside the hex.

From a close up on Wanda’s glowing red eyes, we cut to the credits.

WandaVision
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / WandaVision

It’s nice that since this is a nine-episode series, the three-act structure can be easily seen. This sixth episode, which ends with some pretty massive stakes raising, is clearly the second act’s end. The situation is worse; the people on the outside have had their resources reduced and will have to work with their wits (and a visiting aerospace engineer).

First question, though, who is that engineer that is on the way? There’s an entire universe of possibilities. Will it be someone we know already? Honestly, that seems like a stretch, at least in terms of heroes we know. The person needs to be connected to Rambeau, not Wanda, so while it might be cool for it to be the introduction of Reed Richards or to bring in Cassie Lang, I kind of doubt that it will be someone so established.

Personally, I have three guesses: first, they’ll use the opportunity to introduce Riri Williams (aka Iron Heart) the armour wearing hero who has her own series coming up. Second, maybe it’s Norex –the Skrull she met as a child– who in the film Captain Marvel modified a quad-jet to be space-worthy. Or, third, perhaps it will be Talos’s Daughter, the Skrull child she developed a friendship with right at the end of Captain Marvel. Will I be right? Who knows!

I’m curious about the show jumping from the 80s to the 00s, but I think it might be just what I mentioned in the review, that the 00s were the era of sitcoms being about groups of friends rather than about families. If you have a better idea please feel free to tell me in the comments.

The commercial in this episode was incredibly bleak, and I am unsure what tack to take with it. It could be implying that magic will drain you if you use it too much. It could also be that people under the sway of magic aren’t getting the nourishment they need, and it is wasting them away. I’m inclined to think it’s the latter, as the people at the edges of town are clearly going through a miserable time, trapped in an unmoving but at least partially aware state. The image of the woman trying and failing to hang the decorations while crying was a haunting one.

There is more evidence each week that Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes is actually comics character Agatha Harkness, the witch who trained Wanda in the comics, and this week is no different. When Vision confronts her in the car, she is literally wearing a witch costume. Wanda not remembering how exactly she created the hex and how she can re-write reality leads me to believe that she must have had some help or nudge to do it. In the comics that nudge is revealed to be the literal Marvel Comics Devil, Mephisto. Maybe in this version, it’s Agatha, who then gets caught up in the whole thing.

Also, the reveal that Pietro knows what is going on is an interesting one to me. The movies imply heavily that in life the two of them were bonded psychically (she literally felt his death in Age of Ultron), but while she doesn’t seem to share that level of connection with this Pietro he is attuned to her, and as her brother is ready and willing to play the part she needs him to. Their conversations skirt the edge of saying “you pulled me in from another universe” but only barely, and I seriously can’t wait to see how this ends up shaking up the whole MCU.

Kat Dennis and Randall Park as Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo / WandaVision

Lastly, there are some pretty big things happening for our friends outside this week. Monica Rambeau having her cells re-written twice seems like a perfect gateway to her becoming superpowered, something that does happen in the comics. She has had a few names, but the most recognizable of those is Photon, a word she has mentioned already. She also has the do-good spirit, not being willing to give up on helping Wanda even if that means endangering herself, and we know she’s slated to appear in Captain Marvel 2. Seems like a no-brainer to call that one, even if the ultimate reveal of her having powers might come as a credits scene.

Jimmy Woo didn’t get a ton to do this week, but he beat up a S.W.O.R.D. agent, so that’s fun.

Darcy, however, is now inside the hex. We saw what happened to all the agents who were also enveloped by it; they were turned into clowns. I imagine that Darcy will have a more substantial part, but will likely still be a circus member, right? And if passing through the barrier re-writes you at the molecular level, does that open up her (and everyone else) to becoming empowered?

Lastly, I find myself wondering what Haywards deal is. It could be that he is just a cynic from the five years of the blip, that he really has just been turned into that guy who wants to shoot first and ask questions later. His not revealing that hey could track Vision inside the Hex, and the fact that he often twists his recollection of events to suit his own needs makes me think that maybe there is something else going on there. Is he an alien of some kind? A renegade Skrull? A Kree monitoring events on earth? A Xandarian monitoring earth for Kree threats?

Ok, this has been a lot of conjecture on my part. Personally, I am still holding out for Wanda being revealed to be the actual antagonist, and eventually having actually to deal with the fact that her family is deceased. I would also like there to be some more explanation and exploration of her powers. She clearly is imbued with the power of the mind stone and the reality stone, but what else might she contain?

Next week is the seventh episode of WandaVision and the beginning of the last act of the story. What do you all think might happen? What revelations are you looking forward to? What predictions do you have? Let me know, and we’ll see you here next week!

Other Thoughts:

  • Pietro’s costume in the flashback is a black coat and an eye patch. Nick Fury anyone? Wanda’s seems to be just antenna, and since the world didn’t know about Mantis at that point I’m guessing she’s a ladybug. There’s probably a deep cut there I am missing.
  • Pietro grabs the kids to go super-speed and get all the candy and Tommy says “yeah, kickass!” Wanda then says “…Kick-Ass” contemplatively, a nice little nod to Evan Peters (and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who played Pietro in Age of Ultron) rolls in that superhero franchise.
    • Now, Disney doesn’t own Lionsgate or Universal (yet), so this is about as close I think we’re going to get to an actual crossover with the Kick-Ass universe, to be clear. Also, it’s a little R-Rated for Disney anyway.
  • As Wanda, Pietro, and the kids walks past a movie theatre the marquee reads that the two movies playing are The Incredibles and The Parent Trap. Now, these two movies did not come out at the same time (2004 for the former and either 1961 or 1998 for the latter), but one is about a family of superheroes and the other is about a set of reunited twins.
  • Ellis Avenue I am pretty sure is a reference to comics writer Warren Ellis. I don’t think he has written any major Scarlet Witch or Vision stories, but he was a writer on the X-Men comics for a few years there.

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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