WandaVision has been excellent at delivering a surprising, well-told story that keeps even a longtime hero geek like me guessing and being stunned. Episode five ended with the big shock of not only the late Pietro suddenly turning up, but it being the Evan Peters/X-Men version, not the Aaron Taylor Johnson/Avengers one. Now they build on his presence, get in some comics-accurate costumes, and nudge the kids closer to their comic book heroic selves. There are a lot of surprises in “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!”
The new title sequence is, I’m told, a nod to Malcolm in the Middle, a show I never watched. I did find it interesting that Wanda, Vision, and Pietro are all a lot more blatant about using their powers than they have been so far in the series. Agnes gets an appearance in this segment, alongside Billy and Tommy. After the newest opening fades, we get the new conceit of the cast, or at least Billy, talking directly to the camera several times, as he and Tommy get up to some hijinks with Pietro, who is crashing on the couch. I guess the house doesn’t have a guest room at this point. It being Halloween is the excuse to get the cast into the most accurate versions of their comic book style costumes. Wanda is a “Sokovian fortune teller,” Vision is a “Mexican wrestler” which is apparently a big turn on for Wanda, and… we never do get explanations for Pietro’s Quicksilver or Billy’s Wiccan outfits. We do get a brief, humorous, and disquieting flashback to the Maximoffs trick or treating as kids in Sokovia (which also seems off, as that’s mostly an American holiday according to everything I’ve read). We see this Pietro is like a frat boy, that Vision is taking off to help the Neighborhood Watch he joined early in the season, and Wanda isn’t happy about him going. The whispered discussion has Tommy remarking to the camera that mom and dad have been different since Pietro got there.
At the SWORD base, things are getting even more tense than the Maximoff home. Director Hayward is being more and more abrasive and dictatorial, and it’s not sitting well with Monica, Woo, or Darcy. Hayward is displaying what I think is fair to call an anti-super bias, and, after a humorous exchange with Darcy, barks out a new order that doesn’t sit well with our three good guys. Woo and Monica have their own reaction to the new development, catching Darcy completely by surprise, which was both believable and funny.
Throughout the episode, Pietro drops a lot of lines that are either him knowing a lot more than he should, very meta, fourth-wall breaking bits, or both. He makes several such comments to Wanda as they take the kids Trick or Treating. He’s not the first to say things that make it sound like he knows he’s on a tv show, following in Agnes’ footsteps. There’s a very odd scene where Wanda runs into their neighbor, Herb. Herb tells her something she doesn’t want to hear, makes another odd meta-comment, and seems to be reporting on things just before they happen. I’m getting more and more curious about what’s going on here. Vision is off wandering the town, and seeing various and sundry disturbing things.
There’s a grim commercial that seems to touch on Billy in particular, but that’s just a guess on my part. Others say it has something to do with Wanda and her powers. Interestingly, as Wanda and Pietro wander around, they go past the town cinema, which is showing The Parent Trap and The Incredibles. The Incredibles, of course, is about a family with superpowers, and the Parent Trap, obvious title to one side, is about switching places and accents that come and go. There’s more odd back and forth between
Pietro and Wanda, and he definitely knows things he shouldn’t. Tommy’s powers are on full display, and he’s having a blast with them. Wanda gives the kids a caution about their powers and where not to go in town.
Monica and company sneak around, and Darcy gets in another great line about the “new” Pietro. Darcy slips into the role of team hacker, another similarity between her and Flash’s Cisco, and they get an idea what Vision is up to. The hero wanders the town, seeing more and more strange things, and trying to get more information about whatever the heck is going on. Finally, he meets Agnes, and has a conversation that we’ve seen parts of in trailers, but it’s very, very different than it was cut for those coming attractions. We do get some of Vision’s earlier statements about his memory issues confirmed, and then see where he is —a location mentioned earlier as a bad place.
As Vision does something that could be a major mistake, Team Monica makes their move, doing what they can to help the heroes. Monica gets some news that makes her smile, then gets a warning from Darcy that seems to be another nudge for Monica toward her comic book self. The team splits up to do different things, and we get another hint about Monica’s “contact” that has caused a lot of theories to careen around the internet. Wanda and Pietro have another chat that’s heavy on hints about what’s going actually going on, and Pietro displaying knowledge he just shouldn’t have. Wanda again professes confusion about how “all this” started, and gets an unwelcome reminder about her past.
As Darcy monitors what Hayward is up to, Vision tries to make a break for it. He sets off a lot of different types of alarms as he makes his effort. SWORD scrambles a
response team, which shows Hayward as, at best, callous and uncaring. Darcy is a lot more caring and goes to try and help. Billy, who has largely been overshadowed by Tommy’s more obvious power, displays some abilities of his own, and goes to get help from Wanda. Vision is suffering, clearly in dire straits, but even so, he pleads for help for the people of Westview, not himself. Even without knowing who he really is, Vision is a hero. Wanda hears what’s going on and flexes some muscle in sheer desperation, after swatting Pietro aside for a comment that’s both cruel and intriguing. What happens ends the episode, but it has wrought a lot of changes. There’s a lot more story to go, and reportedly, the last few episodes jump from half hour to hour long.
What I liked: There were a lot of surprising moments in this episode. I’m really curious about who Monica’s contact is, and which, if any, of the theories about him or her will be proven correct. It was nice seeing Monica and Woo shown as competent at what they do, and Darcy’s role in that brief struggle made prefect sense. Vision is a hero no matter what’s going on around him. I’m really curious about what’s up with this Pietro and his apparent knowledge of things he shouldn’t be aware of. The development of the kids was well done. The scene with Agnes was spooky and odd. I wonder if the movie titles were a message, or if I’m reading too much into things.
What I didn’t: I have a few questions that are growing as this goes on. Marvel Studios has absolutely earned some trust, and I believe this will come to be explained. But, among other things bothering me so far: I’m hoping we get more explanation of why Hayward is acting like
this? Fear? Trauma? His own (or someone else’s) evil agenda? I’m getting reminded of that line from the Falcon and Winter Soldier trailer about “Superheroes can’t be allowed to exist.” What’s getting to me the most so far, however, is wondering how SWORD got Vision’s body in the first place. Vision’s death(s) took place in Wakanda, and, since they keep emphasizing he’s made of Vibranium, I don’t see Wakanda just handing him over. Then again, we only have Hayward’s word, and his suddenly appearing video, that Wanda took Vision from them, and I certainly don’t consider him a reliable source at this point.
I’m absolutely loving this series, and can’t wait for the next episode. I’ll give this bit of insanity a 4 out of 5. It’s going to be a long wait for the new and longer episode.