The following is a recap and review of the fifth episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers.
In the fifth episode of WandaVision — titled On a Very Special Episode — Vision (played by Paul Bettany) starts to question everything about the reality inside Wanda’s bubble universe, while Wanda and Vision’s twin boys age rapidly. Meanwhile, Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Parris) wakes up and immediately starts to work out a way that they can enter into the bubble universe without being altered by its time period. But S.W.O.R.D. is about to find out that Wanda (played by Elizabeth Olsen) doesn’t like intruders.
Welcome to WandaVision’s 1980s sitcom reality! The bubble universe, or the Hex (as Darcy calls it, and perhaps we should too), is changing at an alarming rate. In this fifth episode, arguably the best episode thus far, the show did exactly what I’ve been wanting them to do. The episode was noticeably longer, while the episode took place both inside the Hex and outside of it, where the S.W.O.R.D. director was starting to act in a way that, well, neither I nor Monica likes.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s go back to the episode’s very beginning. The episode opened by showing us the title characters trying their best to be parents to their infant twin boys, though everything about this opening is odd. Not only is Wanda incapable of using her powers to help her children, but Wanda starts to become increasingly unworried about Agnes seeing her powers being put to use. When Agnes stops by — coincidentally right when Wanda asks for help — something Vision says stops Agnes in her tracks. Agnes looks confused, turns to Wanda, and asks if they should redo the scene. This is arguably one of the most interesting scenes in the entire show thus far, as this is the first time that someone in town has asked Wanda to, essentially, rewind time. Agnes clearly knows what Wanda can do.
After speaking with Agnes briefly, Wanda sends Vision piercing eyes and insists that she may be allowed to hold their children. Because of this Vision, once again, asks Wanda what is going on. Vision is a sentient being, and he is noticing that whenever something is wrong about ‘their reality’ Wanda is quick to shrug it off. Before the episode cuts to the opening title sequence, Billy and Tommy have rapidly aged in the blink of an eye. Moments ago they were mere infants, and now they are both five years old. This did make me wonder what the rush is, and why Agnes insisted on holding the children.
The title sequence is a fantastic blast from the past. It is a deliberate spoof on the kind of title sequences that Family Ties and Full House would have. A painting of the whole family is being done over the course of the title sequence, we see images of both Wanda and Vision from when they were younger (even though Vision always looked this way and was only created a few years ago), and the sequence even includes a neat and appropriate theme song. This is exactly the kind of thing that is so much fun about the almost experimental format of the show.
Elsewhere, outside of the Hex, Monica Rambeau finally woke up. I, and probably many others, had actually had a theory that she would start to exhibit powers when she eventually woke up. But, at least for now, it looks like she may be okay. Though it definitely looks like Wanda’s Hex-push changed Monica. Why do I say that? Well, notice how her X-Ray images were unreadable, and, remember, that she refused to have her blood drawn again.
I definitely think that Monica Rambeau is changing right before our eyes, and it is almost definitely going to eventually be linked to her eventual appearance in the upcoming Captain Marvel 2. Actually, come to think of it, speaking of Captain Marvel and Monica Rambeau, Monica Rambeau clearly did not want to talk about Captain Marvel — her mother’s best friend — when Agent Woo and Darcy mentioned her. Marvel Studios is definitely building some conflict into Monica and Captain Marvel’s relationship, which is understandable if Captain Marvel never came back to Earth to visit her best friend, Maria Rambeau.
At the daily S.W.O.R.D. briefing, director Hayward reveals some troubling details, while he goes as far as identifying Wanda as more of a radicalized terrorist than an Avenger, which is harsh. Hayward reveals an interesting tidbit about Wanda’s actions prior to the events of the show. We see footage of Wanda breaking into S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters where she supposedly ‘stole’ Vision’s corpse, which was, apparently, a ‘clear violation of Vision’s living will.’ This is all very interesting. However, while this all sounds like an act of aggression from Wanda, I don’t necessarily see it that way. Notice how Vision’s body is laid out at the headquarters. It looks like S.W.O.R.D. scientists are doing experiments on his body, which has been torn apart. Perhaps S.W.O.R.D. was trying to control Vision or make ‘sentient weapons’ in his image. There is definitely something fishy about the way Hayward talks about Wanda.
Meanwhile, in Westview, Tommy and Billy have found a dog — named Sparky — that they want to adopt. Before Vision can even talk to his wife about the cute-looking canine, Agnes barges in with a doghouse. It almost seems like she gave them the dog, or planned everything about its sudden appearance. Vision then continues to disapprove of Wanda’s free use of her powers, and, when they decide not to keep the dog because Tommy and Billy are too young, the twins suddenly age rapidly so they can keep the dog.
Later, at work, Vision reads an email from the outside — based on Darcy Lewis’ findings — which stops all of his coworkers in their tracks. And, before we can properly react, Vision touches a co-worker’s temple, which seems to wake him up. His co-worker, Norm, asks for his cellphone — even though they are supposed to be in the 1980s — and screams about having someone in his head. Vision now definitely knows that someone — possibly Wanda — has had a negative impact on Westview.
“I have what I want, and no one will ever take it from me again.”
Outside of the Hex, Monica, Darcy, and agent Woo have the brilliant idea to send in a 1980s drone — so that it will not be altered by the Hex — for the purpose of getting a fresh visual from the inside. It is a great idea, but it doesn’t work as well as intended, since director Hayward had arranged for the drone to be armed. After Hayward orders the drone to fire at Wanda, things go very wrong for the people at the S.W.O.R.D. base. Before they know it, Wanda — dressed in red and speaking with a surprisingly thick Sokovian accent — comes out of the Hex carrying the drone.
Acting very much like Magneto (her father in the original Marvel comic books), Wanda threatens Hayward and his men, who she actually mind-controls to aim at the S.W.O.R.D. director. Before she returns to Westview, she does something to the outside of the Hex with her scarlet-powers. On the inside of the Hex, it, however, doesn’t look like anything has happened. Wanda and her twins are still just walking around outside their house. It certainly doesn’t look like she was just on the outside of the Hex. The one thing that has changed is that Agnes has found Sparky — their new dog — dead in her bushes. After Billy and Tommy plead with Wanda to bring him back to life, Wanda, interestingly, insists that she is not able to bring someone back to life, even though the twins believe that she can.
As the twins have gone to bed, and Wanda and Vision are finally all alone, Vision decides to confront his wife with his findings. He says that he knows that she is in control. He says that he doesn’t remember his life before Westview. He mentions that he has noticed that there are no other children in town. Most aggressively, Vision tells his wife: “You can’t control me the way you do them.” Wanda seems to take this as a challenge, as she immediately makes the closing credits move over the screen. But Vision won’t let it happen. They get into an argument, and they both use their powers. As they start to calm down, Wanda, interestingly, says that she doesn’t remember how any of it started. Before she can say anything else, the doorbell rings.
“She recast Pietro?”
Wanda’s dead brother Pietro Maximoff is standing in the doorway with an excited smile on his face, which kind of reminded me of Uncle Jesse from Full House. But this isn’t her brother. This is not the Pietro that we saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron, then played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Instead, this is Evan Peters, the actor who played the very same character in the 20th Century Fox X-Men films (which do not exist in the same cinematic universe as this show and the Avengers films). This is a mind-blowing revelation. The only way you can really explain the absurdity of this to people unfamiliar with comic book movie casting history is to say that this would be like if Pierce Brosnan appeared as James Bond in a film that Daniel Craig was supposed to play Agent 007 in.
So, what exactly is going on? Well, I think it probably means one of two things. Firstly, it could be that this is just a moment of fun meta-casting, where the showrunners simply want die-hard fans to be shocked. Secondly, it could mean that this is the way the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to introduce the X-Men to their universe. If this theory is to be believed, Wanda — or someone else — didn’t bring Pietro back to life, instead, he or she just plucked Pietro out of an alternate universe.
My theory is that this isn’t really Pietro. I don’t think Marvel Studios has just casually recast the role of Pietro Maximoff. I don’t think this is a character from an alternate universe. I simply think this is someone trying to act like Pietro. It could be a citizen in Westview, but it could also be a villain who is trying to get close to Wanda perhaps for the purpose of siphoning powers off of her.
There are a couple of reasons why I think this. For one, Darcy notices that he doesn’t look like ‘the real Pietro,’ but I also think it is very weird that ‘Pietro’ says he doesn’t know who Vision is. He should be able to recognize Vision if it were actually the real Pietro. Finally, I also just think it is very weird how aggressive and evil Wanda seemed outside of the Hex, and I think it is a clue that she was wearing her superhero costume and speaking with the Sokovian accent that she dropped a long time ago. To be clear, I don’t think it was Wanda who threatened Hayward in this episode.
Here at the end, I should mention that there was, of course, a new in-universe commercial with an easter egg. This time around, though, it was fairly obvious. The commercial was for Lagos-paper towels, which is an obvious reference to the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, where Wanda, in Lagos, blew up a building and accidentally killed civilians. Once again, it is pretty clear that these commercials are referencing traumatic moments in Wanda’s life. What could be next? Maybe a leather glove from a brand named ‘Thanos,’ or a diamond ring from a collection titled ‘Infinity Stones?’ Your guess is as good as mine.
This was a very long recap and review, but I think it’s understandable. This was a jam-packed episode and arguably the very best episode of the series thus far. It was thrilling to watch Hayward and ‘Wanda’ confront each other, the episode revealed some very interesting information about what happened prior to the first episode, and the Pietro-reveal was absolutely fantastic. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I also want to, once again, praise Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany who continue to give the very best performances that they have ever given in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With this episode, WandaVision just became must-watch television.
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.