The following is a recap and review of the sixth episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers.
In the sixth episode of WandaVision — titled All-New Halloween Spooktacular! — Tommy (played by Jett Klyne) and Billy (played by Julian Hilliard) get ready to celebrate their first Halloween inside the Hex with their family, including their mysterious “uncle,” Pietro (played by Evan Peters), who Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) seems slightly suspicious of (perhaps because he, well, has been ‘recast,’ as a character in the previous episode said). Meanwhile, Vision (played by Paul Bettany) has decided to lie to his family and explore Westview on his own.
Over the course of the show, we have seen sitcom realities from the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, and the 1980s inside the Hex. But with the sixth episode of the show, WandaVision finally worked its way up to the kind of television that I grew up with — sitcoms from the late 1990s and the early 2000s. The most obvious inspiration was the underappreciated family sitcom Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006), which was made clear and obvious with its alternative rock theme song (notice the lyrics, because there may be some hints in there) in its title sequence and the way Tommy and Billy would sometimes address the camera directly.
Inside of the Hex, Westview is celebrating Halloween, but Vision is quick to dodge his family by claiming to be on neighborhood watch duty, even though he is actually investigating exactly what is going on in town. Instead, Pietro dresses up and takes on the role of ‘father figure’ for the day, as he, Wanda, and the twins go trick-or-treating. Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. In the previous episode, Vision had made the keen observation that there were no other children in Westview, but, in this episode, the town is overrun with young trick-or-treaters, which is actually something that Pietro points out (and he even asks her how she did it).
While I’m sure Vision found this to be strange, he would soon find other things to worry about while his kids learned what superpowers they possess (Billy seems to have powers similar to his mother, while Tommy possesses the same powers that his uncle made famous). You see, as he got farther and farther away from Wanda in the center of town, Westview became less and less active until the citizens of Westview would either be completely frozen or be stuck on-a-loop while they were weeping. It is surprisingly dark for a Disney+ show. As Vision nears the edge of town, he notices that Agnes (played by Kathryn Hahn) is in the driver’s seat of a car, but she is barely moving. Vision uses his powers to wake her up, and Agnes is then quick to yell over and over again that Vision is actually dead. While the worthy Avenger — who doesn’t remember what an Avenger is — tries to figure out what that means, he moves closer and closer to the Hex border.
Outside of the Hex, director Hayward disagrees strongly with Monica Rambeau about their next move. Monica is angry about Hayward having lied to her about having a missile on the drone she sent into Westview, and this is apparently enough for Hayward to show his true colors. Hayward, who clearly doesn’t like super-powered individuals, says that Monica is too soft since she didn’t experience the hopelessness of the five years after Thanos’ snap like he did, and when she, alongside Jimmy and Darcy, continues to push back against him, he orders that they are removed from the base.
After Jimmy and Monica overpower a handful of S.W.O.R.D. agents or soldiers, Darcy hacks into the S.W.O.R.D. network and notices that Hayward has managed to pinpoint the location of everyone inside of the Hex and that he is tracking ‘the decay signature of vibranium,’ i.e. Vision. I think it’s clear that he wants Vision’s body back in S.W.O.R.D.’s HQ (perhaps to create copies that he can control and weaponize). Darcy also mentions what was clear in the previous episode, which is that Monica’s molecules are changing as a result of her experiences inside of the Hex. Monica shows indifference but in an angry manner, and then says that she and Jimmy will join up with the aerospace engineer that she mentioned in a previous episode (who could it be? I certainly have a fantastic idea or two, but I’m trying to keep my expectations in check, which is probably wise.). Darcy stays to investigates Hayward’s data further. But just as Jimmy and Monica have left the vicinity of the base, the alarm rings outside of the Hex.
In this moment, Vision is stepping through the border of the Hex and is coming out of Westview, though it isn’t easy for him. Vision, who we know is dead, is trying to break out of the bubble universe that is essentially keeping him alive, and, as he screams for help (not for himself, but for the people of Westview), pieces of him are being torn off of his body and pulled back inside of the Hex. This is essentially the Hex’s version of a character being ‘dusted.’ Billy but, interestingly, not Wanda senses that his father is in pain (and possibly dying), and, when he tells his mother, Wanda is quick to act. Wanda, in an event that made it clear that she is in control of the border of the Hex, expands the Hex in an effort to envelop her husband and save him. But while the expansion of the Hex does mean that a now (seemingly) unconscious Vision gets back inside of Westview, it also means that a much larger part of New Jersey is enveloped by Wanda’s magic bubble universe, including the S.W.O.R.D. base, their agents, and Darcy (but not Hayward, Monica, or Jimmy) who are all being altered to fit inside of the sitcom reality at an instant as they are enveloped. As Wanda opens her eyes, the episode comes to a close on a very intriguing cliffhanger.
Now, let’s talk about the so-called “Pietro Maximoff.” Like Billy says directly into the camera earlier in the episode, Halloween is about the thrill of being someone else for a day. Look, I know that Wanda, Vision, Tommy, and Billy are all wearing fairly comic book accurate costumes — just like Pietro is, if it is, indeed, him — but there are a lot of things about Pietro that are suspicious. First, there’s the face — the meta-stunt-casting that Marvel seems to have done (unless he really is from Fox universe, though I wouldn’t get my hopes up) — then there’s the fact that Pietro mentions a childhood memory that Wanda doesn’t remember, and, finally, Pietro sure seems to know things that he shouldn’t know. In the previous episode, he made it sound like he didn’t know who Vision was, and, in this episode, he literally said: “it’s not like your husband can die twice,” and since Pietro never saw Vision die, something is fishy about all of this. I think there definitely is a reason why Wanda used her powers and pushed him away. I definitely think that he is some major villain in a Pietro-costume (who may intentionally be jump-scaring Wanda in this episode), which brings me to the commercial.
“Snacked on Yo-Magic, bro!”
This episode’s commercial was something that definitely would’ve fit in in the late 90s and early 2000s. It is a claymation commercial for what appears to be a strawberry yogurt called ‘Yo-Magic.’ In the claymation commercial, we see a young boy stranded on a small desert island that a shark is circling. Then the shark, which is wearing sunglasses, introduces the boy to the product and says that he used to be hungry before he “Snacked on Yo-Magic, bro.” However, when the shark gives the boy a cup of Yo-Magic yogurt, the boy is unable to open it, and instead, he starves and slowly turns into a corpse. Once again, this is all very dark for a Disney show, but what does it mean? And why do I think Pietro has something to do with it? Well, for quite some time now I’ve theorized that someone is absorbing or feeding off of Wanda’s powers. I think it is very strange that there are times when her powers don’t work, I think it is very strange that she can’t control the twins, and I think it is just as strange that she doesn’t know where this recast Pietro came from. Well, I think he’s the shark in the commercial. In the commercial, the shark calls the boy ‘little dude,’ which Pietro also calls the twins at one point, also the shark and ‘Pietro’ share that same enthusiasm. The only thing that I’m not sure about is who the boy in the commercial is meant to represent. Are the twins the boy, and is ‘Pietro’ feeding off of their powers, or is it Wanda who is stranded and whose powers are being used for, well, juice? Perhaps we’ll find out on the next episode.
I concede that perhaps I only think this because I grew up with the era of television sitcom that they were imitating in this episode, but I actually think this style was the most natural the style of comedy has felt in this show. Of course, the other eras were a lot of fun, and the actors and production designers did remarkable jobs of making it all feel fitting and era-appropriate, but I think this sitcom era’s trademarks just worked really well for what the show is going for. I will also say that this is in part due to what Evan Peters brought to the episode, which is something of an energetic charm. As far as moving the plot along, I also think that this episode found a lot of success, as the ending of the episode made it very obvious that Wanda, at the very least, is aware of there being a border around Westview that she needs to protect her husband from. So while the episode is not as shocking as what we’ve seen previously, I thought this was a great outing for the series, which I think is about to reveal some of its deeper secrets in the upcoming episodes.
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.