WandaVision: On a Hallow’ed ground full of easter-eggs…

There's still not many answers, but plenty of hints, clues and references in the latest 'WandaVision'...

The sit-com facade appears to move into the 1990s format, but Vision plans to investigate what’s scaring him during West View’s Hallowe-en festivities. As Wanda and her brother go ‘trick or treating’, young Tommy and Billy display powers of their own and Pietro doesn’t seem to be a good influence on anyone. But why can’t Wanda remember how this all started and why is Pietro far more aware of his questionable arrival than anyone else?

Vision’s investigation leads him to the edge of town, where the inhabitants seem far less engaged, but what will happen if he tries to make it through the strange force-shield that bars his way?

Meanwhile, on the outside of West View, Jimmy, Darcy and Monica suffer the wrath of their boss and the gathered forces of SWORD prove completely unprepared for a retaliation…

 

*spoilers*

Despite this being a decidedly Hallowe’en-themed episode you could well make the mistake of thinking it was Easter with an avalanche of references, in-jokes and homages to the original source material (some of which may be actual clues to what’s going on, others merely decoration – at this point, who knows?). The most obvious are the various costumes: Wanda and Viz and Pietro wearing homemade versions of their original comics’ attire and Billy and Tommy also having nods to the characters from the printed page. The rumour that Agnes is an MCU version of Wanda’s mentor Agatha Harkness also gets some traction with her witchy hat. You might also argue that Wanda mentioning ‘kick-ass’ in relation to her brother is a nod to the fact that AWOL Aaron Taylor-Johnson played a character of the same name in the adaptation of the Mark Millar comic-book, but maybe we’re reaching…). One of the mock gravestones in the Hallowe’en display belongs to Janell Sammelman, a first assistant director on WandaVision and very much alive. For an instalment that seems to move into the 90s there are a few anachronisms (if the opening is a homage to Malcolm in the Middle, then it’s worth remembering that show had an early 2000’s debut) but given the premise, you’d expect a few cracks in the veneer…

Though still related to trust issues, things outside the Hex-shield are treated far more conventionally with Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), astrophysicist Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and FBI guy Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) suspecting their boss is up to no good and being marched off the base. That they take matters into their own hands is a given, but with the episode leaving us with Darcy inside the town and only Jimmy, Monica and Hayward out of its reach, it’s clear things are about to get tense. We’ve also had two weeks of Monica hinting she’s got a great un-named source to help her make sense of things but who has yet to appear, so it feels like next week’s entry might have one of those defining ‘MCU WTF‘ moments with a significant introduction or character cameo.

While real-life wife Jennifer Connelly is excelling over on Snowpiercer, Paul Bettany is also doing a bang-up job on WandaVision. Though the pace of Vision’s realisation is moving agonisingly slowly in relation to the passing of sit-com decades, his journey this episode sees some personal context –  discovering he ahas no knowledge of being an Avenger and when he makes it outside the shield, albeit briefly, it seems to see him revert to a deceased, deconstructed state – or nearly. Olsen also continues to play the conflicted Wanda with style and we’re still not sure if she’s the force behind all the events or whether her powers are being manipulated by someone else…

For a series with only three episodes left to go, it’s remarkable that it’s still impossible to know what’s happening and where we’re going to end up. There’s certainly an argument that Peter’s Pietro – apparently a Quicksilver of some kind – is fundamentally unlike all the other West View inhabitants so far: despite the obvious MCU/Fox multiverse issues about the casting, Pietro has a unique, if flippant self-awareness and is clearly not under the direct influence of Wanda. Does that mean he’s a puppet-master rather than a puppet  – is he even a ‘Pietro’ at all – and does it give traction to the idea that another Marvel manipulator Mephisto could be in the mix? (Hmmm…) Equally Director Hayward seems to be more of an antagonist now and if, as some glimpses have shown us, he or SWORD were involved in experiments on a deceased Vision, then one suspects he’s going to do everything he can to avoid exposure (Hmmm… redux).

All good stuff and delightfully frustrating in having to wait a week between answers (or more questions).  With three, longer episodes to go and promised links to the next Doctor Strange movie, one can only hope for answers that match the speculation…

 

'WandaVision Ep6: All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’  (Disney+ review)
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'WandaVision Ep6: All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ (Disney+ review)
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