WandaVision Episode 1×05 Review: “On a Very Special Episode”
WandaVision Episode 5 balances parenthood, marital problems, and the possibility of alternate realities.
Unsurprisingly, WandaVision Episode 5 rewarded us with yet another phenomenal episode to enjoy this week. I don’t know how many times I can say it, but this show keeps getting better and better. Last week’s episode took us outside of Wanda’s reality-bending bubble to show us what’s been happening in the real world. This episode bounces around between Wanda’s world and reality. As it turns out, the wall between fantasy and real-life is beginning to dissolve and cause serious complications for Wanda and what she is attempting to achieve inside of Westview.
We jump forward yet another era in television history and land straight into the 1980s for this sitcom adventure. ‘On a Very Special Episode’ does well to capture the tone and structure of 80s sitcoms, wherein normal family dynamics are interrupted by the presence of heavier real-world topics and life lessons. Episode 5 decides to focus on the concept of death, what it means, and what can or can’t be done about it. Personally, I think it was an interesting route to go, considering the fact we know Vision is not actually alive.
The episode begins with Wanda and Vision trying to put Billy and Tommy down for a nap, but they keep crying. Nothing seems to be working until Agnes pops up and makes her usual “nosy neighbor” appearance. She inserts herself into the mix and announces she may have some tricks on how to calm down the twins. Wanda encourages it, so Agnes goes to pick up the babies. The only problem is that Vision gets panicky about somebody other than him and his wife picking up their children, and then reality begins to blur.
Much like in other episodes of WandaVision where the scene cuts, rewinds, or the actors “break character”, the same thing happens with Agnes. Although, it is notably different. After Vision stops her from picking up the twins, Agnes gets confused and asks what she’s supposed to do. However, it’s not a normal question. She quite literally breaks character and starts to behave as though she’s just some normal actress playing the role of Agnes. She turns to Wanda and asks if she should “just take it from the top”, almost as if she flubbed her line from the script and needs to reshoot the scene.
This unnerves Vision, as he is already growing increasingly suspicious about what is and isn’t real in his life. However, Wanda brushes the whole thing off and tries to act as though Agnes didn’t mean anything by her behavior. And here is where we have to stop and talk more about Agnes. There’s definitely something strange happening with her and I think the show is growing closer and closer to explaining to the audience what’s up.
In last week’s review, I mentioned the theory that Agnes is actually Agatha Harkness, a witch and mentor to Scarlet Witch in the comics. I think that WandaVision Episode 5 lends more credit to this theory. After all, nobody else in Westview knows they’re in a fabricated alternate reality. Agnes does. We saw this back in episode 3 where she stopped Herb from continuing to hint at the possibility of everything not being what it seemed. And now, ‘On a Very Special Episode’ confirms that Agnes is literally aware she’s acting out some kind of script in order to appease Wanda. It seems as though Agnes is well aware of the fact Wanda is the mastermind of Westview.
The episode then switches back to the real world, bringing us back to the characters of Monica, Darcy, and Agent Woo. Monica is being analyzed having been kicked out of Wanda’s bubble, but none of the tests are really explaining anything. Director Hayward of S.W.O.R.D is dead set on painting Wanda as a terrorist and as the villain, but Monica is quick to defend Wanda. She knows that Wanda is a threat and is the one manipulating everything, however, she recounts what it felt like being inside of the bubble. She reveals that she was able to feel Wanda’s immense sense of grief, pointing to the fact that everything Wanda is doing is because she lost Vision.
Darcy announces she’s officially calling Wanda’s bubble, “The Hex”, which I thought was pretty funny. It’s a total reference to the fact that in the comics, Scarlet Witch was first introduced with “hex powers”. Back then, Wanda’s big thing was that she could affect the probability of events, allowing her to make the unlikeliest of events happen. Her powers have really since evolved and shifted into other things, most notably her reality-warping abilities, which is what we’re seeing depicted here in WandaVision. But I still find Darcy’s comment to be a real treat for fans of the character.
Back in Wanda’s reality, Vision is working back at his office when a computer “error” pops up on all of the computer screens. It reveals that it’s from S.W.O.R.D, which gives Vision enough proof to know he hasn’t been imagining all of the strange happenings for the past few episodes. He then jumpstarts Norm’s memory and essentially pulls him out from under Wanda’s control, allowing him to speak freely. Norm quickly panics about his sister and tells Vision to please stop Wanda, as whatever it is that she’s doing is causing him pain.
In the real world, Monica figures out that the tactile officer clothes she was wearing before she was sucked into “The Hex” were turned into 70s attire to fit with the program, leading her to realize that they could get through to Wanda’s reality if they sent something that matched with the era. So, Hayward and S.W.O.R.D send an 80s model of a drone that easily passes through the veil and infiltrates Wanda’s neighborhood. Naturally, she notices and decides she’s tired of people from the outside world interfering with her dream world.
In probably the coolest scene in WandaVision episode 5, Wanda actually steps outside of the bubble and confronts S.W.O.R.D. In hand, she’s carrying the now destroyed drone because it turns out that Hayward had the intention of using the drone to strike her down inside of her reality. As she steps into the real world, everybody’s guns are trained on her, but Monica keeps the calm. She attempts to talk to Wanda about how Wanda is not actually some kind of villain and then tries to sympathize with her. The only problem is that Wanda is definitely not in a listening mood.
Wanda uses her powers to mind control all of the S.W.O.R.D soldiers, making them train their weapons onto where Hayward is standing. She doesn’t have them fire, but she definitely gets her message across. Personally, I think the show might eventually have Wanda full-on kill somebody out of anger and frustration. In the comics, Scarlet Witch really got her start as one of the X-Men’s villains. Although she does go on to become a hero, I think it’s possible that the MCU is taking Wanda in the direction of being a villain. Or at least some kind of anti-hero.
We know that Wanda will be playing a semi-important role in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel movie, and although I don’t expect her to be the film’s main villain, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s one of the antagonists or if she sets the stage for the movie’s main story. After all, Wanda is currently grieving the loss of Vision by creating a whole alternate reality and I don’t think WandaVision is going to end on a happily ever after.
For those of you that might not know, WandaVision certainly seems as though it’s attempting to be the MCU’s version of Marvel Comics’ House of M story. There are a lot of differences, really because that whole comic revolved around Wanda and mutants, which don’t yet exist within the MCU canon. However, in that story, Wanda uses her reality-warping abilities to create a perfect world. In the end, when things become too heartbreaking to bear, Wanda unleashes her power and undoes everything, erasing most of the mutant population’s abilities. This move definitely sours her relationship with X-Men, and I feel as though something similar will happen with WandaVision.
Once Wanda re-enters Westview, following her meeting with Hayward and S.W.O.R.D, she finds out that Billy and Tommy’s pet dog has died after eating leaves from one of Agnes’ plants. The heartbreak pushes the twins towards wanting to age themselves up again, but Wanda stops them and gives them a speech about death. She notes that it’s important to acknowledge one’s feelings about death and that death is something that can’t be undone.
This is interesting considering we learn earlier in the episode that Wanda literally stormed a S.W.O.R.D facility to steal back Vision’s dead body and then proceeded to reanimate him for her WandaVision world. The speech she gives to her children paints her as an obvious hypocrite. Although, I would say that it does also bring forth new information about Wanda’s power’s limitations. As Wanda was able to bring Vision back to life, but didn’t do the same for her own brother, I’m guessing that artificial life and real-life can’t be handled in the same way. Wanda could rebuild a robot, but couldn’t restore actual life.
The speech was really hard to hear, especially since we know how much pain Wanda is in regarding her brother and Vision. Not to mention, I think the speech might be foreshadowing the inevitable pain that will come when Wanda is forced to face reality towards the end of the show’s season. Either she will be able to restore her loved ones, or she will have to permanently say goodbye to them. I don’t know what will happen, but WandaVision episode 5 really seemed to talk a lot about death.
Towards the end of the episode, Vision finally confronts Wanda about everything that’s been happening. He reveals he spoke to Norm at the office and briefly pulled him out from under Wanda’s control. Vision accuses Wanda of using her powers to control everything and everybody, but she denies it and tries to end the argument by letting the credits of the sitcom roll. This doesn’t work and the fight continues. Vision lashes out and tells Wanda it isn’t her right to do what it is she’s doing to everybody. And in a heartbreaking turn of events, Vision points out that he’s scared because he can’t remember anything about his life before Westview.
Obviously, this is because Vision is not actually alive. The only memories he has are the ones that Wanda has provided for him. However, Wanda is purposely keeping him from the truth to make sure she can keep her reality afloat. I look forward to seeing how these problems continue to manifest. After all, this is only episode 5 and the walls of Wanda’s reality are literally beginning to crumble at a faster rate than before. We have 4 more episodes to go. There’s no telling when or if Vision will find out the truth for himself and what he will do with that information.
And now, we have to talk about the ending to WandaVision episode 5. Following their argument, Wanda and Vision attempt to reconcile. The doorbell rings and Vision can’t trust as to whether or not Wanda is using her powers to switch the scene in order to brush over their fight. Wanda promises that she’s not the one behind whoever’s waiting at the front door, so she goes to open it. And after a handful of suspenseful seconds, Evan Peters as Pietro Maximoff is revealed, standing there at the door and waiting for a hug from his sister.
Obviously, this is a huge deal for a multitude of reasons and I personally have my ideas about all of this. But let’s just go ahead and start off with the fact that Evan Peters just popped up out of nowhere in WandaVision! For those of you who are unaware, Evan played the character of “Peter” Maximoff in the FOX X-Men movies, first appearing in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. And now, here is where things get really tricky and somewhat complicated.
FOX’s X-Men characters and the characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe do not operate in the same “universe”. The MCU already established the character of Pietro Maximoff, Wanda’s brother, who we both met and said goodbye to in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The MCU’s Pietro was played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who has yet to make a reappearance in the MCU since his original debut in Age of Ultron.
What makes things complicated is that in WandaVision episode 5, Wanda opens the door and seemingly doesn’t recognize Evan’s character. This makes total sense because that is NOT her brother. However, after a few seconds, she suddenly recognizes him and gives him a hug, acknowledging him as Pietro. Darcy, who is watching the whole exchange on TV, notes that Wanda has seemingly “recast” the role of her own brother, by bringing in a totally different man to play Pietro. This creates even more problems.
Now, we still have to wait and see where the show takes us, but I don’t think any of this is what we’re being led to think. No, I don’t think we’re getting an official crossover between Fox’s universe and Marvel’s universe. No, I don’t think that Evan is actually playing Pietro in WandaVision. In fact, I think it’s possible he might be the big bad, possibly even Mephisto, who has been speculated as being a potential villain for this series. Let me explain.
Wanda notes that she didn’t conjure up the spontaneous doorbell interruption, suggesting that somebody else (possibly Evan’s character) inserted themselves into Wanda’s reality from beyond her knowledge and control. Second, Wanda didn’t immediately recognize Evan’s character as her brother until after a few seconds of confusion, possibly hinting that somebody else is doing the same thing to her that she is doing to everybody else (putting them under a spell). Also, Darcy notices that somebody else has been “cast” to play Pietro. This means that Marvel isn’t just recasting the role of Pietro to be played by Evan instead of Aaron Taylor-Johnson. This is an entirely different man, otherwise, no other character would’ve called out the recasting in such a blatant way.
Personally, I’m thinking that WandaVision is sticking to the trend of misdirection. For one, not everybody watched Evan Peters as Peter/Pietro in the FOX universe, so this reveal wouldn’t inherently have an effect on people thinking this is some kind of universe merger. Secondly, the FOX universe doesn’t even exist anymore because Disney purchased the characters. And thirdly, I truly don’t think Wanda is the main villain of the show. That just seems too obvious. Yes, she’s definitely using her powers to affect some things, but there definitely seems to be something deeper at play with all the hints being dropped and with characters like Agnes being seemingly aware of everything that’s happening.
But what do you think?
Let us know in the comments below!
Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.
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