WandaVision, Marvel’s first “Phase 4” project and the first original live-action series for Disney+, has given us a lot to process week after week. So far, it’s been “a gas” to dissect and speculate about what’s going on and what’s coming next. We’re learning more with each episode, but we’re pretty sure we don’t know everything yet. So what (or who) do you think is behind it all?
Join us for a spoiler-filled discussion (read that again, you’ve been warned) about all the revelations, clues, and WTF moments in WandaVision‘s latest installment, “On a Very Special Episode …” I think it’s the best episode yet, and more importantly, could have a major impact on the entire MCU from this point on. And for more general overview of the show, be sure to check out our recommendation in the Watercooler Picks section.
Tommy and Billy
The twins are a big part of this week’s 1980s-inspired episode-within-an-episode. References include Family Ties, Growing Pains, and Full House (which is, in itself, a meta reference to the fact that star Elizabeth Olsen is the real-life sister of Full House‘s Olsen twins). According to Monica, they’re not illusions, and they don’t seem under Wanda’s thrall like everyone else. They age themselves up to 5 years old, then 10 (notably the same age Wanda was when she lost her parents), and when she sends Vision away to work, they don’t go along with her insistence that it’s Monday when it was Saturday earlier that day. As Agnes says, “Kids. You can’t control ’em. No matter how hard you try.”
Speaking of Agnes (who continues to be delightful), this episode provided even more evidence that she is actually Agatha Harkness, a powerful sorceress from the comics whose origins date back to the Salem Witch Trials, and who, oh yeah, was also a nanny. She was an instrumental part of the storyline in which Wanda became pregnant and gave birth to the twins (and later, after Wanda lost them, erased her memory of them). It’s also worth noting that her odd behavior, as if she were an actor filming a TV show, is what finally tips Vision off that his suspicions that “something isn’t right” may be well founded.
Vision: Dead or Alive?
In one of the the S.W.O.R.D. segments of the episode, we find out that nine days earlier, Wanda stormed the facility where they were keeping Vision’s body and “resurrected him,” against his wishes. He was initially part of the charade, but now he’s showing signs of independence and becoming aware that she’s hiding something from him. When she tries to play him off with rolling credits, normally a sign that the episode is over, he resists and continues their argument. Later, she says she can’t bring the dead back to life. So what is his status, exactly? And how is he able to break through her mind control and speak to the real “Norm” (one of the most disturbing moments of the series so far)?
We learn in this episode that Wanda can’t create something out of nothing. Monica’s 1970s outfit turns out to retain some of the properties of the kevlar material she was wearing when she went into the anomaly. In other words (Monica’s, to be precise), Wanda is “rewriting reality.” I’m not entirely sure of the full implications of this, but it’s interesting to note.
In this episode, Darcy has started calling the anomaly “the hex,” which she says is due to its hexagonal shape, but the term has its roots in the comics. Wanda, whose superhero name is The Scarlet Witch (though in this episode the audience is specifically reminded that she doesn’t have this alias in the MCU yet), possessed “hex power.” According to Marvel.com, she “believed she used the ability to affect probabilities for a positive benefit to herself, though at times to imprecise outcomes. Later, she mastered the ability and began to understand it as a literal altering of reality.” Which sounds an awful lot like what’s going on here.
When the twins ask about whether Wanda has a brother, she says, “I do.” Not, “I did,” in the past tense, as she put it to Monica two episodes ago. Then, there’s a tense moment where Sparky (another reference to the comics) barks at the front door, and though it isn’t clear at the time, this foreshadows the last, eventful scene in the episode. There’s a knock on the door. Wanda claims it isn’t her doing, but Vision is skeptical. On the other side of it is … Quicksilver (welcomed with canned applause and whooping, a brilliant touch). But it isn’t actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played Pietro Maximoff in Age of Ultron, but Evan Peters, who played “Peter” Maximoff in several X-Men movies. Same character, different studios. Until a few years ago, that is, when Disney and Fox merged. Now that the studio has access to an expanded Marvel universe, it seems they’re taking advantage of it and cleverly explaining it away as Wanda “recasting” the role. Does this mean more characters will cross over? Will we finally see the introduction of mutants to the MCU? It sure looks that way. Can daddy Magneto be far behind? (Please please please?)
But is the anomaly all her doing? A lot of the episode is devoted to exploring the limits of Wanda’s power. She seems surprised when she can’t make Tommy and Billy sleep as babies, and is even more flummoxed each time they age themselves up. After Sparky’s death, she gently explains to the boys that although she understands what they’re going through, they have to accept that death is final. Which was a big step on her journey to process her grief over Vision’s death. And that, I predict, is ultimately what the series is going to be about. It might be why she let Monica in before, because she sensed that she was in mourning too. So is this all really her doing, or is someone else facilitating it on her behalf? When Vision questions her, she claims she isn’t controlling everyone, that she’s not responsible for everything that happens in Westview. Maybe that’s true. Was Monica right that Wanda put up her own quarantine to protect the outside world? She might just be another prisoner, although a willing one. As usual, we are left at the end with some answers, but even more questions.