WandaVision: 1.06 All-New Halloween Spooktacular!
Another WandaVision episode, another sitcom in another decade. This time Westview jumps forward to the 1990's and to Halloween in particular. After the Malcolm in the Middle inspired opening credits we settle in for some more sitcom stylings as "Uncle Pietro" is incorporated into Wanda's TV fantasy land. Fourth wall breaking asides to the camera from the twins, plus a claymation style advert featuring a "totally radical" shark, add to the early '90's vibe. As has become the normal pattern for the show, it soon starts intercutting between the goings on inside the "Hex" and events outside featuring Monica, Darcy, Jimmy and the S.W.O.R.D. agents.
As befitting a Halloween themed episode All-New Halloween Spooktacular! features the creepiest happenings yet. Everything starts out fine as the gang is gearing up for a night of trick and treating. Everything is bright and cheery. The colours of the assorted Halloween costumes pop from the screen. For old school fans of the comics it's a special treat as everyone is dressed in homemade versions of their original comic book costumes, including Billy and Tommy. However, Vision says he can't join them trick and treating as he has neighbourhood watch duties to attend to. It turns out that this is a lie on Vision's part, as he intends to continue his investigations into exactly what is happening to the people of Westview
Vision's subterfuge is another little indication that Wanda is not altogether completely in control, as this is not something she had anticipated. The largest example of that of course is the fact that her dead brother is back. Yes, the huge twist that took the internet the storm last time out is still playing out. Pietro AKA Quicksilver was last seen in the MCU getting riddled with bullets in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now here he is alive and well and playing the "fun uncle" to the twins. While this is a huge shock in itself, there is also the fact to contend with that he has not come back as the MCU version. Gone is Aaron Taylor-Johnson and in his place is Evan Peters who played Pietro in the 20th Century Fox X-Men movies. Disney of course owns Fox now and pulled the rug out from everyone by seemingly opening up the idea of the Multiverse in a random episode of their first TV show. Never let it be said that Kevin Feige and his team don't know how to keep their audience guessing.
The bulk of the episode cuts between Wanda, Pietro and the twins, and Vision as he sets off through the town in search of answers. There is a real sense of unease as he travels out further from Wanda's influence. It seems that Wanda runs the town a bit like an old computer game. Everything centrally located is rendered in great detail. but as you start to move outwards things get more and more sketchy. Vision witnesses a woman standing in her front garden repeating the same motion over and over again while a single tear runs down her cheek. Things get really weird right out by the Hex barrier where Vision comes across Agnes who is just sitting in her car confused about where she is going. When Vision temporarily frees her from Wanda's control she instantly recognises him as an Avenger (something Vision himself does not recognise) and questions whether or not she is dead. "Because you are" she says ominously. This sets Vision off to penetrate the Hex barrier with stunningly bad consequences.
I'm still amazed at how good the makers of the show are at balancing the light hearted comedy moments with the creepy and sinister twists. The whole tone of the show literally does a one hundred and eighty degree shift several times during the episode, without ever being jarring or feeling disjointed. It's a testament to the Marvel writers who have become masters of incorporating different styles together seamlessly. Even amongst the more light-hearted trick and treat story we still get a lot of information being subtly fed to us. A lot of it brings more questions than answers. Very telling are the questions from Pietro. It was obviously apparent that Wanda was not responsible for his appearance. His line of questioning concerning how exactly Wanda is making all this happen sounds suspiciously like he is gathering information, possibly for whomever is actually behind his reincarnation. The vague answers that Wanda give are very interesting. According to her, she doesn't know herself how she has done it and you get the feeling that she has also completely blanked out the fact that Vision was dead. That does not bode well for when the truth inevitably comes out.
Just as interesting as all the weirdness going on in the Hex are the exploits of the team outside, especially with hints of things that potentially could have great importance going forward. Darcy reveals that being inside the Hex has altered Monica at a cellular level. This opens up all sorts of storylines concerning superpowers or even a certain bunch of mutants. Darcy also investigates just why Director Hayward seems particularly interested in tracking Vision's movements. My guess would be having an all-powerful synthezoid as a weapon would be very tempting for the head of S.W.O.R.D.
Most interesting to me is the mysterious aerospace engineer that Monica keeps mentioning. In the last episode she texted someone who she said could help. This time she says that "my guy" is ready to meet them. It's too deliberate a set up for it to turn out to be nothing. Now there are several possibilities as to who it could be. If you're looking for some sort of super scientist the MCU has several to choose from. Hank Pym for example. Maybe even Professor Hulk. My personal wild theory is that just maybe it might be Reed Richards, the head honcho of the Fantastic Four himself. It sounds ludicrous that Marvel would introduce such a big character on the small screen, but to be honest with the surprises they've already given us and the incredible quality of the show so far, I wouldn't put it past them at this point. Whoever it is that Monica and Jimmy are about to meet they would seem to be the last piece to be put in place before WandaVision enters its endgame. Everything is starting to come together and build up to what I expect will be something quite spectacular.