This article contains WandaVision spoilers through episode 5, possibly beyond, and for the wider MCU.
Looking for episode 6? Click here instead!
WandaVision episode 5, “On a Very Special Episode…” took everything we liked about the first two episodes and shook them up. For the first time, we have a fully blended approach to the storytelling, with the episode alternating between the altered “sitcom” reality of Westview, NJ and the actual, current MCU events. And then there’s that multiverse-shattering ending to contend with.
There’s a lot to break down with this week’s WandaVision, so we’d better get to it…
WandaVision took us to the ‘80s this week, with a little Growing Pains, some Family Ties, and maybe a hint of Full House thrown in for good measure. The living room set itself looks very much like the standard seen on shows of the era, specifically Family Ties and Growing Pains.
- The aging up of Billy and Tommy is much like Andy Keaton from Family Ties. In season 4, Andy was born and spent the whole season as a baby. As of the beginning of season 5, Andy was suddenly about 5 years old with zero explanation.
- Also from Family Ties is the beginning of the opening credits, where it would show someone painting a colorless sketch of the family.
- Bettany’s Michael Gross impression was extremely disturbing in how good it was a couple of times.
- Wanda and Vision getting vaguely horny for each other while doing regular domestic stuff is reminiscent of the way the parents would occasionally get it on on Growing Pains and Family Ties.
- The sitcom theme lyrics and feel are extremely Growing Pains. And yes, as you might expect, they are very appropriate for these characters.
Here are the full lyrics for you (courtesy of the Disney+ closed caption feature):
“You wander the world with a vision…Of what life could be
But then the years come and teach you…To just wait and see
Forces may try to pull us apart…But nothing can phase me
If you’re in my heart
Crossing our fingers
Singing a song
We’re making it up as we go along
Through the highs and lows
We’ll be right, we’ll be wrong
We’re making it up as we go along
And there will be days…We won’t know which way to go
But we’ll take it higher…You’re all I desire
When the going gets tough…When push comes to shove
We’re making it up
Cuz we got love we got love we got love
We got WandaVision”
Darcy also refers to Vision “playing Father Knows Best,” a callback to the sitcom style of the first episode.
We wrote in more detail about the sitcom influences of WandaVision episode 5 here.
- For the first time, we get the names of Wanda’s parents: Irina and Oleg Maximoff, but in the comics they were known as Django and Marya.
- Wanda was born in 1989, the same year as Elizabeth Olsen.
- We learn here that the “Scarlet Witch” codename has never been used in the MCU.
- Darcy refers to the anomaly as “the hex” after the hexagonal patterns that were noted in the previous episode. In the comics, Wanda’s powers are often referred to as “hex bolts.” She could also produce “hex spheres” and the town seems to be enveloped in a large one here.
- Wanda’s accent, missing since Avengers: Age of Ultron, makes its triumphant return here.
- Wanda talking to the kids about how “my brother is far away from here” is technically true: his corpse is…nowhere nearby. Although given how the episode ends, she could very well have been referring to another corner of the multiverse. We’ll get to that soon enough.
- SWORD seems to refer to what’s going on as “The Maximoff Anomaly.”
- We now know that Vision’s corpse is physically present in Westview and he isn’t just a manifestation of Wanda’s powers, nor was the horrific image of him glimpsed at the end of episode 3 a hallucination: it was Wanda seeing him as he really is.
- Vision is working on a Commodore 64 at Computational Services. This early personal computer was a terrific gaming machine, with graphics and sound that were far better than early home gaming consoles of the era.
- Vision apparently had a “living will” about what he didn’t want done with his body in the event of his untimely demise. Think of it like the MCU equivalent of a DNR. No, not a “do not reveal.” The other thing.
House of M
Before Agnes shows up the second time around, Vision is reading a newspaper with the headline, “LOCAL HOMEMAKERS INNOVATING RECIPES.” Moments later, he folds the newspaper in a way so that it only says “HOM.” HOM is short for the big Scarlet Witch comic event House of M.
- While it’s used as a setup for the twins inexplicably growing up, Wanda and Vision are horrified to find that the babies have simply vanished. In the comics, the first time we really get an idea that something is wrong with the children (as well as Wanda’s mental wellbeing) is when they show us that Billy and Tommy would cease to exist when Wanda wasn’t around.
- This episode is the first to really feel like it’s borrowing a lot from Wanda’s most important story: the Dark Scarlet Witch story from Avengers West Coast. In that book, the first clue that something was wrong with Wanda was how the twins would disappear when she wasn’t looking a them. This would often happen when Agatha Harkness (presumably Agnes here) was babysitting for them. And later, Wanda’s personality started to shift towards full villainy and she was very cavalier about the use of her powers, something we start to see in this episode.
- For most of the episode, the twins are dressed in red and green. This more than a nod to their parents’ favored color schemes, but it appears to mirror the colors they adopt when they grow up to be superheroes themselves. William becomes the hex-wielding Wiccan, who favors red, while Tommy favors green (like his Uncle Pietro) as Speed.
Poor Sparky. Good boy.
- The name “Sparky” is a reference to Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s brilliant Vision story, in which Vision and his “family” (not the Maximoffs) move to the suburbs and try to live a “normal” life. Part of that includes a synthezoid canine named “Sparky.” He didn’t meet a good end there, either. Stop letting dogs die in our stories, you monsters! It’s too sad.
This week’s commercial is for Lagos Brand Paper Towels, with the catchy slogan of: “For when you make a mess you didn’t mean to.”
This references the opening scenes of Captain America: Civil War, when Wanda used her powers to stop Crossbones from detonating a bomb in a crowded marketplace. While she reduced the number of casualties overall, a number of innocent civilians still died when he exploded. It’s the first indication that Wanda’s grief and trauma in Westview are driven by far more than just the loss of her lover.
The Lagos ad is also another reference to the Infinity Stones. Previously, we’ve had the toaster (Power), the watch (Time) and the Tesseract-shaped bath powder (Space). Here, we have a red liquid spill in a sly nod to the Aether (Reality). Only the Mind and Soul stones to go – which means two more commercials.
These are definitely not the only X-Men references in the episode (of course), but we’ll get to that big one down below…
- The scene of Wanda confronting SWORD agents looks to be directly inspired by the scene in the first X-Men movie where the police try to take down Magneto. Much like Wanda, he uses his powers on their guns, causing them to be aimed at the cops themselves before escaping. Considering the payoff to this episode and Magneto’s role as Wanda and Pietro’s sometimes-father in the comics (not to mention Peter’s definite father in the X-Men movies), this was more than likely set up.
- Vision says he was reading Charles Darwin’s “The Descent of Man” to one of the twins, a book that deals with evolution. (David Bowie voice) “Gotta make way for the homo superior!”
The Twilight Zone
- Serious Twilight Zone “It’s a Good Life” vibes in the episode throughout, particularly when Agnes is visibly weirded out by Wanda with her “take it from the top” moment (unless she’s deliberately screwing with everyone), and the mailman telling the twins “your mom won’t let [Sparky] get far.”
- Also, while we’re on the subject of The Twilight Zone, Agnes appears to live at the corner of Maple St. and Sherwood Drive. “The Monsters are due on Maple Street” is a notoriously paranoid unpacking of suburban paranoia.
The opening credits feature a “Greetings From Westview, NJ” postcard in a pretty common format, but one made most famous on the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Greetings From Asbury Park” album.
“For the Children”
Vision points out that there are “no other children in Westview,” which calls to mind the creepy “for the children” chant from back in episode 2.
- Darcy draws the connection between how both Wanda and Carol Danvers got their powers via an Infinity Stone. Similarly, they acknowledge Wanda almost took out Thanos in Avengers: Endgame but that this whole Westview scenario feels outside the scope of her powers. Still, the fact that both Wanda and Carol stood up to Thanos isn’t something that’s being glossed over in the MCU.
- Note Monica’s reaction when the name “Captain Marvel” is said isn’t exactly what you’d call enthusiastic.
Monica’s test results coming back blank seem pretty significant. Is this a signifier that her molecular structure has changed, whether from the blip or passing through the hex barrier? Are we witnessing Monica’s superheroic origin story in slow motion?
Who is the Villain of WandaVision, anyway?
Despite the implications from the end of episode 4, Wanda isn’t completely in control of what’s going on. At various points in the episode she seems to be manipulating everything, but at others seems to be completely immersed in this reality.
But if she doesn’t remember how this all started, that sets up a potential villain reveal (or more than one) down the road.
What’s up with Agnes?
Agnes is seemingly complicit but was disturbed by Wanda’s ability to “resurrect” as revealed by her kids, so how much can she really know? Unless, of course, she’s just “acting” this way to continue with her cover.
On the other hand, Agnes “helping out with the kids” is kind of in line with our Agatha Harkness theory for the character.
- Monica mentions that she has a particular “aerospace engineer” in mind to call for help. Based on all the other subtle Fantastic Four clues that were in the fourth episode, could this individual be Reed Richards?
- If they aren’t taking that big a swing, it could be Adam Bernard Brashear, known as “The Blue Marvel,” another prominent Marvel scientist, and one who has led the 616 version of the Ultimates with Monica on the team.
We have some more theories about who the aerospace engineer is here.
Evan Peters is Pietro
“She recast Pietro?”
- Yes, you are indeed seeing Evan Peters returning as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver here. This is (at least until it’s revealed that the MCU Wanda and Pietro were indeed mutants whose powers were merely “activated” by Strucker’s experiments) now officially the first appearance of a mutant/member of the X-Men in the MCU. While Aaron Taylor-Johnson played Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Peters played him in Days of Future Past, and he was generally more warmly-received by fans.
- And does this indeed mean that Pietro is alive again, albeit in “recast” form? Or is Wanda so powerful that she ripped open a hole in the multiverse itself in order for her brother to “make a guest appearance” in Westview? This could very well be the first indication of what’s to come in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the possibly Spiderverse-y Spider-Man 3.
- Unless…what if this isn’t Pietro at all? What if it’s someone manipulative merely taking the form of Pietro to mess with Wanda even further?
- Also, Pietro’s “bad boy” appearance very much feels like it fits with the Family Ties aesthetic. His “New York tough guy” look and persona is much like Nick, Mallory’s idiot boyfriend. Coincidentally, Nick also starred in an episode of the show where he got a dog and it died soon after from an accident.
We wrote much more about the shocking WandaVision episode 5 ending here.
We Are Kind of OK With the ’80s
- Jazzercise was indeed a real thing, god help us.
- For those of you thinking the internet was a whatever a reverse anachronism is, we made the same mistake too. But it turns out it has been around in some form since the 1960s, when the Advance Research Projects Agency (precursor to today’s US government mad science agency, DARPA) networked a few computers and sent messages back and forth.
- Dennis the Mailman is back from episode 1. His little aside to the kids is an indicator that he is vaguely aware of what’s really going on. Not necessarily in a sinister way, but a reminder that the people of Westview aren’t really enjoying this.
- One of the camera feeds we see is from Satellite 348. Avengers #348 had a Vision-centric cover and story.
- Is there a significance to the stuffed animal on the chair at the beginning? I thought maybe it was a stuffed Bova or something, but I think it’s just a bunny.
Spot anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!