This WandaVision review contains spoilers.
WandaVision Episode 6
Ah, remember last week? When you were living in the glowing warmth of corporate synergy? When Disney’s ownership of Fox meant that, aside from essentially creating a monopoly, the company could also finally introduce the X-Men into the MCU? What a wild time. And in the wake of that utterly satisfying and enjoyable reveal, we now find Westview changed once again. The ’90s never happened and instead the Visions are living in what seems to be the year 2000.
It’s Halloween and the family is preparing for the big night. If you’re keeping count, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne) are still around 10 years old. The recently arrived Uncle Pietro is crashing on the couch, and Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) seem to be back to normal. Or at least that’s what Vision wants Wanda to think. If you’ve been loving the sitcom of it all then this episode might feel a little less charming and specific, although Bettany is doing his best Malcolm in the Middle-era Brian Cranston when the episode begins.
Though it had always been headed this way, things really seem to be getting out of Wanda’s control this week. Vision is clearly no longer under her spell as he heads off on a secret mission, and she still has no idea why Pietro (Evan Peters) showed up and if he’s actually her brother. Speaking of the silver-headed hero, Peters really delivers a powerhouse performance here. He’s not only pitch perfect as the annoying troublesome uncle from every sitcom but he also manages to break through Wanda’s barriers with an empathetic display of fraternal love. It must be a large responsibility to shoulder the much anticipated coming together of these two huge franchises and worlds, but Peters does it admirably here and alongside Olsen gives the episode emotional heft when it could have easily fallen back entirely on the easy comedy of the situation.
The laughs still come thick and fast though, or at least Wanda wants them too as Billy and Tommy trick or treat with their uncle while Vision helps the neighborhood watch. Except that he isn’t doing that at all and is really more concerned with getting away from Wanda so that he can explore Westview and find out what’s really going on. This definitely feels like we’re going to get that Wanda and Vision showdown that was hinted at last week. Although we don’t see it today, Vision does face up to some of his wife’s powerful magic but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Back at the Halloween celebrations, Peters, Klyne, and Hilliard are all having a blast in classic comic referencing costumes, and after a quick run around town it’s revealed that Tommy is now a speedster, too. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s read the comics as his hero name is Speed. Billy also gets his powers this episode, though it’s in a far less fun way than running around with his cool uncle super fast and silly stringing his neighbors.
WandaVision has created a unique challenge for itself, in that the past two episodes each featured narratively huge reveals. Episode four was a stunning season-best entry that revealed the truth behind Westview and gave us extra insight into the world-changing events of the Blip. Episode five saw Vision begin to realize what was truly going on and, of course, ended with the multiverse-shaking reveal of Fox’s Pietro in the MCU. So it might feel to some viewers that this episode doesn’t exactly hold the same massive impact or have that one defining moment. But this episode showcases the real power of WandaVision: the emotional story at its heart. The reason the show works is not because of the cameos or many, many Easter eggs, but because this is an exploration of grief, loss, and how much it can fuck shit up when left undealt with.
Wanda Maximoff has long been sidelined in the MCU. Her grief ignored or manipulated. Her dead brother barely spoken of. And her relationship with Vision rarely given proper screen time. But WandaVision is rectifying all of that, not only defining her powers but also her personality and priorities. And introducing Pietro seems to be a good inroad for expanding on that as Wanda begins to open up to him and explore just what happened to create Westview. Interestingly, the powerful maybe mutant doesn’t actually know how the whole thing began, which seems to hint at some outside interference. And while Pietro is doing a great job playing the loving brother, he seems a bit blurry on how he got involved… is he being manipulated, too? Or perhaps he could even be the manipulator? He was asking an awful lot of questions…
Outside of Westview, we get some very good Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), Darcy (Kat Dennings), and Monica (Teyonah Parris) action. Literally. We get a little Monica and Jimmy action scene and it is wonderful. Woo is a great comedic lead but also apparently has some action chops, so please give him his own Jimmy Woo series or movie as soon as possible. Anyway, the three are sick of Director Hayward–who is clearly up to no good–and he’s sick of them, so they’re all kicked out of the S.W.O.R.D. base. Of course, they don’t listen and decide to hack into the Director’s computer instead. While Monica calls up her “aerospace engineer friend” to pick up her Hex suit, Darcy gets into the system and discovers that Hayward is tracking Vision’s vibranium. With Jimmy and Monica on their way to get her gear, Darcy stays behind and it does not end well.
Despite the fact that Hayward is clearly planning something with Vision, his response to the synthezoid trying to escape doesn’t clue us in to what it is. But it did give Bettany another solid tragic hero moment as he tried to step outside the loving but suffocating prison his wife has (probably) created. Sadly for Vision, Wanda and the Hex had other ideas. It’s likely that we’ll see the impact of how different the twins’ power origins are as we go forward, because while Tommy was running around making memories, Billy’s powers get traumatized to life when he hears Vision telepathically crying for help. Luckily (for some), he finds Wanda, and she expands the Hex to protect Vision, transforming everything around it in her own vision. From what we see, the S.W.O.R.D. base becomes a circus and its agents clowns. And, as many fans were hoping, Darcy gets sucked into Westview, too. So we’ll see her playing along with Wanda next week.
With only three episodes left to go, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up. But if WandaVision keeps balancing the superheroics and bombastic moments with these intimate character arcs, then we think they might actually achieve it. The biggest question is… how much of a cliffhanger will we be left on after the finale? And how long will we have to wait to see what happens next?