(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios)
With only three episodes to go, WandaVision is still holding back answers to its key mysteries, but it also offered a number of questions worth asking. In lieu of the ready made meta-joke regarding Full House or ABC’s early 1990s TGIF lineup — an Olsen and some twins, it’s right there — it chose a different meta-joke and a different variety of old TV to anchor its latest episode upon. But will Vision’s (Paul Bettany) search for the truth survive Wanda’s (Elizabeth Olsen) latest move? Let’s take a look at episode 6 and see what we can postulate about her role in the Hex.
Spoiler Alert: This article reveals details from WandaVision episode 6 “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.
(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios)
In a curious twist, the series leapfrogged over TGIF and landed on two interesting stylistic choices: early 2000s sitcom Malcolm in the Middle for its credit sequence — and Billy’s (Julian Hilliard) ability to address the camera — and the overall energy of cable channel tween-geared sitcoms from the very late 1990s and earlier 2000s. Although, that feeling of a late ’90s Nickelodeon series comes across the strongest with that absolutely chilling “Yo-Magic” commercial and its “totally extreme” cartoon shark mascot. Have the ads shifted perspective from Wanda to Billy?
Back in the episode itself, Billy’s ability to talk to the camera — at least in the first few scenes — foreshadows his awareness of Vision’s escape attempt later on. For those still convinced Mephisto is pulling the strings, Billy’s look as that awareness manifests could indicate the Devil in the details. Also, Wanda’s inability to explain how she is doing all of this leaves enough room for her to say “I made a deal with the Devil” later on.
Of course, we still don’t see enough evidence in the text to support the Mephisto hypothesis. It is certainly a possibility and the seeming clues eagle-eyed viewers have found may add up to Marvel Comics’ primary demonic force. There is also a valid story point going forward if Billy and Tommy (Jett Klyne) are shards of Mephisto’s consciousness made manifest, as they were in Marvel Comics history at one point.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Although, we’ll argue Billy’s Halloween costume, a rendering of his Wiccan costume in the pages of Young Avengers, suggests Phase 4 may be leading to its own Young Avengers team. We have already seen a teenage Cassie Lang (Emma Fuhrmann), and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) will soon be on television screens. Will we see Billy and Tommy as teenagers before WandaVision concludes?
At the same time, all of the main characters’ Halloween costumes knowingly nod to their comic book roots. Wanda finally has her traditional look complete with the Jack Kirby headgear — explained away as a traditional Sokovian fortune teller’s getup — and Pietro/Quicksilver (Evan Peters) has his sweptback hair at last. But after two decades of textured leather and more “tactical” approaches superhero costumes in film and television, it is interesting to note just how goofy the brighter, flatter costumes look when put on actors.
That said, we still want the X-Men to arrive in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while wearing yellow and blue spandex.
The costumes also seem to indicate the areas where Wanda’s control of the Hex is waning. Pietro, for one thing, seems fairly immune to her suggestions. He even goes as far as to lampshade his purpose on the sitcom version of events. The twins’ costume foreshadow the arrival of their powers. And, perhaps most alarming, Vision’s comment that all of his other clothes except the “Mexican wrestler” costume have vanished points to his increasing independence.
Also, the refusal of the costume’s Mind Stone to sit still on his head illustrates Vision’s stubbornness to learn more.
Once we get outside, Billy’s regard for the camera disappears — another suggestion Wanda’s control is crumbling — and we get the most meta-joke WandaVision has executed so far; when Pietro offers to take the boys trick-or-treating at high speed, Tommy says “kick-ass.” As they vanish, Wanda repeats the phrase in an obvious callback people have been discussing online for the last week: both Peters and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played Pietro in Avengers: Age of Ultron, starred in the 2010 film Kick-Ass. (Taylor-Johnson and Peters pictured, left to right, in Kick-Ass below.)
(Photo by Daniel Smith/©Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collection)
That film, based on a comic book written by former Marvel Comics writer Mark Millar, also noted the goofy look of superhero costumes on real human bodies. But it also featured a number of scenes in which the two actors stand next to each other. In light of their place in comic book movies since, it becomes something of a retroactive callback to the earliest comic book story about a Multiverse: DC Comics’s Flash #123 — “The Flash of Two Worlds.”
That Pietro also has super-speed powers feels like the meta-joke was set up by the universe itself. Or, maybe, Babylon 5 creator and former Thor comic book writer J. Michael Straczynski. He works that sort of long game.
The joke also reinforces just how weird it is to have Peters as Pietro in the first place and it calls into question who or what he really is. Once the trick-or-treating gets to the town square, Pietro calls out the change in Wanda’s abilities, their differing memories of growing up in war-torn Sokovia, and their communal lack of Eastern European accents. Then, for a moment, we see him as a bullet-riddled corpse. But even then, he is still Peters and not Taylor-Johnson (pictured below in Avengers: Age of Ultron).
(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
The stacking references to the Pietro of Two Worlds may matter. Did Wanda some how pluck another universe’s Pietro into the MCU? And if so, did he die in a similar manner to our Pietro? If we take it on face value that Peters is playing the same character he portrayed in the three most recent X-Men films, there is some irony to him dying from gunshots. His Pietro, after all, famously appeared in bravura sequences using his speed to dodge all manner of threats.
But if we can go meta again, it is also possible Peters is literally playing Evan Peters, an actor who appeared in a film called Kick-Ass with an actor who greatly resembled Wanda’s brother. As we still don’t know why Wanda is making the specific cultural references she has chosen thus far, pulling the MCU’s Peters into her Hex is as valid an idea as anything else.
Or, perhaps, we’re trying to make up for the lost Full House joke.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Outside of Westview, it is becoming clear that S.W.O.R.D. Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg) is up to no good. Many have suspected this for awhile — his missile stunt last week definitely put him in the shady column — but it is now clear he has little interest in helping the people caught up in the Hex.
The few things we know about him so far: he’s been at S.W.O.R.D for awhile and was the default choice to replace Maria Rambeau after her death. He absolutely believes in the Sokovia Accords and has a pretty dower opinion of super-powered people in general.
Also, his interest in the Hex appears to stem from Wanda’s theft of Vision’s corpse just before WandaVision began. Our first guess, Wanda inadvertently gave him the clearance to use Vision as a drone — something which was expressly forbidden in his will. Considering he is an android made of vibranium, Vision’s body could be a valuable asset to aspects of the U.S. government still worried about superheroes so many years after the Sokovia Accords were signed. But as Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) discovered, his plans involve something called “Cataract.” Whose vision does he hope to impair with Vision?
Considering Hayward’s stated opinions, maybe he wants to give the Avengers a blind spot.
Then again, if S.W.O.R.D. has been around long enough for Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) to grow up in the agency, it is possible it was also infiltrated by Hydra. If that’s the case, maybe Hayward’s aim is not centered on Vision or the Avengers. Maybe this is about recovering Wanda as an asset.
And speaking of Monica, we seem to be getting a lot of set-up about her eventual status quo. For one thing, her test results reveal her cells are changing at the molecular level. We got further confirmation about her history with Carol — although the health of that relationship is still obscure. Even if it is strained, Hayward’s comments suggested she is still predisposed to favor superheroes.
Back in the comics, Monica adopted the “Captain Marvel” name for a time, changing it to “Photon” when the original Captain Marvel’s son wanted to use the alias. In the MCU, “Photon” also happens to be the call sign her mother used when she and Carol flew jets in the Air Force.
We bring this up because it seems as though WandaVision is on the precipice of making Monica a superhero. As it happens, her comic book counterpart received her powers after being hit by a wave of extra-dimensional energy — something very much like what seems to be powering the (currently expanding) border of Westview. Her abilities are based around the electromagnetic spectrum with an emphasis on light, and what is television but a guided, information-rich manipulation of light?
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Darcy suggested another pass through the energy field could be lethal, but now we wonder if Monica might appear as a light-powered “Captain Marvel” next week. Well, provided she and Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) end up caught in the expansion of the Hex. In fact, you have to wonder who Darcy will become as she definitely passed through the field.
One broke girl, maybe?
Also, who is the engineer friend Monica keeps referring to? She’s pretty sure this person can get her back into Westview, but their name has been obscured. Some believe this character will be the “Luke Skywalker–level’ cameo promised by Olsen a few weeks back, but do any of the established Marvel characters fit the description we have so far while also having a plausible friendship with Monica prior to the Blip?
If we remove the requirement that it has to be someone we’ve seen in a Marvel film before — which seems essential for an impact on par with Luke’s Mandalorian appearance — there is one fantastic answer. But that has to be a long shot, right? Also, Marvel Mutant Longshot seems pretty unlikely, too.