WandaVision has been a spellbinding revelation since its premiere, a bizarre mind-warp of a TV show that highlights the very best of what the MCU can be when it explores the weirder corners of its comic source material (or at least takes spiritual inspiration from it).
In its fourth episode, “We Interrupt this Program,” WandaVision stepped back from its wacky sitcom trappings to reveal the S.W.O.R.D. agents who were watching Wanda’s alt-reality bubble and—like us—trying to figure it out. It expanded the show’s universe just a little bit more, reintroducing Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), and confirming Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) as part of the agency. That also brought in the Ant-Man, Thor, and Captain Marvel franchises respectively. But at the end of Episode 5, “On a Very Special Episode…” we saw yet another major connection to the larger comic universe happen.
Still, that wasn’t the only big reveal in “On a Very Special Episode…”—below we look at five of the most major revelations and what they (might) mean, as WandaVision wonderfully leans even further into madness and horror.
Obviously we have to go ahead and get this out of the way. Thankfully, WandaVision didn’t do the cheap trick of having Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) open the door and gasp at seeing the back of someone’s head without revealing who it might be until next week. It was far more impactful to show him: Pietro, but played by Evan Peters. In the Marvel movies, Wanda’s brother was played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but Evan Peters played the same character (thanks, weird licensing) in the recent reboot of the X-Men movies. “She… recast Pietro?” Darcy (and fans) asked.
So firstly, it’s swagger: Disney now owns the rights to the X-Men, who might, indeed, end up crossing over with the MCU as we know it. It’s also a suggestion of how that could happen, if Wanda has broken the multiverse. It’s something that Doctor Strange may have to put back together in the upcoming movie Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (which we know this show has a connection to). In other words, more X-Men could show up here, or later in the MCU, or they might appear and then say goodbye, pushed back into their own parallel universe.
Specific to WandaVision, though, it appears to prove two things. One, Wanda is losing control of her alt-reality. Why would she have chosen to bring back this other version of her brother? She didn’t, which is why she looked so confused. The other thing that was revealed earlier in the episode is that Wanda seemingly can’t bring people back from the dead. The Vision that we are seeing in her show is the real Vision, not a projection—that was confirmed when we saw Wanda stealing his corpse from S.W.O.R.D.—but Vision is also a robot. When Sparky dies (more on that in a moment), she tells her sons that she cannot bring him back. But… can she? Are her powers being tested by another force, someone pushing her to the limits of her abilities?
This is a little silly, but it’s something that has bothered me for several movies and the first few episodes of WandaVision. Wanda used to have a vaguely Eastern-European accent! And then it disappeared! I personally really loved that it quietly came back in this episode. But let’s also note the context of it coming back: S.W.O.R.D. broke into her alt-reality bubble and tried to kill her. Our girl then took that drone out of the sky, walked it out of her reality, talked shit to everyone standing there in her old accent, and then went back inside to play an American suburban housewife. It’s like The Americans on steroids.
This was a boss move, and just one of the many references to the absolutely insane scope of her powers (the other was the nod to the fact that she could have destroyed Thanos on her own had he not called in the air strike).
One of the most chilling parts of “On a Very Special Episode…” were the cracks in Wanda’s simulated TV show. We’ve seen it a few times before, where Wanda edits and jump-cuts in real time to keep everything going smoothly. But when Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes stops and asks Wanda if she should do the take again, it was so meta that even Wanda was taken aback. It begs the question of how much Agnes knows and how aware of things she is (given this and other hints throughout the episodes, including Norm’s horror: very), but it also really imbued the episode with the uncanny feeling that has permeated the series from the beginning. Wanda’s sitcom is really a horror show.
This only escalated when Vision started to put things together, and seeing Paul Bettany really get to let it all out and show real, intense emotion as our robot hero was another uncanny moment. Vision is always so calm, placid, reserved. Here, we saw his pain and his fear. When he voiced this to Wanda and said he doesn’t know who he is, homegirl tried to roll credits. I’ve never been more horrified or impressed. If I had that power, I would use it with abandon. You get into an argument you don’t like? Roll credits, we’re done. Tune in next time! Bury it all down deep in the meantime! My God!!
Wanda’s sons seem to be her real sons, somehow (I’m not even going to start thinking about the biology of that when it comes to Vision), but what’s even more fascinating is that they appear to have their own autonomy within her world. Her pregnancy lasted about a day, and they went from babies to toddlers quickly, but that just seemed to be part of the wacky hijinks of living in Wanda World. Turns out, the boys can actually control their growth spurts, as noted when they aged up to 10 so they could keep Sparky the dog, and when Wanda asks them to please not age up again to rid themselves of their grief. That, along with Pietro’s other form arriving at her door, suggest there is something bigger at play than her own desire to hide in her grief. But who, or what?
I saw this query drifting around online, and though it’s minor, I can’t stop thinking about it. On the one hand, dogs are maniacs and you have to keep an eye on them or they can destroy themselves (see also: Sparky almost being electrocuted, Sparky eating a poisonous plant). But Sparky’s death also revealed several things: that Wanda can’t actually resurrect carbon-based beings from the dead (so far), and it led to her confronting her sons about not aging themselves up again. So was Sparky destined to die, or is someone pulling the strings to push Wanda? I mean, it’s also plausible that Agnes killed him—that opens up a whole other discussion. But Sparky seems like he could quietly have been the key to more than we yet realize….
The horror of “On a Very Special Episode…” was palpable, especially in the interaction Vision had with Norm when he “released” him from Wanda’s spell of sorts (and then sent him back in). Even Monica talked about her time in the alt-reality as “a violation.” Is Wanda a villain? Perhaps the episode’s ad break was the most telling yet: In advertising Lagos paper towels (mopping up what looked like blood), we got a dark reference to Captain America: Civil War, when Wanda killed accidentally humanitarian workers while trying to contain an explosion. “For when you make a mess…” Er, Wanda, you’ve made a mess.
New episodes of WandaVision air Fridays on Disney+
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
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