WandaVision: All-New Halloween Spooktacular!

“Oh, fudge.”

This was another terrific episode of what is quickly becoming my favourite show of 2021. Admittedly, it is only Feb and this is so far the only show I've watched this year, but it's still bloody good.

With only a few episodes to go before we reach the grand finale, let's have some wild speculation about who the real villain of WandaVision could potentially be.

Is it Hayward?

The guy is certainly sketchy. He clearly has some other agenda going on and it involves getting hold of Vision. I don't buy for a second that Vision left it in his will that his body be turned over to an organisation called Sentient Weapons Observation and Response Division for safe keeping. They were clearly taking him apart for study when Wanda broke in and took his body. Is Hayward looking to create his own little army of Visions to protect the world so they don't need meddlesome superheroes anymore? The guy clearly hasn't studied his history since Vision was made by a mad robot created for that exact same purpose. If he gets his hands on Vision again are we going to see Ultron 2.0?

Is it Tommy and Billy?

More often than not, the results of a sudden mystical pregnancy are evil. Could that be the case with Tommy and Billy? Is Pietro right when he calls them demon spawn? (The source material certainly says so.) I hope this isn't the case, though, because they are both precious and I don't want to see them go evil or get John Byrne'd out of existence at the end of the series. More than likely they are going to have another sudden growth sprout and star in that Young Avengers series or movie that Marvel is adorably pretending they're not setting up in Phase Four.

Is it Mephisto?

Name a character on this show, any character, and there's probably a fan theory that they're really Mephisto in disguise. My money is on SeƱor Scratchy.

Is it Pietro?

Who is this new Pietro Maximoff? In terms of personality he's a lot closer to the one Evan Peters plays in the X-Men films than the one we saw in Age of Ultron. Coupled with him having different childhood memories from Wanda, it certainly supports the theory that he's been yanked out of another reality and recast here as Wanda's immature long lost brother the producers brought in for sweeps. But there's something very off about this new Pietro. I mean, apart from the fact he's supposed to be dead and look like Aaron Taylor-Johnson. He seems to have a better understanding of what is happening than even Wanda does. And he knows that Vision is meant to be dead. How could he possibly know that?

Is it Vision?

Very unlikely, and wouldn't make much sense, but damn would it be one hell of a twist.

Is it Agnes?

On the surface, Agnes seems like all the other Westview residents. She's trapped in this sitcom hell and forced to play out the role that has been written for her. But, like the new Pietro, there's still something not quite right about her. She's one of the only two Westview residence (the other is Dottie) who doesn't seem to have a real identity outside the sitcom world. Her repeated character breaks almost seem to have a purpose. They've always around Vision and make him question his reality more and more, driving a wedge between him and Wanda. It is possible she is doing all this to provoke Wanda into using her powers more and more. The more Vision tried to fight this reality, the more power Wanda exerts to fix it, which has now ultimately culminated in her doubling the size of the Hex.

Is it No One?

It would make something of a refreshing change to have no villain and let this be a series about one superpowered woman dealing with her grief and trauma, but I have a feeling that Marvel's need to have a big third act battle might just win out.

Is it Wanda?

That's certainly what they want us to think, but there's reasonable doubt to make me think otherwise. Wanda genuinely does not seem to know how any of this got started started. This is just something that happened to her and she's wilfully accepted and embraced it. And why wouldn't she? Wanda has endured so much trauma in her life and lost so many people. The whacky sitcom world of Westview is the first place she has been truly happy in a long time. So she doesn't question it, doesn't resist it, and fights against any effort to take it away from her.
Whether or not Wanda played a deliberate role in reshaping Westview into her fantasy playground, she has certainly become complicit after the fact. She is actively working to maintain this reality and it is doing real harm to the people trapped there. Some residents, like the poor lady putting up Halloween decorations, are stuck in loops, repeating the same actions over and over again, aware of what is happening to them, but unable to do anything but shed tears. Others are literally just stuck on pause, frozen like statues until the narrative finds use for them. Is this where all the children have been? Kept indoors on standby until they needed extras for the Halloween episode? That's certainly what Pietro was suggesting, but Wanda again seems confused by this. Her powers created this reality and allow her to reshape it to her will, but it really does not seem like she is stage managing everything.

Notes and Quotes

--Agnes has been promoted from recurring to main character and now appears in the faux credits.

--Yeah, I have no idea what the ad in this episode is about.

--I love how Monica, Jimmy and Darcy are a perfect reflection of the audience. They're watching the show obsessively, coming up with all sorts of theories about what is happening, sympathising with the lead, and hating Hayward with a passion.

--I'm a little disappointed that they decided to skip the '90s and go straight to the '00s. I suspect this was done because there's a lot of crossover between the suburban family sitcoms of the '80s and '90s and they wanted there to be a bigger stylistic shift between this episode and the last one. The most obvious influence is Malcolm in the Middle, with Billy and Tommy as Malcolm, repeatedly breaking the Maximoff house's newly installed fourth wall (which only Pietro seems to notice). As well as twins directly addressing the audience, other hallmarks of early '00s sitcoms were the lack of a live audience or laugh track and flashbacks being repeatedly used as a means for a quick joke.

--Are Pietro and Vision reanimated corpses or is Wanda's trauma just making her see things?

--Tommy and Billy began to exhibit their powers and, as with the comics, they mirror Pietro and Wanda's. Tommy has super speed and Billy has magic, which I'm just using as umbrella term because it's easier than listing all the powers they have. Poor Vision, none of his kids take after him. Those Maximoff genes are just too strong.
--Going through the barrier twice has altered Monica's DNA. This is likely how she'll gain powers and become Spectrum. But what about those who've only been through it once? What would happen if the barrier extended further and possibly went global? I've seen some speculate that this could be how mutants will introduced to the MCU, which would make WandaVision a reverse House of M.

--We got to see everyone in a version of their classic costumes except for Tommy, who just wore a mini version of Pietro's. You can probably thank Elizabeth Olsen for that. She pushed for showing Wanda in her classic outfit.

--The “Kick-Ass” moment was probably a nod to the movie, which starred Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Evan Peters.

--Nice of them to address Wanda and Pietro's disappearing accents.

--Gotta love that Wanda turned S.W.O.R.D. into a bunch of clowns.

--So we're likely going to meet Monica's aerospace engineer friend next week. Many, including myself, think this will be either Reed Richards or Sue Storm and the first step towards the new Fantastic Four movie.

--I can't wait to see Darcy's sitcom character next week. Also, fuck that guy for just leaving her there.

--The movies playing in the local cinema were The Incredibles (about a family of superheroes) and The Parent Trap (about a pair of twins who reunite after living apart). Both are owned by Disney.

Billy: “Where's your costume, Tommy?”
Tommy: “This is my costume. I'm the cool twin.”

Wanda: “If you're going to break the sound barrier, please just take your brother with you.”

Darcy: “Hey there he is, the guy who almost got murdered by his own murder squad.”

Three and a half out of four classic costumes. 
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig

10 comments:

sunbunny said...

Okay so I don't know what the House of M is (and no one tell me I want to be surprised if we end up going there).

The commercial was perfect 00s stylistically, and Yo-Magic, means Your (Wanda's) Magic, and the fact that the kid died trying to get it open was a reference to the people on the outskirts of Westview who are mindlessly repeating small actions or literally just standing there. My two cents.

Why would Agnes try to leave? If she was creating the world, why would she have gotten caught in Wanda's magic spaz out and if she's not her "I took a wrong turn" line hardly holds water. She's my most likely suspect. Especially since she has her own hashtag emoji now! (If you're not on Twitter, all the characters have their own promotional emoji and Agnes got her own this week.) Plus all the Maximoff-Visions dressed as themselves...and Agnes was a witch...So...maybe she's a witch using Wanda?

Can Vision not survive outside the Hex because he's dead or would that happen to anyone trying to break out?

If the Hex does end up taking over the world and creates all the X-People...I mean wow. That would make Wanda the mother of all mutants and I mean that would take incredible power. Could she do it?

Billie Doux said...

It's a demonstration of this show's good writing and acting that we honestly don't have a clue what is causing this.

Mikey Heinrich said...

SB- the non-spoilery answer - House of M was a big crossover event in the Marvel comics that Wanda was a big part of.

Loved your Possible Villain rundown! I'm one of the few who thinks Agnes isn't going to turn out to be Agatha, or if she does she'll have zero to do with what caused all this. They're just leaning too hard into teasing it.

Did the Hex actually stop growing at the end of the ep? It looked like it was still expanding to me. And yes - Making the SWORD agents into literal clowns in an actual circus was just perfect shade.

I find it interesting that they very deliberately did NOT show us what Darcy was changed into like they did with the agents. I wonder what that surprise reveal is going to be.

nd why didn't they give Tommy his actual costume like for everybody else? Is it inappropriately sexy or something? I'll have to look it up.

OK, I'm back from looking it up. It's pretty generic. Odd.

Speaking of the twins, after looking into Billy and Hulkling out of curiosity, I'm now shipping them so hard. I really hope the inevitable Young Avengers movie does them justice.

And on that note, is it weird that we know Billy's gay way before he does? Assuming he doesn't yet - at ten, it could go either way on that point. Of course, that's often the case with gay kids. True story, I was hanging out in a friends kitchen years back and her son who'd just turned, I think, 15 or 16 came in and was all excited about tickets to some Broadway show that he'd gotten as a gift. He left the kitchen, and his mother gave THE deepest sigh and said, 'It is going to be SUCH a relief when he comes out.'

sunbunny said...

I also thought it was weird Tommy was mini Quicksilver instead of Speed.

Josie Kafka said...

Mark, excellent review!

I really like that you're assuming Wanda isn't the villain here. That's actually my only concern: that this show will wind up doing the same tired trope of "superpowerful woman is out of control of her superpowers because she is emotional." There are very few tropes I actually hate. That is one of them.

Is there any chance that Agnes represents Vision's subconscious, or whatever the AI equivalent of a subconscious is?

Diogo said...

My personal pet theory (which isn't necessarily the most plausible but it's one that I'm fond of) is that while Vision and Pietro's bodies are real (Vision being a walking corpse, Pietro having been extradimensionaly kidnapped from the Fox X-Men universe), their personalities are actually being subconsciously projected by Wanda. So Vision reprent's Wanda's nobler side, the one that is being repressed but understands that what is being done is wrong. Whereas Pietro represents Wanda's more selfish side that's reassuring her that what she's doing is right.

That's just something I would find interesting. Again, not necessarily a strong theory, but I like to entertain that notion.

Anonymous said...

I thought the bit at the end with Billy was interesting, mostly because that isn't really how his powers work in the comics (generally he has to literally say what he wants to happen for anything to change, although it's inconsistent if that's a mental or physical limit), so maybe that's a hint that the twins are more tapped into what's happening than we think, or maybe they're just re-characterising his powers for the movies. Either way, I'm excited for the twin's to get more focus! While I'm pretty neutral on Tommy, Billy is one of my favourite comic characters ever :). It's also really exciting to watch Young Avengers come together, in a way most of the Marvel "connection" stuff hasn't been for me since Phase 1.

Katie Hart - Pinterest Manager said...

Just came across this Wanda-focused video (spoilers through this episode currently and the Avengers movies): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd5ltVKK3AI It's easy to forget all of what Wanda went through before the events of this show - we remember the big losses, but so many little moments I'd forgotten in the years since Ultron and Infinity War came out.

sunbunny said...

Diogo, I love that theory! It's not lost on me that the same episode Wanda started to have real doubts about the morality of what she's doing/complicit in/whatever, Pietro showed up and was like no I think it's awesome! Great idea! I don't trust him AT ALL.

Lamounier said...

Great episode, my favorite so far. And I take back what I said about the pacing of this series. It's solid.

I loved the twins discovering their powers, and Wanda expanding the Hex was a terrific moment.