WandaVision 1×06 “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!” pulls back the curtain as far as it can without Westview falling apart at the seams. In fact, Westview doesn’t crumble, it grows due to the events of episode 6. This episode takes giant leaps in propelling the season towards its finale. In doing so, WandaVision shakes up character dynamics in a way that make waiting a week to see what will happen next excruciating. It’s also commendable that WandaVision never loses sight of Wanda Maximoff’s complex journey in the midst of all the familiar spectacles usually associated with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Episode 6 takes a fun cameo who could’ve been the main focus of the episode (or multiple episodes) and frames his presence as it should be viewed — integral to Wanda Maximoff and her grief. Evan Peters is a brilliant dramatic and comedic actor; he’s flexed his talents on the big and small screens for years. WandaVision even nods to his role in the movie Kick-Ass with the MCU’s OG Pietro, Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It’s wonderfully meta, like a lot of WandaVision.
Seeing this Pietro interact with the twins gives them an excuse to act like kids for a little while longer, even though it’s obvious they’re aware that something’s not right. The Malcolm and the Middle-inspired theme song is a dead giveaway of that. Just like Wanda and Vision’s comic-accurate costumes, it’s a thrill to see Pietro, Tommy, and Billy do something similar with their costumes. It makes you forget the larger stakes of all of this for a split second; it makes you remember how Wanda could’ve gotten all consumed by the subjective bliss of Westview.
The fun of having Pietro around fades when Wanda starts poking her brother for answers about their childhood, and they do not match hers. That unsettling feeling that lingers under every episode starts bubbling to the surface again, because something’s not quite right. We want to trust this Pietro just as much as Wanda, but that can’t happen because Wanda has to hold her cards close to her chest. Pietro even lays out why he’s there, like a TV Guide report. He blatantly tells Wanda that he’s there to ultimately give her grief, amongst other things. He’s causing trouble with her boys but he’s also a physical representation of her otherwise dead brother. That double meaning is so smart; WandaVision is so freaking smart.
There are plenty of larger implications to read into Pietro’s appearance. Is that our Pietro from the movies with a different face that just so happens to look and act like the X-Men Peter? Is the Multiverse cracked open already? Can Wanda actually fix the dead? However, when you take a step away from the macro and look at the micro, like WandaVision is asking us to do with Wanda’s story, it’s easier to trust that those answers will come with time. It’s easier to reframe Pietro’s cameo as Wanda trying to battle with her own conscious and process her trauma rather than it only leading to larger MCU things.
It’s revealing that Pietro tells Wanda that she’s not in the wrong for doing all of this — for creating the Westview anomaly. He gives her the answers she wants to hear, while Vision pushes back in any way he possibly can. It’s convenient that someone with Pietro’s perspective shows up on Wanda’s doorstep right when she needs him. Although, that’s a double-edged sword, because she can’t have that reassuring relationship without the reminder that her brother is dead and that she can’t fix it. The only thing she can do is face it and she’s can’t do that yet either. That curtain is pulled back when we see the fatal injuries of Taylor-Johnson’s Pietro on Peters’ Pietro. Like Wanda said, some things are permanent.
There’s also the feeling that Pietro knows too much for someone who’s supposed to be following Wanda’s sitcom storylines to a tee. Wanda’s suspicions seem correct, especially when Pietro says, “It’s not like your dead husband can die twice.” How does he know that Vision’s dead but not know that he’s died twice in the past? The only other person who knows that Vision is dead inside of Westview other than Wanda is Agnes. That’s only revealed after Vision unearthed her suppressed personality. Not to mention, Pietro is the only one who notices when Billy breaks the fourth wall.
It’s still difficult to know why Pietro knows what he does, but it does bode well for Vision’s investigation. Although, maybe he should’ve started with his wife’s brother who sleeps on their couch.
Vision’s closer look at Westview confirms what we’ve always known: Things are weird in there and the residents would like to leave. For someone who doesn’t remember the Avengers or his time as one, Vision does what he believes will help people just like an Avenger would. There’s a shot in the mid-season trailer of Vision leaving Westview, but I assumed this wouldn’t come until even closer to the finale, if not in the finale. That makes me nervous about what’s next. What’s bigger than Vision attempting to sacrifice himself to send the message to save the Westview residents?
It’s difficult to watch the anomaly hold on to Vision and it’s even more difficult to watch Vision die again. Darcy crying out for anyone to help him is heartbreaking. For a guy who wants to “help people,” Hayward is selective on who that applies to. It’s not great that Wanda expanded the bubble. I am relieved it saved Vision from a third death. Wanda’s magic in that moment looks a lot like it did when she killed all of Ultron’s bots after Pietro died in Age of Ultron. That’s an interesting parallel because then it appeared Wanda didn’t know she was capable of such power. This time around she knows what she needs to do to save Vision. It’s gradual, but we’re finally seeing Wanda use and control her powers more and more.
Team Anti-S.W.OR.D. for the Win
I need Monica, Darcy, and Jimmy to come up with a team name. They deserve one that has zero ties to Director Hayward. It is so satisfying to watch Monica and Jimmy take out those S.W.O.R.D. agents. They definitely had it coming. Either way, this team is an unstoppable force. I have faith that they’ll persevere even though Darcy in Westview now. In a room full of Haywards who refuse to look at Wanda’s situation with any nuance, WandaVision needs people like Monica, Darcy, and Jimmy. They all come to this place with different perspectives but each of them is willing to try and understand Wanda.
Furthermore, we’re getting to learn so much about these characters along the way. Monica’s bloodwork suggests that her cells are changing every time she goes in and out of Westview, which could mean the introduction of the mutants. Even if it’s not, Monica’s personal experiences with Maria’s battles through cancer let her view that news with a different perspective. There’s a great chance Hayward’s keeping those results a secret to use them against Monica, but Monica knowing that information now takes away some of his power. If we know anything about Hayward so far, we know that he thrives off of control and power no matter who has to pay the cost. Why else would there be a tracker in Vision that only Hayward can follow?
WandaVision is taking characters that could have been relegated to side characters once again and reiterating how important their expertise and perspectives are to this larger universe. The introduction of this trio brings another level to this show that only benefits it. It’s easy to get caught up in the sitcom world of Westview and forget about the other things. Wanda’s realizing that’s not necessarily possible anymore. Outside of Westview, a similar illusion that some things would stay the same after the Blip is fading just as quick.
Power dynamics changed during those five years so that someone like Hayward could fill the seat that was never truly intended for him. WandaVision is carefully crafting a story that not only encourages us to want Wanda, Vision, and the residents of Westview to make it out of this alive. It’s also urging us to care about the world outside of Westview and the people who live in it, because when this is all over, they’ll still be there. Things will be different again, and we have to believe that the good guys will prevail over the people like Hayward. If we’re going to believe in any good people outside of Westview, let them be Monica Rambeau, Darcy Lewis, and Jimmy Woo.
Other Dazzling Moments:
- Who else thinks the big cameo is next week? It has to be whoever Monica and Jimmy are meeting!
- Keep the Carol Danvers mentions coming!
- That Yo-Magic commercial was really dark.
- The costumes int his episode mean something. It can’t be a coincidence that Agnes is dressed in a classic witch costume.
- Wanda making the S.W.O.R.D. agents clowns is spot on.
- “Don’t use the last five years as an excuse to be a coward.” – Monica Rambeau
- The twins have their powers!
What did you think of this episode of WandaVision? Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of WandaVision drop weekly on Disney+!