Monday, February 15, 2021

“WANDAVISION”: the Most Mind-bending HALLOWEEN Ever, with New PLOT TWISTS


Last February 5, the first true MCU-related series on Disney+, “WandaVision,” hit its midpoint of a projected 11-episode run. For Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff, the idyllic family life she has seemingly created for herself and her inactive android significant other, Vision (Paul Bettany), on the unwitting town of Westview, has run the increasing risk of falling apart on her. Not helping are the increasingly heavy-handed actions of secret organization SWORD, urged on by Director Hayward (Josh Stamberg) over the objections of agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and collaborators Agent Woo (Randall Park) and Darcy (Kat Dennings). And then Wanda’s supposedly-dead brother returns, now portrayed by “X-Men” film actor Evan Peters.

It is in this mind-blowing situation that episode 6 of Marvel Studios’ “WandaVision,” titled “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!” takes place. Where “On a Very Special Episode” had the 1980s setting motif, the home of Wanda and Vision – and Westview – now looks like a 1990s community. As the episode’s comic-book-style title spoils, it is Halloween and the main couple would like to take their children Billy and Tommy (Julian Hilliard, Jett Klyne respectively) trick-or-treating. Vision says no as he has to patrol with the Westview neighborhood watch, but the “recast” Pietro volunteers to go with them instead.

As expected of the character (both as portrayed in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and the Fox “X-Men” films “Days of Future Past” and “Apocalypse”), Pietro is a neighborhood nuisance that needs to excuse to prank with his super-speed. Then again, his attitude does gravitate more to his actor and the Fox version of the character. The next shocker is when Tommy reveals he too has super-speed, followed by Pietro telling Wanda that he is aware of her warping Westview with her powers and that he is fine with it. Wanda though has no idea how she even managed all that.

Meanwhile, Vision’s neighborhood watch patrol is revealed to be a ruse, as he investigates how Westview is like further away from their home. More horror is in store as the townspeople “extras” remain frozen in place, including recurring neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn). She briefly “breaks character” to again mention that Vision should still be dead; she relapses before long however.

Outside Westview, SWORD director Hayward has become blatantly tyrannical in running the operation regarding Wanda and Vision, ordering Monica, Agent Woo and Darcy escorted off the premises. This spurs them to sneak back and determine why he is especially hostile towards Wanda. New reveals come out here: that Hayward can track Vision due to his Vibranium body, and that he has determined from Monica’s blood tests that her journey in and out of the Westview Hex has altered her physiology.

Marvel Comics fans would know that the second development is a print callback to Monica Rambeau (first comic-book appearance in 1982) being the second Marvel superhero to go by Captain Marvel. The MCU version, Carol Danvers, is print-wise the seventh (though she was a confidant of the original and became a female spinoff as the first Ms. Marvel in comics).

Back to the show, while Darcy continues to get info discreetly from SWORD and Monica and Woo briefly depart to find a “friend” that can help Monica return inside the Hex, Vision decides to attempt to leave the area himself. Doing so causes his body to start disintegrating. When Billy senses this and tells his mom, Wanda somehow expands the area of the Hex, saving Vision but also swallowing up the SWORD base and catching Darcy and several agents in its effect. Hayward escapes, as do Monica and Woo, but now Westview has “grown bigger.”

With episode 6 done, “WandaVision” is now two-thirds over with. Some answers have been given just as more questions are added. Is Pietro really who he is? Is the theory that he is the actual character from the “X-Men” movies still viable? Just why does Hayward want to eliminate Wanda and secure Vision that much? Who is the friend of Jimmy Woo’s that might be able to help Monica’s re-infiltration? And what is Agnes’ deal in all this? Oh, and which 2000s sitcom/TV series will episode 7 take inspiration from? “WandaVision” returns this Friday, February 19, exclusively on Disney+ streaming.

Image from The Young Folks


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