WandaVision: Episode 6 – All-New Halloween Spooktacular! (spoilers)

Safe to assume that all WandaVision reviews are spoiler filled. Before the fold, I’ll say that in terms of TV history, the town of Westview (huh…only just noticed that’s WV) has lurched not so much to the 1990s as the 2000’s. I guess the sitcoms of the 1990s are tougher to fit into the model. Roseanne would be the most iconic family-orientated sitcom other than The Simpsons (oh, but a nod to The Simpsons with a Halloween episode and I would have loved a cartoon episode of WandaVision). When I think of 1990s US sitcoms, Friends is the most obvious but that wouldn’t make any sense. Instead the vibe is a bit closer to Malcolm in the Middle with some fourth wall breaking asides to the camera from the kids.

Enough images have already circulate in publicity for the show, that I don’t think it is a spoiler to mention that Wanda gets to wear a home made version of her Scarlet Witch costume for Halloween (a Sokovian fortune teller, she says). Vision dresses as a ‘Mexican wrestler’ in a way that also resembles his comic book appearance. For added referencing we get the new-Pietro improvising a Quicksilver costume and hair style but he provides no rational for it. Which takes us into spoiler territory…

The horror aspect of the show is raised a notch as Vision begins an active investigation of the reality of Westview. There are creepy touches as he walks into parts of town further from Wanda. People forced into repetitive action or simply standing still as Vision journeys further out. WandaVision already has a strong Twilight Zone vibe but the feeling of the nightmare of It’s a Good Life (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Good_Life_(The_Twilight_Zone) – also parodied in a Simpson’s Halloween episode) is very strong.

Despite the top-notch production values and exemplary special effects, WandaVision has a strong feel of classic Doctor Who. Partly that is the limited serial aspect of the show and shorter time run but also there is an element of the show running through metaphorical corridors to maintain the space between actual plot relevant events. Of course the Pertwee era had it’s own small town (or rather English village) trapped within an energy dome with Unit trying to get in with the Daemons and come to think of it that serial had a witch in it as well. Rather like Doctor Who, the solution to everything won’t rest with the guys with the guns.

This episodes blasts Easter Eggs around in a way that is distinctly unseasonal for a Halloween episode. I guess chocolate is chocolate. The movie theatre is showing The Incredibles, the Pixar (now Disney, just like Marvel is now Disney) film about superheroes. There’s an oddness to that movie existing within the Marvel universe and there is also a nod to both Pietro’s powers and the arrival of super powers to Wanda’s children, with Dash of the Incredible also having super speed. Wanda makes a comment about Kick Ass, another superhero film which featured BOTH the actors playing Quicksilver (MCU and X-Men versions).

The advert break is the oddest one we’ve had yet. It’s an animated advert for a yogurt dessert with a cool shark and a kid who can’t open the yogurt and starves to death on a desert island. If there is a Marvel/MCU reference in it, I missed it.

What is Agnes up to? I don’t know. Why is she dressed as a witch? I don’t know. Did the bit where the done around Westview expand and send the SWORD operation running remind me of Area X expanding in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy? Yes, but I think we’ll get clearer answers than that.

Wanda seems to both know and not know what is going on. She appears to be in control and not in control. Now this is one of those places where retroactively we’ll get to nod and say how well written this show was or it gets to be something we mutter about darkly as lazy writing. We’ll know in three episodes whether it was just an inconsistent script (booo) and a smart depiction of the self-deception of grief (yay!) or Agnes is really Adam Warlock and everybody is inside the soul stone (sorry, what?).

The military guys turning into clowns? That’s good writing whatever else happens though.

42 thoughts on “WandaVision: Episode 6 – All-New Halloween Spooktacular! (spoilers)

  1. HERE BE SPOILERS: Oh it’s funny but I think the commercial is the most straightforward part of the entire episode. It comes close to hinting that Wanda has been receiving help from a superior supernatural entity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh the commercials! So much fun just interpreting those. It may be a sign that Wanda is controlled by someone (maybe from Hydra, maybe the Dream King from Legion?), but I think its more Wandas Life:
      Her parents died because of a Stark rocket (toaster),Then she is manipulated by Hydra. The last Hydra spot is about escaping/needing a break, so that could be the end of her Hydra association. The paper towels are Lagos, which was her enxt mistake. And the yogurt? The tagline was something like “the yogurt for survivors”, so my interpretation is that its about survivors guilt, Wandas inability to safe Vision (who would be the shipwrecked). If that interpretation is correct the next spot would deal with End Game.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh and the Hydra watch is called Strukker, who was the Hydra minion who watched (sic) her

        Like

    2. Another good episode. I wonder if the next start will be modeled after “Two and a half man” which was a darker sitcom and could fit the increasingly darker tone of the show.
      Interesting is that both Wanda and Quicksilver had only fuzzy memories of what brought them. Im still leaning towards the hypothesis that Wandas guilt created all this (similiar to House of M) but Quicksilver might be a sign that someone is enabling her – he may be a crossover from a parallel diemnsion where the x-men timeline rules. He did not answer her questions about their common past and when talking about the trick-or-treating in Sirkovia (tangent: Trick-or-treating was not done in Europe until some point in the 90s, which might still fit) there were differences as well. So maybe its a sign?

      Some points:
      – Dr. Lewis notices a special object inside of WV, a weapon or the source of her powers?
      – I wonder if this will be the MCU version of Legion (very strong telepath gets controlled by an even stronger telepath)
      – I think the beekeeper has simply being icorporated in the city life. I wonder if he shows up somewhere.
      – Its interessting to note that Vision isnt just dropping dead, he is falling apart. That pretty much looks like a holodeck?
      – The two kids also have their costumes from the comics Wikkan and Speed IIRC

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hm. this should have been below, not as answer to the same post. Sorry!

        I did remember that the yougurt was called Yo-Magic, so I guess its more likely that its her magic that was not being able to save Vision.

        Like

  2. The ad is so striking that I can’t help but think it is whatever malevolent entity that is making the show in the universe practically underlining the fact that Wanda’s been gulled and if all goes according to plain, she’ll be used by it until she’s used up. Which suggests that the previous ads weren’t Wanda mulling over the tragedies that have defined her life, but this thing being a dick about them.

    Regarding the skipped decade, remember, this isn’t just sitcoms, this is domestic sitcoms, for which the ’90s was a pretty poor time–most of them were either ’80s holdovers or warmed over variations on those holdovers. There were many important sitcoms of this era, but they were generally focused on single urban-dwellers–not what Wanda is looking for here. It’s the same reason why the ’70s were represented by “The Brady Bunch” and “The Partridge Family” instead of by “Barney Miller”, “MASH” or “All in the Family”.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. My thoughts are that the outlying areas of Westview are reminiscent of the “Zigerian Scammers” episode of Rick and Morty, in which areas of a large holographic simulation are left to run on low power, so the bystanders (who are repeated) are engaged in glitchy repetitive action, capable of meaningless one-word or catch-phrase responses.

    The clowns remind me of when Adam Warlock (Jim Starlin writing and drawing, circa 1975-6) visits a clown factory that represents his employer, Marvel Comics. He meets Jan Hatroomi (golly, kids, does that sound like Art Director John Romita?) who does his bit to clown him up, which he rejects.

    And don’t overlook the significance of THE PARENT TRAP on the marquee along with THE INCREDIBLES. Not only was the original Hayley Mills vehicle a state-of-the-art special effects show (for its time, and it still looks pretty good) in the service of doubling an actor, but the movie itself has been doubled by a remake, and there’s a sequel in there as well. Probably not a random choice. Let’s see… Hayley Mills… Grover’s Mill… Where are the Martian tripods?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Parent Trap a.k.a. Das Doppelte Lottchen in its many incarnations also features twins (girls in this case) switching places to bring their divorced parents back together, which is of course relevant to this episode.

      Like

      1. Even more interesting is that one of the many adaptations of The Parent Trap/Das Doppelte Lottchen (according to Wikipedia, there have been 14 adaptations between 1950 and 2017) stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the real life sisters of Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda. It’s the only US adaptation to star real life twins, whereas all German versions did.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lindsay Lohan starred in a different adaptation of Das Doppelte Lottchen, which came out a few years later. There are a lot of versions of this particular story.

        Like

    2. Regarding the outlying areas, this was sort of foreshadowed by a line from an earlier episode where Wanda is sort of acknowledging for the first time that Westview is unreal, but dismissing the idea that she’s in control of it, because (she says) how could she possibly pay attention to everything going on in town and control every little thing people are doing. Apparently this is the answer: she doesn’t, she only animates a limited area. It’s not unlike how (in my very limited understanding) videogame engines for large 3D terrains will only set up the models and character states for a section of the world when the player gets near the boundary of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My thoughts when seeing the commercial is “what you wish for may not be what you actually want” (or, possibly “the truth? you can’t handle the truth…”).

    There were hints in the conversation between Wanda and Pietro that she may have had some level of conscience in the 5 years she didn’t exist, between Thanos and Tony doing their respective snaps.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m wondering if there’s something significant about Al – in particular, that line where he asks Wanda if she wants anything changed. I know a lot of attention’s on Agnes (and I was thinking Agatha Harkness, too!), but Al seems to be worth watching, to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s more “breaking the internal fourth wall”, where in crucial moments people in Westview behave as if they’re on a TV set and a line was flubbed or a line was missed. It is entirely probable that I am not reading enough into it (I was, up until I noticed one more person doing it, at which point I went “this is probably what’s happening”).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The theory I like best (seen on one of the tv sites via Apple News) is that Wanda’s being augmented/manipulated by Nightmare, who is expected to be the Big Bad in the second Doctor Strange movie. Nightmare may even be the entity pretending to be Pietro.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am increasingly suspicious of Pietro, and not just because he’s the Pietro from another universe. They showed scenes of MCU Pietro dying, then X-Pietro says he remembers getting shot in Sokovia — which XP obviously didn’t, and then showing up with a new face and personality.

    But later on XP seems to know that Wanda’s created this whole thing, AND he snarked at her about how “your dead husband can’t be any more dead” — which neither Pietro should know, since XP never met him, and MCU P died earlier.

    If he’s not the-entity-behind-this, he’s certainly a creation or pawn thereof.

    Particularly when he was listed in the credits as “Pietro Maximoff as Himself”, which is DAMN odd. Nobody else is getting their credit that way. It could be XP’s ego, or it could be more.

    Like

    1. Some sort of multiversal crossover sounds possible. The concept of a multiverse was mentioned in Endgame, and the next Dr Who movie is going to be “Multiverse Of Madness” so maybe we’ll get some direct built in connections now that Disney seems to be in control of all of the episodic TV.

      I’d always suspected that bringing the X-Men into the MCU would require some sort of multiversal connection.

      Like

  8. Obviously a lot of the townspeople are in stasis as NPCs that don’t do anything. All the people who were repeating their actions were just like badly programmed background. And then people farther out were simply frozen. (Which is another thing Pietro mentioned!)

    Wanda seems to have no control at all over Pietro. Can’t stop him running around being a bad influence, can’t rewind the things he says.

    Agnes almost made it out, and she recognized Vision as an Avenger! That was some good acting, going from stunned frozen, to real person who was terrified, back to the wisecracking sitcom version.

    Like

  9. The military turning into clowns and all their buildings and vehicles becoming circus-appropriate was perfection. I actually LOL. Got a feeling that idea was all Wanda.

    But what’ll happen to Darcy? Macho dude should have listened to her, she had it figured. And she was the only one who cared about Vision.

    I liked the can of whoop-ass Monica and Jimmy opened up on the SWORD guys. “Nobody told me the plan!” “I’m great at hot-wiring cars”.

    With the military gone, maybe Monica and Jimmy can finally figure out a decent solution to this. Too bad they lost Darcy and the data.

    I would watch a show with Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy every week.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That was a lot of fun and poor Darcy is subsumed! Maybe she can team up with Vision though. They keep hitting it out of the park. And one wonders if Heywood is Hydra.

    1) The yogurt commercial: In the late 1990’s and 2000’s in the States, yogurt snacks for kids and school lunches were heavily pushed. In particular the Yo-Magic yogurt cup is a copy of Yoplait’s Trix yogurt cups for kids and some of the yogurt and string cheese ads used that sort of animation. My kid recognized it right away as she used to eat those as well as Yoplait yogurt squeeze tubes. The MCU meaning of it may relate to when Wanda was put in an island prison during CA: Civil War, indicating that she is also in some ways imprisoned in Westview. Some have also speculated that each of the commercials is centered on a different Infinity Stone and this one may be resembling Red Skull doomed to watch over the Soul Stone.

    2) Agnes has been routinely speculated to be Agatha Harkness, a witch with magic powers who trains Wanda in the comics. She is wearing a pin that matches Agatha’s pin in the comics, they put her in a witch costume and she has had more independence fighting/working around Wanda’s control than others. She also isn’t a native to Westview — she gets lost in Westview, making a wrong turn. So it seems likely that Agnes is Agatha Harkness and came to see Wanda or was working with Wanda.

    3) Pietro is from the X-Men multiverse because again it’s a multiverse. He says that some of his memories are foggy and that he was called by Wanda, so it seems that he was sucked out of his universe and into hers by her with her memories of Pietro overlaid on his own, so that he also knows stuff he shouldn’t know. But he’s also himself, alter-Pietro, so he doesn’t fit with her memories at the same time and she did not know that she actually called him. She doesn’t remember consciously stealing Vision’s body and creating the Westview bubble, just being devastated. So something may indeed be exploiting Wanda’s brain. When she has a longing, there’s an attempt to fill it but she doesn’t necessarily control all of it. Mephisto and Nightmare have both been floated as the possible agents and the tricky shark in the yogurt commercial indicates an additional string-puller, as does Heyward’s behavior/secrets.

    4) Roseanne is given a few shoutouts in the episode. The couch is in the same style as the Roseanne couch. Pietro’s behavior and taking care of the kids is a parallel to Roseanne’s sister Jackie. But just like previous episodes mixed say 1950’s I Love Lucy with 1960’s Bewitched, this episode mixes it with Malcom in the Middle from the oughts. And having Billy narrate, like that show, indicates that Wanda is indeed losing control of the bubble and that the twins are not generated entirely by her. Their superpowers surprise her. There is also a nod, though I don’t know if it’s deliberate, to The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, a show in the mid-oughts on the Disney Channel staring the Sprouse twins as fraternal twins living in a big hotel who routinely get into trouble and often wear costumes.

    5) Monica and Woo are going to get her pal Reed Richards, so that should be interesting. There is likely going to be a Fantastic Four movie in MCU Phase 5.

    6) My daughter is a big Young Avengers fan and was very excited to see Tommy and Billy get their powers and that Marvel seems to be assembling most of that team as America Chavez is also going to be in Doctor Strange 2. Katie Bishop in the Hawkeye t.v. series is also part of that team. And another member of the Young Avengers may appear in the Falcon & Winter Soldier t.v. series. So there may be a Young Avengers t.v. series or movie in Phase 5 of the MCU.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Interesting point regarding the yoghurt commercials. The product reminded me of “Fruchtzwerge”, a German kiddie yoghurt snack that has been around since forever. Though Fruchtzwerge never had any cool commercials, they were mainly aimed at telling parents how healthy that stuff was (spoiler alert: it’s not healthy).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Agnes being Agatha would also explain why we never see her husband. He literally only exists in Wanda’s imagination, to fit the sitcom stereotype, and no Westview resident is playing him since Agatha’s from out of town.

      Like

  11. Just wanted to comment tat Adam Warlock never occurred to me in connection to WandaVision as that would conect more to GotG.
    Also a 90s family sitcom that hasnt been mentioned is Married With Chidren, which would have been way out of the vibe along with Roseanne, so its understandable they didnt reference any actual 90s shows afaict.

    Like

      1. One of the post-credit scenes in GotG2 has a heavy hint that Adam Warlock’s going to be created by one of the antagonists from that film. (GotG1 had a vaguer hint with a Warlock cocoon in the Collector’s base, but that’s likely been overwritten.)

        Like

    1. I first thought the woman doing the Lagos-coimmercial was from Married with childred, but I guess they just had the same haircut (not the same actress)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought of the Southern Reach when that happened. That’s a fantastically creepy moment— VanderMeer plays up the slow creeping subtext of weirdness for so long that when he suddenly breaks out the big effects it’s really shocking, at least if you’re a sucker like me.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.