by @holocronJosh for @mar_tesseract
WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for WandaVision – Season 1, Episode 5: On A Very Special Episode…
And just like that, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is changed forever. WandaVision’s fifth episode, aptly titled “On A Very Special Episode…,” sees the series fuse together the sitcom, dream-like structure of its first three episodes with the mystery unraveling nature of its fourth episode. In doing so, WandaVision delivered its best, most unpredictable and intriguing chapter yet.
The structure of the episode is a good place to kick things off given that this has been somewhat of a point of contention among select viewers. Some found WandaVision’s first three episodes to be a bit meandering, a criticism we most certainly did not buy into. Conversely, WandaVision’s fourth episode shifted the focus almost entirely away from its titular characters in exchange for a more by-the-books installment that began to unravel the mystery of Westview. Despite us absolutely loving everything to do with WandaVision so far, “On A Very Special Episode…” felt like the show had came alive in new and uncanny ways. Director Matt Shakman and writers Peter Cameron and Mackenzie Dohr deftly navigate the fifth episode in providing plenty of the weird and plenty of the grounded.
Let’s start with the weird. Everything in Westview seems happy-go-lucky, but there is always something ominous lurking under the surface. Wanda and Vision’s children voluntarily grow at an alarming rate. Agnes breaks character, asking Wanda if she should “start from the top.” Vision seeing into Norm’s terrified, trapped mind. This latter point provides yet another big, confirmatory reveal for the series as it is finally and explicitly revealed that Wanda is in control of Westview and all of its inhabitants.
Back in the real world, SWORD and the FBI work on uncovering the secrets of the fake reality that Wanda has conjured. After uncovering that Wanda stole Vision’s dead corpse just days prior in order to create this world, the agents send a drone into the world, angering Wanda enough to make her come outside and confront them. This, coupled with the prior reveal of Wanda controlling Westview’s citizens, really made Wanda feel like the show’s villain in an interesting and unnerving way. Wanda’s confrontation of the SWORD agents is reminiscent of Ian McKellen’s Magneto in the original X-Men film, and Elizabeth Olsen’s performance in this scene certainly evokes the villainy of her comic book character’s father. The subtle return of Wanda’s Sokovian accent and her change in outfit marks a stark contrast to the idyllic character we see in Westview (a.k.a. The Hex). Wanda looks disturbed, grieving with the loss of a man she loved dearly and the trauma of losing her brother and parents before that. Now more than ever, we’re getting a glimpse into Wanda’s rationale for creating Westview as a way to live her ideal life with Vision and slowly discovering more about the extent to which WandaVision is a show about dealing with grief and trauma in destructive ways.
After warning the agents to not enter Westview again, Wanda returns home to find that Sparky has died, prompting Tommy and Billy to ask their mom if she can revive him, knowing that she has full control and power to do so. Vision finds this suspicious yet again. He eventually confronts Wanda a few minutes later, revealing he knows that she controls Westview.
We don’t have much of an opportunity to see this heated conversation pan out further, however, as the door knocks and one of the MCU’s biggest “holy crap” moments yet. Not only is Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver knocking on the door, BUT Pietro is played by none other than Evan Peters, reprising his role as the character from the Fox series of X-Men films. This cracks the entire MCU open in a way even bigger than J.K. Simmons appearance as a reworked J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man: Far From Home. The explanations for Peters’ appearance are endless. Is it as simple as Aaron Taylor-Johnson being recast? Is this some merger of the Fox X-Men films and the MCU? Or is this akin to Simmons in Far From Home? Is this really Quicksilver, or someone insidious in disguise? The possibilities are endless, but for the time being we’re just beyond excited and surprised to see Evan Peters in this role again. Peters has been one of the highlights in the last several X-Men films, highlighted by two incredible slow-motion action sequences in Days of Future Past and Apocalypse. So, the prospect of getting more of this version of the character is not only exciting for WandaVision, but the MCU more broadly. All in all, we’re extremely impressed.
WandaVision stunned with its best episode yet as we were delighted to see more sitcom weirdness coupled with plenty of intriguing reveals along the way. Elizabeth Olsen excels in perhaps her best performance in the MCU yet, subtly shifting from sitcom housewife to a mourning superpowered being. The episode’s concluding moments are sure to change the landscape of the MCU for better and we cannot wait to see what that entails as WandaVision heads into its last few episodes.
Images courtesy of Disney+ & Marvel Studios