Warning - This article contains spoilers for WandaVision.
"Episode 4" and "5" of WandaVision sought out to answer many of the questions of the series' first third. The sixth episode almost seemed to do the opposite, opening up mystery box after mystery box as the show concludes its second act.
"Episode 6" does this through a 2000s themed Halloween episode heavily influenced by Malcolm in the Middle. The familial tension from the end of the fifth episode remained, making for some surprisingly nail-biting conversations between Wanda and Vision. The now-parents' relationship is becoming more and more strained, so it will take a lot for the two to move past their disagreements.
Quicksilver raced onto the scene, quickly making his impact known as soon as the episode opened. It was a pleasant surprise, particularly for X-Men fans, to see Evan Peters in a very different portrayal of the speedster, causing familial troubles for both of the series' stars. Wanda continuously challenged her brother to figure out his true motivations, but Pietro was more interested in getting some insight into the inner workings and origins of Westview. While Scarlet Witch may have been thrilled at first to reunite with her long-lost sibling, his return may lead to even more issues down the road.
Marvel die-hards, on the other hand, will be elated to see Pietro impact the story in the meaningful way. Evan Peters' inclusion in the episode was incredible exciting after his cameo stinger, with Quicksilver creating a lot of interesting conflict in Wanda's household.
Outside of Westview, fans were able to catch up with the already fan-favorite trio of Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy. It's always a pleasure to catch up with the unlikely ensemble, who provide a bit of much-needed levity amidst the darkness of Westview.
That said, more of Rambeau's past with Captain Marvel was teased, hinting at some bad blood between the characters once again. It is usually expected that it is all sunshine and rainbows between Marvel characters, but the MCU is always the most interesting when characters are pitted against one another. Some ill will between Monica and Carol Danvers will go a long way in creating an intriguing dynamic going forward.
Two questions arose from the trinity's escapades; Darcy uncovered some suspicious secrets in Tyler Hayward's encrypted files, so what is the SWORD director hiding. Meanwhile, SWORD agent Rambeau and FBI agent Woo went off to find Monica's "guy," who should provide a solution to their growing, hex-sized problem. Fans are still wondering though: who exactly is this engineer?
The episode, once again, ended on a sizzling cliffhanger, with Wanda enveloping more of the outside world in the hex to save her husband from certain doom. Wanda's decision suggests that Vision can't exist without the reality-altering bubble after all, possibly hinting at a tragic ending for the character later on in the series.
The Westview expansion will not only presumably bring the Vision back to life, but also involve more characters in Wanda's sitcom antics. Darcy Lewis was one of the few to be absorbed into the hex, letting loose an expletive as the outer walls washed over her.
This seems to be no coincidence though. Kat Dennings' past sitcom career on 2 Broke Girls should come into play in the next episode, being of the same era that will be covered next. Darcy being able to make her grand return to the MCU is extremely satisfying, so it will be fun to see how Westview changes the character's performance and how she shakes up Wanda's sitcom town.
"All-New Halloween Spooktacular!" could be seen as somewhat stagnant on its own, treading water before the true climax of the series unfolds. While not reaching the heights of its previous episode narratively, "Episode 6" indicates that WandaVision's story is heading toward interesting territories. As Wanda herself isn't even sure how her hex started, fans can expect to find out who is behind all this very soon.
WandaVision always delivers with its performances, allowing its actors a lot of freedom in their various era-specific portrayals. Evan Peters was clearly reveling in his newfound Marvel home, bringing enthusiasm and duality to his depiction of Pietro Maximoff.
This Quicksilver possesses some of the qualities of Aaron Taylor-Johnson's version from Avengers: Age of Ultron, such as his bravado and joking nature. There seems to be a bit more going on with Pietro's return though, as Peters sneaks in some suspicious qualities that come off as more than just playful mischief. Whether Pietro's oddities are multiversal character quirks or more sinister traits remains to be seen, but Evan Peters should continue to be a captivating performer as long as he remains in the role.
Jett Klyne and Julian Hilliard as Tommy and Billy Maximoff, respectively, were also standouts, perfectly slotting into the Malcolm in the Middle format and the MCU as a whole. Child actors can be a risk, but the Maximoff twins were full of personality and charisma throughout. With the two still capable of aging at a rapid rate, it is unclear as to how long Klyne and Hilliard will portray the characters. For the time being though, the two newcomers should be thoroughly commended.
A special shoutout also has to go to Randall Park's Jimmy Woo, who proved to be able to deal some damage when clocking a SWORD agent over the head unprovoked. Something has certainly changed since the last time we saw the FBI agent, who is on track to be the next big MCU action hero.
PRODUCTION - CINEMATOGRAPHY, MUSIC, EDITING, ETC.
The 2000s took center stage this episode, and Marvel Studios spared no expense in capturing the time period. From the camera work to the cutaway gags to the bombastically edgy theme song, everything felt authentically '00s.
The era and premise of the episode also allowed the art department to go wild with the Halloween costumes, dressing up Wanda and Vision as a 'Sokovian Fortune Teller' and a 'Mexican Wrestler.' In reality, the two donned the comic accurate outfits of their Silver Age incarnations, looking clean and classic in their colorful costumes.
The co-leads weren't the only cast members to put on some fancy dress this All Hallow's Eve, with the rest of the family suiting up as well. Many would have never expected to see Quicksilver get his bright blue, lightning-striped outfit on screen, but Evan Peters has made this a reality with a copious amount of hair gel on the sides to complete the look.
Even Tommy and Billy got to rock their comic looks, albeit with Speed not getting a green tint on his suit. Ultimately, the costuming branch at Marvel Studios had a field day and deserves all the praise possible for seamlessly translating these appearances to live-action.
Physical props were just a part of where the production budget went though, as the computer-generated visuals also shined bright in "Episode 6." The primary showcase here was the synthezoid himself Vision, who got to wear his MCU costume whilst flying high above Westview. The real showstopper though was the CGI used for Vision as his life force phased away, amplified by the chilling sound design for his dialogue.
Much like The Mandalorian, WandaVision is able to match, if not surpass, its movie counterparts in terms of its visuals. Not only does the series capture the MCU style of filmmaking, but its Disney+ positioning allows it the freedom to experiment beyond the limitations of the franchise.
A LARGER WORLD
A project set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is there for a reason. It's always a treat to find Easter eggs-a-plenty in WandaVision and "Episode 6" didn't shy away in this regard.
As previously mentioned, the WandaVision gang all don comic-accurate costumes ripped straight from the comics. It is always nice to see Marvel Studios pay homage to its roots and this inclusion may be the greatest tribute to the comic page yet.
Certain lines in the episode may actually refer to the character of Mephisto, whose devil imagery seems to have permeated throughout WandaVision thus far. Pietro yells "Unleash hell, demon spawn" before him and the kids go off trick-or treating together. This could be a hint towards the devillish Marvel Comics villain, who many believe is actually masquerading as Wanda's brother. This line seems a bit too on the nose for it to be nothing, so perhaps Mephisto is hiding in form of the blue speedster.
The pantheon of Marvel history isn't the only media present in WandaVision's DNA though.
A Westview cinema has some interesting showings of The Parent Trap and The Incredibles. The former film most likely refers to the residents of Westview being confined to the hex, while the latter Pixar flick reflects the family of superheroes living among the town.
Another superhero is also slyly referred to, being 2009's Kick-Ass. Tommy Maximoff exclaims “Yeah, kick-ass!” after Pietro suggests the idea of trick-or-treating, an allusion to both Quicksilver actors Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Evan Peters starring in the film.
While it is always nice to get a wink and a nod for dedicated Marvel fans, the inclusion of prominent references to other franchises helps to keep the MCU somewhat grounded. It is almost certain, though, that WandaVision will ramp up its interconnectivity to other Marvel projects over the next few episodes.
WandaVision continues to be unique, daring, and fun, approaching the MCU in a way that no other project has dared to in the past. "Episode 6" toes the line between the show's sitcom roots and its Marvel spectacle, at times working in tandem to create some truly spectacular character moments.
While the reasoning for his appearance is still unknown, Evan Peters making the jump over to Marvel Studios is a sign that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same again. The multiverse has been the talk of the town ever since Marvel's Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019.
It's likely that alternate realities are in fact the explanation, but, even if they aren't, the inclusion of Peters at all is a staggering development. The actor's prominence shows that Marvel is doubling down on using interesting and exciting concepts going forward, which is exactly what the MCU needs as the franchise continues with dozens of projects in the works.
With so many questions raised by WandaVision's sixth episode, fans can look forward to plenty of payoff in the last three episodes of the show. Wanda Maximoff's solo series has proven itself so far, so the final act should absolutely deliver on providing a satisfying answer to what's going on in Westview.