Warning - This article contains spoilers for "Episode 5" of WandaVision.
Episode 5 of WandaVision, entitled "On a Very Special Episode," took the MCU to an entirely new level of crazy this week, and The Direct is here to break down every bit of action in this 41-minute episode.
This episode throws so much into just over half an hour of action, and it seems to allow Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, and crew to display their acting chops to levels that haven't been seen in a while. The parenthood plot was an incredible journey, especially as Tommy and Billy grew so fast before their parents' eyes, and having to deal with the Agnes mystery adds yet another wrinkle of trouble.
"Episode 5" was full of firsts, including a story with this kind of even balance between reality and Westview. The plot developed seamlessly with two different stories running simultaneously, and it's exciting getting development from both sides in a nearly 50/50 split. Monica being examined and meeting Jimmy and Darcy while Wanda and Vision worked through raising their sons was a great dynamic as the stories seemed to run concurrently with each other.
The relationship between Tyler Hayward and Monica Rambeau continues to raise eyebrows, particularly concerning their opposing views on how to handle Wanda and Westview. Rumors have pointed to Hayward potentially being one of the show's more antagonistic personalities, and it's surely not out of the question after "Episode 5" showed him ready to take Wanda Maximoff out for good.
While Monica works out how to get into Westview safely, a couple of fantastic MCU references for Wanda's fight against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, as well as Carol Danvers', come into the spotlight. That look Monica gave at the mention of Carol, too? That has to mean something, especially since they'll be teaming up in 2022's Captain Marvel 2.
As the decades advance, it seems as though S.W.O.R.D. is having an easier time trying to communicate with everybody on the inside while simultaneously being blocked more aggressively by Wanda. The message on Vision's work computer and the '80s drone speaking to Wanda are surely helping the organization out, even if their success is less than desirable.
Wanda's first real step outside Westview is a telling look into her own mind, when she's angrier than ever but assures the group she just wants to be left alone. Yes, she may want what's best for everybody (herself included), but the fact that it comes with reality-bending abilities continues to make her dangerous.
This episode also ends with the most insane twist of the year so far as Evan Peters' Pietro Maximoff comes to Wanda's door. Only being on screen for a couple of minutes, there are still plenty of unknowns about him, but Marvel Studios is undoubtedly taking chances going into Phase 4 and beyond.
As has been a continuing trend through the first four weeks, this episode amped up the craziness at every turn with shocking new information seemingly by the second. The speed at which everything progressed felt natural and chaotic at the same time, which seems very appropriate considering the show centers around the Scarlet Witch.
This episode gave the entire core cast moments to shine with the evenest balance between real-world and alternate reality. It feels as though stakes are becoming part of this adventure as Wanda did everything in her power to remove S.W.O.R.D. from her and her family's lives. Wanda also shows a level of incredible powers never before seen, appearing to have given Vision full sentience and not just stringing him along in her story. They may be at odds at the moment, but he will certainly play a key role in helping her come to her senses in the end. It could even mean that Vision's time in the MCU may continue after this series.
WandaVision has absolutely nailed this slow-build process as the first MCU Disney+ show, and there is real hype and anticipation for what's to come every week. The fan base is fully invested, and there is no way to tell what will come in the wild second half of the season.
This episode held some absolutely phenomenal acting performances all across the board. Paul Bettany's terror in what was happening was shown off perfectly, and Kathryn Hahn got the chance to play an almost completely new version of Agnes after the teases laid out from "Episode 4."
In the end, the MVP of this week, once again, goes to the show's leading lady: Elizabeth Olsen. After teasing her range in the last weeks with giving birth and loving on her kids before unleashing fury on Monica, Olsen's portrayal of the Scarlet Witch is flawless as she teased her potentially villainous side.
Olsen's switch between loving mother for Billy and Tommy to an unhinged superhero on the verge of unleashing pure terror is truly something to behold, as she displays her powers more here than in any episode yet. Knowing that she is at least in some control of what's happening in Westview while also simply wanting to be left alone will be such an interesting dynamic to keep track of as the season continues.
The actress behind the magic has spoken on numerous occasions of how much she gets to explore the role in this series, and that is coming to full fruition in "Episode 5." This should only be the start of something truly special with at least four more episodes remaining.
PRODUCTION — CINEMATOGRAPHY, MUSIC, EDITING, ETC.
The behind-the-scenes work this week was absolutely impeccable, just as it has been throughout the season so far. Reports have speculated that WandaVision has a higher budget than almost any TV show in history, and it isn't too far-fetched to think that after what came through this week.
The musical score and songs used in the show fit the '80s style well, especially with the opening theme song paying tribute to classic sitcoms like Growing Pains. This was just one of many ways "Episode 5" emulated the sitcom style of the 1980s, and the show also had the tough task of mixing that tribute with plenty of action in the real world.
Wanda's reality was once again projected onto old-time TVs in the S.W.O.R.D. base, and the production team excelled at mixing the two realities into one cohesive plot. The special effects were top-notch, especially as Wanda's full powers were shown for only the second time all season. Marvel Studios continues to prove how much time and effort they're putting into making these shows with the same quality as the big-screen movies.
There were no notable mistakes, the camera work was impeccable, and "Episode 5" was a huge success in terms of production value. For the fourth consecutive week, well done, Marvel Studios.
A LARGER WORLD
For the second week in a row, WandaVision proved that it's set directly within the overarching story of the MCU, continuing from the Infinity Saga.
Jimmy Woo laid out Wanda's entire history from Avengers: Age of Ultron to where they are now, including how she broke into the S.W.O.R.D. facility to steal the deceased Vision. Additionally, Monica referenced Wanda in the ending battle of Avengers: Endgame where she almost single-handedly took down Thanos by herself. Woo proceeded to bring up Captain Marvel as having that same power level, and it will be quite interesting to find out if and when Monica's relationship with Captain Marvel reveals itself.
There was another intriguing commercial this week after Wanda went back into Westview with the same couple from Episodes 1-4 promoting the Lagos paper towels. This continues the trend of these products focusing on the most impactful moments and personalities of Wanda's life after Tony Stark, Baron Von Strücker, and HYDRA. With likely only two more sitcom-based episodes remaining, it will be fascinating to find out what final two memories of Wanda's past come into the spotlight.
As previously mentioned, Evan Peters' return as Quicksilver made for easily the biggest left turn of Phase 4's early stages. His story will be something fans all over the world pay attention to, especially considering it's Peters' version of the character instead of Aaron Taylor-Johnson's. Get ready for some mind-boggling Maximoff mayhem in the near future.
As a whole, "Episode 5" of WandaVision was an absolute show-stopper. The '80s hijinks mixed with the real Marvel world brought some of the most emotional moments of the season, and after how things ended, this should only be the beginning.
Wanda and Vision's trials and tribulations through parenthood were completely unexpected considering Billy and Tommy went from zero to ten years old in the course of one episode. As two key members of the Young Avengers from Marvel Comics, they will play big roles not only in the rest of this series but likely through the majority of Phase 4 as well.
Wanda's emotions are coming to a head quickly as she simply tries to live a life with Vision and the kids away from the rest of the world. She truly seems to want to have something special without endangering anybody, but due to her immense power levels and grief, she will be unbelievably dangerous no matter what the outcome of the series is.
The dynamic between the show's central family will be put to the test over the next few weeks with Agnes and S.W.O.R.D. fully involved in their lives. The addition of Evan Peters' Pietro Maximoff will be one of the most unique character introductions in the MCU's history, and it will be quite the journey finding out if he is only here for a one-time appearance or if he is here to stay.
All in all, WandaVision is in the process of blowing the MCU's door straight off its hinges. Now comes the excruciating wait for what will unfold in "Episode 6" on Friday, February 12.