«WandaVision», Episode 5: «On a Very Special Episode...»
First off: this discussion of the series includes spoilers! So watch the fifth episode of «WandaVision» before you read on.
A week after the enlightening fourth episode, the show continues – with «On a Very Special Episode...» The most intriguing question to me is: is «WandaVision» actually headed towards my witch-and-devil-forge-a-pact theory?
In plain English: I’m convinced Wanda's neighbour Agnes is the ancient witch Agatha Harkness from the comics. Agatha wasn’t just an enemy; she was also Wanda’s mentor. Mephisto might be by her side. In the comic books, he’s basically the devil himself – powerful enough to change the fabric of reality. Kind of like how we saw in Episode 4.
And now this. Episode 5, which drops a bombshell in the final scene. Wow. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's see what this could mean for the entire series – with the best WTF moments and Easter Eggs.
Wanda, the wicked witch?
We’re in the 1980s. The sets, costumes and hairstyles leave no doubt. Wanda and Vision are trying to calm their crying twins. And failing. Then Agnes shows up, offering her help. Vision, the overprotective father, isn’t exactly on board with the idea.
Awkward silence. Uncertain glances are exchanged. Oh yeah. It’s awkward. And then, out of nowhere:
«Um… uh… do you want me to take that again?» asks Agnes.
What in the world is going on here? Well, this means Agnes is well aware of being in a sitcom reality. Not only that, Agnes knows that Wanda can turn back time if something (literally) doesn’t go according to her script. That’s new.
Agnes, what else do you know?
This scene is also the starting pistol for Vision's ever-increasing doubts about the reality he experiences. But before he even has time to fully comprehend this, the twins have single-handedly (or double-handedly?) decided to age up and become five years old. Because why not?
Meanwhile, outside the «Westview anomaly», Director Hayward describes Wanda as a terrorist. After all, she was supposedly radicalised by Hydra, the evil Nazi organisation, before the events of «Avengers: Age of Ultron» took place.
Then, in «Captain America: Civil War», Wanda contained the explosion from Crossbone's suicide bombing in Lagos, Nigeria, accidentally damaging some civilian facilities in the process. But Hayward doesn't believe the «accidentally» part. He sees intent and more than enough evidence to conclude Wanda’s not one of the good guys.
Hayward, why are you so intent on portraying Wanda Maximoff as the bad guy?
Hayward then presents camera footage of Wanda storming S.W.O.R.D. headquarters nine days before the events of «WandaVision», grabbing Vision's dismembered body and taking off to Westview with it. According to FBI agent Jimmy Woo, that’s in direct violation of Section 36b of the Sokovia Accords. 36b? Doesn't ring a bell. And then Hayward makes himself look (even more) suspicious:
«And the Vision’s own living will,» Hayward adds. «He didn’t want to be anybody’s weapon...» Jimmy concludes.
Okay... But, excuse me, what was S.W.O.R.D. going to do with Vision's body? In the comics, S.W.O.R.D. stands for «Sentient World Observation and Response Department». In the series, that’s no longer the case. S.W.O.R.D. now stands for «Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Department». So, instead of monitoring sentient worlds – extraterrestrial threats – the organisation now monitors sentient weapons. Like Vision.
So far, so alright. But then my mind flashes back to Episode 4. After Hayward explains that S.W.O.R.D.’s focus has shifted to sentient weapons, Monica Rambeau reminds him, in a disapproving tone:
«It also says observation and response on that door... not creation.»
Creation of what, exactly? Sentient weapons? Interesting... So, are we really sure that Wanda's plan is to turn Vision into a weapon, as Hayward claims – and not to prevent just that?
What’s Agnes' endgame?
Back to Agnes. She always seems to show up just when it's time to sow seeds of discord between Vision and Wanda.
First, in Episode 3, when she and neighbour Herb reveal to Vision that Rambeau isn’t actually from Westview. Then here, in Episode 5, when she – intentionally, I claim – mentions starting the scene from the top right in front of Vision. And then again, when she’s totally blasé that the twins are suddenly 5 years old, which leads Vision to question everything even more.
Somewhere in between, she once again namedrops Ralph, her husband, who still hasn't made a single appearance. Ralph aka Mephisto? I’m sure of it.
Later, the twins want to adopt a dog, but Vision is quite against it. In comes Agnes, out of nowhere, with a doghouse. That was fast. Maybe it was she who made the stray dog appear in the first place. Who knows? Maybe it was she who also kills the dog at the end of the episode. Who knows?
It feels like Agnes wanted to provoke something. Some sort of reaction; a change. I just don't know what her target is: the twins, Wanda or Vision.
While Vision’s at the office, Rambeau and Dr. Lewis get creative: they send an e-mail to Vision's computer. The theory being, things that don’t need to be modified to fit the episode's time period can pass through the reality barrier without a problem (hence the e-mail).
Its content is basically: Vision, open your eyes, everything is wrong here!
This does actually lead Vision to place his fingers on his coworker’s temples, causing his coworker, Norm, to break out of Wanda's mind control. He’s frantic. In tears. The agony is written all over his face. He pleads with Vision to get Wanda to release Westview’s inhabitants. Vision places his fingers on Norm’s temples again. Norm goes, well, back to «normal».
Vision now knows what’s going on. Oh boy.
Alright, cool. So, some of the town’s residents know what’s going on, while others have no idea. See Norm. But why is this the case? Is it a question of willpower? Maybe that’s why Agnes is able to escape manipulation. Maybe she’s an ancient, incredibly powerful witch...
Damn it, Agnes, what are you planning! What's your endgame?
The events come to a head – Wanda loses control
The episode gets crazier and crazier. Monica Rambeau sends a 1980s drone through the reality barrier. Wanda’s not pleased. For the first time, she herself steps out of her sitcom and confronts S.W.O.R.D.
Oh f*ck, now that’s a demonstration of power.
And Wanda has her Sokovian accent again. I was wondering where it had gone off to. Now we know. It got left behind in reality. Our reality.
What Wanda does is issue her first and final warning:
«This will be your only warning. Stay out of my home. You don’t bother me, I won’t bother you.»
Then the next blow: Vision confronts Wanda. Paul Bettany gets to really act. He gets to show despair, fear... Who am I? Why don’t I remember anything before this? Oh sh... I’ve got goosebumps.
And then we hear Wanda's most important line in the entire episode. Maybe even in the entire series.
«I don’t know how any of this started in the first place.»
Bam. Like I said in the last episode discussion. Wanda’s being manipulated. Maybe by Agnes. Or Mephisto. Or both of them. I mean, she's been aware of the false reality since the 1970s episode, from the moment she kicked Rambeau out of the anomaly. And now that she’s aware of the fake reality, she doesn't want to give it up. It would mean losing Vision. And the twins. Her entire happiness.
The doorbell rings. Agnes? Wanda goes to look. We see the visitor from behind. He has silver hair. Just like Agnes' brother, Pietro aka Quicksilver... but he’s dead. Ultron killed him. The visitor enters.
«Long lost bro get to squeeze his stinkin’ sister to death, or what!»
It’s Quicksilver! But not the Quicksilver we know; not the Quicksilver played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in «Avengers: Age of Ultron». It’s the Quicksilver played by Evan Peters in the X-Men movies produced by Fox Studios.
This is the first Fox-Disney crossover. I don’t believe it!
Here’s why this is monumental: in the comics, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), are Magneto’s children. So, they’re X-Men. Mutants. In 2015, Fox still held the movie rights. But thanks to a special deal with Disney, Wanda and Pietro were allowed to appear in «Avengers: Age of Ultron». With some caveats: they weren’t allowed to have their mutant aliases or the exact same ability, and – most importantly – they weren’t allowed to be mutants.
That’s why in «Age of Ultron», their powers are simply called «talents» and come from the Mindstone – just like Vision's powers, by the way.
A year earlier, in «X-Men: Days of Future Past», Fox had even introduced its own Quicksilver to the series, played by Evan Peters. The very same Evan Peters that’s now in Disney’s «WandaVision». The reason why this is possible at all is because in 2019, Disney acquired Fox Studios – and the rights to the X-Men along with it.
«She recast Pietro?» asks a perplexed Dr. Lewis (thanks for doing my job for me!).
But Wanda’s as confused about Evan Peters as Pietro/Quicksilver as we, the viewers, are. So it’s not just a simple recasting. It's more like a perfidious game someone’s playing. But you already know who my prime suspect is.
What more can I really say? The situation is heating up. Wanda seems incredibly powerful. In fact, she seems powerful enough to have been capable of defeating Thanos on her own, had he not taken the Avengers by such surprise. In the meantime, Wanda's desired reality continues to fall apart. Vision knows what’s going on. Agnes' gets even more suspicious with each scene. So does Director Hayward.
I’m telling you: those two are Agatha Harkness and Mephisto. Sure as rain.
What did you think of this episode? Are there any more Easter eggs I've missed? Let me know in the comments. See you next Friday for the next episode discussion. It’s bound to be mind-blowing.