by @holocronGeorge for @mar_tesseract
WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for WandaVision – Season 1, Episode 6: All-New Halloween Spooktacular!
After last week’s bombshell, surprise ending, WandaVision continues its strong run as it shifts to a late 1990s/early 2000s setting where the mystery continues to unravel. The episode, aptly titled All-New Halloween Spooktacular, follows Halloween night in Westview as Wanda and her children grow accustomed to the unexpected arrival of Uncle Pietro. Meanwhile, Vision and agents of SWORD continue to question what’s really going on in this too-good-to-be-true town.
Akin to On a Very Special Episode…, Wandavision’s sixth episode excels in striking a perfect balance between the ominous, David Lynch-esque mystery of Westview and the team outside of the Hex trying to discover what’s really going on. Relatively speaking, it’s still the happenings of Westview that are most interesting, but the team of Monica Rambeau, Darcy Lewis, and Jimmy Woo continue to be great to see and offer a nice juxtaposition to the characters inside the Hex. Little hints throughout the last few episodes hint at a potentially rocky relationship between Monica and Carol Danvers, something we’re excited to explore in Captain Marvel 2.
Into Westview and the episode really kicks into gear. Director Matt Shakman and writers Chuck Hayward and Peter Cameron brilliantly capture the feel of 1990s/2000s family sitcoms, especially the brilliant Malcolm in the Middle. The Halloween setting also adds another layer to a visually impressive episode. Evan Peters’ performance as Pietro heavily leans into the 90s tone of this episode.
Speaking of Peters, it’s really jaw-dropping to watch this unexpected convergence of the MCU and Fox Marvel films come to life. In a show already full of intrigue, the recasting of Pietro adds another layer to this mystery. Why does Pietro look different? Is he secretly a villain in disguise? Why does he have insight into Wanda’s creation of the Hex? And why does he seem intent on knowing how she created this world? The intrigue of these questions highlights one of the strengths of WandaVision so far in that so much is kept from the audience’s awareness. We are now 6 episodes into a 9 episode season and, beyond the series’ foundational premise, know very little of what’s happening under the surface and what events will unfold. It’s a testament to the weekly rollout of episodes as audiences can theorize week-to-week as we are slowly given more and more information about what’s really going on.
The way in which the mystery unfolded this week was largely through the lens of Paul Bettany’s Vision. Donned in his classic comic book costume, Vision’s suspicions about Westview grew exponentially in this episode and culminated in him actually breaching beyond Wanda’s conjured world. This sparked an intense conclusion to the episode as Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda recognizes that something is off in her idyllic world and quickly seeks to intervene. The full breadth of Wanda’s power is on display as she expands the Hex more and more, highlighting now more than ever just how powerful (and dangerous) Wanda can be. The prophesied threat she posed in Captain America: Civil War seems to slowly becoming an unfortunate reality in WandaVision.
It’s impossible to review the latest WandaVision episode without noting the superbly complex and nuanced performances of the show’s titular characters, in particular Elizabeth Olsen. Olsen deftly plays the role of a sitcom wife and mother, but, with only a few subtle changes to her performance, makes it abundantly clear that she has turned to her ‘real’ self again. The way in which Olsen captures extreme grief and sadness in an episode that largely plays like an episode of Malcolm in the Middle showcases what an extraordinary performance the actress is delivering week after week.
WandaVision yet again continued to impress, now with an episode that perfectly captures the feel of classic 1990s/2000s sitcom series. The Halloween setting adds a great aesthetic to an already ominous episode that makes us eager to discover what’s going to happen next.
Images courtesy of Disney+ & Marvel Studios