Listen, I know WandaVision‘s fifth chapter, “On a Very Special Episode…”, is filled with universe-shaking twists that have dramatic implications for the future of comic book films as we know it, but first, we must address the elephant in the room: This show did a Full House-themed episode without one single overt reference to the Olsen twins. That level of restraint from the writers’ room is truly astounding. I guess I can cross Wanda sealing a blood pact with Mephisto by saying “You got it, dude” off my theories list. Also astounding? The fact that Evan Peters‘ Quicksilver just zipped over from 20th Century Studios’ (formerly 20th Century Fox) X-Men universe and straight into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No one could have predicted that the multiverse would arrive not with a bang, not with a calamitous crash, but with a resounding “Who’s the popsicle?”
I certainly have questions. You certainly have questions. Let’s dig into WandaVision Episode 5, “On a Very Special Episode…”
In case you hadn’t noticed every person to ever appear in a Spider-Man movie getting cast in Tom Holland‘s third MCU Spider-Man movie, the Multiverse appears to be on the verge of complete upheaval. You don’t tack the phrase “OF MADNESS” onto something that’s super chill at the moment. But until we get a full-on crashing-together of the timelines, we start with Evan Peters showing up in an MCU show as Pietro Maximoff, a.k.a. the speedster Quicksilver, a version of the character separate from Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s Age of Ultron take and exclusive to 20th Century Studios’ X-Men films until that studio was absorbed into the Disney umbrella, as we all must be one day. But is this really a different Pietro? Way I see it, there are two options:
Evan Peters is actually playing the MCU’s Pietro in a meta bit of casting. WandaVision has been hammering home the fact—again and again and again—that once something crosses over into the Westview anomaly it is changed, physically, transformed into its most era-appropriate chicness. If you wheeled Steve Rogers’ old ass from the end of Endgame through the “hex” he’d probably pop out the other side as 1940s Cap and immediately curl a helicopter. Logic dictates that the “vintage” version of Taylor-Johnson’s modern Quicksilver would be Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, who we’ve only met in the ’70s and ’80s.
(*Important caveat to this option: The MCU’s Pietro is super, super dead. Just absolutely owned by bullets. But hey, shoving Vision’s corpse into the anomaly seemed to do the trick?)
Evan Peters is playing the same Quicksilver he played in Days of Future Past, Apocalypse, and Dark Phoenix, which spills a truly unprecedented can of beans. Explaining how a full decade of Marvel stories have been going on without anyone knowing mutants existed or the coolest motherf*cker on Earth was hunting vampires would be impossible…unless you could suddenly just import these characters in from another universe. Peters’ sudden appearance blasts the door open for the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and even the galaxy’s hungriest boi, Galactus. (The latter of which you may remember from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, depicted as the soda bottle tornado you made in your fourth grade science class.)
But Seriously, What Is the Deal With Agnes?
“On a Very Special Episode…” established two things about the residents of Westview. First, that most of them have no control over what is happening to them. More than that, the effort of acting out the tricks and tropes of sitcoms past is actual agony for them. “She’s in my head. None of it is my own,” Norm (Asif Ali) tells Vision after the synthezoid momentarily bonks him out of the spell, and continues, “It hurts. It hurts so much. Just make her stop.”
(Vision immediately zaps Norm back into his hellish state of grotesque puppetry, which is a hilariously un-chill thing for an Avenger to do.)
Secondly, though: Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) is absolutely working on another level than her fellow Westview-ers. Wanda and Vision’s nosy neighbor has been sus since day one—see last week, where we theorize if she’s a witch or the literal devil—but in this episode, she is actively breaking with Wanda’s world. After a brief moment of awkwardness over holding the twins, Agnes—visibly frightened—asks “should we take it from the top?” before snapping back into character.
Literally the only thing that’s been clear about WandaVision since the first episode is the fact Agnes isn’t what she seems. But with each passing half-hour, it feels more and more like she’s a part of what turned a New Jersey town into Family Ties. I don’t buy that it’s just Wanda acting completely alone, and since we’re all working with the same scarcity of intel, all I have to go on…are pronouns. For as long as there have been mystery stories, there have been mystery writers sustaining suspense by never, ever using proper pronouns. Let’s return to that exchange between Vision and Norm.
Norm: You have to stop her.Vision: Stop who?Norm: She’s in my head…
WandaVision is a show that loves television of all kinds and embraces those tropes. I’ve seen more than enough TV to know that if the story needed Norm to say “Wanda” in that moment, he would’ve said “Wanda.” But he didn’t, which means there is room for interpretation here.
Who Is the “Aerospace Engineer”?
After getting catapulted across several suburban lawns last week, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) is looking to build “a ten-thousand-pound fallout shelter comprised of lead for photons, cadmium for neutrons, tantalum for seismic blasts, on wheels.” Previews have revealed this basically translates to “a big-ass tank that looks like Rhino in Amazing Spider-Man 2.” But who the heck is gonna build something like that?
“I know an aerospace engineer who’d be up for this challenge,” she says.
Monica then deploys a devastating combo of No Follow-Up Statement and Cryptic Text-Messaging to ensure the audience understands a familiar face is on the way. WandaVision has already pulled in Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) from their respective film series, so why not another big name. The MCU is oddly chockful of engineers. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) was the foremost engineer in the world until he became the first person to snap so hard at his own burn that he died. But there is still Shuri (Letitia Wright), although it’s unclear how Monica would get to know someone who lives in Wakanda. Or, heck, get Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in there for the Woo connection.
Or, equally as likely, the aerospace engineer is a name we know, but someone who hasn’t made his or her MCU intro yet. Which is a good time as any to finally talk about how WandaVision has Fantastic Four vibes all over it. The barrier around Westview is made of Cosmic Radiation, the same force that gave Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Ben Grimm, and Johnny Storm their powers. S.W.O.R.D. sent “Agent Franklin” into the anomaly, which just happens to be the name of Reed and Sue’s son, who once counted Agatha Harkness as a nanny. (And, hey, what happened to that guy after Wanda rewound reality, anyway?) For more than ten years, an MCU without Marvel’s first family has felt a bit like going to see Queen featuring Adam Lambert. Like yeah okay we’re all rocking out to “Bohemian Rhapsody” but there’s a noticeable hole where the soul is. With WandaVision officially dabbling in the 20th Century-iverse, a Peyton Reed-directed Fantastic Four movie already confirmed, and Monica Rambeau in need of a few geniuses, it might just be time…. possibly even of the clobberin’ variety.
I mean, somebody’s eventually gotta tell Monica it’s chill to take the name “Captain Marvel.”
Leto’s ghoulish antagonist is so over-the-top that the top is no longer visible.
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