«WandaVision», Episode 6: «All-New Halloween Spooktacular!»
First off: this discussion of the series includes spoilers! So watch the sixth episode of «WandaVision» before you read on.
Let’s recap. Last week, the end of Episode 5 dropped quite the bomb. Namely, it was the first official crossover between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Fox's X-Men universe, achieved through the return of Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver aka Wanda's brother. But he wasn’t played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, the Pietro from «Avengers: Age of Ultron». He was played by Evan Peters, the Pietro from «X-Men: Days of Future Past».
Wow. Mind = blown.
And Episode 6, «All-New Halloween Spooktacular!» has now outdone itself as well. It’s turned some of my previous theories upside down and has me cooking up new ones.
Let’s dive into it.
The... 2000s? «Malcolm in the Middle» at its finest
It’s the tried and true «WandaVision» concept: an episode per decade, imitating the most popular TV shows of that period. This time, we’re in the 2000s. The intro – a loving imitation – is unmistakable. At least to me, a 90s kid.
«Malcolm in the Middle»!
Oh, I love it. It takes me back to my early youth. Vision stars as a Hal knockoff, while Pietro’s akin to Francis, the oldest brother. And then we have Tommy and Billy breaking the fourth wall – exactly like Malcolm does. The dialogue, the remarks, the slapstick... I can hardly imagine a more spot-on homage to «Malcolm in the Middle». As far as I’m concerned, the entire episode could have stayed just like that, without any mention of S.W.O.R.D. I would have loved it just as much and hoped for a full series of the show.
As for why «WandaVision» skips the 1990s (last week was set in the 1980s), I really don’t know. Either way, thank you for this gem of a TV show, Marvel.
Vision on the wayward path
It's Halloween. Everyone’s expected to dress up and go trick-or-treating. Accordingly, all the superheroes in «WandaVision» dress up exactly like their comic-book selves (or how they likely would have looked in a 90s film adaptation of the comics). The point is, Tommy and Billy's first Halloween is supposed to be a really nice family celebration.
Without Vision, though.
He tells Wanda that he has a prior commitment. He claims he promised to help the neighbourhood watch keep law and order. He heads off. The tone of the series within the series changes. I'm most reminded of «Twilight Zone», a sci-fi series where each episode tells a self-contained story of the protagonists experiencing disturbing, unusual, or even paranormal things.
But «Twilight Zone» is a series from the 60s, not the 90s. So I might just be imagining it. But the similarities are there: the further Vision strays from Wanda, the more strangely the inhabitants of Westview he comes across act. Some seem to be stuck in a permanent loop, tears streaming down their cheeks.
Other people aren’t moving at all. They’re just standing around, still as statues, like in some sort of game or simulation. They only do things when Wanda, the «programmer», is around. Anything else would require too much computing power.
Then, on Ellis Avenue, the city limits, Vision runs into Agnes. As you know, I’ve accused Agnes of witchcraft. And I stand by my theory that she’s really the age-old, powerful Agatha Harkness from the comics. Or do you think it's a coincidence that she's wearing a witch costume?
Okay, granted, she seems just as «out of order» there as everyone else in town. And when Vision «awakens» her, she goes completely nuts. Most importantly, she reveals to Vision that, outside of the Maximoff anomaly, he’s actually dead. Oh boy.
Is she trying to trick him somehow? Or is she actually not Agatha Harkness, after all? Maybe she’s Agatha Harkness, but not involved in the creation of the Maximoff anomaly. Perhaps she simply happened to be in town when it all went down. I do still think it’s odd that we haven't seen her husband, Ralph, a single time. As you know, I believe him to be the devil Mephisto, who in the comics also has the ability to change reality according to his wishes.
So many theories...
Let’s assume Mephisto is indeed the main villain of the show. Who is he disguising himself as? So far, my guess falls on Director Hayward, who’s desperate to start a war with Wanda outside the anomaly.
Who would be stupid enough to want to do that, other than the devil himself?
Tommy, Billy, their superpowers – and Pietro
Time to take a closer look at Tommy and Billy. I've already recounted their origin story from the comics. In case your memory’s a bit murky:
In both the comics and «WandaVision», Wanda created her twins, Tommy and Billy, using the powers of her mind. It’s a skill she learned from part-time Avengers foe Agatha Harkness. Harkness calls it chaos magic. There’s one problem, though: Wanda accidentally uses fragments of Mephisto’s soul when creating the twins.
In the comics, Mephisto later reabsorbs the fragments of his soul, completely erasing Tommy and Billy's existence. It’s a tragic incident that makes Wanda go mad. Mephisto, the cunning demon, takes advantage of the situation. He encourages Wanda to create a new reality in which the twins are still alive. But this new reality has devastating effects on all life on Earth.
Comic book fans know this event under the name «House of M». It could essentially be what we’re currently experiencing in «WandaVision».
In the comics, Tommy and Billy's extinction is not actually the end of their story. Years later, they’re reborn as Thomas Shepherd and William Kaplan. Admittedly, they have different parents and grew up separately. But they’re still identical... well, almost. Tommy's hair is white, while Billy’s is brown.
In their early childhood, both of them develop superpowers. Tommy’s blazing fast – a speedster, just like Pietro aka Quicksilver once was. Billy, on the other hand, has mastered more or less the same magic as Wanda aka Scarlet Witch. Later on, they’re recruited by the Young Avengers, a squad of young superheroes following in the Avengers’ footsteps. That’s how Tommy and Billy first meet.
Their nicknames are Speed and Wiccan.
In the comics, they also reach the conclusion that they’re something like blood relatives, despite their different backgrounds. They then embark on an Odyssey-like quest to find Scarlet Witch. Once they finally manage to find her, their theory is confirmed.
Tommy (aka Speed) and Billy (aka Wiccan) are the reincarnation of Wanda and Vision's wiped out children.
In «WandaVision», there are several Easter Eggs pointing to a similar story. The twins’ Halloween costumes in «WandaVision» are very similar to what Speed and Wiccan look like in the comics. Tommy develops the same speedster ability as his uncle. Billy senses Vision struggling to leave the Westview anomaly. You could even say he has visions of it (haha, geddit?).
And Pietro? Well, Pietro’s busy grilling Wanda about how she was able to bring him back to life and why he suddenly looks different. I'm not sure yet if he's just curious or if he has other plans. For all I know, he might not even be the real Pietro. He could also be Mephisto trying to understand Wanda's powers.
The extent of which is made very clear in the last seconds of the episode.
Who is Monica Rambeau's mysterious contact?
Outside the anomaly, Captain Monica Rambeau and FBI agent Jimmy Woo plan to meet with the aircraft engineer mentioned earlier in Episode 5. Monica’s «way back into the Hex».
Who could this guy be? Fans are speculating about it. In my opinion, they seem to be on to something. They suspect there’s only one aircraft engineer ingenious enough to build Rambeau a vehicle that can take her back into the anomaly unharmed: Reed Richards.
You see where I’m going with this, right? Mr. Fantastic.
In the comics, Reed Richards is not just an aircraft engineer. He’s also a scientist in mechanics, electronics, chemistry, physics and biology. To put it bluntly, he’s a genius. During a trip to space, he, his best friend (Ben Grimm), his wife (Sue Storm) and her younger brother (Johnny Storm) are exposed to high levels of cosmic microwave background radiation. In the process, their cells change at a molecular level.
That’s superhero gobbledygook for «this is how the Fantastic Four sprang into existence», by the way.
Cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). Sound familiar? This is exactly the radiation Dr. Lewis measures in the fourth episode, when she first investigates the Westview anomaly. And in the current episode, Dr. Lewis explains to Monica Rambeau that her cells are beginning to change at a molecular level because she has passed through the barrier and into the anomaly twice.
Coincidence or not?
Speaking of which, I believe that (at least) Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic will make a grand entrance at some point. And that the barrier will unleash Monica Rambeau's superpowers. After all, she’s known as «Photon» in the comics, possessing powers similar to Captain Marvel after she has an accident with an extra-dimensional weapon.
And last, but certainly not least, we witness Wanda expand the radius of her alternate reality many times over. As she does this, S.W.O.R.D. headquarters is replaced by a circus. Most agents turn into clowns. And Dr. Lewis is stuck in there somewhere. Meanwhile, Director Hayward, Monica Rambeau and Jimmy Woo manage to escape – for now.
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. I can’t wait.