WandaVision’s fourth episode finally brought the sitcom world of Wanda Maximoff and Vision into its broader Marvel context, and this week’s fifth episode (titled, in sitcom fashion, “A Very Special Episode…”) begins to deal with the fallout of Wanda’s influence on the town. It also starts to hint at some answers to the show’s biggest questions.
But the answers aren’t always clear, and it’s hard to tell who is controlling who here. And the walls between realities have begun to crack — in more ways than one.
[Warning: WandaVision episode 5 spoilers ahead.]
The fifth episode of WandaVision makes another jump ahead in sitcom-land to a Facts of Life or Full House-style ‘80s show. Wanda and Vision are enjoying the joys of parenthood, taking care of their howling twins, but the oddities of Westview’s reality start to add up.
Agnes, the couple’s nosy neighbor, confusingly asks if Wanda would like her to attempt a second take at a “scene.” The twins magically age up from infants to toddlers, and then from toddlers to ten year olds in the span of a day. Even Vision, who’s typically been oblivious thus far, is suspicious.
At the end of last week’s episode, Monica Rambeau, freed from the “Hex” that’s taken over Westview, declared that “it was all Wanda.” This week gave more context as to the horrifying ramifications of that, as Rambeau describes having her will and independence overwritten by the reality inside the town, something she calls an “excruciating, terrifying violation.”
Similarly, “Norm” — Vision’s co-worker at his unspecified office job — briefly freed from Wanda (or whoever is behind Westview), reveals to Vision that other residents are similarly being controlled. “She’s in my head. None of it is my own. It hurts, it hurts so much. Just make her stop!” he shouts at Vision before returning to his sitcom persona.
Another scene in the episode reveals that whatever Wanda is doing to reality, it’s not just the illusion powers she had shown before. An analysis of Monica’s clothing revealed that her sitcom style outfit was remade out of the Kevlar vest she was wearing when she entered. Wanda is physically changing the nature of objects that enter the Hex.
As my colleague Julia Alexander has pointed out before, there’s comic-book precedent for Wanda’s rewriting of reality: the House of M comic book arc, which sees Wanda rewrite not just a town but the entirety of Earth’s history to suit her ideal vision of the world. As with Westview, the world of House of M wasn’t just an illusion — it was a material, albeit temporary, change to reality itself.
When Vision confronts Wanda about this, though, a doorbell rings to conveniently interrupt their conversation: it’s Wanda’s brother, Pietro Maximoff (aka Quicksilver), the ultra-fast superhero who died in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Except, of course, that it’s not the Pietro Maximoff we know from his previous MCU appearance. That Quicksilver was played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The man at the door — while still boasting the frosted silver hair of the character — is Evan Peters, Marvel’s Quicksilver, but from Fox’s X-Men franchise (best known for his standout slow-motion scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past).
It’s not clear whether this Quicksilver is actually meant to be the one from Fox’s reality, or just a different Quicksilver than the one that perished fighting Ultron, with the actor serving as a neat Easter egg for fans.
Alternate universes, of course, are comic books’ bread and butter, with Marvel at one point featuring dozens of different realities across its books. The company even had an entire, modernized “Ultimates” series of comics that ran alongside the “standard” Marvel universe for years. The multiverse concept has most famously been seen on-screen in Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, but it’s possible that Marvel is bringing that idea to the MCU here — and bringing Disney’s newly acquired Fox-produced X-Men films for the ride.
(It’s important to note that Marvel is definitely not doing one of its quiet recastings, like when Terrence Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle for the role of James Rhodes / War Machine between Iron Man and Iron Man 2 — Darcy comments on the fact that Wanda appears to have “recast Pietro” in-universe, too.)
The ending of the episode sees Vision confront Wanda over the artificial life they’re living in — the strange actions of people around the town, the absence of any children. Wanda insists, again, that she doesn’t know what Vision is talking about and denies being the puppet master pulling the strings of everyone in the town.
Maybe she is telling the truth — Vision suggests that she might simply be doing this subconsciously — or maybe Wanda is just trying to shield Vision from the horrors that she’s had to sacrifice in order to conjure up this life for them. Is she the mastermind behind Westview? Or just another player caught up in a larger scheme?
One thing is clear, though: whether caused by Wanda or some unknown force beyond her, the walls between realities are starting to crack. And based on Quicksilver’s appearance here, it might not just be the ones between Westview and the rest of the Marvel universe.