“It’s a pretty big leap from giving people nightmares and shooting red wiggly worms out of your hands!” Pietro tells Wanda, now a firm fixture in WandaVision after last week’s franchise-crossing revelation. Now playing the comedy uncle to little Tommy and Billy, Pietro seems to be more self-aware than anyone else in Westview – maybe because he’s not a hypnotised “real person”, but a physical projection of Wanda’s own mind?
Either way, the new Pietro seems impressed with what she’s built in the town, and he doesn’t mind reminding her that it’s all fake. Half wish-fulfilment, half evil shoulder devil, he spends most of this week’s episode making her come to terms with what she’s really doing to all the townsfolk – some now starting to break, stuck in a loop, silently crying. More importantly, Pietro also keeps reminding Wanda that Vision is dead – which makes it all the more painful when we watch him bust through the hex and start crumbling back into a corpse in the real world.
Before all that though, it’s time to enjoy the ’90s. After one of the show’s best fake opening credits ever (it’s all very Malcolm In The Middle) we’re straight into baggy jeans, curtains hair and a grungy new filming style that sees the twins talking directly to camera. It’s Halloween in Westview, and everyone is dressing up as superheroes – with the Vision family all donning original era Lycra suits to keep the comic fans happy.
All except Agnes, that is, who dresses up as a bog-standard witch and gives us another less-than-subtle clue about who she really is (in the comics, she’s Wanda’s all-powerful mentor). Whether she’s faking it or not, Vision finds her frozen behind the steering wheel staring blankly at the edge of town, which is enough of a hint for him to start pushing his way through the energy field to see what’s on the other side.
And that’s not the only glitch in the Hex (Darcy’s nickname for the Westview bubble). Pietro uses his super-speed powers whenever he feels like it (without anyone else in town seeming to notice) and Wanda seems less concerned with keeping up her “normal” act than ever. When Tommy and Billy start showing off their own superpowers, Westview begins to look even odder than normal in the middle of a family sitcom.
Outside town, Monica, Darcy and Jimmy have all been thrown off the S.W.O.R.D. base by Director Hayward, and have disguised themselves as agents to sneak back in. When Vision breaks through the barrier, both sides of the story find each other and all hell breaks loose – Vision’s body melting back into the way it looked after Thanos ripped his brain out, Darcy getting handcuffed to a car for trying to help, and Wanda freaking out enough to make the Hex start expanding.
In one of the niftiest looking set-piece sequences in the MCU in years, Wanda’s nostalgia bubble suddenly grows another few hundred feet – sucking the entire S.W.O.R.D. base back into the ’90s. Agents become clowns, helicopters turn into hot air balloons and the whole facility instantly transforms into a traveling circus. Hayward escapes just in time, but Darcy (and presumably also Monica and Jimmy?) gets swallowed up by the Hex. Does this mean they’ll all be hypnotised next week, with no one on the outside to try and rescue them? More importantly, what classic noughties clothes will they all be wearing?
- The costumes in this week’s episode are a treasure trove of Easter eggs – from Wanda, Vision and Pietro’s original era comic looks, to the subtle nods to the X-Men universe in helmet design, background baddies and hidden yellow crosses.
- The cinema is showing The Incredibles and The Parent Trap – putting this week’s episode either in 1998 or 2004. More likely though it was just a chance to nod to Disney’s other super-family and mischievous twins.
- “Kickass?” Wanda’s throwaway line is too mean a joke for anyone who preferred seeing Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the Quicksilver role (and another sly nod to some non-MCU Marvel property).
- The ad break gave us a stop-motion comedy about a stranded kid dying because he couldn’t open his yogurt pot. A reference to Pietro’s real fate?