Bringing to us the first reality-blended episode of the series, WandaVision absolutely shined with its most heart-racing, suspenseful, and thrilling piece to date. The amount of tension packed into seemingly each minute of this half-hour episode made it feel as though you’ve just watched a full hour of non-stop action. While we watch S.W.O.R.D. organize the outer reality in a way we haven’t experienced before, the inner reality starts to get pulled apart at the edges, threatening (and succeeding) to implode any attempted sitcom episode.
The true reason for the erosion of the sitcom reality (or, as now termed, “Hex”) is the newfound mental combat between Wanda and Vision. For Wanda, it is now clear to us that she is aware of at least a major part of her role in creating and running the Hex. However, this leads to several problems as her casted neighbors begin tripping up—for example, Agnes asks Wanda if she should take her scene from the top. These newfound errors would suggest that Wanda was previously not fully aware of or in conscious control of Westview, as things seemed to go much more smoothly before she took the initiative to cast out Monica Rambeau.
Vision, for his part, seems to be somewhat immune—for now—to Wanda’s control of all of the Westview residents. He begins picking up on clues that something isn’t right, and eventually is able to bring Norm out of his Wanda-induced state. Norm pleads that he is suffering underneath his warped reality is a palpable moment that continues to move the needle from Wanda being a hero-like protagonist to a villain. Vision eventually confronts Wanda at the end of the episode, pleading to her to stop controlling Westview and revealing that he does not remember his life before Westview. He boldly tells Wanda that she can’t control him, but she threatens: “Can’t I?”
Outside the Hex, S.W.O.R.D. is mobilizing to take on Wanda and the Hex. However, the contrasting views of Director Hayward and Rambeau—among others—as to how to perceive Wanda as a threat creates a simultaneous tension to that inside the Hex. While Rambeau argues that she does not see Wanda as a terrorist, the rest of S.W.O.R.D. can’t help but fear the extent of Wanda’s power, coupled with her past as an agent of HYDRA and the Lagos disaster from Captain America: Civil War. We learn that Wanda broke into S.W.O.R.D. facilities nine days before this episode and stole Vision’s dead body.
A preeminent theme in this episode is the long-awaited recognition of Wanda’s incredibly powerful abilities and how they are manifesting to make Wanda a dangerous and threatening entity rather than the hero Avenger we knew her as previously. Those at S.W.O.R.D. are beginning to piece together how exactly the Hex reality is formed, concluding that Wanda is modifying real objects to fit into her themed sitcom decades—permanently. When Rambeau described her experience in the Hex, she says she does not remember much, but that an overwhelming veil of grief suppressed her ability to be of her own mind while there.
Death is another major theme in the episode. It is still unclear how Wanda is able to reanimate a dead Vision, but what is clear is that her grief over his death is driving her to create a world in which they can be together. Within the sitcom episode—set to the growth of the twins—the family dog that was just taken in dies in an accident. It was excruciating to watch Wanda admit to Tom and Billy that there are “rules in life” and that death is final and cannot be undone. With Vision’s obvious exception in the background, we can see Wanda struggle with her own decisions and her own sense of right and wrong in the use of her powers. A major moment is the final scene in the episode, where her twin brother Pietro seemingly appears at her door. Interesting, though, is that her actual brother does not appear to come back from the dead, but is rather “recast” from a different character. This is likely Wanda circumventing her own rules on reanimating the dead, or perhaps simply a limitation in her powers to do so.
While hard to choose the greatest moment in the episode, Wanda leaving the Hex to confront S.W.O.R.D. may very well take the cake. This is the first time we see a familiar MCU Wanda, and seeing her out of the sitcom is undeniably a watershed moment for the series. The way in which she confidently—and menacingly—tells S.W.O.R.D. to leave her reality alone cements her role as the overarching ruler of the Hex, leaving little room to wonder if another entity has any role at all in her reality. This scene really sets up a Wanda-against-the-world showdown that is much more exciting now that we’ve seen her non-sitcom self.
5.5 rapidly-growing children out of 5
Episode 5 is easily the best episode of the series, surpassing even the prowess of the previous episode. Featuring both the Hex reality and actual reality is what the series had led up to, and it paid off in its first attempt. The non-stop pushing and pulling between characters in both realities made for a beautiful edge-of-your-seat experience, and this episode features the most amount of action yet.
We get an in-MCU recognition that Wanda could have defeated Thanos on her own.
Monica Rambeau seems to be tense or uncomfortable when Woo and Darcy bring up Captain Marvel.
It is still confirmed that Wanda has not assumed her “Scarlett Witch” moniker yet.
Whether or not Evan Peters as Pietro acknowledges a multiverse, it is exciting casting.