The alternative title for Episode 6 could well be, “Beyond Ellis Street”, as the episode is ultimately founded in where the inside edges of the Hex are, their significance to the Maximoff Anomaly, their ability to rip apart, and their wild expansion in the finale of the episode. Looking at these edges as metaphors for edges of control, power, interpersonal relationships, and ethics, the rest of the episode can be looked at in terms of the edges explored.
First, we begin to see our first sense of bona fide plot on the outside of the Hex with S.W.O.R.D., after Hayward kicks out Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy for not being on board with his more destructive and violent ideas on how to deal with Wanda. A few episodes ago, S.W.O.R.D. looked like a well-oiled, cohesive machine. The pieces seemed to be pulling apart, but the edge of what S.W.O.R.D. would truly be in the series was made clear, and our main outside protagonists are on the other side of it.
There are still questions about the edge of the control Wanda has and is utilizing over the townspeople. Obviously, the discovery of the edges of town, where people and time seem to stand still, is an ominous look at Wanda’s mental image of what her ideal Westview would be. Clearly, we see the family in the parts of town that are integral to the functioning of the reality, but the places that go unused are unused by Wanda’s control other than by freezing the residents there. In addition, it still isn’t clear if Wanda’s relationship to the townspeople has changed—why are the characters now explicitly asking her if she would like something changed? This was absent in the first few episodes where Wanda’s powers seemed to have stronger control over the community. Are we seeing the edges of her ability to completely mold each resident beginning to shrink as she becomes more aware of her role overseeing the Hex?
We also see the edges of Wanda’s personal relationship show. Obviously, Vision’s suspicions have been growing for quite some time now, and the tension pulling them apart is clearly reaching its maximum capacity. But more on Vision later. A major inclusion in this episode is Pietro, who presents as a different-looking-but-still-the-same-person twin from Age of Ultron. Interestingly, Pietro seems to know everything about the Hex and Wanda’s role in it, and talks to her casually about it. Wanda is clear suspicious of him, testing him with questions about their past, and she has every reason to be. Not only does he look like a completely different person for an unexplained reason, but he seems to know too much and poke the Wanda bear—so to speak—with respect to digging deeper into how Wanda created the Hex. Pietro definitely gave off feelings of a spy sent in, presumably by S.W.O.R.D.
Pietro and Wanda do though have an interesting conversation about the ethics of Westview. While Pietro unconvincingly enthusiastically assures Wanda that what she is doing to the townspeople is fine, Wanda asks if he doesn’t think what she is doing is wrong. It is also revealed why there were no children previously seen in the series—Wanda kept them asleep in their beds to not assert her powers over the vulnerable children, but let them run loose during this Halloween episode. It begs the question of what the consequences of a destroyed Hex on Billy and Tommy would be, given that they were created by Wanda within Westview. Now that they are older and have started exhibiting their powers, what ethical considerations are there for their creation in the first place? In the past, Wanda expressed no concern about the ethics of what she was doing in Westview, but the edges of that confidence are clearly showing.
Lastly, of course, is Vision’s journey in this episode. The suspense that has been building between Wanda and Vision due to Vision’s suspicion of Westview, Wanda’s role in it, and his own emptiness of understanding of who he is comes to a head in Episode 6 as he takes it upon himself to investigate it. He travels to the edge of town, where he sees Agnes. He temporarily suspends Wanda’s control over her and she recognizes him as an Avenger. To that, Vision heartbreaking responds, “What’s an Avenger?”, cementing the fact that this is not the Vision we truly knew before in the MCU. Vision attempts to break the energy barrier, and his body makes it through to the other side, but the barrier pulls on him, making it impossible for him to truly leave. The edge’s pull and force begin to literally rip him apart, while S.W.O.R.D. just looks on. It is truly a devastating and almost violent scene to watch—it seems as though Vision genuinely can never leave Westview, and the fact that he is resurrected mysteriously inside the Hex, despite being dead in the outer reality, is the likely cause.
The episode ends with Wanda learning that Vision is dying outside the barrier. Instead of panicking, she seems to take full advantage and confidence in her power and freezes all those around her, and then dramatically expand the edges of the Hex, taking in much of the surrounding area and nearly all of S.W.O.R.D. into its web, saving Vision.
4 Man-Children out of 5
Episode 6 mostly presents as a lower-stakes episode than the past couple. We spend more time with the 90s sitcom and there was fewer instances of interaction between the outer- and inner-Hex. However, the end of the episode creates likely the most significant jump in plot of the series thus far, and promises to springboard this action into the final three episodes of the series.
- Our superhero family all don their classic comic book looks for Halloween.
- The fact that Monica has passed through the energy barrier multiple times is likely setting up the origin of her powers in the MCU.
- Hayward alludes to increased anti-superhero sentiment garnered during the Blip.