Welcome back to WandaVision, which has now become an '80s sitcom. Wanda is in charge, though she's seriously losing her grip. She has to personally whip out her accent to threaten S.W.O.R.D. and even within her show, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) goes so far as to ask her if she wants to try a particular line over again as if the whole thing was being shot in front of a live studio audience — and Agnes was aware of that.
If it was, that audience would have been going crazy at the end of Episode 5, "On a Very Special Episode…"
Things did go crazy though, and many fans watching probably did too. The entire episode was loaded with references and revelations as both Wanda and Vision got cracking… but then the Marvel Cinematic Universe blew itself up with one ring of the doorbell.
***WARNING: From this point forward there will be major spoilers for Episode 5 of WandaVision. If you haven’t watched it yet, read no further. Get off of the internet entirely. Create your own fake sitcom where you’ll never be spoiled. Get outta here, Dewey!***
Wanda doesn’t control everything. Disney does. Disney and mergers. We'll start there before taking it back a step.
Wanda can’t stop her twins from aging at will, something that starts as a gag but then becomes something the twins want to do to avoid dealing with their dog dying. Wanda tells them not to grow again, despite the urge to run from the grief being powerful. She’s one to talk! At this point, Vision has seriously caught on to what is happening and is horrified after having broken through to his co-worker Norm. Norm is in pain. Almost everyone in Westview is. (None of them are aware that Marvel has the X-Men rights back, either.)
Meanwhile, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) works with Darcy (Kat Dennings) and Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) to try and suss out Wanda’s power levels. The amount of power needed to keep an illusion like the "Hex” going (a name coined by Darcy) is on a level they didn’t know Wanda was capable of. Monica points out that Wanda's always been wildly powerful. She was the only one who came close to taking on Thanos! Of course, Jimmy tosses in that he thinks Captain Marvel did just as well. Monica’s look at the mention of her Aunt Carol could be the subject of a whole other article.
Is Wanda powerful enough to bring a dead dog back to life, though? We learn at the top of the episode that she brought Vision back to life (or did she...? We're still unsure about just how "alive" Vision is) after stealing his massacred, broken corpse from a secure facility, and she did so without the mind stone. She's powerful, she is bending reality, and she can turn bulletproof vests into '70s bell-bottoms and a cute top. When Monica’s idiot boss has a drone take a shot at Wanda, she exits the Hex and tosses it at S.W.O.R.D.'s feet to give them what-for. Said idiot boss (Hayward, maybe HYDRA, definitely an idiot, maybe both) has already dredged up Wanda’s MCU mistakes, with the Lagos incident in Captain America: Civil War right at the forefront. (The show doubled down on this, throwing in a commercial for paper towels that bear the name “Lagos.” They're for when you make a mess you didn’t mean to!)
Vision decides to unsubscribe from this ever-increasingly strange life, and even when Wanda tries to roll credits on him he breaks through, yelling that he doesn’t even know who he is, and the two of them start to face off superhero style. Still, after she and Vision calm the hell down, she confides that she has no idea how her televised delusion even began.
She doesn't even have a fancy superhero name! She’s “Scarlet Witch” in the comics, but here, Jimmy Woo confirms to Hayward that she has “no funny nickname.” If Hayward were in charge of choosing it, he’d call her “Principle Victimizer,” as that is what she’s become after trapping thousands of people in her own wacky reality and forcing them to play at televised suburban bliss.
Once Hayward and Jimmy have that exchange, we realize once again that Wanda has never been called "Scarlet Witch" in the MCU movies before. That made us think of her comic book origins, as well as corporate mergers that could make other connections possible again.
Enter... the X-Men?
Wanda referenced her brother Pietro an episode or so ago, and she talks about him again in this one as she explains what having a sibling means to her boys, who are twins just like she and Pietro. Post-Wanda and Vision's cool-off, the doorbell rings, and Wanda is surprised because she didn’t make it happen. When she opens the door, we see a silvery head of hair. We immediately think that the MCU has brought Pietro Maximoff back to life after making him take a dirt nap in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Welcome back, Aaron Taylor-Johnson!
All together now! "What, didn't see that coming?" Maybe we considered it, but we didn't think they'd do it. Pietro Maximoff was at the door, but it wasn’t Taylor-Johnson. Superhero movies have had two Pietros, always separate. There's the MCU Pietro, and there's the Pietro from the X-Men movies, played by Evan Peters — and that's the Pietro at Wanda's door.
Darcy speaks for all of us when she exclaims: “She recast Pietro?”
Someone recast Pietro, but we don’t think it was Wanda. It could have been Agnes, who has yet to reveal the full array of “tricks” up her sleeve — if she is who a lot of folks think she is. Outside of the show (and the show within the show), Marvel Studios has certainly recast Pietro... with an actor who has played Pietro in more movies than their own Pietro.
It’s gonna take some unpacking, but no matter how you look at it, the fiction of the MCU is seriously reflecting the reality of the Disney-Fox merger. The X-Men movies have never connected to the MCU before, but that was pre-doorbell. This is a post-doorbell world. We thought that Marvel would reboot the mutants after getting the rights back, and it still may, but it won't be without some acknowledgment of what came before. It's unclear if Peters is playing some version of the same Pietro character from Days of Future Past or if the casting is just a meta-wink to the audience. In other words, we don't know yet if the MCU is really opening up that multiverse door, or if Marvel is just teasing us with the options it knows it has now that Disney has the rights to all the previously Fox-owned movie characters. (And we haven't even mentioned the "aerospace engineer" reference Monica drops at one point, which could be taken as a reference to Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four himself.)
Maybe they'll keep it all and weave it in, or maybe they’ll keep just some of the actors and some of the stuff they like and reboot the rest? Was this the big Luke Skywalker-level guest that Olsen has talked about, or will there be more? Magneto was considered a crazy choice in Elizabeth Olsen's Guess the Guest Star Challenge (not a real show BTW). But now?
Anything feels possible. Post-doorbell, it isn't crazy at all. If this show is going to retcon Wanda and Pietro’s MCU origins and adjust them to fit more with the comics (and the incoming merger mutants as well, theoretically), then Magneto could certainly show up. Will the big WandaVision surprise be… Sir Ian McKellen? *Yes, because that's what we want. That's what the doorbell has made us want.)
The House of M possibilities are mounting faster than Wanda’s issues, and this whole show has become one huge, joyous mess of continuity. The Hex is gonna make sure that everything and anything is possible. No amount of “Lagos” paper towels will be able to mop it up. Once Evan Peters comes out of the toothpaste tube, there’s no putting him back.
Nothing in the MCU will ever be the same again.
WandaVision hexes up new episodes on Disney+ every Friday. Hayward sucks.