WandaVision Episode 5 – On A Very Special Episode… Review

It’s getting harder and harder to write these up without divulging some of the interesting and intriguing things that are being revealed. I’ll still try not to give too much about ON A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE… away but, with a heavy heart, I’m going to slap this post with a warning for…

***SPOILERS & SPECULATION***

We can’t really begin this review anywhere but the ending, where WANDAVISION drops its biggest – and potentially most baffling – bombshell yet. I’m not going to say any more than that save I can’t help but feel it’s yet another masterful act of misdirection from the series’ creators and Marvel’s overall plan. As much as it gives this episode – the series’ longest to date – a final flourish (and irresistible tease for what possibly comes next) it also serves to distract from the cornucopia of answers, suggestions, hints and clues peppered through this pivotal midseason masterpiece.

We open on the 1980s iteration of the WANDAVISION sitcom and once again the interior décor and structure of the house have subtly changed with the times. While it’s clear that Wanda’s psyche is growing ever more fragile, the series opts to obliquely acknowledge the very real psychological and physical strain of being a new parent by showing the newborn twins’ resistance to Wanda’s hexing. Of course, as every new parent knows, one of the blessings and burdens of having a new baby can be the neverending cavalcade of callers eager to offer assistance and support and, of course, get a peek at the new arrivals. And so it is in Westview when, it seems, for whenever Wanda needs a helping hand, who should appear but Agnes (Katherine Hahn).

Wandavision On A Very Special Episode... Review

Her arrival this time results in one of the most unsettling moments of the series so far, one which not only serves to heighten Vision’s growing suspicions but also all but confirms that Agnes may be the only other resident of Westview who is fully cognizant that the environment is unreal and that Wanda is in creative control, superficially at least. And all of this happens before the opening credits, credits which – with pitch-black foreshadowing – are a homage to FAMILY TIES.

After the catch-up of WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM last week, we’re now treated to the two storylines running concurrently so after the opening titles we pick up with Monica Rambeau and her S.W.O.R.D. debriefing. Although it’s glossed over fairly quickly, it’s noted that there’s something very odd about Rambeau’s scan results – which may presage some superpowered shenanigans in her future, hardly a surprise given her exposure to ‘massive amounts of cosmic background radiation’.

S.W.O.R.D. director Hayward is unsurprised by Rambeau’s findings that Wanda may behind the whole thing given that nine days previously she stormed S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters and stole Vision’s body in a fit of ‘grief’. Darcy and Agent Woo come up with some ideas to contact residents within Westview and while the attempt to contact Vision yields some results, Rambeau’s peaceful attempt to speak with Wanda is undermined by a trigger happy and director Hayward provoking a confrontation and a warning from Wanda herself.

Inside the hexagonal exclusion zone of Westview, though, ON A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE… packs in enough sitcom tropes for an entire season, centring on the two new arrivals as it does so. Agnes is ever present and conspicuously untroubled when the twins exhibit abilities that even Wanda can’t control. For the first time, there’s real tension and disconnection between Wanda and Vision. It’s a masterstroke of writing in that it not only fits where the contemporary season is but also blends nicely with the sitcom pastiche of the 1980s when the shows started to tackle more conflicted and controversial storylines than previous decades.

It’s a barnstorming episode, full of incident and interesting developments and, even taking into account the WTF?-worthy final moments, ON A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE… leaves us with plenty to think about.

  • What is the point of all this? Is it really Wanda behind it all, or is she merely a conduit, or a tool, for someone or something else?
  • Are the children the target? Agnes is certainly more present since they’ve been born.
  • Is the fact the Westfield zone hexagonal significant? There were six infinity stones after all…

As if lockdown wasn’t bad enough, the weekly wait for a new WANDAVISION episode is making time move like molasses. If only I had a Time Stone to hand. Never before have I encountered a series which has left me so conflicted between enjoying the pleasure and pain of speculation and anticipation of each weekly episode drop and the gratification of binging the whole lot in one great WANDAVISION bacchanalia.

Anyway, until next week I can console myself with the fact it’s finally been acknowledged onscreen and therefore in canon, that Wanda was capable of defeating Thanos single-handedly and would have done so had he not decided to etch-a-sketch the ENDGAME battlefield.

score-9

9/10

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