Aug 17, 2021
I guess you are the boss of me now: WandaVision “All New Halloween Spook-tacular!”
Previously on WandaVision: Vision the Big Red Bot is starting to notice some odd things about the world around him. His house and clothes age at the rate of a decade per day. His kids put on five years before his eyes. His neighbors seem to think they’re actors playing bit parts. And his dead brother-in-law, who used to look like the kid from Kick-Ass, has come back to life looking like the kid from American Horror Story. What’s a godlike android to do?
This week we’re up to the ’90s, and we’re treated to a frenetically edited, home-movie style intro, with a punky alt-rock theme song a la Malcolm in the Middle or Daria. The song has some pointed lyrics: “Don’t try to stop the chaos / Don’t question what you’ve done / The game can try to play us / Sit back and watch the fun.” After the credits, the show continues the Malcolm in the Middle gags, with Wanda and Vision’s pre-teen twins narrating directly to the camera about the Halloween celebrations going on tonight, with liberal use of cut-away gags.
The new Pietro is crashing on the couch until he gets back on his feet, which in sitcom land usually takes 5 or 6 seasons at least. Wanda shows everyone her Halloween costume, a “Sokovian fortune-teller”, which looks an awful lot like her comic book costume.
Vision is similarly in his comic book costume—er, ‘scuse me, he’s a luchador. Pietro jokes with Wanda about the Halloween costumes they used to get as kids, which sets up a cut-away gag about his and Wanda’s awful childhood, but Wanda doesn’t quite remember it that way. Tommy (or Billy, they’re both so dull I honestly can’t be bothered to keep track), relates to the camera how his mom’s been acting weird since her brother came back.
Also, Vision is passively-aggressively fighting with Wanda over her refusal to tell Vision what’s going on with this strange TV universe. He blows off Wanda’s plans to trick-or-treat, saying he has neighborhood watch duty. Pietro volunteers to step in and supervise the kids while they trick-or-treat, whooshing out and grabbing yet more cheesy comic book costumes for himself and Billytommy.
Meanwhile, inside the SWORD base, Hayward is hauling in the remains of the drone he sent in after Wanda last episode. The MCU Side Character Squad—Monica Rambeau, Jimmy Woo, and Darcy—are all mad at him for trying to blow Wanda up. Rambeau points out that they have no idea what will happen to the town if Wanda dies. Hayward accuses Rambeau of being too cushy on the superpowereds—somehow, he knows about Rambeau’s history with Captain Marvel—and says she has no idea what they went through during the five years of the Snap. He orders her off the base, along with Woo and Darcy. Luckily, SWORD goons are just as vulnerable against someone with a small amount of martial arts training as any other goons, and the trio are soon free and in disguise.
During the Halloween festivities, Wanda is peppering Pietro with questions, trying to test whether he’s really her brother. Pietro is more interested in pulling super-speed pranks. Their neighbor Herb, on neighborhood watch, is trying to keep up with all the smashed pumpkins and mysteriously appearing silly string courtesy of Pietro’s antics, but he does have a chance to tell Wanda that Vision isn’t on duty as he had claimed. Instead, Vision is snooping around sections of town where he never goes, and checking out the strange, robotic behavior of the “background players” who live farther away from him and Wanda. One family is doing a grotesque parody of putting up yard decorations, with the man picking up the jack o’ lantern and putting it back over and over, and the woman performing one step of stringing up a plastic skeleton over and over, with a visible tear in her eye.
The fake commercial this week is a typically ’90s in your face! Claymation commercial for “Yo-Magic: the Snack for Survivors!” With typical ’90s bizarreness, it features a kid on a desert island who starves to death because he can’t get the package of yogurt open.
Afterwards, we cut to Wanda making Pietro return all the candy he stole. Pietro complains that he’s just doing what he’s supposed to do: “come to town unexpectedly, create tension with the brother-in-law, stir up trouble with the rugrats, and ultimately give you grief! I mean, that’s what you wanted, right?”
“What happened to your accent?” asks Wanda. “What happened to yours?” retorts Pietro. He then obliquely references the other Pietro’s death in Age of Ultron with, “Details are fuzzy. I got shot in the street like a chump for no reason at all, and the next thing I know, I heard you calling me. I knew you needed me.” This portentious conversation is interrupted by Billy and/or Tommy’s discovery that he has super-speed just like his uncle.
Back on the base, Darcy, in addition to becoming a qualified astrophysicist since the Thor movies, is now a computer hacker as well. She hacks into the base’s network, goes through Hayward’s devices, and finds out he’s discovered a way to look through the barrier any time he likes. It looks like SWORD can track Vision wherever he goes, and they can see whoever’s in Vision’s immediate vicinity. A group of people far on the edge of town are barely moving. “Are they alive?” Woo asks.
Vision strolls down the street in question. Everyone’s acting even more creepy than the last street he was on: they’re standing on their front lawns, in costumes, completely frozen in the act of various Halloween scenes. Vision tries to get a woman’s attention, to no avail. Confident no one is perceiving him, Vision changes into his regular costume and flies above the street. He listens to the excited chatter on one side of town, and turns his head to the other to hear all the noise die away.
There’s a single point of light at the far edge of town. Vision flies down to investigate it. It’s Agnes in a car, frozen at a stop sign, because she “took a wrong turn”. Vision breaks the spell over her with his phasing powers and Agnes recognizes him as an Avenger. “Are you here to help us?” she asks. He does want to help, but has no idea what an Avenger is.
Agnes asks if she’s dead. She thinks that might be the case, because Vision is dead. This is news to Vision. He says he’s going to get outside the town and see what’s going on. “No one leaves,” says Agnes. “She won’t even let us think about it.” Then she starts laughing hysterically so much that Vision puts the spell back on her, vowing to fix things. “Okey-dokey, neighbor!” Agnes says, and drives off.
Rambeau resolves to break back into the Hex, while Darcy tries to dissuade her. Rambeau says, “Worst case scenario, Wanda removes my free will and puts me in ultra low-rise jeans!” But that’s not actually the worst case; according to the medical records Darcy just accessed, going through the Hex twice has scrambled Rambeau’s DNA. Rambeau says she’s heading out to do it anyway despite the risks. Darcy’s going to stay behind and try to crack Hayward’s last firewall, which promises a big reveal.
There’s a celebration going on in the town square, and Wanda shows Pietro around. “Where were you hiding all these kids up till now?” he asks. Wanda is flabbergasted that he is apparently so well apprised. “Hey, don’t get me wrong! You handled the ethical ramifications of this scenario as best you could. Families and couples stay together, most personalities aren’t far off from what’s underneath, people got better jobs, better haircuts for sure…”
“So you don’t think it’s… wrong?” asks Wanda.
“You kidding? I’m impressed!” says Pietro. “Pretty big step up from giving people nightmares and shooting red wiggly-woos out of your hands.” Finally, he asks, “How did you do all this?” Wanda doesn’t know. She was feeling incredibly alone, and the next thing she knew, this happened. As she speaks these words, Pietro’s bullet wounds suddenly appear, and his skin turns blue and corpsey. But when Wanda looks back again, he’s fine.
Darcy finds a file full of secret weapons intel called “Cataract” and forwards it in an email to Woo. Meanwhile, Hayward and assorted goons are watching Vision approach the boundary of the Hex, and they move out to intercept him. Vision forces his way through the wall of static at the town’s edge. “He really does want out, doesn’t he?” remarks Hayward. But the field is sucking him backwards as if by magnetism; only his android super-strength allows him to nearly escape it, and as soon as he does he starts getting pulled apart piece by piece. Darcy, watching from a distance, cries out for someone to help him, but then she’s apprehended and handcuffed to a Jeep.
The twin who doesn’t have super speed (Blommy?) starts manifesting his own powers, sensing psychically that his father is in danger. He tells his mom that he sees his dad surrounded by soldiers and beginning to disintegrate. “Don’t sweat it, sis,” says Pietro, “not like your dead husband can die twice.” Wanda shuts him up by hurling him across the town square with a red blast of magic. She then freezes the town and begins expanding the Hex zone out to encompass Vision and save him from grisly death.
Rambeau and Woo are in an SUV driving out of town to meet Rambeau’s soon-to-be-revealed MCU guest star who’s going to be giving her a ride into the Hex. They see the wall of static move toward them and drive faster to outrun it. Darcy, still handcuffed and now abandoned, has no such luck, and the field encompasses her. All the prefab military buildings of the surrounding SWORD base get turned into circus tents, while the SWORD goons left behind mutate into clowns and other circus performers. The field grows further, to encompass a used car lot, but Wanda doesn’t have any goofy idea for that one so she just changes all the cars into contemporary ’90s cars. And then the episode unceremoniously ends.
Next week: Since next week brings us up to the 2000s, a never-seen documentary crew will begin following Wanda and Vision around and capturing their dysfunctional household in verité style for no particular reason.