” On a Very Special Episode…” centers on both the 1980’s sitcom Westview World and S.W.O.R.D investigating Wanda Maximoff ‘s Anomaly.
WandaVision Episode Five, directed by Matt Shakman, shows Vision realizing that Wanda is the puppet master in Westview while Monica Rambeau argues that Scarlet Witch is not a terrorist. Family Ties directly influences 1980s Sitcom Westview World. Wanda’s world unravels with Monica, Vision, and the rest of S.W.O.R.D. on her tail. She may be one of the most powerful Avengers, but that doesn’t mean she can outrun grief.
My only minor issue with ” On a Very Special Episode …” is Wanda’s accent. She is a native of the Eastern European country of Sokovia. Wanda and Pietro were first featured in Avengers: Age of Ultron as Hydra agents who joined the Avengers when they realized that Ultron is evil. They were given their powers when Hyrda experimented on them with Loki’s scepter. But sadly, Pietro died battling Ultron. Wanda had an Eastern European accent, but it vanishes by Avengers: Infinity War. The explanation is Natasha Romanoff trained her to be a spy. Wanda has to speak with an American accent to blend in. I am OK with this explanation, but why does she suddenly have an accent when she comes out of the Westview forcefield? Wanda throws the 1980’s surveillance drone back to Director Hayward and Monica. When she warns S.W.O.R.D. to stay away, her Sokovian accent is suddenly back. The presence of her accent makes zero sense. Wanda has an American accent throughout all her scenes the within Sitcom Westview World. Maybe Shakman is trying to establish a difference between real Wanda and the one in her created reality, but it’s jarring when her accent vanished a while ago.
The meta elements in the fifth episode help with the worldbuilding and moments of character development. The opening credits for this episode are a direct inspiration from Family Ties. Everything from the coloring of a painting of Wanda, Vision, and their twins to the duet music is straight from the classic 80’s sitcom. Family Ties’ humor comes from the cultural divide between the parents and the children. This episode plays that up—the twins Billy and Tommy age up from babies to five-year-olds then to ten years olds. Vision reads Darwin to calm the baby twins down, which doesn’t work. When Tommy and Billy get older, they reference Teenage Mutant Turtles and call stuff “rad.”
Meanwhile, Agnes shows that she is aware of what is going on. When Vision stops her from picking up the twins, the neighbor asks Wanda if they should do the “scene” again. Essentially doing another “take.” Wanda acts like she doesn’t understand, then invites Agnes to babysit the babies. Suddenly the neighbor is back to acting like an overly sexed middle-aged homemaker. This scene shows an awareness that they are living a sitcom episode while also moving the story. Agnes’ comments awaken Vision’s suspicions of life in Westview.
There is also a lot of Marvel Easter Eggs. Hayward shows the inter-agency task force footage of Wanda stealing Vision’s corpse from a guarded governmental facility. Jimmy mentions how stealing the corpse is against Section 36 B of the Sokovia Accords. The Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. Inhumans signed the accord. The accords s is referenced in both the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: Civil War. The Sokovia Accords are a set of legal documents that regulate what enhanced human beings can do on Earth to keep an eye on Marvel superheroes. Later in the episode, the inter-agency team talks about how Wanda creates or transforms actual people and objects in the Sitcom Westview World. Everything on screen is not an illusion. Monica talks about how Wanda is powerful enough to take Thanos out, but his blitz attack made it impossible. Her comment was referencing when Scarlet Witch fought Thanos during Avengers: Endgame. Darcy brings up Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers). Since Carol helped raise Monica (from Captain America), it’s suspicious that the captain quickly changes the subject. Perhaps there has been a rift between Carol and Monica. Maybe because Captain Marvel left her and her mother, Maria?
Lastly, “Pietro” comes back at the end of the episode. Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays Pietro (Quicksilver) in the MCU. His powers are running at supersonic speeds. In WandaVision, Pietro is played by Evan Peters. Now, this is an X-Men Easter Egg. Peters performed as the American Mutant Peter Maximoff (Quicksilver). His power is super-speed, and his biological father is Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto). Quicksilver is first seen in X Men: Days of Future Past. Peter helps Charles (Professor X) and Hank (Wolverine) break into a prison to free Erik. I am curious if this means that somehow both Peter and Pietro exist in the MCU or if Peters’ character comes from an alternative universe. Hopefully, the WandaVision writers develop and deepen this Easter Egg jewel. Darcy mentions that Pietro has been recast. The scientist’s comments reference how in some sitcoms, characters are suddenly recast. Also, an awareness that another actor plays Pietro himself in WandaVision. A double meta-reference.
I loved ” On a Very Special Episode …”. We got both a meta sitcom and a serialized mystery crime story. I enjoyed seeing Vision figure out that Wanda created this whole reality. How will Vision react when he learns he is dead? He didn’t want to be resurrected.