‘WandaVision’ Episode 6 Review: The New Mutants
The latest episode of WandaVision speeds into the future of the MCU by making mutants of everyone Wanda’s power and grief touches.
Last week’s episode ended with the shocking reveal of Evan Peters in the role of Quicksilver, breaking the wall between the Fox X-Men franchise of mutants and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It remains to be seen whether this Pietro is that Pietro, but Wanda’s actions do have massive consequences for mutants. More on that in a minute.
“All-New Halloween Spooktacular!” advances the narrative of WandaVision into the early 2000s, with the sitcom conceit this week being tied to Malcolm In The Middle, right down to the hilariously 90s opening sequence. Billy and Tommy, Wanda and Vision’s twin sons, fill the role of Malcolm here. Both address the camera directly and comment on the zany lives of their family.
It’s pretty zany. Wanda still isn’t sure about Pietro, who is sleeping on the couch and evidently poaching all of Vision’s clothes. He’s also running around the house (and town) leaving no question he is Quicksilver. Who he really is, though, who Wanda really is, and who SWORD Director Hayward is, are all open to debate.
The nature of reality is a major theme in WandaVision, expertly crafted by head writer and showrunner Jac Schaffer. Identity is another significant concept explored through the lens of the sitcom format, and increasingly, the intrusive diegesis of the MCU. No one in Westview, and really even beyond, is who they truly seem to be.
Quicksilver acts in the role of the older, wayward brother. He’s conscious of his role in Westview, and the sitcom conceit, as becomes clear in the episode. Wanda has a near-constant raised eyebrow with him, but her attempts to pin him down don’t get very far. “I’m just trying to do my part,” he says when she questions him. “That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?”
In a nice bit of meta fun, she asks him what happened to his accent and he shoots the question right back at her. WandaVision has clearly established that Wanda is sublimating it, as she is all remnants of her grief and trauma, but still, it’s fun. What isn’t fun is the nightmarish hint of Pietro’s true identity.
“Details are fuzzy,” Pietro says. “I got shot like a chump in the street for no reason at all.” Wanda doesn’t press him on this, and later, she sees a bloody, shot image of him just as she saw the dead visage of Vision in episode three.
Quicksilver being shot in the street can’t be anything but a direct reference – and possibly a shot itself – at how Pietro died in Age Of Ultron. Wanda has Vision’s body, but she can’t possibly have her brother’s. How and why this version of Pietro came to be remains a mystery.
It’s not all horror. The episode dives right into Halloween, teased in some of the trailers. This is a fantastic callback for comics fans for a couple of reasons. One, Wanda is finally in her classic Scarlet Witch costume (here indebted to a Sokovian fortune teller). So is Vision, evidently a Mexican wrestler, complete with gym trunks.
The best part is that Quicksilver gets his classic Marvel Comics costume as well, right out of the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants, and the teased hair. It’s brilliant and hysterical and there need to be action figures of all three of them ASAP. Wanda honestly has never looked better, simple as her costume is. Keeping the head crest at least would be a good idea.
Vision is also seeking answers. He’s been suspicious of Wanda and Westview for a while now and he uses Halloween to go undercover. His journey leads him to startling discoveries. Some of the residents are trapped in feedback loops, or simply frozen, like defunct animatronic figures in a theme park ride. One of them is Agnes.
There seems little doubt that Agnes is in fact Agatha Harkness, a sorceress and mentor to Wanda in the comics. The hidden references in the series as well as her witch costume seem to seal that. Her exact role in the story, like Pietro’s, remains a mystery. Vision finds her at the edge of a town in a car, evidently trying to leave.
She’s frozen as well and when he wakes her up by zapping her with some of his energy as he did his co-worker last week. Agnes says Wanda doesn’t want anyone to leave and recognizes Vision as one of the Avengers. He doesn’t remember any of this, or as she bluntly points out, that he’s dead.
Who Vision is and how he’s returned have been the subject of a lot of debate, especially on The Movie News Network podcast. He has agency, clearly, choosing to walk through the barrier on the edge of Westview. He has power, it seems, but it and his reality, such as it is, crumbles the minute he steps out. This leads to the most frightening part of the episode.
Tommy and Billy develop mutant powers over the course of the episode, in line with their comic book versions. Billy telepathically senses the plight of his father and warns Wanda. Sensing she’s about to lose Vision, she extends the boundary of Westview with her ‘hex-power.’ This envelopes the entire SWORD operation, including Darcy. All of them are converted into characters in the sitcom-reality of the town, though just who Darcy becomes is left a mystery (a good bet is she’ll be some kind of waitress).
Director Hayward escapes, barely, and so do Monica Rambeau and Jimmy Woo. Monica is critical to understanding the longer-term implications of just what is happening in WandaVision. As discussed on the podcast, Monica has been altered by her experience in Westview. Darcy explains her cells are being rewritten. This is the gradual development of Monica’s superpowers and her becoming her comic book alter ego, Spectrum (she started off as Captain Marvel in the comics in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 back in 1982).
Wanda’s decision to impose her will on reality even further has dramatic implications far beyond Monica. A lot of speculation has centered around the House Of M, the seminal 2005 comic book storyline written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Olivier Coipel that is a clear influence on this series. In that story, Wanda decimates mutants with a few words: ‘No more mutants.’
Mutants of course don’t exist in the MCU, yet, due to the rights issues that led to the creation of Marvel Studios in the first place. The DNA of House Of M is embedded in WandaVision, though the circumstances are different. Her grief over the loss of her family led her to destroy mutants. Some have speculated in the MCU she will create them.
That may actually happen.
The latent background radiation emanating from the hex surrounding Westview alters cells. DNA. It’s likely to alter more than just Monica Rambeau. If Wanda continues to extend the hex, possibly around the world, or if reality does breakdown completely, through space and time, then people will mutate. She will create mutants.
Pietro may or may not be the Quicksilver from the Fox films, but he may be the harbinger of one of the biggest magic acts in Marvel history: making something appear out of nowhere.
- Tommy and Billy get in on the costume action, too, wearing Halloween versions of their Speed and Wiccan costumes respectively.
- The entire Halloween sequence is a nod to 1985 The Vision And The Scarlet Witch limited series by Steve Englehart and Richard Howell.
- Hayward and SWORD can track Vision inside Westview by his vibranium signature. Hayward at least is clearly up to no good and it seems likely that Wanda broke him out of the SWORD lab because they were experimenting on him.
- Wanda doesn’t know how she came to Westview or how she’s controlling people.
- Monica’s aerospace engineer remains a mystery – who could it be? We’ll likely find out next week. They’re bound to be somebody important given the buildup. Early speculation centers on Reed Richards, and given the events of the series so far, no one should be surprised if it is him.
- Jimmy Woo’s missing witness also continues to be a mystery.
- The Incredibles is one of the movies playing at the theater in town square suggesting this episode takes place in 2004.
- The 90s appear to have been skipped completely, except for a flashback to Wanda and Pietro in Sokovia as children. This begs a lot of questions – even from Wanda herself – as it doesn’t line up with her memory. This also hints that time itself could be altered by the hex, or Wanda is skipping this decade like she skipped her accent.
- The ad this week, for Yo-Magic, is brutal but very 90s with the stop motion.
- Quicksilver points out there are children all of a sudden in Westview. They weren’t before Tommy and Billy. The mantra of everything being ‘for the children,’ impelled by Dottie in the second episode, seems even more ominous now. Dottie remains MIA.
Darby Harn is a contributor for Screenrant, CBR.com, Star Wars News Net, and Movie News Net. He is the author of the sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, and other venues.