Written by David Holland
The most common refrain I hear from people about WandaVision these days is some variation of, “I wish they would just drop all the episodes at once so I could know what happens!” Each episode teases a bit more, while adding new questions, and Episode 6 was no different. Last week was the classic “serious sitcom episode”, so naturally this week we had to follow it up with a Halloween special:
Before we get to the meat, let’s bullet point a few of the fun highlights from this episode:
-Jimmy Woo got his action hero moment
-Comics-accurate costumes for Wanda, Vision, Quicksilver, and Wiccan
-Kat Darcy with the classic Marvel almost-F-word
-Unlocking Billy’s and Tommy’s abilities
-An opening credits scene that reminded me of old school Disney Channel Original Movies for some reason
-Wanda turning militarized surveillance vehicles into funnel cake trucks, a change with which I 100% agree with
What Have We learned?
1. The “Hex” is Rewriting DNA:
According to Kat Darcy, Monica Rambeau’s time in Westview has rewritten her cells. Last episode the techs had a difficult time running tests on her, chalking it up to problems with the machinery. But we know from comics canon that Rambeau becomes superpowered in her own right, taking on the mantle of Captain Marvel before eventually becoming Spectrum. If her brief stint in the Hex could have had such a dramatic impact on Monica, what is it doing to the folks living there full time? Remember Chekov’s Radiation? It’s possible the Hex is killing the people of Westview. I think it’s more likely that it is changing them, possibly giving them powers or even awakening “mutations” in them.
Let’s push this last possibility even further. In the comics, Scarlet Witch is responsible for M-Day, when 90% of Marvel’s mutants were depowered. Could Westview be a reverse M-Day? Wanda pushed the Hex boundaries farther in this episode. What if she pushed them globally? If the Hex awoke latent mutations, could Scarlet Witch be responsible for creating mutants in the MCU? This seems possible, but there are admittedly some problems with the theory. A significant part of the X-Men lore is their persecution through time. Magneto is compelling because of his Holocaust past, Logan fought beside Captain America in World War II, and so on. I’m not sure how this circle gets squared, but one thing is for sure – when the people of Westview leave, they won’t be the same as when they entered.
2. Hayward’s Secret:
Kat discovered that SWORD Director Tyler Hayward has been holding back some of what he has learned about Westview. He has figured out a way to track Vision, but when Vision attempted to leave the Hex, Hayward made no effort to save him. According to Hayward, Wanda stole Vision’s body from a SWORD facility, but when Vision was within reach, Hayward did nothing. I can only think of two reasons for this. Either the Vision in Westview is an illusion that exists only in the Hex and not Vision’s reanimated body, or SWORD wants Vision’s component parts without the pesky person inside. A significant part of Vision’s arc in the comics revolves around his becoming more human. But Vision is part complex AI, part most powerful substance in the world. He might be more useful to SWORD as a weapon, not a person.
3. Wanda’s Attention is Centralized:
As Vision moves further toward Westview’s boundary, the people of the town are even less autonomous. Some repeat the same action over and over while tears run down their faces which is just…. yikes. If you keep going, eventually you get to people who stand still like props. It seems that Westview is most like a paradise wherever Wanda is focused, wherever her attention or the “camera” is paying attention. If you wander out of frame, the background is there just stuck. I also want to bring this up because it reminded me of the scene in the Truman Show where Jim Carrey points out the car driving repeatedly around the block and the bicyclist doing the same motion over and over again. I made the Truman Show reference pretty early on and I am just happy to get even a small amount of payoff!
What Questions Remain?
1. What’s up with Agnes?
This is a relatively minor one, but ever since Agnes was introduced people have been wondering if she is more than she seems. The most common theories are that she is Mephisto, married to Mephisto, or that she is Agatha Harkness, the witch who trains Wanda in the use of magic in the Marvel Universe. Her costume in this episode certainly didn’t do anything to quell that third possibility.
2. Who is Monica’s contact?
Last episode Monica teased a scientist contact who could help her get back into the Hex and potentially negotiate with Wanda. This week that got teased further and, quite frustratingly, we still haven’t gotten a name. I said last week that I believed it could be Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic himself, and I was shocked when a large portion of the internet rallied around that theory (I’m a trendsetter, always have been). But let’s look at some other possibilities. After all, there is no shortage of superintelligent superheroes in the Marvel universe. An obvious choice for a genius scientist would be Bruce Banner, but it feels like they are using this moment to introduce someone new. That would also rule out Doctor Strange, and Strange’s specialties are medicine and magic, not physics. Adam Brashear, aka Blue Marvel, has PhDs in electrical engineering and theoretical physics, and he’s a magna cum laude Cornell grad. I think this makes him just as likely as Reed Richards, maybe even a little bit more.
3. How did the Hex begin?
All along we have been operating under the assumption that the Wanda created the Hex on her own as a paradise for her family. But when Quicksilver asks her point blank how it started, she replies that she doesn’t know. It’s possible she is lying, but she seems genuine. If that’s the case, maybe the Hex has affected her mind in a similar way as everyone else. Or maybe she didn’t create it of her own free will. We know that SWORD director Hayward has been keeping secrets, after all. Wanda has shown just how much her power levels have increased since we first met her in Age of Ultron, but it is still possible that in her grief she was manipulated with the promise of a life with Vision.
4. There’s Plenty More:
We still don’t know the identity of the missing person Jimmy Woo was originally sent to find. We still can’t be sure just how real Billy and Tommy (or should I say Speed and Wiccan) are. And the big one – what does the X-Men franchise version of Quicksilver portend for the future of mutants in the MCU? Each of these questions deserve their own treatments, but all we can say for now is that there are 3 hour long episodes left and they better be all treats and no tricks!