WandaVision S01E06 – All-New Halloween Spooktacular

So. In the first couple of episodes, our heroes on the outside (you know, the non-white male, the non-male white, and the non-white, non-male leads) had asked Wanda who had mercilessly trapped her in an idyllic suburban home, married to her true love, surrounded by generous neighbors, faced with low-stakes conflicts, and amply provided for. Later episodes revealed that Wanda was doing it to herself and is in fact terrorizing and mind-controlling said neighborhood with a glowy red fist.

I, however, am going back to my original prediction: someone else is behind it (probably Agnes). Here’s why I think it. During the incompetently-written staff meeting in the previous episode, one line stood out prominently. It was supposed to: it was clear, direct, and to the point. Director Hayward (a white male) referred to Wanda as “the principle victimizer,” “not the victim.” And by this line, the show writers have tipped their hand. Someone whom the show has coded as “bad, untrustworthy,”–a middle-aged white male who is not particularly physically attractive and occupies a position of authority–has identified someone whom we are primed to sympathize with as “not a victim.”

You see, in modern media, being a victim is a good thing.

Wanda cannot be a victimizer, because that is (usually, unless you’re targeting a conservative woman) a bad thing. Wanda must be a victim in this scenario because this is the only way she can remain a hero. A protagonist. A good guy. Someone with whom the audience can sympathize. Why can’t a protagonist–a hero, even–fail, fall, and, in the course of a story, do terrible things? Because failure to live up to a moral or ethical standard is not allowed. What are standards, anyway? Regret for past deeds is not allowed, because active protagonists aren’t allowed. Redemption is not allowed.

After all, that would just be blaming the victim–wouldn’t it?

Plus, as our Previously On points out, the Mind-Controlled-Guy never used the named “Wanda,” when telling Vision about being mind controlled. He just said “she”, “her.” So, yeah, at this point my money’s on Agnes, or even! Agnes’ never-actually-seen husband Ralph, upon whom strong suspicion is falling that he’s Mephisto or some such.

ANYHOW, so that’s my thoughts as of the end of the Previously On.

So the opening credits are filmed home-video style by one of the twins. I’m going to guess this is the 90s-sitcom homage (90s TV is a blank spot to me, because I didn’t watch it as a kid, but then so are the oughts and teens). My main question is, what is Agnes doing in their house going through their fridge?

After credits, the twins helpfully let us know that it’s Halloween, and Halloween means candy. One of them is dressed up as I’m guessing Dr. Strange, while the other one is dressed as “the cool twin.” Hah. Uncle Pietro, meanwhile, is snoring on the couch (“It’s four in the afternoon and I’m afraid he’s a vampire.” Hehhhhh) until he isn’t and between the three of them the boys make enough noise to bring Mama downstairs in her costume.

“Woah Mom, are you Old Red Riding Hood?” Pffft. Pietro also mocks the costume. The twins are also directly addressing the camera periodically.

Vision makes a very fast exit to guard the neighborhood trees against toilet-paper (that sounds SO wrong)–completely shutting Wanda down when she starts to protest that this is not how it’s suppos…ed…to…go…

Uncle Pietro and the non-lame twin dress up as…Wolverine? They have plans to use up the rest of the hair gel, that’s all I know. See, the sitcom parts of this show are funny! Especially when they’re interwoven with more serious, plot-relevant bits, such as Wanda’s mom-exasperation slash slow realization that she’s not in complete control of the plot anymore.

Unfortunately, we now switch back to the Real World (TM), where our white male authority figure is being berated for his decision-making inability by our non-white female and mocked by the white female. Hah. It’s unprofessional of him, but he does get one zinger in when he asks them which one is the sassy best friend.

Anyhow, he’s in Team Take Out The Threat, and while his thinking is one-dimensional, it is also largely correct given the data they have. Monica points out, however, that his thinking is one-dimensional. And, and, okay. What the hell kind of leader is this? No, what the hell? Seriously, THE LEADERSHIP WAS BETTER THAN THIS AT THE TIGER SANCTUARY WHERE IT WAS COMPRISED WASHED OUT EX-MILITARY AND MENTALLY ILL CAT LADIES….because at least they would explain to you why they were or weren’t doing something. That explaination was generally either, “we have orders not to,” “we don’t have orders to,” or, “we don’t have money.” And, occasionally, “because the tigers don’t like it.”

And thus, Monica concludes that her group of righteous (nonwhite+male) heroes have been sidelined for a reason. Fortunately, they do have at least one male on the team, because having Monica take out all their guards by herself would have been awkward. After stuffing their S.W.O.R.D. coworkers into a shipping container, they head off.

Back at the trick or treat, (“UNLEASH HELL, DEMONSPAWN!”….yeah, okay, I’m going to say Caroline Furlong called it) Wanda has reached the point of wondering why her brother looks different now? And has no accent?

But then it turns out (as Herb-slash-Frankenstein’s-Monster explains), there’s been a sudden rash of candy theft, jack-o-lantern smashing, and malicious and wanton silly-stringing that the neighborhood watch needs to investigate. Only….Vision isn’t on duty right then. Herb asks if Wanda wants him to do something, or change something, or…no? Okay, great. 

In fact, Vision wandering down a different street, watching some woman who is trying and failing to hang up her Halloween decorations, while silently crying.

We then have a commercial about how you should not trust sharks who deliver magic yogurt cups to you when you’re starving on a desert island and have no food.

Pietro explains why he’s there: to cause trouble and give her grief–it’s what she wanted. Isn’t it?. Why-why? He doesn’t know that….all he knows is he heard her calling and knew she needed him. On the one hand, aw.

So on the outside, our (non…look, you get the idea. If you haven’t, I’ll repeat it slowly. The people who are not middle-aged, Caucasian males holding positions of authority in government agencies, people who are sympathetic to our protagonists, and people who, and this is important, know that watching television is a very, very vital step to solving the world’s problems), sneak into one of the command tents so they can watch the WandaVision broadcast on TV.

Miss Doctor Lewis (wasn’t she an astrophysicist? I distinctly remember we had a whole scene where she was snooty to some other people who were just engineers or something) is also an expert hacker suddenly. Turns out Hayward has been able to look through the barrier for a while. He’s tracking Vision and his immediate surroundings. Turns out, people further from the center of town aren’t moving very much/don’t get very much processing power applied to them.

Vision, faced with this same realization, resumes his own form and takes off for an overhead view. He spots Agnes, dressed as a witch, in a car at the border. She claims to have gotten lost and Vision decides to free her. She immediately recognizes him as Vision, one of the Avengers….is he here to help? He confirms that he is Vision, but doesn’t remember the Avengers, and then she starts shouting that it’s because he’s dead. Dead. DEAD. Yeah, helpful.

Vision tells her that he’s trying to get outside and get in touch with forces who can help them but Agnes tells him that’s impossible. Wanda won’t let it happen, won’t even let them think about the outside. Okay, that is a blow to my theory but not an impossible one, because then Agnes starts cackling in a rather witchy fashion. Vision un-frees her and then strides off towards the outskirts of town.

Meanwhile. Monica (you know the drill), is about to get her ride back into the hex.–if you recall, the twenty-ton movable fallout shelter someone she just happened to know just happens to be able to deliver. Miss Doctor Lewis, however, tells her that the Hex has rewritten her at the molecular level and is continuing to do so. (THAT IS SOOOOOooooooOOOOOOO lame compared to getting your powers during a gunfight with space drug smugglers! Damn.)

Monica heroically declares that she’s Going To Help Wanda! Darcy decides to stay in the warm and safe place and continue hacking. Hayward still has something big hidden, because of course he does. It’s probably the hidden master file of the Trump Tapes.

Back in the straw maze, Pietro a) references hell again, b) asks Wanda where all the kids running around have been for the past few episodes, c) complements her on handling the ethics of her fantasy scenario just about as well as is possible. People get jobs! Couples stay together! New haircuts! But then he asks her: how did you do this?…you can tell me, I’m not your husband.

Wanda doesn’t know or can’t remember….and has a quick flash to Pietro as a corpse. She doesn’t want to think about this….or someone else doesn’t want her to.

Back at the base, our astrophycisist continues hacking into the director’s eyes-only files. He, meanwhile, has just told his people to move out, so….

Vision is at the barrier and forces his way painfully through. And collapses. Part of him flies back into the field, but the rest of him seems to be straight-up dissolving.

Inside, the twin dressed as Dr. Strange is sensing something’s off. They run to Mom.

Outside, somehow, Darcy is the only person who thinks that they should be helping the guy who just crawled out of hell-on-Earth (the SUBURBS, amiright?), and gets handcuffed to a Jeep for her pains. And if you’re thinking that being handcuffed to something large and immobile sounds like an overkill when there are plenty of soldiers around who can do the “arr, this one’s a feisty one” upper-arm grab just fine, well, just remember everything happens for a reason.

Inside, Pietro runs his mouth a little bit too much and Wanda punches him through the town square. Wanda freezes the simulation for more processing power and then, hm, looks like she expands the borders to bring Vision back in. (And Darcy, who as we recall, was handcuffed to a car, and most of the military camp, which gets transformed into a circus. Pwah.) Director Hayward, being the arrant coward that he is, runs for it and escapes. A woman in the back seat does glare at him, however.

6 thoughts on “WandaVision S01E06 – All-New Halloween Spooktacular

  1. I’m really curious about this show, it seems right up my street – and the characters are two of my favourites of all the Marvel movies -but its… its Disney. No way am I subscribing to Disney+, and I’m just too straight-as-a-die to watch it through other, ‘swashbuckling’ means.

    That said, drop this on 4K UHD disc Disney and my money’s yours, but you’ll never do that because of your streaming vs physical agenda that only ends one way by the end of the decade. Which is one of the reasons you’ll never see my money.

    But yeah, it really does look interesting. My loss, but then again, my watchlist is so long I’ve no way of clearing it as it is, without making it worse by adding to it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well….despite my frustrations with it, this show does have its good points (namely: Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, the characters they portray, and the overarching plot, which is pretty intriguing). If you’re a Marvel fan or a MCU fan, or even just a filthy casual like myself who likes overarching mysteries with an occasional spooky twist, then yeah.

      With any luck, you’ll get your physical media copy…I’m positive that any means possible to obtaining money from fans = any means taken. Or, perhaps you know somebody who isn’t going to cut The Mouse’s leash but wouldn’t mind sharing….? None of my acquaintances, alas, have jumped on my #StarveTheMouse bandwagon yet…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. (“UNLEASH HELL, DEMONSPAWN!”….yeah, okay, I’m going to say Caroline Furlong called it.)

    Hey, a shout out! Thank you! 😃

    Yeah, there times when I don’t like being able to predict a plot. At this point I’m kind of hoping they bring Mephisto in to explain why Pietro showed up and why Wanda’s script is now out of control. Also, fingers crossed Agnes is at least Mephisto’s right hand or a witch who will meet her deserved comeuppance. Even in the adverts, that scene where she laughs maniacally at Vision struck me as way too evil for a victim. Seems more like it would come from someone in on a joke that’s not at all funny.

    *laughs at the idea of SWORD agents turned into circus performers* Okay, that one is good! Honestly, aside from the bits with Monica & co. (🤦🤦🤦), this sounds like a pretty entertaining episode. The right amount of humor mixed with the right amount of creepy. Can’t miss tv. 😉

    I wish Hollywood would stop having a character lean on the “kill the hero/heroine with mental problems and call it a day” plan. Especially since this time they skip the whole “stable hero/heroine tries to talk down unstable hero/heroine” bit they used to rely on. That’s rather unrealistic. Sure, military people will keep the kill option on the table – it’s part of their job. But it’s a last resort, particularly in hostage situations. Sheesh…..

    Oh, fun fact: the twin dressed as Dr. Strange is probably the Young Avenger now known as Wiccan. He inherited mom’s ability with chaos magic while the other twin got Uncle Pietro’s speed (and received the name Speedy, if memory serves). So at least they’re making sure they tie as much of Wanda and Vision’s comic book history into the show as possible. That’s a nice touch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂

      Re: “kill the mentally ill hero” / skipping “talking them down”: Gah. It’s obvious (I mean, outside of the semiotics*) at this point that Hayward has ulterior motives and that saving the hostages or even Wanda is the very least of his priorities. If only at any point there was some HINT of motivation for it–such as, perhaps, that Hayward had to deal with security threats for five years that blip-returner Monica has no conception of and he’s learned force > negociation; or that he’s a cigar-chewing, miltaristic warmonger who distrusts magic, witches, and witch magic; or that he knows more than he’s letting on about, say, Mephisto and *that* motivates his kill-first-ask-questions-not-this-time attitude…
      –that would make his obstreperusness a lot more relevant and palatable. Is he going to get any development? I highly doubt it. The show is going to end with Monica becoming head of S.W.O.R.D., as is her rightful inheritance. (Mark your calendar).

      Now that you mention it, though, I’m sure they’re going to end up having Vision convince or at least try to convince Wanda to let him go. (Did something like that already happen in the movies?)

      The show DOES have a lot going for it. It really does. It’s just that the entire SWORD / Monica subplot rubs me *raw*. I just cannot make my brain turn off during those bits and I just cannot help noticing the things the writers keep sliding and sliding and sliding in. AND IT WOULD BE QUITE EASY TO FIX JUST BY MAKING EVERYONE ABOUT TEN IQ POINTS SMARTER. NOT HAVING THEM OPEN FIRE ON A GARMENT RACK AFTER STEALING THEIR COWORKER’S GUN FROM HIS HOLSTER. TURNING OFF THE JOSS-WHEDON-SPEAK. MAKING THEM ACT LIKE SOME SORT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE ACTUAL JOBS IN A CHAIN OF COMMAND. Notice I didn’t even say “professional!” Just people who are competent in some way! Grrrr. I mean, I mean, the 1998 movie with David Hasselhoff did it so much better!!!

      * I keep using that term. I do not know if it means what I think it means.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Calendar marked. It’s unfortunate, really; Hayward could be an interesting character if they followed your suggestions. But they won’t, so he’ll vanish in disgrace, get killed, or just plain be forgotten. *sigh* What a waste.

        Vision sort of told Wanda to let him go in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Though there what he specifically said was: “I believe…. We’ve just run out of time [together].” Then Wanda killed him to keep Thanos from getting the Mind Stone, but since Thanos had the Time Stone, he brought Vision back and ripped the Stone out of his head.

        Yeah, Wanda’s had it pretty rough. And she and Vision really didn’t get to say a proper goodbye, so I can see them giving him the opportunity to convince (or try to convince) her to let him go. And given Wanda seemed stable at the end of “Endgame,” and that she can’t remember quite how she got to Happyville or what prompted this….. Yeah, I’m going for Mephisto as the archvillain here.

        Competence? Who needs competence? We’ve got (spins dial) Strong Women! (Whom we’ve essentially reduced in power, but never mind.) Whedon-Speak made “The Avengers” great! (No, he didn’t do it better than us. Go away.) And they’re plenty intelligent! Darcy even switched from PoliSci to Science! (….Okay, that one I’m inclined to accept, actually.) I should watch that Hasselhoff movie. He looks great as Fury.

        Oh, if you’re interested, there’s a video in this post – https://bwspotlight.com/2021/02/16/bws-daily-video-the-fascinating-history-of-monica-rambeau/ – that should explain Monica’s past in more detail than I have. There’s some bad language in it, but it seems like a good resource nonetheless. Though it may make you even more upset with how they’re portraying her in the show. 😬

        Liked by 1 person

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