Outside the Westview hex, SWORD agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), astrophysicist Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and FBI guy Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) are busily scheming about how to get back in.
Let's dive into this beautiful sorta '90s-themed episode, but beware of spooky SPOILERS from here on out.
Pietro of the X-Men variety
Pietro has slipped into the role of the man-child uncle beautifully, but seems to have the memories of MCU Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) rather than ones of the Fox X-Men universe (a separate reality) that'd match his face.
"Details are fuzzy, man. I got shot like a chump in the street for no reason at all, and the next thing I know, I heard you calling me. I knew you needed me," he tells Wanda, who's similarly confused about Pietro's new look.
He clearly doesn't remember that he sacrificed himself in Avengers: Age of Ultron, by dashing in front of Hawkeye (who'd just saved a kid) as Ultron fired a hail of bullets. Wanda later briefly sees a flash of X-Men Pietro with the fatal wounds sustained by MCU Pietro -- much like she did with Vision in episode 4.
Was this a moment of reality or an echo of her trauma? What would happen if Pietro stepped outside the barrier? Would his memories of the X-Men universe be restored, or would he revert to MCU Pietro and die? The former seems more likely -- Wanda (or whoever's really in control) probably brought Pietro in from the X-Men universe and gave him MCU Pietro's memories.
We also see that Wanda's fondness for Pietro isn't without its limits. When he callously says Vison can't "die twice," she flings him away with her powers. I'm with Wanda on this, don't be a jerk Pietro. This also indicates that he knows Vision is dead.
How Wanda made Westview
Pietro is also aware that Westview is Wanda's construct, and is apparently cool with it. He wonders where she's been hiding all the kids who've shown up for the Halloween hijinks -- we've seen no kids aside from Tommy and Billy before this episode -- but brushes past it quickly. However, Wanda doesn't know how she created this version of Westview.
"I only remember feeling completely alone. Empty, I just... " she says. "Endless nothingness."
It sure sounds like she had some help, perhaps from the suspicious as heck Agnes (Kathryn Hahn)?
I dunno about you, but I've certainly whined about how much comic book movies have strayed from the original costumes over the years, but this episode uses the Halloween theme to go full comic-accurate on the outfits. And they're beautiful.
Wanda says she's dressed up as a Sokovian fortune teller, while Vision is a Mexican wrestler. Pietro doesn't give a reason for his Quicksilver outfit, nor do Tommy and Billy (whose comic codenames are Speed and Wiccan). Agnes is dressed in a straightforward witch costume, which could hint at her magical nature.
Pietro's hair also looks suspiciously like devil horns. His comic book counterpart has similar hair and isn't demonic, but the weird nature of his appearance in Westview, coupled with his suggestion that Tommy and Billy "Unleash hell, demon spawn!," makes it seem like a major clue as to his true identity. Wanda's headpiece also resembles horns, possibly indicating that she's under demonic influence.
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It seems like Wanda is giving Vision more agency after their fight in the last episode -- early on, she starts to say "You're not supposed to..." and cuts herself off. She also lets him go out on his own instead of joining the family for Halloween fun.
As Vision gets further away from Wanda, he finds the townspeople going in loops or just standing still -- perhaps hinting at the limit of her influence. One woman has a tear running down her face, suggesting that her true, traumatized self is close to the surface. Which is pretty horrible.
Vision discovers Agnes sitting in her car, having seemingly gotten lost. When he "wakes her up," she refers to him as an Avenger, tells him he's dead and says Wanda won't let them leave town.
"All is lost," she says, laughing maniacally before Vision has her resume her "role."
This is mad suspicious -- is Agnes faking it? She seems to wake up easily and dumps a bunch of troubling info on Vision, perhaps to push him to step outside the barrier. And what's lost? It feels like a hint at some grander plan, but it's unclear if she's the mastermind or a puppet.
Tommy and Billy get closer to their comic book counterparts this episode, with Tommy gaining super-speed like his uncle Pietro, while Billy displays magical abilities similar to his mother. Tommy is also the cool troublemaker, but it's obvious that Billy is vastly more powerful -- he stops Tommy in his tracks, and can sense when Vision is in trouble.
Wanda implores them not to "go past Ellis Avenue" -- which is at the edge of town and right beside the hex barrier. They definitely will though.
A curious and increasingly concerned Vision steps out of the Westview barrier, and immediately starts to die. He appears to be reverting to the form he was in when Wanda broke into the SWORD facility and stole his body, rather than the corpse left behind after Thanos pulled the Mind Stone out of his head in Avengers: Infinity War.
Warned about Vision's situation by their son Billy, Wanda saves him by expanding the Westview boundaries. In doing so, she also consumes the SWORD base (which becomes a circus), the agents (who become the clowns Wanda presumably considers them to be) and Darcy (we don't see what role she takes on).
Monica, Jimmy and jerk-face acting SWORD director Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg) are safely outside the barrier's new boundaries.
Pop culture confusion
The intro pays homage to classic sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, which actually doesn't fit the episode's '90s theme -- it ran on Fox from 2000 to 2006. It also shows Agnes hanging out with the twins, hinting that they're her true objective.
In the "Dorkasaurus Rex" flashback, Tommy is wearing a Minecraft beanie. The world-creating game was first publicly playable in 2009 and officially came out in 2011.
The movies playing the Westview theater were released years apart -- The Parent Trap remake came out in 1998, while The Incredibles was 2004. However their themes are appropriate for this show -- the former is about twins trying to reunite their separated parents, while the latter is about a family with superpowers (and both are on Disney Plus, conveniently enough).
This could be hinting at Wanda's spotty pop culture knowledge of the '90s and '00s, or maybe she's making continuity errors because she's distracted by her conflict with Vision and by Pietro's arrival.
This episode's in-universe commercial break -- for "Yo-Magic, the snack for survivors" -- is super unsettling, and doesn't appear to be as direct a reference as the previous ads.
It could be alluding to what's really going on in the show. A predator (Agnes?) approaches a desperate person (Wanda?) with a false offer of salvation, but it's an illusion. It's unclear what the shark gets out of it in this case -- maybe the boy's soul (Wanda's kids?).
Mysteries of Monica
Monica and Jimmy set off to meet her aerospace engineer friend, who's created a vessel that'll get her back into Westview safely (perhaaaaaaps Reed Richards?)
However, Darcy reveals that going through the hex twice has rewritten Monica's cells. It's unclear how this has changed her, but it reminds Monica of her mother's cancer and she's apparently unwilling to worry about it right now. She's determined to help Wanda no matter what, because she sympathizes with her grief.
In the comics, Monica gains the ability to transform herself into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum after getting bombarded by extra-dimensional energies -- which sounds a whole lot like what's going on here. Monica has also used multiple codenames over the years, including Captain Marvel, Spectrum and Pulsar.
If MCU Monica gets superpowers, I suspect she'll call herself Photon -- her late mother's pilot callsign, and another one of Monica's comic codenames.
Observations and WTF questions
Hayward is eager to kill Wanda, likely so he can resume experiments on Vision's unique body (he's tracking Vision's movements within the hex). What were they doing with him?
The answer lies beyond Hayward's last firewall, which Darcy cracks and emails to Jimmy shortly before she's consumed by the expanding hex.
Hayward's file is called Cataract, but that doesn't refer to anything in the MCU. In real life, it's a medical condition in which a cloudy area forms in the lens of the eye, leading to a decrease in vision. When Wanda gets flashes of "dead" Vision and Pietro, their white eyes resemble cataracts.
Tommy and Wanda use the term "Kick-Ass," perhaps an indirect reference to the 2010 superhero movie. It featured both Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Evan Peters.