WandaVision Episode 6 Analysis: [SPOILER] In the Middle
Analysis of WandaVision episode 6
See what I did there? Because Episode 6 was a riff on Malcom in the… yeah okay I'll just show myself out.
Except not because let's talk WandaVision Episode 6! Spoilers obviously through that Episode. See here if you'd like my thoughts on episodes 1-5.
Again, SPOILERS THROUGH EPISODE 6 OF WANDAVISION. DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED. I'll start talking after the picture to give you some space to be on the safe side.
Episode 6 didn't really give us big doses of new information by way of conclusions. It did give us more fuel for the fire of everyone's theories about what in the House of M is going on.
(Again, see what I did there? Instead of Hell I said… yeah you get it.)
Given what I said in my discussion about eps 1-5 I want to first talk about how glad I am that some of my concerns about Monica's reactions were addressed. Again: I have trust issues left over from Lovecraft Country. I'm not calling anything successfully done until the finale credits air, if that. But it does give me comfort to hear things like Monica explicitly saying that they are not going to beat Wanda in a firefight so trying to reason with her may be the only way to fix things.
I also like that they are making it clear that Monica's reactions and decisions are being shaped by her grief for her mother. I'm okay with my protagonists making unwise choices if the text tells me it understands that's what's going on. Monica having a big bowl of Overidentification-Os to the point where she's risking her own life through reckless behavior works for me. Her latching on to Wanda instead of thinking about the victims in town works for me when it's shown that this is not a fully rational decision on Monica's part.
Monica is so laser-focused she isn't even thinking about her own trauma from Wanda (such as her crack about the worst that could happen is she be made to wear low-rise jeans). It's therefore understandable that she's putting the people in town in a similar box. Again: not wise or necessarily good but understandable. Part of why I like the Marvel universe (movies and comics both) is that their heroes are flawed. As long as the flaws are understood as such that's okay by me.
Speaking of the Marvel universe as a whole, I also like what the show's been doing regarding the snap. Now I have gone on record multiple times as saying the five year time skip in Endgame is the stupidest, laziest bit of writing that I have ever seen. It is literally the epitome of how MMRR (aka The Russo brothers and Markus and McFeely) are unable to understand or work with character and story development because whee! Time skip means they don't have to explain anything! Thor's fat now! Professor Hulk is here and we won't tell you how that happened! Nat eats peanut butter sandwiches because she's depressed in spite of the text not supporting that and the real reason should be because peanut butter is shelf stable and by the way who the fuck is manufacturing loaves of sliced bread when half the planet is gone??
YES I'M STILL BITTER. THIS IS GOING WITH ME TO MY GRAVE.
So for me the first way to fix that five year time skip is to pretend it didn't happen. But if we're not doing that I'm happy with option B, which is to actually address what a huge, colossal, actually apocalyptic thing that is. We get the start of that when we see the flashback to Monica being undusted in the hospital. We're getting more of that with Hayward's comments where he references that it was hard to even keep the lights on. *
(* I know that Spider-Man Far From Home touched on it as well, but not with the kind of seriousness and depth that it deserves. But to be fair, MCU movies are genre movies and you're not going to get hardcore Life After 50% of People type scenes in a riff on Teen Trip To Europe movies. I don't hold it against FFH that they had other goals they needed to fulfill.)
And as much as Hayward's nasty comment about it being good that Monica wasn't there when Maria died is meant to make it clear that Hayward's an asshole, he's still laying useful groundwork for tension in the post-Endgame MCU. Because let's be real, bringing back everyone five years later as though that fixes everything instead of causing literally an entire universe of new problems is a questionable idea. It was a bad idea from a writing perspective, but now that we're addressing it in world there are plenty of reasons for people affected by this to hate the Avengers for doing it.
I understand that Tony not wanting to lose Morgan was meant to symbolize everyone else in the world who had children, new loves, new lives, etc in the five year time skip and thus why it would be cruel to take all of that away. But bringing everyone back isn't a solution either. There have been plenty of fans pointing out the fucked up things that could happen by snapping people back into place after five years so I don't need to get into all of it. But just as a sampling: what about people finding out their spouses have married someone else? What about people who lost their homes? What about those who were in an airplane when the snap happened and just returned in the middle of the sky with no plane around them anymore?
All of which is, again, I cannot stress enough, the fault of MMRR's lazy storytelling where they literally did not think of these things and, when questioned, dismissed it by saying Bruce totally thought of the plane thing while he was using the gauntlet. How he managed to do that while focusing super hard on trying to bring Nat back too we'll never know.*
(* Likewise, as much as I love Bruce, call me skeptical that the guy who couldn't figure out that Professor Hulk meant never being able to wear shoes or use regular transportation again also thought of things like "What about people who were in the middle of surgery?" Which, as we saw in Monica's hospital flashback, he clearly didn't.)
Long-winded, still extremely bitter point being, that since this stuff is now part of the text it is both fair game and smart to mine it for future storylines. You can have a shit ton of sympathetic villain origin stories based on what happened with the Avengers making this decision. Among other things, if this doesn't come up with Zemo's motivations in Falcon and Winter Soldier I'll be very surprised.
So as much as Hayward's speech was heavy handed dickery, I like what it's saying in terms of hints of where the MCU might be going.
As far as the Wanda of it all, I still maintain my gut instinct that she's not the full villain. Yes I know we're seeing her do things but there are still hints that she's not fully aware and/or in control. For example, when she goes super Scarlet at the end there it's like she drops into some kind of altered state. Like it may have been a panic/trauma response (especially since Pietro just needled her about one of her biggest traumatic events, which is Vision dying twice in front of her) but it also may have been circumstances triggering a connection to something/someone else.
Another example is her not having a response about her lack of accent when we saw her going hardcore Sokovian just last week (which was less than 24 hours before in Wanda's time). Again, not saying this is proof Wanda's got another personality lurking in there but things like that can be hints about something hinky going on. At the very least more hinky than Wanda simply lying about things. Especially since why lie about her accent?
Obviously Evan!Pietro is acting suspect as hell. To the point where I'm kind of disappointed and hoping that him being so over the top about it is meant as a fakeout or red herring. Not the least of which is, credit where due, Evan's doing a great job and he's got good sibling chemistry with Elizabeth so I'd love for him to stick around.
To be honest if Evan!Pietro isn't what he appears, part of me is leaning towards the theory that he's actually Wanda's conscience. A lot of his questions and comments could read as Wanda talking to herself, and trying to reassure herself that things aren't so bad, and she's doing the best she can.
So yeah. Much like the episode itself I don't have any conclusions, but lots of food for thought which luckily I'm able to open the seal on.
- I was going to snark about the likelihood that Sokovian Fortune Tellers wore swimsuits and tights as part of their job. Then I realized, per Halloween costumes for women everywhere, this was clearly a sexy Sokovian Fortune Teller. I am now interested in what a cosplayer would come up with in reverse engineering what an actual Sokovian Fortune Teller outfit would look like.
- It's interesting to me that the commercial in this week's ep didn't reference Vision's deaths in Infinity War since chronologically speaking that was the next trauma in Wanda's life. I'm assuming the commercial is referring to what happened to Wanda to get her into the situation she's currently in and will thus make sense once all the episodes have aired and answers revealed.
- I can't help but feel there was another significant pronoun usage when Hayward said "He really does want out, doesn't he?" at the end. Granted this could be significant because "he" stresses that Vision was the one Hayward was interested in the whole time instead of Wanda. But given that there are some fan theories that Vision isn't actually Vision but someone forced to play his role, this may be a hint of that.
- Another fan theory is that Monica's engineer friend is Blue Marvel. I want to go on record as saying I will squeal loud enough you all will be able to hear me if this is the case. Sadly I suspect Adam isn't beloved enough by fandom as a whole to be considered worthy of what at this point is a two episode long cameo tease. Either we're going to get somebody big like Reed Richards or it'll be someone instantly "Hey, it's that guy!" like one of Monica's Skrull friends from the Captain Marvel movie.
- As long as I'm going on record about things, I'll add that as cheap as it would be to do, I would still find it wonderfully hilarious and approve if we discover that in the MCU Wanda's famous words are actually "No, MORE mutants!"