- Episode 6 (of 9), 'All-New Halloween Spooktacular!'
- Written by Chuck Hayward and Peter Cameron
- Directed by Matt Shakman
Spoilers for the latest episode of WandaVision follow. Watch it first before reading this.
Home video footage, a pop punk theme song…
Wanda and Vision’s twin sons, Tommy and Billy, guide us around their house in some late ’90s or early ’00s-appropriate opening credits – albeit with Wanda and Vision bringing some superpowers to the conventional suburban template. “Don’t try to fight the chaos, don’t question what you’ve done,” says the song. “If it’s all an illusion, sit back and enjoy the show. Let’s keep it going through each distorted day.” Wanda’s brother, Pietro, also gets an “as himself” credit.
It’s Halloween, and Billy – dressed in a red cape – talks to the camera. He’s discussing the joys of dressing up and pretending to be someone else for a day. Tommy – dressed in standard ’90s attire – counters that Halloween is all about candy. And scaring people.
Billy asks where Tommy’s costume is. He says he’s wearing it, he’s the cool twin, after all. “What does that make me?” Billy asks. A flashback shows the boys dancing to a dancing game. Tommy calls his brother a “dorksaurus rex”.
Pietro is snoring on the sofa – at four o’clock in the afternoon. Tommy says Billy is scared that their uncle might secretly be a vampire. Pietro leaps up from the couch at super-speed, pretending to be a bloodsucker, chasing them around the living room.
Wanda comes downstairs dressed in Scarlet Witch’s traditional comic book costume. The boys ask if she’s Old Red Riding Hood – Pietro just snorts. She says she’s a Sokovian fortune teller. Pietro says the look is lame and worse than the costumes their mother made when they had typhus. Another flashback shows Wanda and Pietro being given a fish “to share” when trick or treating, though Wanda says that’s not exactly how she remembers it…
Billy tells the camera that mom has been weird since Uncle Pietro arrived. “I think it’s because she hasn’t seen him in a long time, and he’s what you’d call ‘a man child’.”
Vision comes downstairs dressed in his traditional costume from the comics – Pietro suggests he’s come as a “booger”.
Vision points out that Wanda never told him much about her brother. As Pietro plays videogames and downs cans of soft drinks, Vision says he never knew he was so good with kids. “Yeah, he’s just full of surprises,” says Wanda.
Vision leaves, telling Wanda to “have fun tonight, darling”. She had no idea he had other plans, but he says he’s working for the Neighborhood Watch tonight.
Billy tells the camera that “Mom and dad have been, not fighting, just, like, different.”
Wanda tells Vision he has to be there for the boys’ first Halloween. “Uncle P” says it’s no problem, he can fill the hole. Vision leaves, saying he can “smell crime”.
Pietro sneaks up on Wanda, asking for water balloons to fill with shaving cream – before sprinting off and instantly returning in his comic book costume. Tommy is dressed identically, like a Quicksilver Mini-Me. “Just remember that this is a respectable family,” Wanda reminds them.
Outside the ‘Hex’, Hayward asks for a “full work-up” on the armed drone Wanda carried beyond the energy field. Rambeau confronts him, saying he cut them off at the knees by sending in the missile. He says they now know what they’re dealing with. Darcy calls Hayward, “the guy who almost got murdered by his own murder squad”. Hayward asks if she works for him. She replies that she isn’t sure, but Rambeau says Darcy is with her. “And which one of you is the sassy best friend?” Hayward taunts.
Hayward says that Wanda is never going to negotiate, that the only way to end the Westview situation is to take her out. Monica points out that they don’t know what will happen if Wanda dies, and that they can’t outgun her. “If Wanda is the problem she has to be our solution.”
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Hayward tells Rambeau she’s become an impediment to the mission, “constantly advocating on behalf of super-powered individuals”. He acknowledges her history with Carol Danvers, but says that those who “left” during the Blip don’t know what it was like keeping things together during that five years, and still “have the luxury of optimism”.
“Don’t use the last five years as an excuse to be a coward,” Monica tells him. Hayward says it’s a good job she wasn’t here when her mother died, “because clearly you don’t have the stomach for this job”. He orders the removal of Rambeau, Agent Woo and Darcy.
As they’re escorted off the base, Rambeau says Hayward was looking for an excuse to remove them – he’s up to something. Woo and Rambeau take down their guards, completely surprising Darcy. They dress in the soldiers’ uniforms and head back onto the base.
In Westview, the family take to the packed streets for trick or treating. Wanda asks Pietro about a kid in the orphanage who had “the skin thing”. Pietro says she’s testing him and that he knows he looks different. Wanda asks why he looks different. “You tell me,” he responds. “If I found Shangri-La, I wouldn’t want to be reminded of the past either.”
Pietro offers to help the boys maximize their “candy acquisition” at superspeed. “Kick-ass!” says Tommy – confusing Wanda.
Wanda approaches Herb, who’s dressed as Frankenstein’s Monster. He’s on Neighborhood Watch patrol – and completely misses Pietro and the boys stealing candy, smashing lanterns and covering everyone in silly string. He tells Wanda that Vision isn’t on duty today. “Is there something I can do, Wanda?” he asks. “Do you want something changed?”
Vision walks into the outskirts of town. He sees one a couple decorating their front garden but they’re behaving weirdly, repeatedly carrying out the same motion – as if they’re automated.
An animated child sits alone on a desert island, saying “I’m so hungry, I’d eat anything.” A shark jumps out of the water on a surfboard, offering a pot of Yo-Magic. Over time, the kid struggles to get into the dessert, wasting away to the point where he’s a skeleton. “Yo-Magic! The snack for survivors!”
Back in the show, Wanda has told the boys to return all the candy. She tells Pietro she can’t believe what a bad influence he is. He says he’s trying to do his part: “Come to town unexpectedly, create tension with the brother-in-law, stir up trouble with the rugrats, and ultimately give you grief. That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?”
Wanda asks what happened to his accent – he asks her the same question. He says details are fuzzy – he remembers being shot and the next thing he knows, Wanda is calling him. Tommy runs off at super speed to grab more candy – he has his uncle’s powers. “If you’re gonna break the sound barrier, take your brother with you,” says Wanda, before reminding them not to go past Ellis Avenue.
In the outside world, Woo, Rambeau and Darcy break back into the SWORD base. Darcy starts hacking into Hayward’s devices. She discovers that Hayward has discovered a way to look past the boundary – the program is tracking the decay signature of Vision’s vibranium body. He can also monitor the Westview residents in Vision’s immediate vicinity. Woo notices that the people near the edge of town are barely moving. “Are they alive?” he asks.
Back in Westview, Vision continues his exploration of the outskirts of town. The people here are completely stationary. He asks a woman staring at her children if she’s waiting for something.
Vision transforms himself into his true form and flies into the sky, looking down on the town. He spots a car waiting at the junction of Ellis Avenue and Rolling Hill Road. It’s Agnes – she’s lost, even though she’s lived in Westview her whole life. She’s also behaving like a robot – with none of her usual larger-than-life spark.
He touches her head to ‘wake’ her. Agnes instantly recognizes that he’s one of the Avengers – “you’re Vision!” She asks if he’s here to help them. He says he is Vision, he wants to help, but has no idea what an Avenger is. Agnes asks if she’s dead. When Vision asks why she’d think that, she replies “Because you are.” “Dead!” she says repeatedly.
He tells her that it’s his intention to reach those outside Westview and make sense of what’s going on. Agnes tells her nobody leaves, that Wanda won’t even let them think about it. “All is lost!” she laughs. He returns her to normal and promises to fix it. Agnes drives away from Ellis Avenue – seemingly the barrier of Wanda’s influence. Vision walks off into the distance.
Monica checks her messages and says her way back into the ‘Hex’ will be there in an hour – she’s going to meet her guy over the ridge. Darcy says Monica can’t go back into the ‘Hex’, however. Monica thinks the worst-case scenario is that, “Wanda removes my free will and puts me in ultra-low rise jeans”, but it’s worse than that. Darcy says that going through the barrier twice has re-written her cells on a molecular level twice. “It’s changing you.”
Monica says she knows what Wanda is feeling, and won’t stop until she helps her.
Rambeau and Woo leave but Darcy says she’s not going – she believes there’s something big on Hayward’s computer she hasn’t found yet.
Pietro says their parents would have loved it in Westview, before asking where Wanda was hiding all the kids until now. He says she was always the empathetic twin, and says she handled the ethical implications of the scenario as best she could – keeping families and couples together, most personalities aren’t far from what’s underneath, people got better jobs…
“You don’t think it’s wrong?” she asks. He says he’s impressed, that “it’s a pretty big leap from giving people nightmares and shooting red wiggly-woos out of your hands”. He asks how she even did all this, emphasizing that she can trust him. She says she doesn’t know how she did it, that she only remembers feeling completely alone and empty: “Endless nothingness”.
She looks at Pietro and he’s suddenly walking corpse, bullet holes and bloodstains on his outfit.
When she looks back he’s back to normal.
Darcy finds Hayward’s ‘Eyes Only’ files – “Cataract: Classified Weapons Intel”. She sees Vision approaching the perimeter and wonders what he’s doing. Hayward orders his troops to move out.
Vision forces his way through the energy field. SWORD agents are waiting for him. Darcy runs out of the base to see him struggling. “He really does want out, doesn’t he?” says Hayward.
Darcy notices that Vision’s body is disintegrating and tells SWORD to “Stop! He’s coming apart!” She’s taken into and handcuffed to a vehicle.
Billy hears the conversation and unexpectedly uses telekinetic powers to stop Tommy running around. He calls for Wanda, telling her he hears his father’s voice in his head. Vision tells SWORD the people inside the boundary need help.
Pietro tells Wanda not to worry. “It’s not like your dead husband can die twice.” She throws him out of the way with an energy burst. Billy says he sees soldiers and believes Vision is dying.
Wanda freezes the town residents and directs her powers elsewhere. Woo notices that the energy field is expanding, so Rambeau puts her foot on the accelerator. The SWORD agents on the perimeter retreat. The energy field engulfs Vision, restoring his usual form, before surrounding Darcy. A helicopter is turned into a hot air balloon and the SWORD tents turned into circus tents – its agents are now clowns. Hayward speeds away, asking if anyone reads him – no response.
Wanda’s red eyes power down.
PLEASE STAND BY.
Anyone expecting instant answers about Wanda’s brother, Pietro, turning up on the doorstep, is going to be disappointed. While the fact he looks entirely different is acknowledged – original MCU Quicksilver Aaron Taylor-Johnson even appears briefly in the ‘Previously on WandaVision…’ recap – no explanation is given on screen. In fact, ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ revels in posing more and more questions – luckily, it’s built around the sort of mysteries that make you want to come back for more.
Who precisely is this Pietro Maximoff? Is he an artificial construct Wanda has created, to act as a confidant in her simulation? Or is he something more sinister, an entity designed to infiltrate her world and eliminate her as a threat? The fact he’s asking so many questions about what’s going on suggests there’s more to this Quicksilver than zany comic relief. Could he have something to do with Cataract, the classified weapons intel Darcy finds on Hayward’s computer? Or is Wanda just a big fan of the X-Men movies?
Vision’s journey into the outskirts of Westview also adds to the growing sense of intrigue, as he meets zombie townsfolk behaving like robots – seeing Agnes with her personality removed is particularly jarring. It’s enough to drive him to make a suicidal bid for freedom, his heroic impulse to save the Westview residents overcoming any sense of self-preservation. He’s unfortunate that this brings him face to face with Hayward, a man whose conscience seems to be slowly ebbing away – though we do get a glimpse of the resentment Blip survivors might feel towards those who skipped five years of hardship on Earth.
With Wanda expanding the ‘Hex’ to rescue Vision, the key battleground is now outside the energy field, where Rambeau and Woo are racing to find the mystery scientist friend who may be able to help her get back inside Westview. But should she risk it? While she’ll undoubtedly be eager for a Westview-based reunion with Darcy – who's already more than quippy enough to hold her own in a snarky sitcom environment – it looks like another trip into the Hex could be extremely dangerous for her. It’ll either kill her or turn her into a superhero…
This is the sort of episode that doesn’t function at all in isolation, yet is a necessary part of any serial arc. It’s a precision-engineered bridge that serves as the perfect set-up for the final act of the WandaVision story.
And besides, Halloween is a brilliant excuse to get Marvel superheroes in their classic, cheesy comic book outfits.
- This week’s opening credits are inspired by Malcolm in the Middle, with the theme music echoing the pop-punk stylings of They Might Be Giants’ title track ‘Boss of Me’. While ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular’ leans heavily into the ’90s, Malcolm in the Middle actually ran from 2000-06. Bryan Cranston appeared in the show before Breaking Bad turned him into a worldwide star.
- We already knew that the Evan Peters version of Pietro/Peter Maximoff loves videogames – we see him playing Pong at high-speed when he’s introduced in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
- Wanda double takes when Tommy uses the phrase “kick-ass” to describe her brother. This is arguably the most meta gag in the episode – Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who originally played Pietro in Avengers: Age of Ultron, also played Kick-Ass in two movies inspired by the Mark Millar/John Romita Jr comic.
- The message of this week’s – remarkably bleak – commercial is fairly clear. “Yo-magic! The snack for survivors!” doesn’t really require much analysis.
- Appropriately, the movies screening at Westview’s cinema are The Parent Trap and The Incredibles. The Parent Trap focuses on a pair of twins, while The Incredibles is about a superpowered family living in suburbia. Conveniently, both are Disney properties.
- Although Vision adopts his MCU Avengers form before he takes off, he’s still wearing his wedding ring.
- In the comics, Wanda and Vision's sons Tommy and Billy (or Thomas and William) have similar powers to what we see here. Tommy is the super-fast Speed, while Billy is the magical Wiccan. Both are Young Avengers.
- While Tommy dresses as Quicksilver, Billy’s Halloween costume takes style pointers from Wiccan. It also looks a lot like fellow magician Doctor Strange’s outfit. We know WandaVision will tie into the Sorcerer Supreme via Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Wanda herself is lined up to appear – so this may not be a coincidence.
- It looks like the original Night of the Living Dead is playing on the cinema screen on the department store – a fun nod to all the zombie people in the town.
- Ellis Avenue seems to mark the boundary of Wanda’s influence. In the MCU, Matthew Ellis (played by William Sadler) is the former President of the US, appearing in Iron Man 3 and Agents of SHIELD. The street may have been named after him.
- The reference to Monica Rambeau’s cells being rewritten on the molecular level are seemingly signposting her transformation into a superhero. We already know she’s set to appear in Captain Marvel 2, while the comic book equivalent of the character was a member of the Avengers.
New episodes of WandaVision are available every Friday on Disney Plus.
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Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.