WandaVision Explained is our ongoing series that keeps tabs on Marvel Studios’ sitcom saga about TV’s happiest tragic couple. In this entry, we turn our channel to WandaVision Episode 5 and consider the implications of its final, universe-breaking few minutes. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.
Remember when Thanos stood up from his space chair and smiled at the audience during the mid-credits stinger of The Avengers? His arrival on the scene forever altered the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s trajectory, and we spent movie after movie, year after year, trying to foresee the events that ultimately resulted in Avengers: Endgame. When that film ended, and Tony Stark snapped his fingers for the last time, and Steve Rogers met old age with grace, we asked ourselves, “How do you top Thanos? Who could be the next big bad?”
The final moments of WandaVision Episode 5 (“On a Very Special Episode…”) may have just answered those questions. We need not worry about a purple-chinned cosmic gemologist or Galactus the World Devourer. No, the threat is much more sinister, as it is also incredibly appealing.
Cue George Costanza screaming, “World’s are colliding!”
Just as Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) reach their argument’s height, the doorbell rings. Vision’s accusations that his wife has imprisoned the Westview citizenry will have to wait. Shadowing their door-frame is a very special guest-star for a very special episode: her dead brother Pietro. Only, it’s not the Pietro she knows. It’s Evan Peters.
Peters played Pietro — well, “Peter” — Maximoff, a.k.a. Quicksilver, in three of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movies: Days of Future Past, Apocalypse, and Dark Phoenix. He did not play the MCU’s Pietro, who valiantly sacrificed his life in Avengers: Age of Ultron. That heroic turn belonged to Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and he’s one of several losses our Wanda suffered that seemingly resulted in her reality-shattering breakdown.
Before Disney swallowed Fox in its merger, the two companies came to an understanding regarding the use of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. In the comics, the twins hold equal significance to both the X-Men and The Avengers. As children of Magneto, Wanda and Pietro were two of the founding members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. They were also two of the first villains to see the error of their ways and switch teams, ditching daddy Magnus for Captain America’s mightiest heroes.
For movie fans, the existence of two Quicksilvers in two timelines provided healthy debate. Which one was better? Peters claimed the best action scene in Days of Future Past, and Taylor-Johnson was defined by his death and how it propelled Wanda’s story. The contest seemed fairly one-sided, but few would debate which films were better. Fox’s X-Men jumped out the gate guns blazing, but they petered out well before Disney absorbed their IP.
With the merger, the conversation was over. Until WandaVision Episode 5 and its re-casting, that is. Darcy (Kat Dennings) is not the only one stunned.
Evan Peters’ arrival in Westview implies catastrophe. On the one hand, he could simply be a Westview neighbor, trapped in Wanda’s spell and forced to play a part like the rest of the town appears to be. That’s not very interesting, though, right? On the other hand, he could very well be the Quicksilver from the 20th Century Fox dimension. If Wanda is pulling from other universes and manipulating reality to soothe her grief, the cosmic fabric could unravel.
Who else could step across these barriers? The third Spider-Man movie is scheduled for release this December, and rumors speculate Tom Holland will meet previous Peter Parkers Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. MCU mastermind Kevin Feige has said Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool will also find his way into the MCU at some point or another. Doctor Strange 2 is subtitled “In the Multiverse of Madness,” and Wanda is expected to play a significant role.
WandaVision Episode 5 takes a mighty step crossing the threshold. Evan Peters is the first but not the last X-Man we’ll see in the MCU. Are we sure Hugh Jackman is really done with Wolverine? Michael Fassbender could never say no to another stint as Magneto. That dude loves to chew the scenery.
And yet, there are still other dark forces at work in WandaVision. We saw several instances this week where Wanda could not control her environment or the people who populate it. Her rapidly aging children, Tommy and Billy, resist her sleep spell. Vision is no longer easily rewound to prevent him from seeing Wanda’s magical machinations. Wanda herself is done being subtle with her powers, stepping outside the bubble to confront the S.W.O.R.D. agency on her borders.
When Peters as Pietro stands before her, she’s aghast. Wanda did not expect him to be there, and there is a twitch in her eyes that indicates she knows this is not her brother. As she told Tommy and Billy after their dog Sparky croaked on Agnes’ azaleas; there’s no fixing dead.
But Wanda is bookended by two walking-talking corpses: Vision and Pietro. If there’s no fixing dead, what are they?
WandaVision Episode 5 reveals how Wanda collected Vision’s mangled body from S.W.O.R.D.’s laboratories. Director Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg) says she stormed into his operation against the wishes of Vision’s living will, but with each passing scene, it’s becoming more likely that we shouldn’t trust a word coming out of his mouth. He secretly armed Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris)’s drone to fire upon Wanda, and when Wanda stepped outside the bubble, he was eager to put a few dozen bullets in her chest. As Wanda has secrets, so does Hayward.
Then, there is nosey-neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn). She does not appear bewitched like Westview’s other inhabitants. At the start of WandaVision Episode 5, she recognizes Vision’s blossoming awareness and strongly encourages Wanda to rewrite the moment. Her menacing behavior is only undercut when Tommy and Billy suddenly bypass a few years of growth.
Wanda tells Vision during their climactic squabble that she does not know how any of this started in the first place. We should believe her. Her powers are advancing beyond anything we’ve seen before, and she’s breached reality and other universes. She’s the source, but she’s not the villain. Don’t listen to Hayward.
After WandaVision Episode 5, Agnes is looking like prime suspect number one. Or maybe even her unseen, wretched husband, Ralph. Wanda is not in full control, but someone certainly is. There is a villain here, and it’s not the Avenger. A devil no doubt.
The long lost bro from another timeline is a ferocious distraction designed to unarm Wanda and pin her under grief’s devastating weight. She is in agony. When people are hurting, they’re at their most vulnerable. When Wanda is vulnerable, the world should quake.
Evan Peters’ arrival is not the Endgame for WandaVision or the villain who’s yet to reveal themselves, but he is the possible tear that will rip across the MCU’s next phase. A surgeon is needed. We gotta sew up these cracks. Paging Doctor Strange.