WandaVision: On a Very Special Episode…(Episode 5) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of WandaVision, On a Very Special Episode…, everyone goes through some growing pains as Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) go through parenting woes and everyone outside the bubble determines if Wanda is friend or foe?
Last week, I had said that we were on the cusp of something special with WandaVision and this week’s episode delivers in full with its most impactful and engaging narrative yet. The series continues embodying different eras of sitcoms with this episode evoking the look and feel of sitcoms of the 80s like Full House and The Facts of Life. The way the staircase and kitchen carry this reminiscence to how room designs look in sitcom set designs and the costume design hits on a more modern suburban look. The opening credits sequence is the absolute best of the series so far as it replicates the opening to Growing Pains perfectly and is just a delight to watch. Honestly, if I could just have as the opening to every episode it would be perfect. Even the name of the episode, On a Very Special Episode, signifies when a sitcom delves into tough subjects which is exactly what happens here.
We catch up with Wanda and Vision dealing with newborn babies as they struggle to get their boys to stop crying and they even seem to be unaffected by Wanda’s magic. These two are an absolute blast to watch as parents since they acts as goofy yet responsible parents that are perfect for this era of sitcoms. Their sons, Tommy (Jett Klyne) and Billy (Julian Hilliard), are quite a handful – especially with their abilities to make themselves older. It’s hard to say if this is their specific power or Wanda’s doing, but it kind of doesn’t matter since they’re adorable at any age. With them trying to get Wanda to let them keep a stray dog and worried that they’re the reason that Vision is working on Saturday is just adorable and their kiddish pronunciation of words just melts your heart. It’s even better how their ability to age themselves actually plays into a big lesson in this episode.
Although Wanda allows Tommy and Billy to keep their dog it eventually gets lost and makes its way into Agnes’ (Kathryn Hahn) bushes and dies from eating a toxic leaf. Thus, Wanda is forced to explain death to her children and it’s actually a very uplifting moment about dealing with tough issues. Her explanation of why they can’t just escape their sadness by getting older is really unique and it ties in with how this era of sitcoms dealt with tough social topics. There’s a really genuine takeaway that’s touching because of how it shows Wanda being a mature and caring parental figure to Tommy and Billy and a message about being open and accepting about grief that’s very unique given the situation. Not to mention, it’s perfectly ironic with how Wanda has created this world and resurrected Vision because of how she can’t accept that he’s gone.
Speaking of Vision, he begins to become aware that things aren’t right as he finds that his co-worker is under Wanda’s spell and is incredibly confused by Agnes breaking character. This leads to a great confrontation between him and Wanda that’s very personal and tense. There was actually a meme I saw of someone comparing Vision’s blowup to iconic fight in Marriage Story and it’s honestly not that far off. Vision’s monologue about him being scared because he doesn’t have any memories before this and being angry that Wanda is hiding things from him is really great and the moment of them flying up looking like they’re ready to fight is legitimately tense. All of the tension is broken though with a knock at the door and a cameo that is just the cherry on top of this perfect episode – Evan Peters returning as a young Quicksilver. It’s honestly a perfect way to bring back the character to the MCU and Peters returning as the character is especially perfect. His version of the character has the perfect kind of humor for this series and him coming on as that smarmy long lost younger bro is going to be so much fun to see more of.
The thing that really makes this episode of WandaVision perfect is that it offers a very balanced experience with there also being some interesting things happening with Monica (Teyonah Paris), Woo (Randall Park), and Darcy (Kat Dennings) outside of Westview. They learn some new things about the bubble like that Wanda is now powerful enough to create matter and life, which is likely the reason that Tommy, Billy, and Quicksilver can exist, and that Wanda can’t manipulate things that fit perfectly within the time that her sitcom is representing. More importantly though, the series makes a bold but intriguing revisit to the idea formed in Civil War if Wanda is too dangerous to be left alone. There’s an interesting divide in thought if Wanda is doing something wrong and if SWORD should intervene or if she should just be left alone. There’re interesting debates about Wanda’s power that definitely leave you puzzled with how to view her actions and it’s something that adds a lot of depth to Wanda that I feel has been missing up until now.
WandaVision absolutely knocks it out of the park this week with an incredibly balanced and compelling episode full of great revelations, heartfelt story beats perfect for it’s sitcom era, and a surprising return that’s just full of hype. It’s legitimately a perfect encapsulation of how this show attempts to be ambitious and boy does it pay off.