WandaVision episode 5 review: Meet the family

Wanda and Vision head to the 80s in this week's episode of the Disney+ series – but who's the mysterious man at the door? And has Vision worked out the truth? **WARNING: EPISODE FIVE SPOILERS**

Paul Bettany Elisabeth Olsen
5.0 out of 5 star rating

Last week’s episode of WandaVision finally lifted the curtain on the strange sitcom world of Westview, explaining some of the stranger occurrences in the Disney+ series thus far – the beekeeper! The toy helicopter! That radio! – while also teasing an intriguing future storyline where  Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda is the villain of the story.

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So plenty of eyes will be glued to this week’s episode to find out what’s next. Will we be back for some 80s fun in the Vision household, or will we continue to follow what’s going on with SWORD in the outside world?

Well, to start off with in this exciting episode, we head right back into the sitcom mould, jumping to the 1980s for a Full House-esque pastiche laced with moments of creepiness – in other words, back to the style we’d enjoyed for the first three episodes, complete with theme tune. But rather than staying there entirely, in a more balanced style we also jump to the world outside the “Hex” (thanks, Darcy) to see what’s going on with SWORD’s ongoing attempts to break in.

It’s a nice way to balance the parallel stories of the series, starting with Wanda and Vision’s (Olsen and Paul Bettany) attempts to cope with their newfound parenthood. As they try to deal with their crying kids, it’s implied these are one thing within WestView that Wanda can’t control – especially when they keep jumping ages depending on what the story needs.

And here, we also start to get a sense of the sinister hold Wanda has over the residents of Westview. In a fourth wall-breaking moment, Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes stumbles her “lines” and asks if they need her to “take that again”. Later, a mailman is overly polite to Wanda as if he’s worried about crossing her.

And within Westview, Vision is beginning to notice something’s up – even if it’s just because Wanda seems determined not to react to some of the weirder occurrences around them.

Back at the SWORD base, Monica Rambeau is out of her 70s funk and registering some weird readings – hello, future Captain Marvel – while the SWORD agents aim their crosshairs firmly at “chief victimiser” Wanda with a fairly one-sided look at her Marvel history (just check out Marvel Legends on Disney+ guys, it’s much easier).

And they also have a little bit more backstory for what’s going on: Wanda broke into SWORD headquarters to steal Vision’s body, against the Sokovia Accords (are those really still a thing? Who knew?) and Vision’s living will. The case is looking clearer and clearer against her but can things really be so simple?

WandaVision
Kathryn Hahn as Agnes in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved.

After all, even within the “Hex” Wanda can’t control everything. Her kids’ desire for a dog named Sparky (drawn from the comics, because of course he is) seems to be beyond her, as well as full control of Vision’s mind as he notices her getting sloppy and using her powers in front of others.

“Wanda we are usually so much of the same mind,” he says. “Right now, what are you hiding from me?”

Wanda’s attempts to fob him off with a day at the office – despite the fact that it was Saturday earlier – don’t go too well either, with the introduction of 1980s email technology to Computational Services picking up a rogue missive from the outside world that raise Vision’s suspicions even further.

Suddenly, Vision’s able to “wake” his colleague Norm – really a guy called Abilash – in a scene oddly hinted at in a previous episode (in what may be one of WandaVision’s few gaffes), revealing exactly what it’s like to be under Wanda’s control.

“You have to stop her… she’s in my head!” Norm tells him, shortly before being zapped back to “normality”. Emphasis on the norm.

Meanwhile, SWORD’s discovery that Wanda is changing clothes and technology (rather than doing so as an illusion) leads them to do something rather clever, sending in an era-appropriate 1980s drone to try and get a visual and make contact.

WandaVision
(L-R): Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Randall Park as Jimmy Woo in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Disney

However, peace isn’t given much of a chance before SWORD director Tyler Hayward (Zac Henry) is ordering an underling to “take the shot!” in classic bad-guy-military style – an effort that doesn’t go too well for him, but handily gives us a look at “real” Wanda for the first time this series.

Emerging from Westview with the broken drone, Wanda gives SWORD a stark warning.

“This will be your only warning: stay out of my home,” she says, with more than a hint of her old Sokovian accent. “You don’t bother me, I don’t bother you.”

It is pointed out that given her apparent capture of thousands within the town this isn’t strictly true, but Wanda doesn’t seem to care, and isn’t up for any bargaining.

“I have what I want… and no-one will ever take it from me again.”

After a short commercial break – I missed that last week – hinting at the events of Captain America: Civil War, we’re back to the main sitcom storyline, with a bleak moment that sees Sparky the dog end his short-lived stint as part of the family. And interestingly, the Very Special Message Wanda imparts to the kids – that sometimes death is part of life – fits both with her storyline and the sitcom confines of Westview.

“We can’t rush ageing just because it’s convenient, and we can’t reverse death no matter how sad it makes us. Some things are forever,” she says, faintly hypocritically as her dead husband wanders into shot.

And when Vision does come home, WandaVision finally delivers the clash between its title characters that we’ve been waiting for. Vision finally knows something is up, and that Wanda is controlling his world, but he doesn’t know where he was before, or why she’s doing it.

“You can’t control me like you control them,” he tells her – incorrectly, as we know from previous episodes – and pushes through Wanda’s attempts to roll the credits on their “episode” to continue the argument. It’s a high-emotion, fairly powerful scene, only slightly undercut by a shocking arrival at the end of the episode.

Quicksilver Scarlet Witch
Evan Peters as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch (Disney)

Yes, as had been long-rumoured, Quicksilver is back as the classic “long-lost brother”, but (to paraphrase Paul McGann) probably not the Quicksilver we were expecting. Rather than Age of Ultron’s Aaron Taylor-Johnson, she’s greeted by Evan Peters, who plays the super-fast character in Fox’s stable of X-Men films.

“Long-lost bro get to squeeze his sister or what?” Peters’ Pietro asks, while Darcy (Kat Dennings) watching on the monitors Darcy gasps: “She recast Pietro??”

It’s a brilliantly self-aware, plot-and-reality-twisting cameo that’s likely to overshadow this entire episode. Whether it’s the WandaVision cameo everyone’s been talking about is less clear, though Peters’ arrival could have serious ramifications for the inclusion of Disney’s recently-purchased X-Men characters. And within WandaVision, he could be the first real hint that someone other than Wanda is pulling the strings…

Really, it’s the perfect capper to a week that combines the sitcom fun, meta creepiness and general Marvel style of the series into one episode for the first time. This feels like WandaVision at its best – and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Want more WandaVision content? Check out our latest WandaVision review, our guide to the WandaVision cast, the WandaVision release schedule, Agatha Harkness and the creepy WandaVision commercials. Plus, we ask:When is WandaVision set and how did Vision survive?

WandaVision releases new episodes on Disney+ on Fridays. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year.

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