Television

The Casual Marvel Fan’s Guide to WandaVision Episode 5

What’s up with Pietro? Why “Lagos”? And which sitcom credits are they parodying this time?

A scene from WandaVision that's covered in question marks
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Marvel Studios/Disney+.

This article contains spoilers for the first five episodes of WandaVision.

Let’s start with the biggest question. What was the deal with “Pietro” at the end of the episode?

That was Evan Peters reprising his role as the late Pietro Maximoff, Wanda’s brother, but—and here’s the twist—it’s not the Pietro Maximoff we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU’s Pietro, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, died in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Wanda has not only brought him back to life but changed franchises, reconstituting the version of Pietro/Quicksilver from Fox’s X-Men movies. She can do that now through the greatest magic of all—corporate synergy—because Disney, Marvel’s parent company, bought Fox in 2019.

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So he’s played by someone else now? Could this have something to do with THE MULTIVERSE??

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It seems like it! There have been a lot of rumors swirling around that the upcoming Doctor Strange movie—entitled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness—will introduce the multiverse into the MCU, allowing for a clean(ish) way to bridge the gaps between Disney’s Marvel world and Fox’s as well as Sony’s Spider-Man movies. Evan Peters is the first non-Disney Marvel actor to make an appearance in the MCU, which really gives credence to this idea. (Well, first non-Disney actor not named Tom Holland aka Spider-Man, but that’s a slightly different sitch.)

What is this, a crossover episode?

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Nice one, Mr. Peanutbutter. But it’s a little more like crossing the streams in the Ghostbusters movies. It is at once a winking commentary on TV shows recasting roles (including early WandaVision model Bewitched) and a flex about how much intellectual property Disney controls now.

I was also confused about why no one thought Wanda had a “funny nickname.” Isn’t she just Scarlet Witch? Does all of this name confusion have to do with that?

Yes! Because of a legal dispute between Marvel and Fox, the MCU movies have never actually referred to Wanda as “Scarlet Witch,” but WandaVision reportedly plans to introduce her proper superhero name.

Enough with this corporate merger stuff. Which TV show are we in this time?

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The look of “On a Very Special Episode…” is mostly generic ’80s sitcom—along with mildly anachronistic references to office email and dial-up internet—but the opening credits are pure Family Ties.

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Speaking of the opening credits, is Baby Vision canon?

No, tragically.

Baby Vision sits in a bed with some stuffed animals.
Screengrab from Disney+
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What about this week’s commercial? Does it mean anything that they’re “Lagos” paper towels?

Yep. The ad—a riff on Bounty’s iconic “quicker picker-upper” campaign—refers to the terrorist attack in Captain America: Civil War that took place in Lagos, Nigeria, and that Wanda attempted to thwart with her telekinetic powers. Unfortunately, she redirected the explosion into a nearby building, killing 26 civilians and kicking off a worldwide backlash against costumed superheroes. It doesn’t take much imagination to link the uncontrolled spill of red fruit juice to the bloodshed Wanda accidentally caused, not to mention the product’s slogan: “For when you make a mess you didn’t mean to.”

Also, just as all the actors did in Civil War, the narrator of the commercial mispronounced “Lagos.” How does this keep happening when it’s the most populous city in Africa and one of the most populous in the world? It’s pronounced LAY-guhs—It’s not that hard, Disney! Ask any of its 21 million residents!

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Did Vision actually have a living will?

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Apparently! Like the Iron Giant, he doesn’t want to be a gun.

Is Sparky important?

A better question is: Wasn’t he such a good boy? (Yes.) Sparky does have a background in the comics: In Tom King’s excellent Vision comic series from a few years ago, Sparky was a synthezoid (i.e., robot) dog created by the Vision from the corpse of a neighbor’s dog to help bring together his family. In WandaVision, Sparky is either a creation of Wanda or an actual dog that lived in Westview before her hex spell took hold. In both cases, Sparky is a little four-legged lesson in mortality.

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Are azaleas really poisonous to dogs?

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Yes! That is why no dogs are allowed at the Masters golf tournament, we assume.

How come Agnes, Kathryn Hahn’s character, is so aware of what’s going on, whereas everyone else is so repressed?

Agnes did seem to be aware that she was acting out a scene, asking Wanda if she should run it again, suggesting that she’s somehow involved in the pocket reality that Wanda has conjured up. Also, at one point Agnes refers to herself as “Auntie Agnes”—maaaaaybe a potential clue, based on one comic book plotline, that she’s really someone else.

Why doesn’t Monica, Teyonah Parris’ character, want to talk about Captain Marvel?

Not totally clear, but Monica’s mom was BFFs with Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), and because Monica’s mom died while Monica was Snaptured, reconnecting with someone so close to her mother might be difficult. Besides, Monica hasn’t seen her Auntie Carol in years. (Remember, Captain Marvel was apparently off fighting battles in space during the decades between the 1990s, when Captain Marvel is set, and the events of Avengers: Endgame.) That’s gotta be hard to deal with!

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What’s the deal with Hayward? Why is he so hostile?

Based on last week, it still doesn’t feel out of the realm of possibility that Hayward is a Bad Dude. While Maria Rambeau, as the OG head of S.W.O.R.D., wanted more peaceful interactions with extraterrestrials and “sentient weapons,” Hayward has pointedly taken a more aggressive approach with them. Hence, releasing an armed drone—an armed drone that he did not feel the need to tell anyone was armed.

What were they up to with Vision’s corpse?

Given the agency’s interest in artificial intelligence that we’ve already heard about, probably nothing good.

What happened to Wanda’s accent?

The Marvel movies have gradually been dialing back Wanda’s Sokovian accent, possibly because Elizabeth Olsen can’t seem to decide which made-up Eastern European country the character comes from. WandaVision has dropped it altogether in favor of a nasally American sitcom voice, but when Wanda steps outside of Westview to confront S.W.O.R.D., her Sokovian lilt is back, just a little. Did Marvel Studios create an entire nine-episode TV series just so Elizabeth Olsen can stop sounding like an extra in a Dracula movie? If so, we support it.

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Do Wanda’s twins share her powers? How can they just make themselves older?

As we’ve mentioned before, in several storylines from Marvel comic books, which have heavily inspired WandaVision, Billy and Tommy grow up to be Wiccan and Speed, two superheroes themselves. Wiccan’s magical powers are drawn from those of his mother, while Speed’s superspeed seems to be drawn from that of his uncle Pietro.

WandaVision is particularly influenced by the storyline “House of M,” where Wanda re-creates a reality in which her children have not gone missing. (Yes, there is a reality in which these boys disappear. Sad!) Now that we know Wanda is messing with the real world to build something more suitable for her, it definitely sounds like this aspect of “House of M” could have carried over. Whether or not the show will reveal her sons’ true nature as superheroes themselves is unclear. But it definitely seems like, yes, they are magically powerful and superstrong too.

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What about their adorable little-kid mispronunciations? Are those a superpower?

Billy’s “He was awone … cwying!” certainly has the power to make us go “Awwwwww.”

If Wanda is telling the truth about not having started this on purpose—and her surprise at Pietro’s reappearance suggests some of this stuff is out of her control—then what’s happening?

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It seems likely someone else is partially responsible for the hex around Westview. Could be Agnes! Or maybe—as a bunch of Marvel fans have speculated—it’s Mephisto, Marvel’s version of the devil.

What power does Vision have that allows him to override Wanda’s mind control and briefly free his co-worker? Is he also a mind control superhero?

In theory, he doesn’t: His powers mostly involve intangibility, flight, and whatever he did to kill Ultron. But he’s also got the Mind Stone in his forehead. It probably does all kinds of mind stuff!

Read more in Slate about WandaVision.

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