WandaVision Episode 6: A Spooktacular Shangri-La


R E V I E W – S E R I E S


Shudipto Dip


‘Trust’ is a monosyllabic word, the magnitude of which needs no telling in a stable relationship. A manifestation of fragility, as much as it is of conformity — the lack of trust has us surviving on broken pieces, leaving shards behind. And with WandaVision episode 6, titled “All-New Halloween Spooktacular”, we get to see a quite literal visual representation of such when Vision chooses truth over trust.

Over the past few episodes, the miniseries paid homage to influential sitcoms of the respective decades. This time, with a ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ inspired intro, it tried to achieve something more. Seeing our new twins goof around with a camcorder in an early 2000s suburbia over kidz bop gets all the more enjoyable with split seconds of using superpowers creatively in household games. But with a classic misdirection, the upbeat score is complemented by a rather horrifying lyric stabbing us with a happy face. And the overcompensation at showing “Pietro Maximoff as himself” while others only had their character names adds to the ambiguity that follows.

Goofiness, over reaction, pop references, Halloween set-up, twin jokes, and pointing out archetypes provided us with a richness of modern comedy as we were not forced to sync with laughter tracks anymore. Comic nerds finally got to see the adorably ridiculous costumes coming out of matte strips in a comic-con of their dreams. The episode offered a lot to grasp, keeping tabs of which proved challenging with Wanda’s makeover stealing every scene. Seeing our new twins discover their powers to meet the demand of the storyline provided with yet another heart throbbing moment for the geeks out there. And the references staged are as beguiling as their characters. Addressing similarly super-powered siblings in The Incredibles, twin drama in The Parent Trap or both Quicksilver cast appearances in Kick-Ass, it is safe to say that Marvel finally did easter eggs some justice.

The absence of laughter tracks not only referenced the 21st century right, but also got us into filling the void with soaring tension. And that’s not the only stone Marvel threw to kill two birds. A Halloween set-up allowed Evan Peters’ Pietro to throw in references of hell in a concerning amount. It further led to speculation about the presence of a long sought Mephisto, possibly via the inexplicable avatar of Pietro. While the Darcyverse trio rattled cliché scientific exposition, the cause or aim of Pietro’s expositions is a head-scratcher still. Bluntly vague or vaguely blunt — either way, they found a sweet spot to maintain the ambiguity of his character absolutely flawless.

Seeing the MCU slowly embrace the “Show, Don’t Tell” policy of screenwriting is still not satisfying, as they continue to spoon-feed us crucial details by intonated dialogues and forced camera panning. More of future world building and trying to make sense of the grand scale of the bubble reality that Wanda created does not help the cause. The only compensation here is cleverly written dialogues that consistently maintain a smooth transition from situational comedy to blatant explanations to sublime obscurity.

At this point, the commercial break and Captain Marvel enigma apparently serves no purpose other than unnecessarily reinforcing the mystery element. Theories have never spawned this much since the Infinity War trailer. Whether Pietro is a parasite or a pet for Wanda’s emotional support is unclear. And the episode ending in a cliffhanger, not as strong as the previous one, leaves room for some questions. But the bigger question lies with the fate of Wanda’s other emotional support avatar – Vision.

More human than ever, his arc is what’s separating the show from mainstream cash grabs. And it further fortifies the eerie instability of Wanda — how one can be both in control and out of control.

 


Shudipto Dip is a replicant with the emotional range of a labradoodle.

 

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