Things are about to get SPOOKY in WandaVision as we now find Wanda and Vision and their growing family living in the early-2000s and the arrival of Halloween marks the time for costumes, candy and plenty of ghoulish pranks. But outside of the innocence of the scariest night of the year…the real horrors are just beginning, and things are about to take a dramatic turn in our favourite new Disney+ series.
It’s Halloween time in Westview and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), their twin sons Tommy and Billy, along with newly arrived Uncle Pietro (Evan Peters), are ready to have some fun and partake in the enjoyment of costumes and candy….along with a few super-powered pranks courtesy of Uncle Pietro. But Vision’s curiosity has been getting the better of him lately, and while Wanda and Pietro reminisce about their childhood and upbringing in Sokovia, Vision strives to learn about the extent of Wanda’s control over Westview. And there are some dark truths that he uncovers here.
In ‘Episode 6’ ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’, director Matt Shankman takes audiences back to the early-2000s and this brings back plenty of nostalgia for audiences, particularly of my generation. Placing his audience back in the whimsy and outlandish fun of shows such as Malcolm in the Middle, Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Maybe It’s Me is a real joy to watch and provides a slightly goofy-fun loving vibe to this week’s episode. As an audience member, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to see this decade of television interpreted through the filter of WandaVision and Shankman and his team do an amazing job of bringing this decade of TV back to life.
Family is very much the central focus of ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’, and after the shocking revelation, return and ‘re-casting’ of Pietro Maximoff (Evan Peters), this week’s episode dials it back to the brother-sister relationship that Pietro and Wanda shared together. While we always knew they were close, this episode really dissects Wanda’s current state-of-mind through Pietro’s history with her and there are some tantalizingly fun insights into their shared relationship and how their past lives, in a pre-Westview Anamoly world, shaped them into the characters we know. Both Elizabeth Olsen and the newly ‘re-cast’ Evan Peters work well together and you completely buy into their relationship as siblings here.
Speaking of Evan Peters, it is very fun to see him ‘re-cast’ as Pietro Maximoff, and jumping from one Marvel Universe to the next, in a move that I’m sure will have major effects for the rest of the MCU down the line (oh the possibilities!). Here in ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ he’s your typical out-of-control man child, who riles up his sister and brother-in-law and becomes something of a personal hero to Tommy and Billy. What’s really interesting though is that Pietro understands just where he fits into the ‘narrative’ of this episode, and he gets a tad testy with Wanda, which she really doesn’t appreciate. As a fan, it’s fun to see Pietro back in action, and Peters leaves a solid mark on the MCU with his performance.
Also, key to ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ are Wanda and Vision’s twin-boys Tommy and Billy, who also start to assert their powers in this episode as Speed and Wiccan. We’ve never seen kids in the MCU possess superpowers before, and these young roustabouts, with the aid of their uncle, get up to a lot of mischief, and this cements you into the Malcolm in the Middle-esque vibe that this episode is gunning for. But all fun aside, these two characters have a massive dramatic moment within the episode, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them to come in future instalments of the MCU.
While not wanting to run the risk of spoilers, we will walk around Paul Bettany’s appearance as Vision in this episode, except to say that he’s starting to figure things out, and he doesn’t like what he sees. While there is plenty of fun, laughter and light-heartedness in this episode on behalf of Shankman’s direction, and which keeps it in line with it’s early-2000s family sitcom style, there’s also a growing darkness too. From a very telling ‘advertisement’ to audiences travelling to previously unexplored areas of Westview, something is incredibly wrong here, and I feel like this is only going to intensify further in coming episodes.
From a visual standpoint there is so much to love in ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ and part of the fun of this episode is ‘comic accurate’ costumes. It’s Halloween after all and what’s better than dressing up as a superhero! While Wanda dresses up in a vintage ‘Scarlet Witch’ looks that makes her look like ‘old Red Riding Hood’ to Vision’s Lucha libre inspired green and yellow spandex and cape getup, to Pietro’s wildly impractical stand-up hair, it’s clear why some designs didn’t make it into the MCU until now. But it’s all in good fun, and seeing these characters in their vintage outfits is sure to put a smile on your face and I definitely got a kick out of it.
‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ is by far the best episode of WandaVision to date and I loved the nostalgia, visual layout and storytelling of this episode. WandaVision just keeps getting more interesting by the minute, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
WandaVision streams every Friday night on Disney+.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures