REVIEW: ‘WandaVision,’ Episode 5-“On A Very Special Episode…”

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WandaVision Episode 5

WandaVision Episode 5 returns back to its sitcom format after the revelations of “We Interrupt This Program,” but the barriers between reality and fiction continue to break down. “On A Very Special Episode…” leaps to the 80’s, with Wanda  (Elizabeth Olsen) dealing with her twins’ accelerated growth and Vision (Paul Bettany) discovering that Westview is not as it seems. Meanwhile, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) try to figure out how to re-enter Westview and help Wanda.

In line with previous episodes, “On A Very Special Episode…” features homages to other 80’s sitcoms, including an opening similar to Growing Pains and a plot that you’d find in an episode of Full House, albeit with superheroes. (The latter reference was honestly expected, given that Olsen’s sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley rose to fame during their tenure on Full House.) Songwriters Robert Anderson-Lopez and Kristen Lopez are the show’s secret weapon, as they manage to write themes that are extremely catchy and perfectly fitting the vibe of each decade.

The entire cast is firing on all cylinders, but it’s Bettany who’s the show’s MVP. The show starts tilting more toward the “suspense” side of its sitcom/suspense balance, and Bettany expresses all the rage and confusion that Vision is obviously feeling at Wanda’s manipulation. Vision also has a strange new ability that may further destabilize Wanda’s constructed reality-leading to obvious trouble in paradise between the titular couple. Olsen continues to show off her range, whether it’s as a mother trying to teach her sons about the ups and downs of life or a terrifying sorceress intent on punishing anyone who dares to intrude on her perfect life. And yet there are slight hints that Wanda may not fully be aware of what’s happening-particularly in the ending, which features a cameo that has to be seen to be believed.

In the outside world, Parris, Park, and Dennings make an immensely engaging ensemble. Their character interactions are a delight to watch, including Darcy coming up with a name for Wanda’s dome (comic fans will enjoy it) and Woo bringing coffee for everyone. Darcy also has what has to be the most amazingly meta line, which ties into the aforementioned cameo. Again, Parris continues to be a standout-especially when Monica tries to talk Wanda down after she confronts the S.W.O.R.D. agents outside. Both characters have suffered the trauma of losing someone, and it’s a connection I hope the series continues to explore in future episodes as Monica could potentially be the person to help Wanda through her grief-and vice versa.

If the episode has one fault, it’s that the hopping between Wanda’s reality and the real world. Director Matt Shakman continues to utilize widescreen elements for the latter and fullscreen for the former, but the transition could have been a little smoother with a rearrangement of a few scenes. Likewise, the twins aging up feels less like organic story development and more of plot convenience. I know that both Tommy and Billy have superpowers that factor into their rapid growth, but it still feels weird.

WandaVision Episode 5 continues to blur the line between Wanda’s fantasy and reality and features several emotional moments as well as one of the most shocking cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s history. This show continues to impress, and as it nears the end of the “second act” it shows no signs of losing gas. Given the ending, fans may be seeing how this series sets up the background for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Tom Holland’s currently untitled third Spider-Man film.

New episodes of WandaVision will be available to stream on Fridays on Disney+.

'WandaVision,' Episode 5-"On A Very Special Episode..."
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

WandaVision Episode 5 continues to blur the line between Wanda’s fantasy and reality and features several emotional moments as well as one of the most shocking cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s history. This show continues to impress, and as it nears the end of the “second act” it shows no signs of losing gas. Given the ending, fans may be seeing how this series sets up the background for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Tom Holland’s currently untitled third Spider-Man film.