Stefanos Yoo-Min Florakis
Billy and Tommy in the Middle - WandaVision Episode 6 Breakdown
Welcome to the early 2000s. The time when sitcoms were leaving out the live audience and the multicamera setup. This is the digital age, filled with contemporary lighting, single-camera movements, quick-cutting editing, and playful scores that 20-something television nerds will always get nostalgic for.
Even though the 90s did have a lot of brilliant sitcoms WandaVision could have imitated, almost none of them really had the typical family formula we've seen in the comedies referenced thus far. The decade was an evolution with untraditional TV families eg. Friends, Seinfeld, and Frasier. So, jumping ahead to the 2000s with Malcolm in the Middle was the most fitting choice for the show, especially now that we seemed to have pushed forward to the perspective of the twins.
After the opening intro, which was a homage to Malcolm in the Middle's Boss of Me, Billy and Tommy directly break the fourth wall, talking to the camera just like Malcolm, indicating that the twins do have some level of influence in the sitcom world their mother, seemingly, created. This was something that was apparent in the previous episode as they do not seem to obey Wanda's control, as kept crying and ageing themselves against her command.
Talking about people out of Wanda's control, Vision, now fully aware of his spouse's influence on Westview, not only puts on a front for Wanda and his family but also goes out of the script by trying to figure out the extent of the town's problem. While Pietro just brings the havoc you would expect from the stereotypical manchild in a sitcom.
Talking about Pietro...
After last week's surprise twist, the whole fandom came together to figure out what the inclusion of Evan Peters (famously known as the X-Men version of Quicksilver) means to the show and possibly the future of the MCU. Does it mean this is the crossover with Fox's X-Men viewers have speculated about, or is it a smart stunt casting for the fans?
Maybe it's both? His portrayal of Pietro in the episode seemed both out of place from Wanda's perspective (as she outright attacks him by the end of the episode) and he seems to know way too much than any other character in the show so far (he also is not phased by Wanda's actions).
While it could be assumed this is a character like Mephisto taking the shape of a Quicksilver to infiltrate Wanda's illusion, whatever the case, Evan Peters provides enough entertainment within the sitcom world, while also showcasing the dark subtlety that he is known for in American Horror Story.
The episode as a whole, being a Halloween special, or as the title of the episode is called- All-New Halloween Spooktacular! is very fun. It is a great blast to the past for fans, as not only do they follow the formula of traditional Halloween episodes but also we see the character's classic comic book costumes.
While the trailer teased Wanda and Vision in their homemade costumes it was even more rewarding to have Pietro, Tommy, and Billy in theirs too (for those who don't know, Tommy and Billy become Speed and Wiccan in the comics).
As a long time Malcolm in the Middle fan, it was a pure delight to see this family taking their roles from the 2000s show, even Vision bringing his own version of Hal for a moment. But things quickly change when Visions visits the outskirts of Westview where he sees the citizens either frozen like mannequins or worse, glitched like the black cat in The Matrix (one lady even showing a single tear flowing down her face, similar to Daniel Kaluuya's character in Get Out).
In regards to this week's "commercial", we get a strange animation for "Yo-Magic, the yoghurt for survivors". Definitely the grimmest product commercial so far, with a castaway trying to open a lid of yoghurt but failing until they perish to their death.
Each ad is believed of being a subconscious manifestation of Wanda's trauma: the Stark toaster being the Stark missile that killed her parents, the Strucker watch for the experimentation conducted on her, the Hydra soak is her short affiliation with Hydra, and Lagos paper being the accidental disaster she caused in Civil War.
If we have to read this ad in the same manner, then it must be what Wanda says later in the episode to Pietro, that after Vision's death she felt alone, resulting in the only way for her to survive was using her magic to have a family with her dead lover.
This could also have a dual meaning, as the ad does appear after the harrowing scenes with the glitched citizens, meaning that this castaway could be the Westview citizens, slowly decaying, as Vision is, with Wanda's magic being the only thing keeping him alive.
Also, the shark giving the yogurt to the castaway could be the mystical entity that gave that power to Wanda. His colours alone are very similar to Pietro's costume, furthering his suspicious nature.
With plenty of story, and creepiness, episode 6 is brimming with smart easter eggs, from references to Kick-Ass (the 2010 film that both Evan Peter and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were in) to the titles of early 2000s films such as The Incredibles and The Parent Trap being included on the billboard of the town's cinema (the first being a film about a superpowered family, and the latter bring about twins bringing together their estranged parents).
After the reveals of both Tommy and Billy having powers just like in the comics, this makes the scenario of the series even more interesting, as whatever force has started this clearly wants the characters, and potentially the twins for their powers.
While Wanda, Pietro, and the twins have fun in the middle of town, over with Vision we get to see one of the best moments in the show so far. Even if he has no memory of who he was up until Infinity War, he is still the same entity he once was as he's willing to sacrifice himself to protect the innocent people inside The Hex. Meaning the main conflict in the next episode could very well be between the couple, especially now Wanda has expanded the barrier and captured more people from the SWORD base that was monitoring, and trying to solve the situation from outside.
Besides Mephisto and the possibility of an X-Men crossover, there are still many mysteries and built up moments the show is alluding to. We still do not have a clear idea of who Monica's contact is. We don't know if Agnes is the real manipulator of the illusion, or even what Hayward's plan is in regards to Vision's body.
But for now, the show is still going strong, and I for one cannot wait for WandaVision to enter the 2010s...
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