When it seems like your television show is in a rut and maybe things aren’t working as well as they did before, it’s time to introduce a new character – kids, a new puppy or maybe even a long-lost relative. In the latest episode of WandaVision, which kicks off the series’ back half, we get aspects of all three. Wanda and Vision’s kids, who were babies in the THIRD EPISODE and the start of this one, grow to age 5. The kids get a puppy. And Wanda’s brother Pietro – who died at the hands of Ultron in the second Avengers movie – shows up out of the blue!

Wanda must be very concerned about the future of her television show…

She probably should be, as the S.W.O.R.D. team that was established in the LAST EPISODE begin to figure out more of what’s happening in Westview. More importantly, with Monica Rambeau out of Wanda’s bubble and working the case, S.W.O.R.D. realizes that everything is happening is because of Wanda.

When the previous episode moved away from the sitcom homages of the first three – and it was a fantastic episode – I worried that returning to the homages would feel like a step backward. But I really should have learned to trust in Kevin Feige and his version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The fifth episode is a hybrid, giving us an episode set in 1980s sitcom, while also glimpsing in to what’s happening with Rambeau, FBI Agent Woo and Dr. Darcy Lewis.

Wanda’s idyllic life in a kidnapped New Jersey town is slowly starting to show cracks, and Wanda is having trouble reconciling the real world with the one she created. As S.W.O.R.D. continues its attempt to infiltrate Westview – including an attack drone and an email sent to Vision that allows him to finally start to see what’s really happening – the more Wanda has to struggle for control.

Even more confusing are the two distinct personalities Wanda shows in this episode. When she confronts the S.W.O.R.D. team outside Westview, she stands firm in her demand that they leave her alone. She clearly knows what she is doing and has no intention of ending the charade. But inside the Hex – as Kat Dennings’ Dr. Lewis christens it – she seems to be confused by references to her control over this reality.

When neighbor Agnes comes over to offer help with the babies, Vision questions her help and Agnes asks Wanda if Wanda wants to rewind time again to get a better take. Wanda seems confused by what Agnes is asking – or maybe she’s just taken aback by Agnes’ knowledge of what’s happening. This will clearly play a key role in rest of the season.

Later, after the twins age up to 5 and their dog dies, the kids ask their mom to bring the puppy back, because she has the power. This request hits her even harder, and she has to have an 1980s sitcom moment to bond with her kids. And why do the kids know what Wanda is capable of? Add in the confrontation with an angry Vision, who is starting to realize that Wanda is manipulating everything around them, and life is starting to get difficult.

Vision’s status has also been an open question with this series, as he died during the battle with Thanos in INFINITY WAR. The fifth episode establishes that Wanda stole Vision’s body from a secure facility before reanimating him and bringing him to Westview, an act that was against not only the Sokovia accords but Vision’s living will.

There’s a lot of bombshells in this episode, but the biggest comes in the “post-credits” scene, as Wanda and Vision are fighting and the doorbell rings. When Wanda opens the door, she sees her brother, Pietro. But it’s not the same Pietro who died during the confrontation with Ultron all those years ago. Instead, Pietro is played by Evan Peters, the same actor who portrayed the mutant in Fox’s X-Men movies. The merger that occurred when Disney acquired 20th Century Fox is starting to pay dividends.

Does this new Pietro open the doors to Marvel’s multiverse, which is rumored to be a big part of the MCU’s next phase? Every time WandaVision answers some questions, it seems like so many more open up.

I like the hybrid version of this show, which flips back and forth between Wanda’s TV reality and the real world. While the mysteries within the Hex are building and carrying the show, the interactions between Agent Woo, Dr. Lewis and Monica Rambeau are really fun. We should get a series of shorts with these characters. Continuing with this formula should make for an action-packed ending as we move into 1990s television and beyond.