Slash Film

This piece contains spoilers for season 1 of “Wednesday” on Netflix.

Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) can’t catch a break. The delightfully gothic teenaged protagonist of Tim Burton’s “Wednesday” started the season by getting kicked out of school for throwing bags full of piranhas into the boys’ pool, and ended it with a flaming sword fight, a grave arrow wound, and a stalker who doesn’t seem to have her best interests in mind. Granted, she gained a whole host of new friends along the way and was able to (temporarily) save Nevermore Academy from a vengeful spirit and an even more vengeful teacher, but it was anything but an easy semester.

While “Wednesday” hasn’t been renewed for a second season yet, the series ends with some cliffhangers that promise more adventures for the dour, pint-sized girl detective. Plus, her relationships with classmates at the school for outcasts have only begun to grow, leaving room for plenty of future hijinks. The first season of “Wednesday” is far from perfect — in her review, /Film’s Sarah Milner called its YA ghoul school-type premise “fatally flawed” and the show itself only “mildly interesting” — but Ortega’s performance keeps the whole endeavor afloat long enough to carry us to its big, mystery-solving finale.

Who’s Behind The Mysterious Slayings?

After spending eight episodes investigating a series of mysterious monster attacks around Nevermore Academy, Wednesday finally gets a clue in “A Murder of Woes.” Funnily enough, it’s not even a real clue that leads her to realize that Tyler (Hunter Doohan) is responsible for a string of mutilations around campus, but a psychic vision she gets when they kiss. In a polarizing departure from pretty much every version of Wednesday Addams that came before her, this version seems to be hungry for human connection, but when she gets it, it comes with a reality check.

Wednesday realizes that Tyler is the “hyde,” a monster that transforms suddenly and seemingly without its host’s own awareness. Just as “scales” means sirens and “fangs” means vampires, “hydes” appear to be dangerous Jekyll-and-Hyde-style creatures. Wednesday, who has been throwing around accusations left and right lately, tells Tyler she thinks he inherited the illness from his mom, whose tragic backstory we heard earlier this season. She’s even ready to assume he knows not what he does, until Tyler admits that he started to remember the attacks and that he got really into, as he says, “fear so primal I could taste it.”

Of course, it wouldn’t make sense for the mystery to wrap up so neatly in the episode’s first scenes, especially when so many suspicious teachers are still wandering around Nevermore. So it’s no surprise when yet another villain is revealed, this time when beekeeper buddy Eugene (Moosa Mostafa) says a woman with red shoes attacked him. Again, this is kind of annoying given that we didn’t really need to sit through all of this clue-hunting if only one detail ended up mattering, but sure. The mastermind behind it all was, of course, Miss Thornhill (Christina Ricci).

A Group Effort

Unlike the seemingly random Tyler reveal, Miss Thornhill as a villain makes some sense. We’re told that the teacher used plant chemistry to get Tyler under her control so he would do her bidding, all while maintaining the facade of a sweet teacher and mentor. In reality, she was actually working her way up towards a nasty bit of dark magic, making Tyler harvest body parts that would all lead up to a big ritual sacrifice – starring Wednesday.

Miss Thornhill apparently has secretly been a big fan of the work of that creepy old man Joseph Crackstone, the town’s founder who had a violent anti-outcast agenda. Crackstone was basically in charge of a Salem witch trials-esque situation, and Goody Addams, the blonde little ghost girl Wednesday keeps seeing, was one of the casualties of his bigotry. At any rate, Miss Thornhill was pretending to be a total ally to Wednesday’s weird girl agenda this whole time, when in reality she was biding her time to take her down.

As fun as it is to see Ricci go full villain, the plan doesn’t work out for Miss Thornhill. She does manage to resurrect Crackstone (and kill Principal Weems, RIP), but a massive tag-team of pals including Wednesday, Bianca (Joy Sunday), Xavier (Percy Hines White), Eugene, and a wolfed-out Enid (Emma Myers) manage to vanquish him and subdue Tyler and Thornhill.

“Wednesday” is never particularly cohesive with its metaphors here, so it’s unclear whether Wednesday’s friends are coming to her rescue because she’s tried so hard to be less emotionally closed off, or because they love her for the storm cloud she is. The character’s arc and the normie/outcast metaphor are both left a little vague, and they’re not all.

Loose Ends And Cliffhangers

Not only do we not get to see exactly what happens to Thornhill (though, hilariously, we get a POV shot of Wednesday seemingly curb-stomping her), but it also doesn’t seem like we got her full master plan. When Wednesday asked the teacher why she would risk killing normies along with outcasts, Thornhill says “They’re just pawns in a bigger game,” but never explains beyond that. The last shot of the season shows Tyler being transported in an armored car, only to hyde out once again. Does this mean we only saw phase one of the two villains’ plans?

It’s hard to tell, but “Wednesday” makes sure to leave a few other elements of its story a little less ambiguous. Wednesday didn’t get expelled for torturing Tyler after all (although that wasn’t her best moment), but the school is going on a break in the wake of all the tragedy. The girl who started the season loathe to make friends ends up with several by its end, as both Enid and Bianca make future plans with her. Plus, Xavier gives her a cell phone, which I guess is a nice thing to do even if that’s both an expensive and infantilizing gift. I’m pretty sure Wednesday could’ve gotten her own smartphone!

At any rate, if she did we wouldn’t have gotten the ending that promises more intrigue, as someone sends her photos of her conversations with both boys along with a bitmoji-like animation of Wednesday getting a knife through the head. It just says “I’m watching you,” a message vague enough to remain un-guessable until the show’s second season, if it gets one. Personally, I hope it’s actually Grandmama Addams, the only main character from the 1964 series we haven’t seen yet — aside from Cousin Itt.

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The post Wednesday Season 1 Ending Explained: Evil Can’t ‘Hyde’ at Nevermore appeared first on /Film.

/Film – ‘Slash Film: Wednesday Season 1 Ending Explained: Evil Can’t ‘Hyde’ At Nevermore’
Author: Valerie Ettenhofer
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November 24, 2022

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