Wednesday is Tim Burton’s macabre take on the world of Wednesday Addams. The Netflix series, which drops all eight episodes the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, is worth watching if you loved the first season of Riverdale or any old teenage mystery series. Discover everything good about Wednesday in this review, but be warned — it’s full of spoilers.
[SPOILER ALERT: You’ve been warned — Wednesday plot spoilers ahead.]
‘Wednesday’ leans into a murder mystery with just enough teen drama
Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday Addams isn’t the goth girl fans know from before. She’s still a twisted member of the Addams Family. However, Wednesday is all about a teenage girl finding herself and coming into her own. Wednesday gets to do that at Nevermore Academy, a school for outcasts like the vision-seeing Addams.
During her schooling, Wednesday wins the hearts of not one but two boys in Jericho. One of those boys is Tyler (Hunter Doohan), a Normie she meets at the Weathervane. Ironically, Tyler has a history with the other boy who has a crush on Wednesday, Xavier (Percy Hynes White). A fellow Nevermore student, Xavier has the power to bring his drawings to life.
Throughout the eight-episode series, Wednesday wants to figure out who — or what — is killing the people of Jericho. More importantly, she wants to know why.
‘Wednesday’ relies on red herrings to cover up the identity of the Hyde and its master
When it comes to murder mysteries, red herrings tend to be overdone. That was especially the case in Netflix’s The Watcher, but we digress. Wednesday definitely takes advantage of red herrings, but not in a way that feels tired or cumbersome.
Wednesday spends most of the time painting Xavier as the Hyde, a monster “born of mutation” that “lays dormant until unleashed by a traumatic event or unlocked through the chemical inducement of hypnosis,” and Dr. Valerie Kinbott (Riki Lindhome) as the master that controls it. However, by episode 7 of Wednesday, we know that’s not the case.
Despite his Normie upbringing, Tyler’s mother was a student at Nevermore and fellow Hyde. When Dr. Kinbott is killed by Tyler’s hand, Wednesday uncovers the truth — Marilyn Thornhill (Christina Ricci), who hides in the background of Wednesday‘s drama throughout most of the series, is a vengeful relative of Joseph Crackstone, the pilgrim who wanted to rid the world of outcasts.
Throughout, the Tim Burton series keeps viewers on the edge of their seats without relying on too many red herrings as a distraction. In eight episodes, viewers are given enough pieces to the puzzle to figure it out on their own, but only if they’re looking hard enough.
Family is at the core of ‘Wednesday’s values
Whether it’s Wednesday striving to differentiate herself from her mother, Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones), or Marilyn Thornhill, a.k.a Laurel Gates, seeking revenge for her gone-too-soon brother Garett, family lineage is rooted in Wednesday‘s storytelling. That makes the show relatable to young and old audiences (which is a good thing because Wednesday is suitable for all ages). Moreover, it humanizes every character — even the villainous ones — and allows us to better understand their motives.
Then of course there’s the family Wednesday forms at Nevermore. Despite her best attempts to keep to herself and avoid friendships at all costs, Wednesday cannot ignore the love and support she gets from Enid (Emma Myers), Eugene (Moosa Mostafa), Xavier, and even Bianca (Sunday Joy) when she needs them most. The Netflix series is a reminder that no matter how much distance we put between ourselves and the people around us, human kind will always unite so good can triumph over evil, especially when that evil is a magical staff-wielding zombie pilgrim.