DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Wednesday episode “If You Don’t Woe Me by Now” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril, normies.
Welcome back, normies and outcasts! We’ve reached penultimate episode territory, and things have taken a turn for the thrilling. I’ll admit the red herrings fooled me (although they shouldn’t have). Tyler was right under our eponymous character’s nose! Something tells me he’s unaware of his transformations. Perhaps the loss of his mother triggered them. That makes the most sense to me. However, there could be a “master” at work. Maybe Larissa?
Regardless, the narrative moved at a brisk pace for this outing. It’s all coming together quite nicely. Here’s hoping the season finale maintains that momentum and doesn’t lose steam.
Ready to delve into “If You Don’t Woe Me by Now”? Let’s get to it.
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We open with Mayor Walker’s funeral. Whoever unplugged his ventilator effectively killed him. Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) observes the mourners, thoroughly convinced the murderer is right under her nose. Suddenly, she spots a stranger lurking in the distance. She follows said stranger into the surrounding woods to discover it’s none other than Uncle Fester (Fred Armisen). Funerals make for perfect family reunions. Fester tells his niece he needs a place to lay low for a few days after a job. Wednesday puts him up in Eugene’s bee hive barn.
Meanwhile, Wednesday and Fester discuss the case at hand. Fester mentions the creature our heroine is looking for is called a Hyde. Nathaniel Faulkner, who founded Nevermore Academy, studied the monsters extensively. Fester found his diary in the Nightshades’ library. Wednesday proposes they head there later to retrieve it. She urges her uncle to stay out of sight and refrain from consuming Eugene’s hibernating bees.
Then, while examining Laurel Gates’ music box, Wednesday reunites with Enid (Emma Myers). Enid insists she’s merely searching for her silver nail polish, but our titular hero remarks that that’s the third time she’s returned for a misplaced item. From there, the conversation erupts into bickering, with Enid storming out. Later, Wednesday pops into the Nightshades’ library, wherein she encounters Xavier (Percy Hynes White).
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Wednesday rattles off reasons why she believes Xavier is the Hyde monster. After he departs, Fester emerges, having eavesdropped on their tense back-and-forth. We see a painting of Ignatius Itt, someone who worked closely with Faulkner. It’s nice to see another Itt in the wild. Anyway, the pair abscond with Faulkner’s diary. Fester reunites with Thing, and, folks, it gets a bit strangle-y on Thing’s end.
Next, Wednesday peruses Faulkner’s diary. She finds information aplenty on Hydes. They’re artists by nature. The “Hyde” side remains dormant until someone unlocks it via hypnosis or chemical inducement. It can also be unleashed as the result of a traumatic event. The Hyde inevitably bonds with its “liberator,” a.k.a. its master. Then, Marilyn (Christina Ricci) asks about the Enid situation. Enid requests to room with Yoko for the rest of the school year. Marilyn believes Enid brought out a tiny spark of warmth in Wednesday, much to the latter’s irritation.
Later, Fester and Wednesday spy on Xavier, who calls someone and asks to see them. Utilizing Fester’s tracking device, the pair hop aboard his Dalmatian-themed transportation to tail Xavier. They see Xavier hop into a car with none other than Dr. Valerie Kinbott (Riki Lindhome). I knew it! Wednesday tries to relay her discovery to Principal Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie), but Valerie is already present. Valerie plans to present her conclusion regarding Wednesday’s progress to the courts.
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Larissa saves Wednesday’s skin by revealing the latter’s newfound interest in self-improvement. It gets the therapist off her tail for now. Our Goth girl and Fester hang out at the Weathervane while brainstorming. Fester drinks ketchup straight from the bottle because why not? Tyler (Hunter Doohan) sits with them and confirms that the creature who attacked him at the Gates mansion looks like the sketches in Faulkner’s diary. Sheriff Galpin (Jamie McShane) appears with flyers featuring Uncle Fester, claiming he’s wanted for theft. Fester’s hiding skills are unparalleled, so, needless to say, he’s out of sight during this scene.
Tyler asks Wednesday on another date. He offers to bring the fun to her at a place on campus. They meet at Crackstone’s crypt. Admittedly, I’m impressed with Tyler’s setup. Now I want someone to take me on a date to a crypt. He introduces her to Legally Blonde. Elle Woods is the antithesis of Wednesday Addams. Tyler reasserts his desire to be more than friends. However, our protagonist feels she’s not friend material, let alone “more-than-friend” material. Tyler inches closer. As our girl decides to kiss him, the sheriff barges in with his team.
After her interrupted date, Wednesday returns to her dorm to find it ransacked. Whoever did this stole Faulkner’s diary. The thief also stabbed Thing through the palm and affixed him to the wall. Uh-oh. Wednesday rushes Thing to Uncle Fester and demands he does something. Fester warms up his electrical abilities and attempts to resuscitate Thing via electroshock. Wednesday sits in teary silence, displaying the most emotion we’ve seen thus far. I think it makes more of an impact this way.
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Thankfully, Fester succeeds, bringing Thing back to life. Thing didn’t see who stabbed him. Our girl encourages Fester to leave soon lest the sheriff arrests him for that theft. Wednesday goes to Larissa and Marilyn with the news and Faulkner’s stolen diary. She chats with Larissa about Hydes, and Larissa discloses what she knows about them. She also expresses her belief that Wednesday is withholding information. Our heroine remains mum on that topic. Bianca (Joy Sunday) and Lucas (Iman Marson) tip Wednesday off regarding the late mayor’s deep dive into Laurel Gates.
According to them, a 90-year-old heiress purchased the mansion and passed a year later. Her caretaker’s name was an anagram of Laurel Gates. So, Laurel returned to Jericho to exact revenge on those who harmed her family. Wednesday’s parents, the mayor and the coroner are prime examples of this. Wednesday suspects that Valerie is the killer.
Our Goth gal visits Valerie and gives her Laurel’s music box. Then, she proceeds to air a laundry list of accusations and how she knows Valerie is Laurel. Valerie is taken aback and ultimately asks Wednesday to leave. After she departs, Valerie calls the courts. She hears someone in the bathroom. Upon opening the door, we see the Hyde monster spring on Valerie. So, there’s that.
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Later, Larissa sits with Wednesday in the waiting room. Galpin informs them of Valerie’s death. Our heroine vows to end this. She starts by visiting Xavier in his studio again. Wednesday notes how intricate and accurate his sketches of the Hyde monster are. She rattles off what she believed transpired. Xavier continues to deny the accusations vehemently. Suddenly, Sheriff Galpin and his crew barge into the studio. They arrest Xavier.
Then, Enid returns to the room she shares with Wednesday. She’s going to stay there. Enid asserts that Wednesday needs her. Plus, she missed Thing. Surprisingly enough, our hero displays a modicum of emotion. She does care for Enid. Enid encourages Wednesday to express how she feels to Tyler, who’s currently closing the coffee shop.
Next, Wednesday wanders into the Weathervane. After some flirting, Wednesday kisses Tyler. They go in for a second round. However, she’s rocked by a powerful vision. In it, she sees Valerie lying in a pool of blood with none other than Tyler, shirtless and bloody, looming above her. Uh-oh. Xavier might be innocent after all. Our protagonist quickly departs post-vision, much to Tyler’s bewilderment. Of course her first kiss is with a serial-killing monster!
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Jenna Ortega blew me away in “If You Don’t Woe Me by Now.” Her subtle yet powerful display of vulnerability when she thought Thing died was a punch to the gut. Because this character typically puts on a stoic façade, those rare emotional breaking points are much more impactful. Ortega does an excellent job of mining the depths of Wednesday Addams. Armisen is a nice addition as Uncle Fester. Although Christopher Lloyd‘s portrayal of the character holds a perpetual place in my heart, Armisen’s version is still enjoyable.
Do you think a master pulls Tyler’s strings, or is he acting alone? Will the town learn of Xavier’s innocence? Let’s continue binge-watching to find out (snap, snap).
Wednesday Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.