Wednesday 1×02 “Woe is the Loneliest Number” gives the series’ central mystery its first set of clues, all of which turn out to create even more questions…and we wouldn’t have it any other way. A lot of times, say on procedurals or in horror movies, the “whodunit” is usually pretty easy to pick up on. The killer always pays a little bit too much attention to the investigation, always shows up at times that are all too convenient. But as we see here, pretty much everyone makes a too-convenient appearance, so that leaves us back at square one.
The other big story in this episode is also one we’ve been tracking as an overall arc — namely, that of Wednesday’s more personal journey. She’s still not trying to fit in and still motivated by her own set of rules and ideals, but she does have these little moments where she shows a slightly different side of herself. But only slightly.
Not only do we have quite a bit of journey left, but there are also some things about this character that will never change. And we’d never, ever want them to either.
Mystery definitely not solved
Something definitely got Rowan at the end of the series premiere. We saw it with our own eyes, and Wednesday Addams most certainly saw it with hers. So, it doesn’t matter if Sheriff Galpin can’t find any evidence of the crime or if Principal Weems is running interference. She’s going to get to the bottom of things.
“I’m not playing games. I’m telling the truth. You want to reject my claims, but you can’t.”
In Wednesday 1×02, our main character sets a phenomenal example of standing strong and trusting her own experiences, even when all the adults around her are trying to convince her of a completely different reality. The Sheriff is horribly dismissive, both because she’s a teen girl and — bonus! — because he hates her father and believes he’s a murderer. But she has no problem with challenging his authority and calls him on his lies.
When the two characters stare each other down, with Wednesday completely unflinching, it’s quite a powerful image. First and foremost, it’s this “little” girl staring this “big, powerful” man in the face and standing in her own power.
Also notable, Jamie McShane, while maintaining Galpin’s poker face, gives just enough of a little tell for viewers to know that, yes, Wednesday’s right. And yes, his character knows it. Just like Wednesday said.
Later, she learns that she was absolutely right about Galpin knowing there’s a monster out there. It’s a great moment of vindication for Wednesday — something we get to see plenty of in this series. But we’ll never get tired of it.
She just…perseveres and has so much confidence in her convictions. Nothing’s forcing Wednesday to give up, period. Even seeing “Rowan” leaving campus doesn’t sway her; she sends Thing to follow him on his journey back home after (supposedly) being expelled from Nevermore.
Of course, this is where we get the big reveal on Weems. Now, all we need to know is why she’s trying so hard to cover up the murder. At this point in the series, it’s really hard to tell. There’s definitely that confrontation with Sheriff Galpin to let viewers at least guess at her motivations. Maybe all she wants is to keep the school’s outcasts from getting even more of a bad name in town.
Then again, that (frankly gorgeous, phenomenal…insert positive adjective here) shot of Weems morphing back into herself casts a rather dark shadow over her and features a rather sinister, bold sort of look from Gwendoline Christie as Weems. The expression could be there as a clue…or a red herring. Whatever the reason for its existence, it’s really well done.
So, who knows? Wednesday definitely doesn’t, and that causes her to lash out at Thing for failing in his mission (more on that below).
There’s also the hunt for the symbol on that page Rowan tore out of the book. Sure, Wednesday finds the other half by the end of the episode. She’s kind of a genius with all of Poe’s riddles and all…but um. Now, we have to figure out how that’s all connected to the school’s secret society.
And hi, what’s with the whole “you’re the key” thing? And why does the gray girl look so much like Wednesday herself? Hm. (Obviously, if you’ve binged all eight episodes before reading this, you know. But…shhh…)
After Wednesday tells Thing off for losing Rowan, Wednesday 1×02 winds up giving us a surprisingly emotional scene. But we need a little help from our new bff to make it happen.
Enid’s assertion that Thing is Wednesday’s family and would do anything for her isn’t even what makes her rethink her actions. Instead, a little bit of manipulation does the trick. Enid refuses to cover for her, freeing her to keep doing her detective work, until she makes amends.
Even this soon after meeting her, Enid has Wednesday figured out…But that isn’t going to stop her from trying for the emotional appeal first. Because Enid is a big ball of light, who is absolutely not going to give up on finding a little bit of heart in her roommate. She sees the best in everyone, and even if she doesn’t quite know it yet, she can definitely see through all the walls Wednesday’s put up.
…which kind of makes it a shame Enid didn’t get to witness the beautiful thing that came out of making her demands.
Initially, Wednesday’s apology is not at all genuine — to say the least. She rushes through a few words about being too short with Thing and watching herself in the future, only to immediately start bossing him around again. It doesn’t work. Thing ignores her for his magazine, then throws it at her, and eventually gets her to listen.
Better yet, Thing gets Wednesday to (reluctantly, kinda awkwardly) open up to him about the picture Rowan showed her the night of his death.
“When Rowan showed me this, it confirmed my greatest fear: that I’m going to be responsible for something terrible. Not good-terrible like Ivan. Bad-terrible. And I can’t let that happen. That’s why I need to find out the truth.”
The moment is a huge step forward for the character, who’s otherwise not afraid of much at all. But it’s also yet more phenomenal acting from Jenna Ortega. She softens just the tiniest of degrees in this scene and barely lets the character relax when Thing pats her hand. But for as small of a moment as it may seem, it’s kind of a big deal. Huge, actually.
On top of viewers getting to see a little bit of Wednesday’s vulnerability, she’s also letting herself be comforted — something that is very rare indeed. And then, there’s the factor of her actually taking the time to hear Thing out, even in the middle of her rush to meet her own goals.
What I’m saying here is I never thought my entire heart would feel like it was being ripped out from seeing a disembodied hand comfort everyone’s moody fave. But here we are.
Getting into the school’s “dark, vengeful spirit”
Somewhere, mixed in with all the other things that happen in Wednesday 1×02, there’s more of that story of what it’s like to be the student who just flat out doesn’t belong. Or, to be more accurate, the one who does belong somewhere…she just doesn’t know where yet.
We see it when Principal Weems forces Wednesday to pick an extracurricular. She cracks all those glasses with her “note only dogs can hear,” so she can’t be one of the singers. And, probably, she wouldn’t have joined that group when Bianca’s in charge anyway.
Then, there’s the archery scene with Xavier Thorpe.
Which…Let’s go ahead and throw out a “if you didn’t think about Addams Family Values here, have you ever even watched it” for starters.
For this Wednesday Addams, though, it’s a missed chance at making a friend. Probably.
Xavier and Wednesday have a really interesting way of bantering back and forth here, and it’s interesting seeing how he kind of gives in and tells her about Rowan, even while challenging her about how the questions were supposed to be about archery. Then, there’s also him warning her away from Tyler…and the way he is obviously hurt and defensive when she calls him elitist. Percy Hynes White is fantastic, both here and in the classroom scene (everywhere really), and his dynamic with Ortega is easy, even if it’s combative.
(Compare that to how differently his character behaves in the scene with Bianca…and you can definitely tell when this guy has given up on someone versus when he’s just frustrated or otherwise upset.)
Then, we get all Eugene’s big energy…which you’d think would completely turn Wednesday off. But beekeeping seems to be where she’ll fit best — until, of course, the Poe Cup.
When Bianca forces one of Enid’s teammates out of the race, Wednesday steps right up. She might tell Enid it’s all about wanting to beat Bianca — which, admittedly, is probably mostly true. But when Enid asks if she’s also doing it because they’re friends, she neither confirms nor denies. Instead, Wednesday turns away from her.
I’d argue that, one way or another, it’s because she’s starting to care about Nevermore’s resident ray of sunshine in spite of herself. Is she turning away because she can’t bear to see Enid’s face when she tells her that, no, she’s really just here to take down her nemesis? Or is it because she doesn’t want Enid to see her face when she realizes for herself that she’s trying to help out her new friend?
Pick your poison. Regardless, it’s a sign of yet more cracks in Wednesday’s armor.
Of course, the Poe Cup sequence itself is full of action and keeps you on edge of your seat. Basically, it’s just fun, and it’s enough to make Wednesday 1×02 a strong episode all on its own. But there’s way, way more to Wednesday Addams. So, it’s only natural for her show to have way, way more going on, too.
More on Wednesday 1×02
- Am I the only person who heard “you’re the key” and was like, “no, that’s Buffy’s little sister” or…? Maybe the rest of y’all are actually normal…
- The genius of getting the Addams Family’s double snap via a “SNAPTWICE” clue in the murder mystery in the series’ second episode is just…There are no words. None.
- Principal Weems has a direct line to the Mayor. Noted.
- “Is that your professional opinion as the daughter of a murderer?” Imagine saying this to a child. This man, much like real-life sheriffs, is a bitch.
- Kinbott really sucks at her job if she thinks The Wednesday Addams would ever make up a story for attention. That is basically the opposite of her motivation for literally anything.
- “Why should I bother telling you anything? You’ve already decided I’m lying. I know what I saw.” All of it! But especially the last part.
- “I don’t do tears.” The delivery! And just the way she sits there, calmly, with those hands folded in her lap over her crossed legs??? A performance.
- “Have you considered your antisocial tendencies might be motivated by fear of rejection?” Hi. It’s me.
- There have got to be bloopers of Jenna Ortega and Emma Myers cracking up over each other’s characters, right? Just…Myers is so good at being overly bubbly while Ortega…just nope. So, at some point, someone had to break. Right???
- Ortega’s eyes when Weems reveals to Wednesday that she knows about the visions. Stellar, stellar, stellar.
- “You think I trust normie cops?” Bianca is smart. Too bad she’s our girl’s rival.
- You know your music department has a sense of humor when: “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in this show, during this sequence of events.
- “There’s no patriarchy in the hive!” So blessed. Eugene, you are a king.
- “I go for quality over quantity.” We should all do this with our friends, for the record.
- Ortega going back and forth with Joy Sunday in the classroom scene. Two talents one-upping each other every second, just like their genius characters!
- “He feels like you don’t respect him as a person.” “Well, technically, he’s only a hand.” A comedy.
- “I know I’m stubborn, single-minded, obsessive. But those are all traits of good writers.” Forever called out.
- “To tell you the truth, I’ve never really fit in anywhere. Too odd for the normies, not odd enough for the outcasts. I thought nevermore would be different…” Can we talk about the insanely smart writing in having Christina Ricci, who once played Wednesday, describing this Wednesday to herself…but while talking about her current character in this series? Because my mind is so blown.
- Also, I would die for Christina Ricci. Thornhill is so sweet but just off enough, in that way of Ricci’s…
- “Never lose that, Wednesday.” “Lose what?” “The ability to not let others define you. It’s a gift.” THIS.
- And see also the comment about my mind being blown from above. Wednesday, learn about Wednesday from Wednesday!
- “Isn’t that why you’ve been following her around like an eager-eyed puppy? Or is there something more?” A question. And that head tilt of hers.
- The cat costumes are a lot.
- “I just asked myself: WWWD. What would Wednesday do?” 1) I LOVE YOU, ENID. 2) Words to live by!
- That stiff posture when Wednesday runs…so much detail work from Ortega.
- Her smile when she sees Bianca struggling.
- “Maybe you two are more alike than you think.” An actual worst nightmare.
- Great place to end, in that there’s no way most of y’all aren’t going to “one more episode” your way to the next one…
Thoughts on Wednesday 1×02 “Woe is the Loneliest Number”? Leave us a comment!
Wednesday season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.