Wednesday 1×07 “If You Don’t Woe Me By Now” is a fantastic penultimate episode for a season that, while we still think it’s far too short because we just want more, is just incredibly well put together. This episode has everything, from a much-needed reconciliation, to a visit from Uncle Fester. From a painfully sweet first kiss…to an even more painful twist on the series’ central mystery.
Wednesday Addams thinks she has it all figured out by the end of this episode. But she absolutely doesn’t until it’s too late. Until she learns the hard way. That, too — just like everything else we’ve discussed along the way with this series — is another hard part of growing up, especially for someone like Wednesday who has great difficulty with people.
Sometimes, the people we can trust, who actually really care about us, are standing right there in front of us. And we don’t trust them, don’t acknowledge them much at all. On the flip side, it’s way too easy to fall for the exact people who are deceiving us all along. That, my friends, doesn’t even fall under “growing up.” It’s ongoing. And it’s simultaneously the worst thing, which we’d never wish on anyone at all, and something we know is about as common as it gets.
The good news for Wednesday, though, is even in the midst of her huge mistakes, she still manages to make some very good choices in “If You Don’t Woe Me By Now.” She still has at least a couple people — and one disembodied hand-person — she knows she can count on.
Everyone’s favorite uncle
In the build-up to Wednesday‘s release, of the biggest mysteries was who would play Uncle Fester. When we got our first look at Fred Armisen in the role, we were pretty much sold. Now that Armisen has finally made his grand entrance as the electrifying Addams family black sheep, all that anticipation has more than paid off.
There’s nothing but pure fun and delight radiating out of every single moment Wednesday spends Fester. From that first moment, when Jenna Ortega’s usually reserved expression into just the biggest, beaming — yet still Addams-appropriate — smile, right up until their fond goodbye, it’s very clear that Wednesday and Uncle Fester are a perfect match. They are close, and they just get each other’s weirdness, even in a way that the rest of the family flat out doesn’t.
It doesn’t matter if Wednesday’s lecturing Uncle Fester on staying away from Eugene’s bees, scolding him as she reenters the hideout just knowing he was going to go for a taste as soon as he thought she was gone, or if she’s scowling on his stolen motorbike while he’s grinning like the madman he’s known for being. Ortega and Armisen just hit exactly the right notes, without fail, of what it’s like to have a favorite relative to look up to — someone who’s older but not one of your parents. For Wednesday, it’s an uncle; for some of us it might be an aunt, a grandparent, or even an older cousin. Hell, it could even be all of the above, depending on where you’re at in your life.
These two challenge each other, have a blast together, and even make great progress on Wednesday’s big murder mystery. Because of that last part, Uncle Fester’s surprise visit winds up serving more of a purpose than simply being fun. (Though, nobody would’ve minded if he was solely here for a little comic relief). He’s the one who knows about Nathaniel Faulkner’s diary and his studies on Hydes. Now, so close to the season’s end, we finally know exactly what the monster is, how it’s controlled by a master, and even how dangerous it is.
Which, ok. All the murders probably gave us a pretty good hint about the whole danger thing…But with the new backstory on Faulkner’s studies, we now know that Hydes are, quite possibly, the scariest monsters even this world of outcasts has to offer. How fitting, then, that they’re able to be unlocked by just about anyone — outcasts and normies alike. Pure evil, after all, will attack any, and all, of the above.
Outside of how his knowledge pushes the big murder investigation along, though, it’s Uncle Fester’s role in Wednesday’s life that really stands out in Wednesday 1×07. Not only is it so easy and (at the risk of using the word way too often here) fun with Uncle Fester, but Wednesday also lets herself be much, much more vulnerable with him than she’s ever been with anyone else since the series began.
The scene where Wednesday frantically begs her uncle to save Thing features remarkable work from Armisen and Ortega. Yes, that’s even within the context of an already stunning overall performance from both. Ortega, in particular, lets every ounce of emotion she’s held back all season just pour out of the character when she thinks she’s about to lose Thing. Because, as much as she has tried and failed to pretend otherwise, she doesn’t want to be alone. And she does care very, very much.
We always knew that, but it doesn’t make it any less of a big deal to actually get to witness the real depth of feeling here. Even as it’s just plain good entertainment to see Uncle Fester using his powers to shock Thing back to life, the emotional pull is not to be discounted. Ever.
For as painful as the Enid/Wednesday split was, at least it didn’t last long. Creators of other series could actually learn from Wednesday on that, actually. Instead of dragging the angst out for the sake of delaying the inevitable, the writing just keeps it real.
At the beginning of Wednesday 1×07, the wounds are still fresh. So, as Enid shyly stops by with a lame excuse about missing some nail polish, her attempts at hinting that she wants to come back naturally devolve into the two girls throwing rapid-fire complaints at one another. They’re lashing out, as people who are hurting but still care about each other do.
As usual, the acting is second to none here. So, too, is the imagery. It’s pretty notable that the girls start out on the furthest corners of their “sides” of the room before coming face-to-face for that showdown. They have to confront their issues head-on before they can move forward. And they do.
“It’s not solitude if you’re still here.”
But the fight doesn’t last forever. It’s pretty obvious from both girls, no matter how much they try to cover it up, that they miss each other.
And Enid’s still very much “here” with Wednesday, from her stacked plushies on the other side of the room, to the impact she’s had on Wednesday as her friend. Later, when the missing nail polish does turn up, Wednesday spends far more time contemplating it than someone who “doesn’t care” would do.
Thing’s attack is the perfect excuse for Enid to come home. And yes, that room is home.
There’s still something stilted, halting in Emma Myers’ performance when Enid first returns to the room. It’s like she’s reading Wednesday to make sure the relationship is going to work this time. She just needs to now before she goes all in again. It’s all just the tiniest bit of self-preservation and protection.
“Because we work! We shouldn’t. But we do. It’s like some sort of weird friendship anomaly.”
But by the end of that scene, she’s all brightness and excitement again. Wednesday Addams is, in fact, evolving. That’s certainly obvious in her decision to forego the duct tape down the middle of the room. However, if you’ve been paying attention throughout this series, it’s far more obvious in all the small ways she’s warmed up to others. The ways she’s made friends with people like Enid, and even works well with Bianca in Wednesday 1×07.
And yes, it’s also pretty clear in how she makes the mistake of opening up to Tyler.
It’s always the ones you least suspect
With every single clue, and especially the planted evidence, it’s not surprising that Wednesday thought Xavier was the monster. Especially with Tyler having planned the perfect romantic “scary movie” date and just…quietly seemed right for her all along.
(Or, well, he seemed right for her to her. I would’ve always been Team Xavier, had I been inclined to pick teams. Then again, I’m biased toward Percy Hynes White, who gives a moving performance in Wednesday 1×07 — yet again — having loved him on The Gifted, so.)
Even after an extra viewing, I’d say Hunter Doohan gave nothing away in this series. As Tyler, he was always just the perfect, sweet, normal boy. The only time he ever showed even the tiniest spark of anger was with his deadbeat dad — who deserved it.
What makes the big reveal at the end of Wednesday 1×07 so remarkable, though, isn’t how shocking it is. It’s how shocking it isn’t. That might feel like a contradiction, given everything above. But it’s not.
As an example of why, we can look back on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sweet, loving Angel becomes one of the series’ worst monsters, just after Buffy sleeps with him. That’s part of a much ickier, “let’s punish young girls for being sexual,” sort of thing. So, it’s not the best comparison to what happens to Wednesday here, but it does come to mind. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple.
It’s always, always, always the “nice” boy who, somehow, turns out to not be nice at all. He’s the one who can break you the most. And it is, often, the person we trust the most who is most able to stab us in the back — even outside of the whole romantic side of things.
Furthermore, in the case of Wednesday Addams, it goes to show that even “normies” are actually monsters. There is no “us” versus “them,” in the end. It’s just that anyone can be anything. And even the people who seem like the best among us can be the worst. (Same goes for the seeming-worst, like Bianca’s initial characterization, being some of the best.)
It’s quite possible Wednesday Addams herself even had some internalized biases against her own people working against her investigation. After all, how could a “normie” be a monster, when there were so many outcasts right there to create a more plausible suspect pool?
Knowing who to trust can feel impossible at times. When you have feelings for a person, that can make you willfully turn away from all the signs that they’re not who they say they are. It’s all right there, from the beginning. As Wednesday 1×07 shows all the flashes of all the reasons Xavier just must be the monster, Tyler also plays a role. But something about Tyler caught Wednesday’s eye, so she’s ignored all the things that should have stood out and didn’t.
“You don’t know who your real friends are. I’ve been on your side since day one. I literally saved your life. I believed your theories when nobody else did. What do I get in return? Just nothing but suspicion and lies.”
When Xavier gets upset about her accusations, he accomplishes nothing. Or, well, he manages to reinforce her theories. That’s about it. Then again, once Wednesday’s made up her mind, nothing could have changed it. It’s what we both love and hate about this character. Not to mention, it’s basically what he both loves and hates about her, too.
So, yeah. Between this, overwhelming evidence, and pesky first love…Xavier was doomed. Tyler, on the other hand… As the first people we open our hearts to often turn out to be, he was the absolute worst.
At the end of the day, if we’re looking for normalcy, it doesn’t exist. There is no “normal,” safe person. Especially not in this universe.
More on Wednesday 1×07
- Absolutely gorgeous shot of all those umbrellas at the funeral service. Same goes for the rain pouring down on that casket. And same for the light coming out in the clearing, just in time for us to see Uncle Fester.
- “But I used to drop in on him. Usually from the ceiling with a dagger clutched between my teeth, just to keep him on his toes.” Nothing but respect for my Uncle Fester.
- “You know, when you give me that death stare of disapproval, you remind me of your mother.” I have heard this before. However, for me, it’s my Grannie. She will never die as long as I’m alive.
- “My novel started out as a twisted fiction. But somehow, reality has turned it into my personal looking glass.” The struggle of writing. Wednesday should compare notes with Pat Phelps.
- “Solitude suits me.” Same…until it doesn’t.
- Yes, we’re screaming about the double snap again. As one does.
- “Because for some reason I can not fathom or indulge, you seem to like me.” Me, whenever someone is kind to me for half a second.
- “Long enough to feel the tension between you. Yowza! Seriously! You could cut it with an executioner’s axe.” (He is correct and literally electrified by it.)
- The goofy perfection of Armisen as Fester, especially when he’s “fighting” with Thing and just stands there while Thing’s pulling on his mouth…
- “Deflect all you want, but you and I both know that you care about Enid. And you have to admit, she managed to bring out a spark of warmth in you.” Yes, we’re losing it over Christina Ricci telling Wednesday Addams about herself again. Here, she’s even describing Ortega’s “spark” whenever she lets those little hints of feelings through. Brilliant writing. The best!
- “I don’t miss her. Friends are a liability and can be exploited.” Sure, Jan.
- That little half grin when Fester buzzes Tyler.
- “It’s not a date. It’s a quid pro quo for almost getting him disemboweled.” Also known as manipulation, kiddo. Youths who may read this, be warned: Any romantic interest who makes you think you owe them anything is not to be trusted.
- “How do you feel about scary movies?” Were “do you like scary movies” and “what’s your favorite scary movie” banned due to copyright or.
- “I’m not friend material, let alone more-than-friend material.” Me.
- The way Ortega’s chin wobbles as Wednesday battles her emotions about Thing possibly dying. And then, the way her voice catches as she makes threats against whoever hurt him.
- That pinky promise might have ended me.
- And let’s not get into the way Ortega is perfect with both the pain and the way Wednesday just (double) snaps herself out of it. Back to business, if you will.
- Yet another life-altering Wednesday/Weems standoff and staredown. But mostly, I just felt the exhausted way Gwendoline Christie leaned over that fireplace as Weems, trying to finally come clean while also just tired of it all.
- Bianca and Lucas came through!
- Wednesday and Weems sitting next to each other in that hospital corridor. So much is said in just their twin postures.
- “One inch of duct tape at a time.” Exactly.
- “Everything you said about me is true. But I don’t apologize for it. Not anymore. it’s just who I am.” GO OFF ENID!!!!
- “Besides, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being proven right.” “Except maybe someone to share it with.” The delight from Myers here…and Enid may ostensibly be trying to get dirt on the whole Tyler thing. But um. Double. Meaning. And the most important part of that double meaning is how great it is to have a best friend to share with.
- “Of course the first boy I kissed would turn out to be a psychotic, serial-killing monster.” Seriously, compare notes with Buffy Anne Summers sometime. Please.
- And the great night scene of Wednesday running away in the dark, with those lights reflecting on the set streets…mmmhm.
Thoughts on Wednesday 1×07 “If You Don’t Woe Me By Now”? Leave us a comment!
Wednesday season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.