You can’t “hyde” from the truth

A new creepy take on the origin of the Addams family


Photo Courtesy of IMDb

Marilyn Thornhill (Christina Ricci), Wednesday’s “dorm mom” of the series, played the original Wednesday Addams in the 1991 film, “The Addams Family.”

Carley Bailey, Staff Reporter

Netflix recently featured a new twisted teenage melodrama following the adolescent years of everyone’s favorite goth girl, Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega), and her murderous coming-of-age tale. 

In the opening scene of the eight-part series, Wednesday and her brother, Pugsley (Isaac Ordonez), attend a classic, all-American public school with bullies, jocks, mean girls, and all. Wednesday ironically acquires the ability to see certain things through visions, however, she has no way of controlling them. After having a vision showing her brother being brutally bullied, she commits a rather revengeful scheme on the guilty jocks. With this, Wednesday gets expelled and her parents send her off to a more “fitting” boarding school of freaks and outcasts by the name of Nevermore Academy. Here she meets her enthusiastically annoying roommate, Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers), who gives her a “Clueless-style” tour of the school. Wednesday learns about each and every cliche in her new palace of imprisonment and makes it her mission to escape. 

I won’t lie, the beginning of the show didn’t really draw me in like I had expected it to. I had heard so much about the show and how addicting it had become for viewers, however, all I got out of the first bit of the episode was a classic “new creepy weird girl” type of storyline. The teen drama and rivalries within the show also gave off more of a “Disney Channel” feel, which is not necessarily what I expected. Although my suspicion about the series built as I kept watching, the first episode lowered my desire to continue on.

Further into the episode, Wednesday forms numerous new relationships, both good and bad, with her colleagues at Nevermore. After a showdown with the queen bee, Bianca Barclay (Joy Sunday), and a rather meaningful connection with an old friend, Xavier Thorpe (Percy Hynes White), Wednesday faces a near-death “incident” as a fellow telekinetic weird kid, Rowan (Calum Ross), sends a stone gargoyle toppling down above her.

Later on, in the small, nearby town of Jericho, Wednesday unwillingly attends therapy sessions with the town’s local therapist, Dr. Valerie Kinbott (Riki Lindhome). And after a swift escape through the bathroom window, Wednesday takes shelter in a coffee shop down the road. Here, she meets Tyler Galpin (Hunter Doohan) who agrees to hitch her a ride to the train station after his shift. In her attempt to escape alongside Tyler, Wednesday is confronted with a brand new assortment of issues in her path. These issues include the death of Rowan, the freak who tried to kill her, and a murderous monster who happened to save her. Just as Wednesday had thought navigating the complex school environment at Nevermore was her only issue, now she has a flesh-eating serial killer with a dark past to deal with.  

Although this episode was jam-packed with new secrets and mysteries to think about, I was a bit taken back by how funky-looking and unrealistic they made the monster. All I could think about while watching was how oddly identical it looked to Gollum from “Lord of the Rings.” The deformed, wide-eyed creature was so fake-looking it was honestly comical. 

Moving forward to episode 2, the storyline allows Wednesday to untangle bits and parts of the mystery while finding odd connections to her family origin and the history behind Nevermore Academy.  The storyline of this episode still keeps the fantasy aspect alive as Wednesday and her friends participate in the Edgar Allen Poe Cup race, as Wednesday takes on Bianca, the annual winner of the race.  During the event, Wednesday has another vision while retrieving the other team’s flag, a vision that brings her closer to discovering the truth. 

As the episode continues, Wednesday makes many new discoveries revolving around The Nightshades, a secret society within the school, as well as Rowan’s murder in the woods and the many people related to its cover-up. 

Once episode 3 rolls around, we learn more about the unstable relationships between the people of Jericho and the Nevermore outcasts.  While engaging in voluntary work in Jericho, Wednesday discovers the relations between Joseph Crackstone (William Houston), the original founder of Jericho, and her own prophecy. With this, Wednesday tracks down the location of the ruins of the old pilgrim meeting house she had seen in a vision. There she uncovers even more hidden secrets revolving around her own ancestors and the hell-sent pilgrims of the New England witch trials. 

Although it’s still the beginning of the series, episode 3 gives viewers a few answers to the mysteries of the series while still asking new and upcoming questions. I felt as though this episode was where things started picking up for me and became much more intriguing. 

Episode 4 focuses more on the relationships of the Nevermore students as the school’s annual ball, The Rave’N, approaches. However, this doesn’t mean that Wednesday isn’t still unraveling more secrets and keeping her focus on uncovering who the monster may be. Throughout the episode, she continues investigating potential suspects and recollecting on what really happened that night in the woods. As expected, this episode ceases in chaos as well as the almost-fatal attack of a beloved character. 

I personally liked how the series still kept the high school-like experience throughout with all sorts of different “love stories” and even a school dance. I feel as though it made the story more relatable and entertaining to follow.  

Taking a small break from Wednesday’s monster-related adventures, the Addams family is once again reunited in episode 5 during Nevermores “Family Weekend.” This event gave Wednesday the opportunity to confront her father’s dark past first-hand and learn even more about her family origin. 

Episode 6 brings us closer to Wednesday’s endgame as the mystery of the monster is brought back into the picture, this time hitting her close to home. More importantly, the episode forces Wednesday to reconsider her own manipulative ways while burning all the bridges around her, leaving her truly alone for the first time since she arrived at Nevermore

This episode covered Wednesday’s journey of self-discovery extremely well. From the beginning, she’s always put herself first and assumed no one could be trusted, even the ones that truly cared for her. The numerous hardships she brought upon herself made her realize that she’s not as alone in this world as she thought. Being her cold-hearted, devilish self, these experiences came to show how she evolved ever-so-slightly throughout the series. 

All the pieces begin to fall into Wednesday’s lap in episode 7 as she discovers that the monster, which is now identified as “The Hyde,” has direct relations to herself. Throughout the episode, Wednesday begins to mend her friendships back together again and makes it her mission to put an end to the various problems haunting Nevermore once and for all. With help from a fan-favorite Addams character, Uncle Fester (Fred Armisen), Wednesday finally unmasks the inhuman serial killer as well as its “master.”

Episode 8 follows the same chaotic theme as the last while Nevermore Academy battles its demons. The finale is an accumulation of everything that has occurred so far in the series as all mysteries are solved. But just because secrets were uncovered doesn’t mean there can’t be more. In the climax of the episode, an evil force is risen from the grave to destroy the outcasts and Nevermore as a whole. In a rather happy ending, all the Nevermore students band together to defeat this daunting evil and save the school. 

The Wednesday Addams series ended up being a rollercoaster of mayhem, mystery, and a fair share of teen drama. Overall, the 8-part production ended up being a well-liked pick for me and I’ll for sure be watching Season 2 once it’s released.