If you haven’t been able to stop thinking about Wednesday’s whirlwind finale, you’re not alone. The twist-turning whodunnit takes you on a roller-coaster journey with Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) piecing centuries-worth of conflict together to get to the bottom of it all. But if you’ve also found yourself drowning in the heaps of information the show’s finale unravels, well, you’re also not alone. Without further ado, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty world of Nevermore and the face-palm worthy clues Tim Burton gave us from the show’s pilot episode. Shall we begin?
The mystery at hand
With Wednesday’s expulsion streak and trouble fitting in, Gomez (Luis Guzmán) and Morticia Addams (Catherine Zeta-Jones) think their daughter may finally find her footing at their own alma matter, Nevermore Academy, located on the outskirts of Jericho. The school is basically Hogwarts gone goth, and prides itself on its student body of “outcasts,” aka sirens, gorgons, werewolves, and a whole bunch of kids with mind powers. But there’s trouble in Nevermore: A mysterious monster is terrorizing its woods and hunting down its students.
As the show progresses, we learn that Nevermore’s monster is a rare beast called a hyde (yes, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). It’s essentially a human with the capacity to turn into a giant, flesh-eating monster. Hydes can only be activated with the help of someone else, through a trifecta of hypnosis, chemicals, or trauma-inducing stress, with the person eventually obtaining the ability to turn into a hyde whenever their controlling counterpart requires it. Wednesday’s at a weird epicenter in this mystery with the hyde and its maker seemingly targeting her, and her family history is deeply entangled with everything going on.
A history of Addams past and present
Credit: Screenshot Netflix
There are two major timelines casting a shadow on the mystery and Wednesday’s time at school: Jericho’s founding in the 17th century, and Morticia and Gomez’s high school years, 30 years before Wednesday itself.
As Wednesday unravels, we learn that Jericho was in fact founded by an absolute bigot named Joseph Crackstone, a pilgrim who was determined to take over native land and rid it of outcasts that looked a whole lot like Wednesday’s peers at Nevermore. His biggest opponent was Wednesday’s own Mexican ancestor, Goody Addams (also played by Ortega), who managed to survive Crackstone’s attempt to burn all outcasts and executed her revenge by poisoning and killing him with nightshade. Our queen Goody then proceeded to build Nevermore as a safe haven for all outcasts in the town. And while Jericho’s council continuously attempts to whitewash its own history and paint Crackstone as a savior, Wednesday (and other key players) know the true story of what went down.
Flash-forward hundreds of years later, and we’re at Nevermore in the ’90s watching Gomez and Morticia fall in love. But there’s trouble in paradise, thanks to Garett Gates, the son of Ansel Gates and one of Jericho’s last remaining families directly tied to Crackstone through ancestry. The Gates may have acquired wealth and respect from their legacy, but they’ve also acquired a hostility toward outcasts and are determined to destroy everything about Nevermore once and for all. Garett is madly in love with Morticia but on a mission to spike the drinks at their Rav’n prom with nightshade, a twisted take at poetic justice, to execute his family’s lifelong dream of killing all outcasts. Instead, Garett’s case of nightshade cracks while still in his pocket and poisons him instead, with Morticia and Gomez bearing the brunt of his death many years later.
We also know that during that time, the first occurrence of hydes was documented by a mysterious Nevermore student named Nathaniel Faulkner. And the mother of Wednesday’s classmate, Rowen (Calum Ross), had a vision that a young girl in identifiable braids was going to fight against a greater evil on Nevermore’s grounds. All these pieces tie together and unravel during Wednesday’s time at school, informing her struggle with a present-day duo trying to revive a history of bigotry through an outcast-killing monster.
Credit: Screenshot Netflix
Christina Ricci is back and in her villain era, folks. By Wednesday’s finale, we learn that the duo behind the monster terrorizing Nevermore were in fact Ms. Thornhill (Ricci) and Tyler (Hunter Doohan). On one hand, we discover that Thornhill is actually Laurel Gates, aka Ansel Gates’ daughter, who was believed to have drowned many years ago but was in fact alive all along. On the other hand, we learn that Tyler’s mom was really an outcast and was the hyde that Faulkner discovered 30 years ago, with her genetics passing on to Tyler, whose hyde self was activated by Thornhill’s expansive knowledge of botany and chemicals.
Like Crackstone, the pair have a deep hatred toward Nevermore and are determined to finally see its ending through. But Thornhill is clever and knows she can’t do it alone, so she enlists the power of the supernatural to revive Crackstone himself to destroy Wednesday and Nevermore. We obviously know their plans get thwarted, and Wednesday manages to save the day with the help of her peers, the spirit of Goody Addams, and her insane fencing skills. But while the finale is a nonstop shock fest, keen viewers may have managed to pick apart the reveal from the show’s beginning.
Ms. Thornhill is a master manipulator
Credit: Screenshot Netflix
Being part of the Gates family means that Ms. Thornhill has access to all of the town’s information, including the whereabouts and details of its outcasts, which she uses to find Tyler and bring out his hyde. Ms. Thornhill also possesses Goody’s Book of Shadows, which details the blood ritual needed to revive Crackstone. With these two instrumental elements under her belt, Thornhill begins her journey to infiltrate Nevermore as their first “normie,” aka nonmagical, teacher while acting as a mentor to Wednesday to lure her in and throw her off track. But Thornhill’s track was never polished to begin with, and her key role was largely hinted at the first time she met Wednesday.
When we first see the Addams drop off Wednesday at Nevermore in the show’s pilot, Ms. Thornhill, who’s Wednesday’s dorm mother, is curiously nowhere to be found. We also see that within that same hour, the monster was out hunting a poor hitchhiker in the woods. These two tidbits harmoniously come together upon Ms. Thornhill’s arrival as she greets Wednesday in her dorm room wearing a pair of muddy boots — the same boots Eugene (Moosa Mostafa) uses to identify her in the show’s finale. Why would Thornhill’s boots be covered in mud if she wasn’t out in the forest? Why would a dorm mother, who’s supposed to greet every newcomer, not welcome Wednesday if she wasn’t out in the forest with the monster? That little scene of her profusely apologizing for being late and causing a muddy mess seems innocent upon a first watch, but takes on a completely different meaning by the show’s end.
The secrets in the flowers
Credit: Screenshot Netflix
In that same welcoming scene, Ms. Thornhill gifts Wednesday a black dahlia — a flower specifically chosen for her, and curiously named after a famous unsolved murder. The black dahlia works in two ways: It foreshadows Wednesday’s involvement with the monster mystery to come, and it recalls Morticia and Gomez’s suspected involvement in Garett Gates’ death, aka Thornhill’s own brother. The floral entendres continue later on when Thornhill gifts Wednesday a white oleander, one of the deadliest flora out there but also one of the most symbolic. Its simultaneous evocation of both death and destined fate is a perfect amalgam of how Thornhill sees Wednesday, and evidently, is the perfect gift. Only through Wednesday’s death can Crackstone come back to life. And while Wednesday sees death in the white oleander, Thornhill sees destiny, a preemptive fate for a greater cause.
Hyper-fixations on flora aside, the show’s timeline also hints at Thornhill and Laurel being the same person and monster maker. Throughout Wednesday, we learn that Thornhill joined Nevermore a year and a half before the show’s present, and we learn that Laurel (under a pseudonym) bought her childhood home a year before as well. Alongside the perfectly overlapping timelines, most people in the town seem to recognize Thornhill but aren’t exactly sure from where. For example, in the show’s third episode, the town’s mayor curiously looks at Thornhill and asks if he’s ever seen her before. But our perfect villain in disguise whips up a seamless alibi and manages to convince him that he’s only seen her recently, and not in her youth.
Tyler is the monster
Credit: Vlad Cioplea / Netflix
Talk about a first kiss gone terribly wrong. Yes, #Wyler shippers, the romance was short-lived and for good reason. Turns out Tyler is a two-faced monster, with a double life perfectly orchestrated to hide his hyde. Was he in therapy to better his mental health? Nope. His dad (Jamie McShane) was merely trying to monitor and control his hyde-turning susceptible emotions. Where was his mom in all of this? Out somewhere in the wild being an uncontrollable hyde herself. And was Xavier (Percy Hynes White) right about not trusting him? Absolutely, Tyler was a bully through and through, with an incessant hatred toward outcasts that hadn’t changed one bit.
Although our horrible hyde briefly managed to hide his big secret from Wednesday, he may not have done such a great job with audiences, and we have state mandatory child labor laws to thank. During Nevermore’s Outreach Day, we learn that a big clue in Wednesday’s mystery, Goody’s Book of Shadows, was stolen from Crackstone’s museum display at 2 p.m. during the site’s daily witch trial performance. Not even a minute later, the scene cuts to Wednesday telling Tyler she needs help finding the book and digging into Crackstone’s past, with Tyler coincidentally being available because guess what? His shift finishes at 2 p.m. Now picture it with me. He’s done making his last coffee of the day, he plugs in his hours, he heads over to the nearby museum, and he flawlessly steals the Book of Shadows while everyone’s outside watching a fake witch trial that’s apparently entertaining.
Apart from work hours, Tyler also suspiciously knows way too much about everyone and everything. He knows the exact location of Crackstone’s ruined cabin, despite it being vanished off the town’s radar and home to squatters. When he and Wednesday are trying to hide from hunting hounds in the forest, he uses coffee grounds to mask their scent — an esoteric tactic he claims to know because he goes “deer hunting” (when we coincidentally also know that the hyde loves feasting on venison).
He’s also always there whenever the hyde is unleashed. No matter where Wednesday encounters the hyde, it’s a surefire fact that Tyler was with her moments before. Whether it was during their carnival date in the show’s first episode or their break-in into the Gates’ old home in episode six, Tyler was always with her and so was the hyde, but never at the same time. And maybe that was his biggest giveaway.
The Mr. Hyde to Ms. Thornhill’s Dr. Jekyll, Wednesday’s plot-twisting reveal is a fun literary nod and gasp-worthy shocker with many strings left unanswered. While we can safely say that the duo have been caught, we’re still unsure of other key players that may have been helping them. Who is Wednesday’s stalker? How did Laurel Gates fake her death? Are any of the other members of the Gates family still alive? And where the hell is Tyler’s mom? So many strings, so many questions. As Wednesday said it herself, “I know the suspense is killing you.”
Wednesday is now streaming on Netflix.