‘Wednesday’ Season 1 Finale Recap Ending Explained
Beware, massive spoilers for season 1 of Netflix’s Wednesday are ahead.
Netflix just dropped all eight episodes of the first season of Wednesday, a Tim Burton-directed series based on Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) of the Addams family. The universe of the kooky and spooky Addams Family is rich and longstanding, but the new show has expanded it into a world of “outcasts,” or people with supernatural connections and powers. They stand in contrast to the “normies,” or regular people who populate the town close to Wednesday’s boarding school, Nevermore Academy.
This season covers Wednesday’s first year at Nevermore and a series of mysterious murders in the area. In the final episode, her investigation has come to some harsh conclusions.
It begins with Wednesday confronting townie and alleged normie, Tyler Galphin (Hunter Doohan). The young pigtailed goth has been experiencing visions throughout the season that show her glimpses of a person’s future and all their dark secrets. When she and Tyler kissed in the previous episode, she saw that he was a “Hyde,” a type of baddie that seems to be based on the idea of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a scientist who was both a man and a monster.
After discovering her love interest is likely the local killer, Wednesday enlists her friends in kidnapping and torturing him, but they balk at the idea. After Wednesday’s plans are ruined and she gets expelled from Nevermore, Tyler gives her a speech about his evil machinations. But he’s not actually the mastermind behind the killings. The question remains: Who is controlling Tyler?
Wednesday visits her bug-loving friend Eugene, who is in the hospital after an attack. He reveals that he saw someone wearing red boots during his assault, which connects the dots for Wednesday: The culprit is Marylin Thornhill (Christina Ricci). All through the season, Ms. Thornhill has been making a point of buddying up to Wednesday, but it was all a ruse. Her real name is Laurel Gates, and she has been planning her revenge against the Addams family for years.
When Wednesday confronts Thornhill, she learns that the plant-loving teacher has been using her herbal concoctions to reveal Tyler’s Hyde self to him, after telling him about his own mother’s fate as a Hyde. Then Tyler appears again, and Thornhill says he’ll “do anything for her.”
Except it’s not Tyler.
Throughout the series, Wednesday has butted heads with Principal Weens (Gwendoline Christie), who cares deeply about Nevermore’s reputation and the safety of her outcast students. She’s also a shapeshifter. The fake Tyler transforms into Weems, but before the principal can do more, she is stabbed with nightshade poison and dies right in front of Wednesday’s eyes. The teen is then clapped in the head with a shovel.
Thornhill’s plan goes far beyond tormenting Wednesday. She wants to resurrect Joseph Crackstone, whose coffin was cursed by Wednesday’s magical ancestor Goody Addams. Crackstone was a zealot who hated and feared the outcasts and planned to kill them all. Thornhill is totally for this, of course, and she uses Wednesday’s blood to open up his tomb and release him into the world once more.
As Wednesday bleeds out, Thornhill brings her big plan into fruition and a haggard Crackstone appears and starts wreaking havoc at Nevermore. Before it’s too late, the spirit of Goody Addams appears and heals her descendant, before sending her off to put Crackstone back in his grave.
Wednesday is confronted once again by Tyler’s Hyde side in the woods, but her roommate Enid (Emma Myers) finally manages to “wolf out,” and transforms into a werewolf protector for her bestie. Wednesday gets away, and manages to stab Crackstone’s resurrected form in the heart with a shard of a special sword, killing him.
Thornhill also gets her comeuppance, and gets swarmed by Eugene’s bees. It’s not totally clear if she dies, but Wednesday sure gives her a big kick to the head, blacking her out from the scene. Wednesday then reunites with the rest of her friends, Bianca (Joy Sunday), Xavier (Percy Hynes White), and Enid—whom she finally embraces after rejecting hugs all season.
The story finishes up with Wednesday completing her novel on her typewriter with the phrase “THE END?” and receiving a phone as a gift from Xavier, who competed against Tyler for her affections. (She’s a bit of a Luddite.)
As she drives away from Nevermore with Lurch and Thing, Wednesday receives several threatening text messages from an anonymous number on her new phone. Wednesday is very happy to have her first stalker, and fans might be, too—it implies there’s another mystery for her to return to in a potential season 2.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.