DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Wednesday episode “Woe Is the Loneliest Number” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril, normies.
Welcome back, normies and outcasts! Episode two of Wednesday, “Woe Is the Loneliest Number,” expands on the mystery surrounding Rowan and our titular character’s inexplicable connection. The outing deepens Wednesday’s bonds with her classmates while establishing much-needed character development. There are certainly aspects I enjoyed.
I feel it’s missing something. It’s not as dark as I’d like it to be. Granted, it’s more of a family-friendly teen mystery series, but a character as morbid as Wednesday Addams deserves an equally dark stage to play. Perhaps I’m pining for more of her with her family. The Addams family is iconic, and a significant part of their charm is how they, as outcasts, interact with the “normal,” colorless world around them.
Bianca’s mistreatment of our heroine is no different than what she received at her former school. While there are a handful of full-fledged outcasts at Nevermore, it seems like a place for the cool and privileged. I know it’s only the second episode, so I’ll exercise patience. I’m not wowed yet.
Ready to delve into “Woe Is the Loneliest Number”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Sheriff Galpin (Jamie McShane) and his team combing the woods in search of Rowan after that monster kills him. However, even with the bloodhounds, they come up empty-handed. Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) insists she saw his murder. Galpin accompanies her and Principal Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie) inside Nevermore for a more in-depth chat. He informs the group that they found nothing. Wednesday asks to speak with Galpin alone, a request Larissa begrudgingly approves. She not-so-subtly threatens the sheriff regarding his accusing a Nevermore student of murder.
After Larissa leaves, Deputy Ritchie Santiago (Luyanda Unati Lewis-Nyawo) brings none other than Rowan (Calum Ross) into the fold. He looks very un-murdered. Uh-oh. Later, Wednesday meets with Dr. Valerie Kinbott (Riki Lindhome), who asks her why she lied about seeing Rowan’s body. Wednesday asserts her innocence in the matter. After her session, Tyler (Hunter Doohan) reunites with her outside Valerie’s office. Tyler reassures Wednesday that he believes her side of the story.
Next, Wednesday learns all about the Poe Cup from Enid (Emma Myers), who expresses relief that our titular heroine didn’t skip town. Plus, Thing gives stellar massages. That tracks. Enid tries to persuade her roomie to join them in the thrilling Poe Cup festivities, but “fun” and Wednesday don’t mix. She asks Enid about Rowan and what he’s like. Enid claims he mostly keeps to himself, but Xavier was his roommate.
Then, Wednesday notices a peculiar watermark on the page she took from Rowan. She chats with Larissa about Rowan’s status at school. We learn he was expelled. Oh, and Larissa knows about Wednesday’s visions. She claims Morticia was also afflicted around the same age, and hers were unreliable. Larissa encourages our eponymous Goth gal to join at least one extracurricular activity. However, Wednesday would prefer to maintain her sharp edges. After their conversation, she confides in Thing her suspicions regarding Larissa. The principal is undoubtedly keeping tabs on her. Wednesday pops by Bianca’s (Joy Sunday) choir group, “Pitch Slap,” to audition. She belts out a note only dogs can hear. It cracks the glass around her. Wicked.
Later, Wednesday tries out archery with Xavier (Percy Hynes White). The two bicker a bit, and Xavier asks her about her interactions with Tyler. He urges her to steer clear of the Galpin boy. Wednesday inquires about Rowan, but Xavier provides little as a sufficient answer. Our protagonist heads over to Nevermore’s premier bee club, wherein Eugene Otinger (Moosa Mostafa) reigns supreme. Wednesday seems genuinely interested in joining the club (stinging insects are part of her brand); however, she flees in a hurry.
Wednesday tracks down Rowan as he’s departing Nevermore. He’s not supposed to talk to anyone, but our macabre sleuth tries to elicit a response out of Rowan. Marilyn Thornhill (Christina Ricci) chastises Wednesday for chatting with Rowan. Marilyn drives Rowan to the train station. Thing hitches a ride on the back of her car. While there, Thing observes while Rowan walks into a bathroom stall. Surprisingly, a man with bleached blonde hair emerges. Even more surprisingly, said man transforms into none other than Larissa Weems. I knew there was something off about her.
Unfortunately, Thing doesn’t put two and two together and believes he lost Rowan in the bathroom. He delivers the news to Wednesday, who’s none too pleased. Bianca and her pals laugh at Wednesday for talking to a plant (Thing hides behind it). They’re in Marilyn’s botany class, and it’s about to start. Wednesday sits next to Xavier. We finally see his ability in action — he waves a hand over his drawing of a spider, and the spider comes to life, crawling off the page. Impressive. Bianca seethes with jealousy.
Bianca and Wednesday have a smart-off in Marilyn’s class while Tyler asks his dad what he’s doing with their dog. Galpin’s still on the Rowan case. He might not have admitted it, but he believes Wednesday’s story. Galpin inquires about therapy, which opens a sore for Tyler. Family drama! Meanwhile, Wednesday asks Enid to attend the bee club meeting in her stead while she works on this case. Enid will only help if her roomie apologizes to Thing for being rude.
Thus, Wednesday Addams delivers her brand of apology to Thing for mistreating him and taking his loyalty for granted; we’ll never speak of that again. (Lest we want Wednesday to make a necklace with our eyeballs.) Wednesday joins Enid and Eugene among the swarming bees. Enid looks terrified. Not to worry, Eugene’s a bona fide pro.
Meanwhile, Wednesday searches the woods for clues. Tyler pulls her aside before she’s caught in the crosshairs of his father and their dog. Tyler discloses his trick for staying undetected, scent-wise: a bag of coffee beans. Well, he does work in a coffee shop. While out there, Wednesday finds Rowan’s smashed glasses, reaffirming her belief someone is covering up his murder. She has a vision, one showcasing Xavier and Rowan arguing. It appears Xavier knows more than he’s letting on.
Wednesday searches the library for Rowan’s purple book (the one he had in her vision from the pilot). She asks Marilyn about the watermark. The teacher/den mother informs Wednesday of a now-defunct club called the Nightshades. That symbol belongs to them. Then, the pair chat about not fitting in and being confident in their identities. Marilyn encourages Wednesday to hold fast to her self-confidence. I love that ’90s Wednesday is giving ’20s Wednesday advice.
Later, Wednesday goes snooping around in Xavier’s room for more Rowan clues. Xavier emerges from the shower, so our gal hopes under his bed. Bianca visits her ex-boyfriend. She’s curious about his peculiar attachment to Wednesday. According to her, Xavier thought our heroine was in danger when Rowan rattled on about killing her. Or does his fascination stem from feelings? Bianca insists they were good together. She loathes Wednesday because “she believes she’s better than everyone else.”
Next, Enid sobs on her bed because Yoko (Naomi J. Ogawa), her vampire friend, got garlic poisoning. Now, she can’t participate in the Poe Cup. Wednesday volunteers herself to fill the slot, much to Enid’s elation. The following day, Wednesday emerges in a black cat costume because Enid’s team is called “The Black Cats.” There are four groups, and all of them are themed/costumed. Larissa explains the rules of the game. The first boat to sail across the river, grab their flag and return wins.
As the teams start rowing, we see Bianca and her group playing dirty. Their friend, also a siren, jumps into the water. While underwater, he sprouts a tail like a mermaid. He endeavors to sabotage the other teams. One boat is already taken out, leaving three groups vying for the prize. Once the Black Cats accomplish this, Wednesday retrieves the flag while Enid goes Wolverine and slashes up Xavier’s team’s canoe.
Suddenly, another vision strikes Wednesday. She sees a blonde-haired version of herself in an antiquated dress. She tells Wednesday that she’s the key. To what, we don’t know. After she wakes from her vision, our girl grabs the team flag and returns to the canoe. Xavier’s boat is out of commission now, leaving Bianca’s team and the Black Cats on the water. Bianca’s siren friend attempts to take the BC out of the running. Thankfully, Thing steps in, giving a mean right hook.
Team Black Cat gets close enough to slash the side of Bianca’s canoe, making the Black Cats the winners. Enid is over the moon. Even Wednesday looks somewhat pleased. Later, the team is honored by Principal Weems, who hands Enid the Poe Cup trophy. Unable to withstand the incessant attention, Wednesday finds solace with the Edgar Allan Poe (a former student of Nevermore) statue. Enid reassures her new bestie that reveling in the win with others is okay. She asks Wednesday to hang out with her and her friends later.
Next, Wednesday returns to the Edgar Allan Poe statue after finding that symbol underneath the stone book he’s holding. She solves a series of riddles etched in said stone book. The riddles spell out “Snap Twice,” and, folks … she does the thing! We get the two snaps! Suddenly, a secret corridor opens, revealing a hidden chamber. Wednesday wanders into the same space we saw Rowan in during the former’s vision with the massive skull on the floor.
She successfully finds Rowan’s purple book, which includes the missing page he tore out. Remember how Rowan claimed Wednesday would destroy the school? Our girl always wanted to do terrible things, but good terrible, not bad terrible. She puts the book in her backpack, but before she can go further, a mysterious someone thrusts a black sack over her head. She’s too close to the truth, y’all.
Despite some narrative issues, “Woe Is the Loneliest Number” boasts an exciting cliffhanger that’ll surely keep viewers clambering for the next episode. I’m on the fence, and Jenna Ortega is 100 percent the main reason I’m watching. I want bona fide Gothic vibes. Lean into the darkness, please—no more of this sanitized, glossy CW finish.
Wednesday Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.
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