‘Wednesday’ Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: ‘A Murder of Woes’



A Murder of Woes

Season 1

Episode 8

Editor’s Rating

4 stars

Photo: Vlad Cioplea/Netflix

I realize, now that we’ve reached the season finale, that we have virtually never seen Wednesday or her friends in class, or doing homework, or preparing for exams. And I’m not complaining, because obviously that would be boring. But seeing Wednesday appears to have learned absolutely nothing from her previous confrontations, I’m wondering: Can Wednesday actually absorb new information and act on it? Apparently not, which suggests to me the academic rigor of her institution is … lacking.

She goes right up to Tyler to say that she knows he’s the Hyde, based solely on her vision. She has no evidence! Wednesday, cool your jets and build a case! Is this how Viper the teen detective gets things done?

Also, I’ll just say up here that I was a little disappointed that several key threads re: Wednesday’s visions just went nowhere in this finale, the first of which being the warning from Xavier that her visions would be unreliable and only show her a misleading fraction of the truth. Instead, it turns out that all of her visions have been leading her to this truth: Tyler as the Hyde. Wouldn’t it be more interesting if her visions led her astray? We were also told that her visions, left unmanaged, would drive her insane, and that this is what happened to Goody. But — getting a bit ahead of ourselves here — Wednesday is quite sane from start to finish, and Goody never seems all that crazy, either, and whatever vision-guidance Goody was going to provide Wednesday never comes to pass because literally all Goody does is show up to disappear, apparently forever. I found Goody and her Party Rental wig situation to be far less compelling than the rest of the story but it’s still weird to have built up her role so much only for her one contribution to be a deus ex machina, this-ghost-heals-all-wounds maneuver.

But, back to Wednesday confronting Tyler: I am relieved to see that she is finally learning to play nicely with others and she brought her friends with her (Bianca, a bunch of students who I don’t believe have spoken or really been seen much all season). FINALLY we see the siren powers put to use as Bianca enchants Tyler and again I must say it was a misstep not to show us Bianca-as-siren in action from the very start of the season. But Tyler isn’t thinking about this; Tyler is waking up chained to a chair in Xavier’s haunted art shed.

Wednesday reveals that my hunch was correct and Tyler’s mom was an outcast. (She was on the fencing team with Morticia.) Thing swiped Tyler’s mom’s medical records so Wednesday knows that Mrs. Galpin’s “condition” was triggered by postpartum depression, which is VERY close to that trope of mom-dying-in-childbirth-so-dad-can-never-forgive-the-son that I mentioned… I will not riot because I have recapping to do but I want you to know I’m not thrilled.

Tyler maintains his mom was bipolar in the normie way, not the Jekyll-and-Hyde way, so Wednesday just goes full Zero Dark Thirty on him. She has a taser and a LOT of other scary-looking torture devices, so all her accomplices bail. I know she’s a little busy at the moment but I think that as a loner, a writer, and someone with a proclivity for violence against her fellow men, Wednesday would get a lot out of The Card Counter. I’d say she and Tyler would watch it on their next movie night at the crypt but something tells me they’re not planning a second date anytime soon. 🙁

Wednesday’s classmates snitch to Weems that Wednesday is torturing Tyler. Weems calls the Sheriff who arrives just as Wednesday picks up a hammer to “test Tyler’s reflexes.” Miraculously the sheriff is not pressing kidnapping charges. Wednesday can’t believe the sheriff doesn’t know his son’s true identity. Or does he?! The show does a very good job here of keeping us guessing here — is Wednesday crazy or is she the only one who ISN’T crazy? — right  up until the real reveal, when Tyler pulls her over for a sidebar where he drops his sweet little normie act to tell her the truth: he IS a Hyde. He remembers every murder and he is gloating over Wednesday’s loss because no one will ever believe her.

Wednesday tells Weems what Tyler told her, and Weems responds by saying that Wednesday (1) will be expelled immediately and (2) could have just brought her this intel so they could’ve worked together. Weems is oddly dismissive of Wednesday’s mention of Tyler’s mom and says only that she is disappointed to see Wednesday go.

Wednesday sneaks into prison to visit Xavier, to whom she admits she was wrong and she’s very sorry for framing him and enough about that, now she needs his help!! (I can’t BELIEVE she thought it was necessary or wise to say she got her vision about Tyler “when he kissed me” …information Xavier clearly did not need.) Xavier’s perfectly rational response is to yell at Wednesday for ruining his life. He tells her to go away and never come back because the bad thing in her vision can’t happen if she’s not there. You all know I haven’t really been Team Xavier but it’s hard to argue with his passion or logic here.

As Wednesday makes her farewell rounds, she sees Thornhill, whose parting gift is a white oleander. (For everyone playing along at home watching out for plant-symbolism, a white oleander is a beautiful and delicate flower in appearance… but is actually poisonous. I’m a little surprised Wednesday, who we know to be an expert on these matters, doesn’t put two and two together on the spot.) Weems will be personally escorting Wednesday to the train station but our girl finagles one little detour: Eugene woke up last night, and she wants to visit. Their reunion is so sweet! She tells him to stay away from Nevermore because the Hyde is still out there. Eugene reports that, when he saw the explosion at the cave that put him in the coma, he saw the boots of the exploder and they were… RED. So now Wednesday knows the real master: Thornhill.

Yet AGAIN (or so it seems) Wednesday goes to confront her new nemesis, alone. “You can drop the act, Laurel,” she sneers, describing the whole revenge plot and saying “Tyler told me everything” just as Tyler (!) appears. But just as Laurel/Thornhill tells Tyler to shut Wednesday up, Tyler transforms INTO WEEMS. Just as I am thinking thank GOD Wednesday finally brought a grown-up to these battles! Laurel/Thornhill plunges a syringe of Nightshade poisoning into Weems and knocks Wednesday out with a shovel. At least Thing was there to bear witness!

Enid is making swift use of her single (making out with Ajax) when she gets a call from Eugene, who tells her what went down with Weems, Wednesday, and Laurel/Thornhill. Thing also arrives to fill in some blanks and dramatically reenact Weems’ death. Whatever is happening next is going down at Crackstone’s Crypt. At this juncture, we learn that there is at least one student who didn’t get into the not-so-exclusive-seeming Nightshades: Enid. Meanwhile Eugene springs out of his hospital bed because he has to help Wednesday: “It’s hive code!”

Wednesday regains consciousness in the crypt to find her hands in chains. Tyler is also there, as Laurel/Thornhill’s lackey, and we learn that Laurel/Thornhill is a Crackstone descendant, because of course she is. The body parts swiped by the monster are not, as I predicted-slash-hoped, being reassembled into some new monster, but are required to resurrect Crackstone. Laurel/Thornhill possesses that real Book of Shadows that was missing from the meetinghouse at Pilgrim World (solid callback) which she will use for this spell. Goody sealed Crackstone in a sarcophagus with a bloodlock and the only thing that can open it is the blood of someone from Goody’s line (which is where Wednesday comes in) during a blood moon (because we just need to really double/triple down on the whole blood theme here).

Here I ask: WHY do spells in TV shows and movies always require a slice through the palm?! Not docking points, it just seems so extra and also, ouch. Speaking of slashing, somebody took out all the cop car tires so the only person who can get to the scene is the sheriff, who was driving around with Xavier cuffed in the backseat.

Wednesday has a knife stashed in her boot because that’s our girl. Nevertheless, Laurel/Thornhill succeeds in bringing Crackstone back. Is this whole scene sort of Spirit Halloween level special effects? I mean, yes, but I’ll take it. Laurel/Thornhill practically has an orgasm at the sight of Zombie Pilgrim Crackstone, telling him she summoned him “to rid the world of outcasts once and for all.” Wednesday manages to get up but Crackstone stabs her in the gut and TWISTS THAT KNIFE and then he and Laurel/Thornhill skip out of the crypt, making a classic villain mistake of not sticking around to confirm your kills.

So then Goody appears to give Wednesday a very important message — Crackstone needs to be stabbed through his black heart in order to perish forever. Also, Wednesday’s necklace from Morticia can conjure spirits (would’ve been useful information at the moment of gift-giving, mom!) and allow Goody to pass through Wednesday and save her life, but Wednesday will never get to see her again. It all feels too convenient — call it deus ex Morticia — and seems like a missed opportunity for Goody to be so obsessed with vengeance that it leads Wednesday astray. In any case, Wednesday comes back to life and Goody is gone forever.

Back at Nevermore, our ragtag group of magical students decide to evacuate their classmates without causing a panic by using some siren songs while Thing and Enid look for Wednesday. Right in the middle of the woods, Enid fully wolfs out, as you surely knew she would. Her “awoooo” is very cute. Wednesday also runs into the woods, where she collides with Tyler. We get some great lovers-to-enemies banter here — “You’re like a cockroach” “Flattery will get you nowhere” — before Tyler morphs into the monster. But before he can claw Wednesday to death, Enid-wolf jumps in. CGI battles like this are pretty boring, aesthetically, but I appreciate that Enid gets a heroic moment. Sheriff Galpin uses a tracker to find his son, and boy oh boy is it going to be traumatizing for him when he realizes the monster he just shot at is his son. And Jericho doesn’t even have a therapist anymore! Anyway Enid survives and Tyler does, too, returning to his human self.

Back at Nevermore, I love that Laurel/Thornhill keeps trying to bond with her Zombie Pilgrim and Crackstone is just like “SILENCE WOMAN.” (Christina Ricci’s “never meet your heroes” delivery is perfect.) Time for the fireball from the prophecy!

Wednesday grabs a sword that sure looks a lot like the sword from Gates’ manslaughter, no? Zombie Pilgrim Crackstone is all “WHAT DEMON SORCERY IS THIS.” Xavier, who Thing helped escape his handcuffs, is here to uselessly shoot an arrow at Zombie Pilgrim Crackstone, who uses his weird zombie magic to turn the arrow around, which gives Wednesday the opportunity to fling herself in the arrow’s path and save Xavier’s life. Full-circle!

For someone who hates outcasts so much this Crackstone guy seems to really enjoy using magic. Somebody’s jealous, imo. Wednesday manages to stick a sword in his heart so he is officially kaput. Great work, Wednesday. Somewhere in there Bianca arrives for a closure moment but it doesn’t really resonate, sorry! Laurel/Thornhill returns with a gun and this would be very bad news for Wednesday but a swarm of bees attacks her former dorm mom and leaves her, though alive (?), whimpering on the ground. Eugene gets to save the day! Hummers stick together!!

All the kids are loitering outside the school grounds when Enid stumbles back from the woods and she and Wednesday actually HUG. Two arms from both girls and everything! I’m not sure why the whole student body is so invested in that hug but it certainly meant a lot to me.

By day at Nevermore, Wednesday is finished-ish with her novel (she wraps it up: “The End?”) and done with classes for now, since the rest of the semester is canceled. Xavier gives Wednesday a phone with his number already in it. Bold! She does not answer his question about returning next semester and it’s not clear if she’s still expelled or what. But, as Lurch drives her away from Nevermore, she gets a text on her new phone: Photos of everything that just happened with the message, “I’m watching you.” We know who didn’t send it: Tyler, who is all chained up and having a monster moment in the back of a transport truck. Do we think he ever even makes it to his next prison cell? Or will he break out to do more monster-ing? Is the part of him that isn’t a Hyde lost forever, or will he return to his true self without Laurel/Thornhill? Who’s watching Wednesday? Leave me all your wildest theories! See you next semester!

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