While the first episode of Wednesday takes some time to introduce Tim Burton’s version of The Addams Family universe, Episode 2 explores the big mystery at the show’s heart. In the previous episode, Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) became the sole witness of Rowan’s (Calum Ross) murder after a monster mauls the boy in the woods. However, Wednesday has a hard time making people believe what she saw because the following day, Rowan is right there at Nevermore Academy, safe, sound, and definitely alive.
Episode 2, “Woe is the Loneliest Number,” lets Wednesday untangle part of the mystery, finding suspicious connections between her family and Nevermore’s dark history. Simultaneously, the series doesn’t forget it’s also a young adult drama about a magical boarding school and allows Wednesday to get involved in the Edgar Allan Poe Cup, a yearly celebration to prove who’s the best dorm school. So, it’s just like Harry Potter, but with more monsters and horror. We couldn’t ask for more, right?
Let the Games Begin
After Rowan is murdered in the woods, Wednesday passes out and wakes up in Nevermore. In the morning, the girl tries to convince Sheriff Galpin (Jamie McShane) and Headmaster Weems (Gwendoline Christie) that there’s a monster in the woods. Unfortunately for her, people think she’s only trying to spread some chaos, which gets validated by Rowan showing up alive in front of everyone. Wednesday, then, begins to investigate Rowan’s past and the book page the boy had shown her before dying. These are the only clues Wednesday has to find out the truth about the prophecy that paints her as the destroyer of the boarding school.
While Wednesday is eager to play detective, she’s still part of a school and needs to engage in educational activities. That’s why Weems forces the girl to choose an extracurricular activity before the end of the day. Wednesday uses the opportunity of a school tour to question her colleagues about Rowan’s fate, but Episode 2 also gives us a better idea of what happens at Nevermore. First, we learn that Bianca Barclay (Joy Sunday) is the leader of a choir. As for Xavier, he’s part of an archery club, was Rowan’s roommate, and has the power to bring his drawings to life. Finally, Nevermore preaches acceptance of monsters but still allows some students to become outcasts, like Eugene Otinger (Moosa Mostafa), the founder of a beekeeping club.
During the events of “Woe is the Loneliest Number,” the whole school is also focused on the Poe Cup, a competition Bianca wins every year. The competition pushes each dorm hall of Nevermore to form teams that must row a boat to an island, run into the woods, grab a flag, and make their way back to the starting point. Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers), of course, is excited about the event, but at first, Wednesday refuses to join her. However, an accidental eavesdropping changes her mind.
While trying to find the book from where Rowan ripped the page off, Wednesday sneaks into the boy’s room. There, she discovers Xavier has been drawing her in his sketchbook. Wednesday is also forced to hide under Rowan’s bed when Bianca shows up to talk with Xavier, her ex-boyfriend. During their conversation, Bianca gloats about cheating her way to victory every year by preventing any other team from even finishing the course. Determined to humiliate Bianca publicly, Wednesday joins Enid’s team and decides to fight fire with fire.
On the day of the competition, Bianca sends one of her siren friends underwater so that he can flip over other boats. Fortunately, Wednesday had anticipated the move and installed a net gun in her boat. She also installed harpoons on the boat, which her team, the Black Cats, uses to rip Bianca’s boat and claim victory. Before that, however, Wednesday has another vision when retrieving her team’s flag. The flags are in the crypt of one Joseph Crackstone. When Wednesday touches the stone, she has a vision where she sees herself in white clothes, saying that she’s the key to something. That’s just another clue to the big mystery of the season, which Wednesday is getting closer to solving.
The Plot Thickens
Episode 2 gives us many new pieces to try to fit into Burton’s kooky puzzle. For starters, we now know Weems is trying to cover up Rowan’s murder. That’s because, after making an appearance before the whole school, Rowan is immediately expelled and sent home before he can talk to anyone. As if this wasn’t suspicious enough, Wednesday sends Thing to follow the boy until the train station, There, Rowan enters the bathroom and vanishes. Thing doesn’t know what happened, but we see Rowan transforms into a man, get out of the bathroom undetected, and then transform into Weems when he is alone in a dark corridor. It looks like Nevermore’s headmaster is a shapeshifter, and she’s hiding the truth about the monster in the woods.
In “Woe is the Loneliest Number,” Wednesday also realizes the page she took from Rowan has a watermark in its corner, a symbol depicting a flower with a skull in the middle. While scouring the library searching for the purple book she keeps seeing in her visions, Wednesday hears from Marylin Thornhill (Christina Ricci) that the symbol represents The Nightshades, a secret student society that no longer exists. During the encounter, we also learn that Marylin is a normie, the only human without powers in Nevermore.
Episode 2 gives us some more breadcrumbs to follow. For instance, Wednesday finds a weird mask in a secret compartment under Rowan’s bed. While searching the woods with Tyler Galpin (Hunter Doohan), she also stumbles upon Rowan’s glasses and has another vision with the boy, in which he argued with Xavier about Wednesday. However, the most significant clues come at the episode’s ending, when Wednesday discovers the entrance to the Nightshades’ old headquarters.
During the Poe Cup celebration, Wednesday notices the Nightshades symbol engraved in a statue depicting Edgar Allan Poe holding a book. The book contains nine riddles that Wednesday quickly solves in the middle of the night. By reading the first letter of each of the eight responses, Wednesday gets the instruction “snap twice.” Yes, we all know what that means. Wednesday found a way to make the Addams Family classic snap song plot-relevant!
By snapping her fingers twice in front of the statue, the stone folds to give place to a staircase going down. Wednesday enters the Nightshades headquarters and realizes she’s at a secret library. There, the girl finds the book she’s looking for. She also sees pictures of the secret society’s old members, including her parents. But before she can piece things together, someone puts a black hood over her head. In only two episodes, Wednesday has already introduced a mystery and pulled the rug out from under our feet multiple times. We can’t wait to see what comes next.