Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Wednesday. Netflix’s Wednesday follows the titular Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) as she is sent away to attend her parents’ beloved alma mater, Nevermore Academy, after an incident at her old school where she nearly killed a few obnoxious boys in the school’s pool. While never ignorant of the goings-on in the world of outcasts versus normies — of which Wednesday is, without a doubt, one of the outcasts — she is thrust into a much different situation as the folks in the area surrounding Nevermore are not the fondest of those that attend the school. Wednesday is, quite literally, stuck between both worlds as she quickly develops feelings for two different boys that exist in vastly different spaces, one a normie and one an outcast. There’s quite a bit of potential as the story develops, the twists adding a fair amount of drama to complicate things for Wednesday as she grapples with her already far-too-complex feelings. Unfortunately, though, this love triangle just doesn’t work in the grand scheme of things.
Tyler (Hunter Doohan), local barista and son of Sheriff Galpin (Jamie McShane), appears to be just about as normal as you can get. He’s dorky, charming, and sweet, Wednesday begins to crush on him almost instantly, despite her dislike of other people and distaste of romance that has been exacerbated by her overly affectionate parents Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez (Luis Guzmán). Meanwhile, brooding Xavier (Percy Hynes White), fellow student at Nevermore who Wednesday already knows upon her arrival, begins to pursue her — much to the chagrin of his current girlfriend Bianca (Joy Sunday).
The Development of the Love Triangle Between Wednesday, Tyler, and Xavier Is Lacking
Over the course of the season, the love triangle continues on with both boys vying for Wednesday’s affection and developing a healthy rivalry with one another. Xavier uses their place as outcasts to bond with Wednesday, especially after his relationship with Bianca ends. Tyler, on the other hand, becomes something somewhat forbidden after his father forbids him from seeing Wednesday due to the trouble she’s managed to get herself into while investigating the mysterious monster and murders in the area over the previous few weeks. Tyler doesn’t listen, nor does Wednesday, and the Sheriff grows angrier as he believes Wednesday’s father got away with murder when he attended Nevermore.
In the end, Wednesday’s relationship with Tyler seemingly wins out. She chooses to go to the Rave’N with him, and any feelings she had for Xavier are temporarily wiped away when she suspects him of being the murderous monster. She even has Xavier arrested for the murders, putting a damper on his feelings for her as well. At the end of the seasons’ penultimate episode, Wednesday decides to finally act on her growing feelings for Tyler and share her first kiss with him, which is when it all falls apart. One of Wednesday’s psychic visions reveals that Tyler is the monster, and he later confesses that his feelings for Wednesday were never real as he was compelled by his master — Marilyn Thornhill a.k.a. Laurel Gates (Christina Ricci) — to get close to her.
So, when Xavier and Wednesday have their moment to start things over and Xavier “wins” the girl, it doesn’t feel earned or satisfactory. It’s simply due to the fact that Tyler is no longer a prospect regardless of the fact that Wednesday chose him in just the previous episode. Plus, Xavier’s development on his own and in his relationship with Wednesday are nothing compared to Tyler’s. The writers spent quite a bit of time on Tyler, detailing his past and working through the nuances of his relationships with others, because the grand betrayal was coming. Xavier’s role pales in comparison, his feelings for Wednesday very two-dimensional and the centerpiece of the character as a whole. Plus, Xavier hardly does enough to be worthy of being referred to as a love interest.
He treats Wednesday terribly on many occasions, especially as Wednesday begins to aggressively suspect him of being the monster. In comparison to Tyler, who was doing it to worm his way into Wednesday’s life for villainous intentions, Xavier does little to actually get to know Wednesday. Aside from Enid (Emma Myers), Wednesday’s roommate and soon-to-be best friend, Xavier is the person calling Wednesday out for her actions the most, but he does so in an inconsiderate way. As a whole, the time spent on Xavier feels wasted.
The Show Should Have Focused on the Other Relationships More
Additionally, the love triangle fails to work as intended because there are other much more interesting and rewarding relationships the time could have been devoted to instead, which offered more to the story. Enid and Wednesday’s relationship is the most obvious example as the mismatched best friends didn’t spend nearly enough time together, leaving Enid isolated from the overarching story of the murders for much too long. Bianca and Wednesday’s unexpected friendship is another example, as the girls moving past the ridiculous grievance over Xavier and embracing one another for who they are is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the season. Finally, Eugene (Moosa Mostafa) and Wednesday’s sibling-like relationship could and should have had more time devoted to it as the two became one of the most heartwarming pairs on the series and offered the familial element that was sorely lacking with the Addams family not being around very much.
Too much time is spent on the love triangle, taking away time from other dynamics and stories that should have been fleshed out more. But, the worst offense of the love triangle is that it simply doesn’t fit with who Wednesday is as a character. It’s forced upon Wednesday as the series attempts to make her the protagonist of a teen drama; however, it doesn’t naturally fit or build upon Wednesday Addams in any new way. Wednesday has an avoidant personality, choosing to avoid human touch and affection. To get close to her, close enough that she would consider going further with the relationship in spite of her disgust for intimacy, it should have taken much longer for Tyler and Xavier to carve a place in Wednesday’s heart. By the end of the season, it hasn’t even been a full semester at Nevermore. Such little time has passed for the characters. Pushing Wednesday into this triangle and rushing both romances did a disservice to the boys, the story, and particularly the titular character. It didn’t work, and hopefully, the writers take a step back to understand why (should the series be renewed for another season).
Every episode of Wednesday is now streaming on Netflix.