As is required by teen TV law, there’s a big dance coming up, and everyone except for Wednesday is in a real tizzy about it. It’s called the Rave’N, and it took me the entire episode to figure out why it’s punctuated in that reverse ’N Sync way. So for all my fellow slower studies out there: It’s like “The Raven,” from which Nevermore takes its name, and rave, as in a party. And honestly, the chronology here bugs me a bit because if Edgar Allan Poe supposedly went to Nevermore, how did they know to name the school Nevermore or name the dance after the poem since Poe was 36 when it was published? But we have other, more pressing mysteries to address, like what really happened to the man who was mauled by the monster.
To find out, Wednesday and Thing break into the morgue. She knows how to handle a corpse; Uncle Fester gave her a cadaver for her 13th birthday. She discovers the deceased has been “almost entirely disemboweled” (ew) and his left foot was chewed off (!) at the ankle. The sheriff and the coroner arrive, so Wednesday and Thing hide and eavesdrop: Turns out they’ve got the foot, but it’s missing two toes. (Omigosh, is the monster Joe from You?!) The coroner is days away from retirement and cannot wait to get out and travel with his wife. He also sees Wednesday, but she’s so perfectly still he assumes she is a corpse. Meanwhile, Thing swipes the files on all the other victims. Great work, everyone.
Even though it’s not at all plausible that Wednesday could so easily slip in and out of her dorm, I’m glad we aren’t bothering with a whole “the school has a curfew, how will Wednesday sneak out?” obstacle because you know she’d find a way and then these episodes would be longer than the average Netflix episode already is. That said, I’m not sure why we needed Thornhill to tell her in the premiere that trips to Jericho are “a privilege, not a right” when it sure seems Wednesday and the gang are in Jericho all the time and none of Wednesday’s misdemeanors have seen her lose any privileges.
Poring over the files, Wednesday learns that every victim of the monster has had a body part surgically removed. She thinks they’re trophies. My hunch is that we’re dealing with a Frankenstein situation and someone (Weems?!?) is trying to make the ultimate outcast — maybe to rid the earth of normies once and for all in a grand, centuries-in-the-making act of revenge against Crackstone. But that’s just one theory. Leave yours in the comments!
We pop by Thornhill’s class for some heavy-handed metaphor — carnivorous plants use “sexual trickery” and “deception” to get what they want — and see Xavier sporting a suspicious injury he awkwardly claims is from fencing. He can’t focus on that anyway because he’s desperate for Wednesday to ask him to the Rave’N. (The pun is not worth the annoyance of typing it that way, I’m sorry to say.) It seems obvious to me, an adult, that Wednesday would get a lot more intel a whole lot faster if she were just nice to Xavier. But Wednesday is a wayward youth, so she decides to snoop in his art shed, where she finds all these drawings and paintings of the monster. She pays him what is probably one of her highest compliments: He just became more interesting. But he spotted her outside the shed, and now, to cover her tracks, she has to pretend she wanted to ask him to the dance. It is very cute to watch her struggle to do this and to see how happy her invitation makes him, even though we all know it’s a fraud and when he finds out, poor Xavier will be crushed.
Enid is ecstatic that Wednesday needs a dress but is somehow still clueless enough to believe the right garment for Wednesday can be acquired at a store called Hawte Kewture. The dress for her is in the window of the antiques shop, Uriah’s Heap (which, for the uninitiated, is a David Copperfield reference). But Wednesday does not have time to shop for a dance she doesn’t even want to go to. Instead, she bops over to the police station to tell the sheriff she wants to be on a team: After all, she’s the one who goes to Nevermore and can get him information from the inside. He initially dismisses her, which is a real misfire, if you ask me! But then he comes around and agrees to talk if she can bring him “concrete evidence.”
Even though Enid was last seen pining/clawing over Ajax, she’s already moving on and allowing herself to use and be used by the mayor’s son. His name is Lucas, and we will later learn he has an ex he wants to make jealous. (I think that information would have served us better up high since we don’t even see Enid’s emotional reaction to Ajax being a no-show until the very end of the episode. It all feels a little disjointed.) Tyler somehow knows about the Rave’N, I guess because the normies are obsessed with all things Nevermore, and he’s totally wounded to find out Wednesday has asked someone else. He calls her out for giving him a vibe and not acting on it: “I thought we liked each other.” Very proud of Tyler for being so vulnerable. See, therapy works! But Wednesday is ice cold, telling him she needs to “prioritize” — just what every hopeful romantic longs to hear.
Wednesday relocates her murder board to the Hummers’ shed to spare squeamish Enid her grotesque visual aid. Eugene is with Wednesday; he knew the murders couldn’t have been bear attacks because “it didn’t match their hibernation schedule.” Okay, I love Eugene! That said, I don’t love his ongoing thing for Enid: the trope of the nerdy guy pining over the pretty girl who is obviously not romantically interested in him, as if that is a sweet gesture. It’s a little tired, no? And, like, just respect her boundaries, buddy, she’s not interested! Anyway, Wednesday shows Eugene some of Xavier’s art and Eugene recognizes the backdrop: It’s a cave.
“If you hear me screaming bloody murder, there’s a good chance I’m just enjoying myself,” Wednesday says as she heads inside what turns out to be the monster’s lair. It is full of deer bones. Also chains. And: a claw. She goes back to Xavier’s art shed to get a DNA sample for matching purposes, and again I say: Girl, stop making your life hard, just go to the dance with him and pull out a strand of his hair! But no, she prowls around until she finds a bloody handkerchief in his trash, and of course she takes too long and Xavier walks in on her.
Busted, she confronts him with her theory that he could be the monster. He tells her that this creature has been haunting his dreams and that the claw literally swiped out at him from the canvas. His abilities — which are sort of undefined but I guess involve making art come to life, like how he pulled that spider out of the paper in Thornhill’s class — are out of his control when it comes to this freak. But now that he knows the real reason Wednesday asked him out, he is (supposedly) totally over her and exiles her from his art shed. Bianca capitalizes on Xavier’s sudden availability to get him to go to the dance with her, which I’m sure will go swimmingly for all involved parties.
Undeterred, Wednesday brings the cloth and the claw to the sheriff and demands he run tests. I feel like she needs a warrant? Not to be a downer, just seems like the sort of thing she’d know since she knows how to do everything else. Then she tells Eugene, who is still very forlorn over Enid’s complete lack of interest in him, that they can do a stakeout instead of going to the dance. But Thing has other ideas! He sends a note to Tyler, who shows up at Wednesday’s door believing her genuinely contrite letter was actually her work. And I thought he really knew her! Guess not! Thing also shoplifted the dress from Uriah’s Heap. I have no idea, logistically, how he would manage such an effort, but I’m fine with it. Wednesday looks fantastic, 10/10, perfect dress. I like that she pins her braids up, a small but still in-character concession to formalwear. Poor Eugene is feeling abandoned all over again, and even though Wednesday promises they can do the stakeout tomorrow, he decides to go it alone: “A Hummer never shies away from danger!”
At the Rave’N, everyone is wearing white so Wednesday can stand out. (The theme, Enid explains, is “climate crisis meets extinction event, but in a fun way.”) Weems reveals that her only memory of this dance is that the boy she asked turned her down to take out Morticia (!). Bianca and Xavier mostly talk about how they are not going to talk about Wednesday — ah, the sign of a great date — who conveniently arrives looking fantastic on the arm of the normie Xavier loathes. Enid and her date wind up having a ton in common and actually like each other, which is gonna be a real problem for Lucas’s conscience, seeing as he and his friends are really only there to avenge Crackstone’s statue. (I’m sorry, but lol at these fuckin’ nerds.)
Xavier confronts Wednesday and tells her why he really hates Tyler, who had been part of a normie assault on Xavier during some previous Outreach Day. Tyler also helped destroy one of Xavier’s murals. The fact that Xavier withheld this information for so long doesn’t really make sense to me, and frankly, Xavier never justifies it in a compelling way. But what is cool about this is that, when Wednesday asks Tyler about it, he owns it completely: no hedging, no excuses, only remorse. Wednesday, of piranhas-in-the-pool infamy, can hardly judge. She’s impressed that he knew this about her and liked her anyway. So she goes full spooky girl while dancing and seems to genuinely be having fun both impressing and freaking out her classmates! Is she smiling? No, but that dead-in-the-eyes look tells me she’s having the time of her life. Tyler is also thrilled. Bianca and Xavier are miserable, but they’re boring, so who can they blame but themselves?
Then Xavier asks Bianca to take off her amulet — the gold necklace that dulls her siren powers — so he can forget about Wednesday, which is … wow, what a messed up thing to ask her to do! She is furious, as is her right, and maybe he has given her the best gift of all: behaving like such a jerk she has no choice but to get over him. She and Wednesday wind up bonding a little as Bianca confesses she never knows anyone’s “true feelings” about her. (This would be much more provocative if we had ever seen Bianca use her siren song on literally anyone! The entire school seems to hate her, actually, and tolerates her only for boring mean-girl reasons and not interesting siren ones!) Bianca envies Wednesday, who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. Wednesday acknowledges that she sometimes wishes she cared a little bit more.
Lucas gets cold feet about the prank at the last minute, but townies are gonna townie and the boys go ahead with their plot: putting red paint into the sprinkler system and pulling the fire alarm so it Carries down on everyone. Weems, a paragon of maturity, shrieks bloody murder. Wednesday licks the paint and pouts: “They couldn’t even spring for real pig’s blood.” Personally, if I had just scored that dream dress and somebody assaulted it with a downpour of red paint, I would be livid. But before Wednesday can consider this, she has another vision: Eugene is being attacked in the woods.
Although Lucas did bond with Enid before, post-prank he’s back with his dopey sidekicks, who bully Enid for being a werewolf. Ajax comes to her defense, and they clear up their misunderstanding — he was too embarrassed to tell her he’d stoned himself, which … I mean, is pretty embarrassing! She claws out, they make out, I’m very happy for both of them.
Wednesday finds Eugene but not before the monster does. Eugene looks like he’s in pretty bad shape, but I bet he survives! Hummers stick together, and Wednesday will not let him die.