Let’s Talk About Thing in ‘Wednesday’ (Especially THAT Scene)
Thing, the disembodied hand that lives with the Addams Family, has always hovered somewhere between comic relief and a useful prop. Now, on Netflix’s Wednesday, he’s more of a fleshed-out character (so to speak), with a sassy attitude and a vain streak. If you’d asked me, before I watched Wednesday, if I’d ever see Thing flip the bird, I would have laughed at you. Now I’ve seen it, and my life is all the richer for it!
The series makes some interesting stylistic choices, adding emotional weight to characters who started out as walking jokes in Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons. Gone are the one-dimensional spooky characters—now the Addamses have real conflicts and tragedies. Including Thing!
Thing, brought to life by actor and magician Victor Dorobantu, gets some interesting screen time—including what looks like a death scene. But does Thing actually die? And why does that scene work so well?
Thing gives everything for the cause
Here’s a quick recap of what happens to Thing. Wednesday is deep into her investigation of the mysterious Laurel Gates and the Hyde she’s controlling, when she finds her dorm room torn apart and Laurel Gates’s diary missing. Thing, who presumably tried to stop the burglar, is impaled on the wall. When Wednesday takes him down, she finds that he’s not moving.
Wednesday races Thing to Uncle Fester (Fred Armisen), who’s in town and laying low after a bank robbery. Fester uses his electrical powers to defibrillate Thing, but to no avail. It looks like Thing didn’t make it.
Does Thing die in ‘Wednesday’?
When Fester tells Wednesday that it’s no use, but Wednesday, after telling Thing that she’ll kill him if he dies, demands that Fester try again. After a couple more attempts, Thing wakes up and weakly turns over. It worked! Thing is saved! We don’t have to get our hearts broken by a sentient zombie hand!
Why is this scene such a tear-jerker?
Thing’s near-death scene—along with the whole series—could have been super cringey, but thanks to some great writing and acting, it works.
First off, Thing has shown himself to be more than just a hand. He’s a little diva! He has a favorite bergamot-scented hand lotion! He doesn’t put up with any bullshit! Whether he’s signing to Wednesday or cowering in fear, Thing’s personality shines through in every scene.
Secondly, the scene revisits something we learn about Wednesday early in the series: she’s promised herself she’ll never cry again. In a flashback in episode 1, we see Wednesday walking her pet scorpion, Nero. A group of bullies holds her back and run Nemo over with their bikes, and the scene cuts to Wednesday crying at Nero’s grave. The scene is a genuinely horrifying depiction of sadism and cruelty, and its effect on Wednesday is believable.
So when Wednesday witnesses the murder of a second beloved creature in her care, it’s too much for her to handle, and tears spill from her eyes while she watches Fester try to revive Thing. She’s breaking her promise to herself, but she can’t help it, and we’re feeling all that horror and grief right along with her. When Thing pulls through, Wednesday pulls herself together and goes back to her stony demeanor, but we’ve seen the veil slip. She really, really loves that little guy.
There’s no word on season 2 yet, but assuming the series does get renewed, I can’t wait to watch more of Thing being his fabulous little self.
(featured image: Netflix)
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