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WTF Is the Hyde in ‘Wednesday’?

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in Wednesday

Netflix’s Wednesday series is shrouded in layers of mystery, like some sort of spooky onion. The more I watch it, the more questions I have. Most them are some version of “is Jenna Ortega ever gonna blink?” or “wtf are all these sirens about?” Now that I have peeled back those layers of the unknowable onion I am left … with more layers—I mean, questions. If I can just figure out what in Edgar Allen Poe’s name a “Hyde” is, then perhaps I can dice this mystery onion once and for all. Maybe serve it in some sort of creepy little stew. Fry it in some haunted olive oil. Idk, mess around a little. Make the chefs from beyond the grave proud.

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So is it another Edgar Allen Poe thing, or …?

Actually, no! While most of series is one big homage to the Prince of Gothic Fic himself, Edgar Allen Poe did not create the concept of a Hyde. That honor belongs to the author Robert Louis Stevenson, who penned the 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The story is about an intelligent, wealthy, and all around sexy chemist named Dr. Henry Jekyll. Dr. Jekyll is a revered figure in his community and performs medicine for the poorest citizens of Victorian London completely pro bono! What a guy! However, this sweet angel of a man hides a twisted secret: Dr. Jekyll has taken to performing strange experiments in the night, and has created a chemical concoction that transforms him into a monstrous alternate personality named Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde is not the kind of guy you want to run into on the foggy, gaslit streets of London at night—mostly because he’ll kill you. He might even eat you! The novel is a good-and-evil story about the duality of man. Jekyll is an angel from above and Hyde is a devil from below; both exist in one person.

What is a Hyde Wednesday?

Where did all this Hyde business in Wednesday begin? The same place all Gothic fiction does … with a murder most foul! It wouldn’t been a tween-age drama series without a high-schooler dying under mysterious circumstances! After some students and townspeople are found murdered, Wednesday Addams resolves to solve the case. She becomes suspicious of the student body and questions a fellow student named Xavier. Xavier has been having strange psychic visions of a monster, which he has started incorporating into his artwork. Wednesday is stumped by the drawings until she shows one of them (a seriously creepy picture of a humanoid with sharp teeth, long claws, and bewildered eyes) to her Uncle Fester. Fester tells her that he saw a creature like this before, many years ago. He calls it a Hyde, and tells Wednesday that, once upon a time, he was in love with a creature such as this—well, not the Hyde itself, but the “Jekyll” from whence it came.

While on vacation at the Zurich Institute for the Criminally Insane, Fester was smitten by a woman named Olga Malacova. She was everything a weird old dude like Fester could ever want: She was beautiful, she was smart, she was really into dead people—like really into them, if you know what I mean (*ahem* sexually *ahem ahem*). Sorry, frog in my throat. She probably banged a corpse or two. If this wasn’t spooky enough, she’s also a mass murderer! Hot! She was once a concert pianist, but decided to murder her critics and a dozen members of her audience in the middle of performing a Chopin piece.

But why did Olga do it? Fester doesn’t know, so Wednesday sneaks into the private library of the exclusive Nightshades club while accompanied by her uncle and Thing. She finds the diary of Nevermore’s founder, Nathaniel Faulkner, who was killed by a Hyde many years ago. Nathaniel writes that Hydes are “artists by nature, but equally vindictive in temperament.” He goes on to explain them further: “… born of mutation, the Hyde lays dormant until unleashed by a traumatic event or unlocked through chemical inducement or hypnosis. This causes the Hyde to develop an immediate bond with its liberator, who the creature now sees as its master. It becomes the willing instrument of whatever nefarious agenda this new master might propose.” The usually unflappable Fester is deeply disturbed by the idea of “unlocking” a Hyde, and tells Wednesday that anyone who does it is a “next-level sicko.” Wednesday realizes that she is now on the hunt for not one, but two killers: The servant and the master.


Okay, but obviously this a huuuuuuuge spoiler. Like, it’s the ENTIRE PLOT of the first season, so if you want me to ruin it for you, I’m happy to appease your masochist tendencies.

This is your last warning … abandon all hope of spoiler-free writing, ye who scroll down here …

Remember the sweet, adorable coffee shop boy who sometimes teams up with Wednesday to solve mysteries? The boy who would probably have to Google “how to hurt a fly”? Well … isn’t it suspicious that spooky little Wednesday Addams is into him? You’d think a girl like Wednesday would go for someone with a … dark side. Well, maybe she sensed that he was hiding something deep inside himself … and she figures it out DURING THEIR FIRST KISS. When the two smooch, Wednesday has a vision of the Hyde’d out Tyler killing the town therapist! IT WAS HIM. IT WAS HIM THE WHOLE TIME. WHAT A TWIST. THE CORE OF THE MYSTERY ONION IS REVEALED!

Or is it …?

Tyler is a Hyde. Tyler killed all those people. But who made him do it? Who is the master behind the monster? Who is pulling the strings? Leave it to Wednesday to find out! She gathers that Tyler’s mother was also a Hyde, and that her postpartum depression caused the condition to manifest. But Wednesday wasn’t the first person to uncover Tyler’s true nature. It turns out that Miss Thornhill, the science teacher, has been manipulating Tyler all along! Just like Dr. Jekyll, she used a chemical concoction to awaken Tyler’s powers, all so she could take revenge against the outcasts of the school! How shocking! How sinister! The Mystery Onion has been chopped, caramelized, and baked into the Quiche of Discovery by Wednesday herself! You go girl, good sleuthing.

But I’m sure there will be another even more mysterious layered object in season 2. The Parfait of Enigma perhaps? We won’t know until we find out for ourselves.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.

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