Tim Burton’s gothic comedy series “Wednesday” quite unexpectedly politicizes the narrative to some extent, which in turn acts as a catalyst for the character development of the antagonist and even the protagonist to some extent. The horrifying part is realizing that characters like Joseph Crackstone and Laurel Gates have existed in the past and, if I dare say, continue to exist in the contemporary world too. Considering the nature of the series, we are made privy to a very mellowed-down version of the events, but it does give us an outline of the character, making us aware of what they are capable of if left unchecked. Also, such serious plot points in a lighthearted film that aims to cater to the mainstream audience adds a certain layer and depth, which is quite beneficial for the narrative. We loved reminiscing about the past by once again seeing the Addams family on screen, but it was through characters like Laurel Gates that Tim Burton’s Netflix original was able to stand its ground and maintain its authenticity.
In order to understand Marilyn Thornhill and her motivations, we would have to go back in time and understand what Joseph Crackstone was trying to do back in the 1600s. It is a human tendency to think that whatever or whoever is different from us is not right. People don’t understand that opinions are not universal laws. You can choose to like or dislike something, and you can choose to lead your life in a particular manner, but you cannot force anybody to do things or lead their lives in a way that is aligned with your sensibilities. Unbridled evilness often leads to a rampant dehumanization of souls. It is a plague that spreads faster than you can imagine. It is a wildfire, which in the beginning needs some dry leaves and twigs to grow bigger, but once it is in full swing, even starving it out of fuel doesn’t really help the cause. Ethnic cleansing, which I believe always gets transformed into genocide, is a result of giving too much power to a few hands. Joseph Crackstone was one of the founding fathers of Jericho County, and he had made the so-called normies believe that the presence of the outcasts would be fatal to their existence. Goody Addams not only stood against Joseph Crackstone but killed him and cursed his soul so that he is never resurrected by any of his ardent followers in the future. The blood lock could only be opened by a direct descendant of Goody.
Wednesday had come to know that contrary to what she believed Marilyn Thornhill was in fact Laurel Gates, the one who was controlling the Hyde monster. Laurel Gates had come to know through Goody’s book of shadows, which she had stolen from the Pilgrim World, that her master and role model, Joseph Crackstone could be resurrected. The Gate family had been ardent followers of Joseph Crackstone and his philosophies. In a day and age where the world was changing by leaps and bounds, they were still stuck with those regressive and discriminatory ideologies that had once been propagated by Crackstone. Ansel Gates, the father of Garrett and Laurel, kept tabs on each and every outcast. He considered himself to be superior as compared to the residents of Nevermore Academy. With the kind of environment that Garrett and Laurel were born into, it was quite obvious that they would also inherit those deranged sensibilities. In their brooding years they were made to feed on hate and told how outcasts didn’t deserve to live.
In a series, we saw how Garrett’s father pushed him to poison Gomez, Morticia, and other outcasts in order to prove his worth. History has been witnessing to the fact that the perpetrators of such catastrophes have always been concerned about their survival and innately believed that their existence would be at stake if they didn’t resort to such extremities. Laurel was always told that outcasts were bad, and she saw them as unwanted anomalies. The personal tragedy of losing her brother gave her an added excuse to go about her business unabashedly. Laurel secretly brought her ancestral mansion and started preparing for the ritual through which she was going to bring her master back into the mortal world. She had faked her death and made sure that there was no public record that proved otherwise. She joined Nevermore Academy as a teacher, using the alias, Marilyn Thornhill. Laurel had made sure that Marilyn’s personality was in complete contrast to hers, so that the people do not doubt her. Nobody could have imagined, even in their wildest dreams, that such a compassionate individual, who was so affectionate with each and every student, could be hiding such hideous emotions inside her.
At the beginning of the series, the Hyde Monster, i.e., Tyler Galpin, killed Rowan, and we believed that the former was on Wednesday’s side and wanted to save her from all the perils. But it was not so. The Hyde monster was given strict instructions by Laurel Gates to keep Wednesday alive, as she was the key that was going to bring Joseph Crackstone back to life. Laurel killed principal Larissa Weems and captured Wednesday, so that she could sacrifice her and complete the ritual. She was successful in her endeavors, and Crackstone was resurrected. Laurel went to great lengths to formulate the perfect revenge plan. She had waited patiently for her time to come, and that was a proof of the fact that how much hatred she had for the outcasts. She hid that deep-rooted abhorrence from the world and pretended to be a harmless normie who did not have any sort of opinion on the politicized discourse. But even after taking care of every detail, Wednesday was able to get the better of her. Crackstone was stabbed and once again sent back to the abyss from where he had come. Laurel was about to shoot Wednesday when Eugene Ottinger arrived at the scene with his swarm of bees. The bees attacked Laurel, and Wednesday trampled all the evilness she bore inside her under her feet.
Because we didn’t exactly see Laurel dying, it could be possible that she is still alive, and we see her coming back once again in season 2 of the series, “Wednesday.” If she is alive, we believe, she would be in the custody of the police authorities. Maybe season 2 would give us more information about her background, especially about how she was able to fake her death and how she was able to hide from the public eye and still operate from under their noses. Laurel was driven by her prejudices and hatred against the outcasts, and moreover, it came from a very personal space, where she held Nevermore Academy responsible for the downfall of her family. If she is alive, it will be interesting to see in the upcoming seasons what she does and how she plans to accomplish her mission, knowing the fact that Laurel Gates would stop at nothing.