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Christina Ricci’s Thornhill Is the Perfect Villain for Wednesday


The following contains major spoilers for Wednesday’s Season 1, now streaming on Netflix.

The moment it was announced the addams family star Christina Ricci would have a role on Netflix Wednesday, fans were ecstatic. Not only did it make sense that Ricci would be part of a show centered on a character she popularized herself in the 1990s, but it had fans speculating about what kind of character she would play herself. When fans got a little glimpse of Ricci’s character in the official trailer for Wednesdayit only aroused more curiosity.


Officially playing Marilyn Thornhill, it crossed many fans’ minds that Ricci would pay homage to her version of Wednesday Addams. Fans were equally intrigued by how Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and director Tim Burton would handle their passing of the torch to the show’s new Wednesday starring Jenna Ortega. After all, they have done this before with smallville when they got former Lois Lane actress Margot Kidder and her Superman Christopher Reeve to have guest appearances on the show. While Ricci’s Marylin Thornhill recalls Wednesday’s own version of her through lines of dialogue with Ortega’s iteration, she also subverts expectations in ways that, ironically, make sense for the story.

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Ricci’s Thornhill is a perfect complement to Ortega’s Wednesday

Ricci’s Thornhill is introduced in episode 1, “Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe” after the titular heroine is expelled from her old school, having injured a classmate by throwing piranhas into the school pool. Known for her gothic appearance and her ghoulish interests, Wednesday Addams transfers to her parents’ alma mater, Nevermore Academy, where she meets a handful of colorful outcasts. One of them is Marilyn Thornhill, the cheerful instructor who specializes in various deadly plants. She is one of the first to happily welcome Wednesday to school and even offers her a gift that she knew she would enjoy: a black dahlia, almost as if she could read young Addams’s mind.

Throughout the series, Thornhill is depicted as surprisingly tolerant of Wednesday’s cynical worldview, brutal honesty, and staunch defiance of authority. He has even been shown to be very supportive of Wednesday, even when his own boss, Larissa Weems (played by the Sandman Gwendoline Christie) suspects that she is causing trouble. There are even times when Thornhill tries to bond with Wednesday, most notably in the school library, where he admits she’s a special kind of outcast: too weird for the “regulars” of town and not weird enough for the outcasts of nevermore. As such, she never really fit in anywhere, which is a subtle nod to Ricci’s own Wednesday.

Of course, like everything else that happens in the world of Wednesday Addams, nothing is as it seems, and Thornhill is no exception. When Wednesday finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery at Nevermore, she quickly learns that Thornhill had been pulling her strings the entire time she was there. Not only is Thornhill revealed to be the mastermind behind the murders occurring in the city of Jericho, but she is even revealed to be the missing Laurel Gates, an aristocrat previously presumed dead.

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Ricci’s Thornhill is a twisted reversal of Wednesday

Wednesday-Addams-Christina-Ricci-Laurel-Garrett-Episode-8

The way Ricci’s Thornhill reveals herself as the villainous Laurel Gates is pretty clever, especially the way she inverts her own version of Wednesday. Like Ricci’s old character, Laurel comes from a wealthy family and comes off as her own brand of weirdness. Not only does she have a penchant for deadly carnivorous plants like Poison Ivy from DC Comics, but it is also shown that she lives in her family’s dilapidated mansion and is not afraid of monsters. In fact, she is shown to be manipulating a supernatural creature known as Hyde to carry out her murders.

Laurel is also shown to be highly intelligent and calculating, fully capable of hatching deadly schemes and covering her tracks in ways that manage to elude the meticulous Wednesday Addams, a detail that impresses the gothic teen. Wednesday even managed to miss the link between Thornhill’s love of plants and the fact that Laurel is named after a tree, which should have been a major clue to her true identity. Laurel is also an expert in the occult, as evidenced by her ability to raise her ancestor, Joseph Crackstone, from the dead. With everything Laurel has going for her, she could easily be considered an evil version of Wednesday who actually succumbed to her darkness. Where Laurel differs from Wednesday, however, is that the former is clearly on the wrong side of history.

Laurel’s evil motivations stem from a place of embracing settler colonialism, an ironic twist considering Ricci Wednesday actively rejected it in Addams Family Values. Interestingly, the ironic twist works for a reason: Laurel holds up a dark mirror of the kind of person Wednesday herself would be if she didn’t have empathy for others. As much as Wednesday prides herself on scaring people with her homicidal tendencies, the truth is that she is a much nicer person than she would think she is. Not only does she seek justice for her classmates, but she is a staunch opponent of settler colonialism. As the kind of person who openly rejects colonization by burning down monuments dedicated to history’s villains, this makes Laurel the perfect nemesis for Ortega’s Wednesday: she induces the latter’s character growth by reminding him that being weird doesn’t mean lacking. of a moral compass.

To see Christina Ricci’s turn to the dark side as Laurel Gates, Wednesday is now streaming on Netflix.



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