The last television fans saw Hunter Doohan, he was dying in the arms of Bryan Cranston, who played his on-screen father, in Showtime's Your Honor. At first glance, and in early episodes of Netflix's Wednesday, it seemed like he might have another death scene on his acting reel — perhaps even in the arms of the titular Addams family character (played by Jenna Ortega). But that proved not to be the case, and instead his character Tyler Galpin was actually the one responsible for the killing in the first season of the Netflix drama.
"Let me tell you how excited I was that I don't die in the first season of a show!" Doohan tells Metacritic with a laugh.
It turned out that Adam was not merely the sheriff's son or potential love interested for Wednesday: He was a Hyde. The ability to transform into the creature was because of his mother's genetics and because Laurel Gates, pretending to be Marilyn Thornhill (Christina Ricci), activated his abilities while keeping him chained up in a cave.
Over time, though, Adam fed on the power he suddenly had when in his Hyde form, and to a degree, that power allowed him to take risks in his regular Adam form, too — namely pretending to be interested in Wednesday.
And, for the record, Doohan says there was "no chance" Wednesday's surprise interest in Tyler could have had him fighting against his Hyde abilities or Laurel's plan to spare her. He really was just pretending to be interested in her to keep her close, as one is advised to do with their enemies.
"It was really hard to try to map out that arc with Jenna. How do you show Wednesday Addams kind of falling for someone?" Doohan says.
Indeed. Especially when she's just being manipulated.
"I tried to play against it the whole time. It's kind of like how if you're acting in a scene you have to lie; you just want to tell a good lie. So, for me, Tyler's whole mission basically throughout the series is to put on this pretense of being the perfect boyfriend and try to win her over," Doohan continues. "I tried to not do any kind of wink-wink, but if you're paying attention, you can kind of piece it together as far as, in Episode 3, she asked him about the cabin in the woods and then the monster shows up there, and then at the dance they get separated and I'm like texting, and I say I'm texting my dad, but I'm obviously texting with Laurel Gates."
Here, Doohan talks to Metacritic about the twist with Tyler, including what he thinks it means that Tyler is transforming once again in the final moments of the first season.
What did it mean to you to have your character be the final image the season ended on? It's a show called Wednesday, but we're ending on Tyler.
I jumped out of my chair when I read that. It's going to sound lame, but I thought it was such a cool cliffhanger to end the show on. I was looking forward to that final episode so much after getting to play the nice guy the whole season, so I loved just every little bit of it.
The show kept using the term "unlock" about Tyler's Hyde self, but I'm curious how you saw it, in terms of, how much of the real Tyler is left after he transforms. Certainly at the end, when we see the Hyde coming out once again and it looks like he will bust right out of those chains, is that an indication that the real Tyler is gone for good?
I read Jekyll & Hyde, and what I talked to [showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar] about was the interesting aspect that the more often that he transitioned, the line between the two sides of him blurred, and Hyde took over. I think that's the same with this.
We see a flashback to the time in the cave the first time Laurel makes Tyler transition, and I played that moment as being terrified and horrified at what I had just done and realized and everything, but then it does take over — this intoxicating feeling of power. We allude to the fact that he has a verbally abusive relationship with his father, but there were other scenes that were more physical that didn't make the cut. That still informed my character [though] — him just feeling so powerless. And then to find out that everything he knew about his mom was a lie, I think he blames Nevermore because they wouldn't accept her and teach her how to control it. So I think he feels gratitude toward Laurel for showing him the truth.
But I think at this point he's so consumed with rage, especially because the plan failed, so I think there's a lot more Hyde than the original Tyler. But I'm really hopeful we'll get a Season 2 because I played two different characters, but I only got to play the real one for, like, three scenes.
Do you feel like in a second season we would even see Tyler, or since his secret is out and he's transitioned again, is it just the creature? Does he even want to be in human form? Is that beneficial to him?
The way that we see Tyler in Episode 8, I think we would see more of that. Al and Miles have given me little clues, but honestly, they haven't told me too much about what we would explore in Season 2.
You talked about Tyler's relationship with his father a minute ago, and they do have a contentious relationship, why do you feel he hasn't taken his rage out or turned his Hyde abilities onto his father?
I think it's part of keeping up the façade of his normal life and the plan. I think that's what just enrages him even more: Now he truly has power over his dad, but he can't use it.
But now, maybe he can? The pretense is done, so can he go after the people he wants to?
I think so. Sheriff Galpin knows the truth about his son, and it's his worst fear come true: That he's just like his mom. I really hope we get to explore this! I'm also curious if there would be any element of Tyler trying to act like Laurel was the one controlling him — making him do all those murders — and now that's she's gone, maybe he's trying to hide it.
He is found really injured in the woods, which is why he is able to be put in chains, after Enid finally wolfs out to help save Wednesday. How much of that sequence were you allowed to perform, even if they were adding CGI over it?
I did the whole transition, but then the fight was our two amazing stunt guys. And it was really funny because for ADR, it was still just the footage of two guys in MoCap suits fighting in the woods. But they did all of that live-action and then replaced them [in post].
But the scene where I'm killing the therapist, they did a whole take with a guy on stilts because the Hyde is, like, 9-feet tall, and then they'd switch him out, and it would be me, breathing heavily.
For me, it was definitely more challenging because trying to pretend you're turning into a monster, how do you train for that? Even before you know Tyler is a Hyde, having to talk about monsters and telekinesis and psychic visions and having to keep it grounded to reality, I found it difficult.
Going into the show, did you know about all of this, including what he was and how he was quote-unquote unlocked?
Yeah, actually right before my final audition we hounded and hounded them for more information, and there was one scene with me and Xavier — and Percy [Hynes White] and I did a chemistry read, as well as me and Jenna doing one — and I was kind of nasty in the scene with Xavier. But they cut it out because I think it was too telling. So we kept asking for more information, and they were like, "We can't tell you, but he has a secret." And I was like, "Is it the secret?" [Laughs] And then after I got cast, I had an hour-and-a-half phone conversation with Al and Miles and they broke down the events about Laurel Gates transitioning him and what the last year of Tyler's life had been like leading up to the pilot.
Was there anything that changed or still needed to be worked out from that conversation?
The only thing that I was waiting for was how Tyler was going to interact with people once the secret was out. I was doing all of the inner work and figuring out how he felt about people, but then I had to wait for that final script to see if what I was imagining was going to line up with the dialogue that I had.
Where did his feelings toward Wednesday fit in? Specifically, when Tyler is just pretending to be the good boyfriend with Wednesday, he shows her a movie he think she'll find scary. And then he just watches her watch the movie. That could be seen as sweet, in the sense of him wanting to see how she's enjoying it and experience it through her. But, especially looking back with what we know about Tyler, it also can be seen as creepy that he's just watching her so intently.
I don't think in that moment it's so sinister, like spying on her or anything. It's more about just keeping up the pretense, and I feel like he was like finally gaining ground with her in that moment. Because she kind of keeps pushing me away, but he learns to act as if he's charmed with every deflection and denial she gives him. And that was fun for me because Wednesday Addams is supposed to be unaffected by all this stuff, so it's so gut-wrenching because she fell for it. She wants to be the antithesis of the kind of character that would fall for the cute boy giving her attention, and I think that's what really pisses her off in the finale.
And obviously Tyler did have the secret in Season 1. But now there's a new one — and a new threat — in Wednesday's stalker. How do you feel Tyler compares as a threat?
Right now I'd say he's the biggest threat to Wednesday and everyone at Nevermore because he clearly has some issues and now he's even more pissed off! [Laughs] The idea was that that [end scene] was the beginning of him about to break out of those chains at the end.
And yet Bianca's magic did work on him earlier in the finale episode. So what do you consider his weaknesses?
I don't think he's immune to any other powers. I don't think he had faced any real challenges in the season. When he had to fight a werewolf, he lost that battle, too.
Get to know Hunter Doohan:
Doohan is best known for playing Adam in first season of Your Honor (Metascore: 60) and the younger version of Warren on Truth Be Told (46). But he also appeared in Westworld (71) and Schooled (56), and even played another Tyler on What/If (58).