Previously on Wynonna Earp, Bulshar rose, Mama Earp showed up (in a prison, here all along), vampires came and went, and the Earp sisters were in a car accident that left Waverly being dragged off by a stranger and Wynonna’s fate unknown.
We learn Wynonna’s fate right away, as she wakes up with her sister’s name on her lips, shivering from the cold, moaning in pain…oh and also she’s hanging from a cliff.
She closes her eyes, giving in to the cold and the pain, when she hears her mother’s voice. She sees a vision of Mama Earp standing at the top of the cliff, yelling at her to snap out of it, to stay sexy and not die on the side of a cliff. Not-the-Mama reminds her that Wynonna knows the rules of survival, she taught them to her herself, so Wynonna goes over them. One, don’t pick up the phone, you know they’re only calling ’cause they’re drunk and alone. Oh wait no sorry those are the New Rules. One, don’t panic. Two, assess the situation calmly. Wynonna looks up and think she can climb 20 feet, but as soon as she puts pressure on her arm, she realizes it’s dislocated. Not-the-Mama reminds her that Waverly is counting on her, and Wynonna goes full Faith-mode and relocates her own shoulder.
Speaking of Waverly, she’s hanging out in a cabin in the woods.
A really yucky Revenant who has definitely spent too much time alone hops into the cabin and tells Waverly that the trees are moving around and the animals are scared so they’re fleeing. He’s had to trap humans for food instead, and he’s acquired a taste for it. Also he has stolen his last victim’s voice and uses it with a terrifying glee.
Down on the cliffside, Wynonna can’t quite reach her gun. Not-the-Mama tells her to leave it, but Wynonna points out that it’s kind of her ~whole thing. (From the point forward I’m going to call Not-the-Mama just Mama because typing all those hyphens is exhausting but know that at no point in this episode is Mama Earp actually here, it’s all just Wynonna projecting.) As Wynonna is trying to work up the courage to leave Peacemaker behind, Mama reminds her of a time she tried to get out of gym class. Wynonna remembers coming home to find her mother staring at the oven with a shotgun in her hand, but Mama remembers telling her she’s a Gibson and that means she’s strong.
Mama says that fear will be what kills her, so Wynonna starts to climb.
Back in Cannibal Cabin, Waverly gets a text from a worried Nicole, and gets stressed that people will come looking for his newest capture, so despite Waverly’s attempts to charm and distracts, he steals Waverly’s voice, Ursula-style, and Vanessa’s Nicole by using Waverly’s voice to convince her everything’s okay.
Wynonna makes it to the top and sees the truck turned over and uses the boost of adrenaline to run to see if her sister is still inside. She sees Waverly’s bloody shawl and the drag-marks and knows she has to go after her baby girl. Mama tells her to stay calm and chill out but Wynonna snaps that unlike her mother, she doesn’t’ leave Waverly behind, ever. (Which is definitely her being defensive because that’s one of the things she carries guilt over, right? One of the reasons she’s so desperate to not do leave her? Because she did. She moved to Greece and left Waverly behind to feel slightly crazy for researching this curse no one would talk to her about.)
But Wynonna does take the chill out part of her mother’s advice and moves on to Rule 3, which is to take inventory. She puts on a coat and picks up a tire iron and takes a swig of whiskey and gets ready to head out. Mama guides her but really it’s her own instincts, and we’re reminded of that when Mama and Wynonna tuck their hair behind their ear at the same time. Wynonna sees so much of herself in her mother, so much of her mother in herself.
At the office formerly known as the Black Badge Division, Jeremy has determined that the Bulshar cult victims didn’t actually die simultaneously, but seconds from each other. So they think they’re maybe looking for The Flash. Nicole, her newly found and presumably fuzzy memories on her mind, asks if they felt any pain.
But the truth is, Jeremy can’t know for sure. He imagines it all happened very fast. Nicole and Dolls police it out for a bit and make a plan to give the Earp sisters some time before diving back in with them. Nicole leaves and Jeremy asks Dolls to confide in him, because he can tell something is wrong. Dolls snaps at him, saying he’s fine and that he’s going to get Doc, but pauses before he leaves to make a Harry Potter reference to put Jeremy at ease.
While wandering through the woods, following Waverly’s trail, Wynonna asks Mama why it was her she took camping, not Willa or Waverly. Now of course, this is only what Wynonna’s in-shock brain can surmise, but she says Willa was Ward’s, Waverly was everyone else’s, but Wynonna was Michelle’s. Wynonna regrets spending that whole trip on her GameBoy, now that she knows it was the last real time she would spend with her mother.
Mama asks where Wynonna’s team is, and we see Wynonna’s fear rearing its head again as Mama tells her that it’s dangerous to rely on others. Wynonna lashes out at her mother, asking her why she left, saying she needed her mother, and Mama lashes back saying, “Alice doesn’t?”
Wynonna accuses her of abandoning her, and just like that she’s gone. It reminds me of the recurring nightmare I had as a kid, where I was on a roller coaster with my mother, but for some reason, in this nightmare, someone had to be driving the roller coaster like it was a car. And inevitably, at the scariest point in the ride, when the strobe lights were flashing and the skeletons were popping up and the car was going the fastest, I would look in the driver’s seat and my mother had just…vanished.
At Shorty’s, Dolls finds Doc and they fight about Alice, about hell, about the point of doing good if the end is the same anyway. But Dolls says they’re not the same, him and Doc. Dolls will do the right thing, regardless of what’s waiting for him after death.
Nicole comes across a hunter near the woods who tells her about the pickup truck crash he saw and Nicole blanches as she realizes whose truck it must be.
They split up, and the hunter follows a voice to the cabin, but Waverly’s voice is too gone to warn him not to step into the cabin and he gets Ghost Ship’d (DEEP CUT it means he got…well, cut deeply…in the throat) and she gets put in a cage while the Revenant…eats him? :shudder:
Doc goes to BBD to find Jeremy and they fight a bit about Dolls’ drugs but before they come to a conclusion, Nicole texts them to ask for help, so Doc runs off with an earpiece Jeremy gave him.
Wynonna finds her sister in the cabin and there’s a much-needed moment of levity while the girls perform a half-mime show, Waverly silently trying to guide Wynonna through the booby traps in the cabin.
Outside, Haught and Doc work together and find Waverly’s shawl, and Nicole worries that Waverly is out there somewhere, cold, tears in her eyes, afraid to worry about anything worse.
Doc says one of “our girls” – OUR GIRLS – got dragged and one walked so he follows the path Wynonna took.
Wynonna can’t get Waverly out of her cage, so Waverly decides that now is the time to silently demand why Wynonna kept the Mama information from her. Wynonna tries to explain but Waverly is so hurt and sad.
But, as soon as Wynonna says she’s going out to fight the Revenant, Waverly reaches for her. Because she’s hurt but she still loves her sister.
Wynonna leaves and says she’ll be back in an mmmbop.
Dolls goes to Jeremy for his dragon drugs, and Jeremy warns him about the side effects but Dolls says it’s his body, his choice, and takes them with him anyway. .
Wynonna goes out to fight the Revenant, and finds that invoking Bulshar’s name spooks him. She runs into the forest and catches him in his own trap, but then gets strung up by her ankles. Luckily Haught and Doc were approaching at that moment, and are relieved to find her alive. Also relieved is Waverly, who finally has her voice back.
Dolls finds them and is happy they’re okay. Nicole wraps Waverly up but good.
But Waverly has to talk to her sister, so once again Nicole lets her go. Waverly asks how long she’s known and Wynonna says always. Waverly heart breaks all over again.
Waverly has heard enough, so she asks Dolls to help her walk to his truck (her leg is busted) and he does.
Nicole assures Wynonna they can get through whatever it is that Waverly is upset about, which is a huge act of kindness coming from her, because Nicole and Wynonna don’t always see eye to eye. Speaking of acts of kindness, Nicole is also going to repel down the cliff to get Peacemaker, because redheads do it better (her words.)
Waverly is sobbing into Dolls’ chest when he starts to sound like he’s in pain and his eyes flash. He tells Waverly Wynonna will need her more than ever soon, and Waverly looks at him with fear in her eyes, wondering what on earth he could mean by that.
Just then, Bulshar’s army man shows up and cuts Nicole’s rope. Wynonna catches it just in time, but it’s her arm strength vs gravity and she’s slipping fast. Doc tries to fight the guy but he turns into a lot of bats?? Or just like…geometric patterns that move like a lot of bats? It’s unclear. But Mr. Parallelogram tells Dolls (who was shooting at him) no mortal weapons can kill him. He points out that with Wynonna and (now, after hobbling over) Waverly holding Nicole up by the rope, he could easily flap flap over there and take all three out at once. Dolls assesses the situation and knows what he has to do. He grabs the man, and dragon breaths him, forming a big ball of fiery death and obliterates Bulshar’s buddy.
Bulshar slow claps from the sidelines and Wynonna goes after him but Doc yells her name before she can shoot him, and in a blink he’s gone.
Wynonna runs back to her friends who are standing around Dolls, who apparently collapsed. Nicole can’t get a pulse, so Wynonna says he needs his drugs, but Waverly knows that won’t help him now.
Dolls is gone.
Wynonna sits with Dolls’ body. Waverly tries to get her to get somewhere warm but Wynonna snaps at her; he hates the woods. She doesn’t want to leave him there alone.
It reminded me of when I was leaving my grandfather’s funeral, just this past March. We had the service in the funeral home, so it was two long days of the wake and the service, and at the end of the day of the service, when we were leaving the funeral home for the last time, I found myself lingering back, even after I said what was supposed to be my final goodbyes. Little by little, my family filed out, but I found myself stalling, looking at Papa, unable to will my feet to move. My older cousin came up to me then and said what I had been feeling without knowing how to say it: “It feels like he should be coming with us.” And that was exactly it. I didn’t want to leave him. I didn’t want to leave him there alone.
So even though it’s not the same, I understood Wynonna in this moment. The somewhat irrational feeling that walking away would be abandoning him, even though you know he’s already gone. The strange disconnect that comes from looking at a person’s body, a body that you once hugged and held, and yet knowing the person you hugged and held is not there. It can be a jarring experience even if you didn’t experience the physical and emotional trauma of having to scale a rockface, save your sister, and save your sister’s girlfriend that very same day.
Wynonna tries to say the facts out loud, they wouldn’t have been able to fight Bulshar’s bud, and Dolls saved them. So how is it fair that he’s gone? Wynonna’s vision of Mama comes back, and speaks at the same time as Waverly, saying he’s at peace now. And I think that’s important. When Not-the-Mama was being meanest to her, she parroted Wynonna herself, but when she was being kind, she parroted Waverly. The meanest parts of Wynonna’s brain sound like her mama, the nicest sound like her baby girl.
Tears run down Wynonna’s face as she tries to find some solace in Dolls’ passing. No more pain, no more drugs, no more demons. And she knows it’s time to let him go.
Dolls dying is upsetting for a lot of reasons. Narratively, it will break everyone’s heart. Our friends have lost a buddy, a mentor, a partner. It will be interesting though difficult to watch everyone move through that in the coming weeks.
Outside the narrative, it sucks to lose positive POC representation on the show, especially such a prominent, respected figure. Similar to how, too often, women are “fridged” to progress a man’s story, black people are often sacrificed to save white people. And similar to how “bury your gays” is a trope because losing queer characters to advance straight characters’ plots often instantly and noticeably reduces the representation by half, the same often happens when people of color are killed off shows. And in this political landscape, with the news being one horror story after another, it’s especially hard to watch a black person die on TV, so it was a hard blow to watch Dolls die, even though he wasn’t murdered. Especially for people who don’t go online for bonus content for the shows they want to learn that Shamier worked with the creative team to decide on this departure for his character.
But if you’re reading this recap, you are not a casual viewer of TV, so if you’re looking for light in the darkness, I hope you find it knowing that the show has been met with criticism about its characters of color, and/or lack thereof, and the creative team involved has never backed down from answering questions about this openly and honestly. I hope you find hope in reading the interviews with Shamier and Emily, and watch panels Emily has been on where she talks about diversity and her plans and hopes for increasing it in the show. Because just like the pain Lexa’s death was compounded by the way the creators talked about it before, during, and after, I think you could find comfort (if you want it) in the way the Wynonna Earp folks are talking about Dolls. One of my favorite things Shamier said in his interview was that Dolls, knowing he was dying, had agency over his own body. He chose the way he went out, just like Shamier helped choose how his character left the show.
I believe that having some context will help you understand intent. Because I think intent is important, and I think understanding why someone made a decision can help you figure out if you want to trust them in the future. And of course we have to continue having these conversations and holding the show we love accountable if, say, at the end of the season, things aren’t looking any better than they do now. But I do think that all of these discussions have earned them good faith. The representation we in the queer community have found in Waverly and Nicole has been some of the best we’ve ever had, and the care with which those characters are handled is comforting and truly a relief after all we’ve been through. But we have to hold the show to the same standards when it comes to POC representation as we do LGBTQ+ representation, or else we don’t truly stand for equality. To quote Malala Yousafzai, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”
And again, if you still feel this is a dealbreaker for you, that is valid and your decision to make. I’m not trying to discount any anger or pain anyone is feeling, and I’m not trying to make excuses or change your mind, I’m just arming you with all the information I have while you’re here. So hopefully that’s how this reads.
If you’ve read my Supergirl recaps of this past season, you’ll know I have no issue calling out an ethos problem when I see one, and I can only speak for myself when I say that I don’t think it’s going to be a pattern we see on the show. One thing Heather has taught me is that there’s room in a relationship with a show (just like in a relationship with a person) to be like, “Hey, I love you, but this thing you did hurt me/my friends/a community of people and here’s why.” And so I do think it’s important to acknowledge that Dolls’ death hurt a lot of people, especially people of color who saw themselves represented in him.
Because of all the discussions mentioned before, I’m apt to trust that this is not a symptom of a larger issue, and that we won’t see something like this happen again. It’s like Wynonna keeping the Mama secret from Waverly. She had her reasons and Wynonna surely didn’t intentionally hurt Waverly, but Waverly was still hurt. Waverly still loves her sister, that’s not going to change, not because of one choice. But they have to talk this out, and both sides have to understand where the other is coming from. Specifically, the person who did the hurting has to listen to the one who was hurt. And while what’s done is done, Wynonna has to realize, seeing how this ended up hurting her sister more than she ever planned, that she can’t do something like this again without risking losing Waverly’s trust forever.
I’m sure this will not be the last conversation we have about Dolls, since he sacrificed himself to save Nicole, Wynonna, and Waverly, and he was an integral part of the team, so his loss will surely be felt throughout the rest of the season. If you’re going with me on this journey, I’ll see you next week. In the meantime, I’ll be here in the comments if you want to talk, vent, share, or just be together.
The thing about Dolls death for me is that, even granting Shamier wanted to leave, the way it was written was rushed, sloppy and confusing. Why did it have to be the second episode with no build up? Why was it done so nonsensically? And then looking at the bigger picture, Dolls was underused/ignored in favor of Doc way too much throughout both the past seasons. Last year around episode 7 or 8 it seemed like he and Wynonna were finally getting somewhere, they kissed, he told her she was amazing and they cuddled in bed, only for them to barely have a second alone together the rest of the season!
So maybe you can say that yes, Shamier wanted to leave, but maybe it was in part the poor use of his character that brought it on? These things can be connected. So PoC fans can be upset Dolls is dead but they can also be upset at the situation that made Shamier decide to leave. Emily and the writers have been far too infatuated with Doc and his angst. It’s like the last seasons of Buffy and Spike all over again and I couldn’t stand it then either.
And the last thing I want to say about this is that I find it bad taste/borderline offensive that they’ve so quickly got some generic white dude lined up to take Dolls place in the love triangle as they happily ALREADY shown us in the trailers Wynonna making out with him. No one wants this.
This is everything I wanted to say.
But now that I’ve thought about it some more, less screen time for Dolls might have been a result of the popularity of WayHaught and the need to give more to Nicole.
Maybe but Doc didn’t lose any screen time to give more to WayHaught.
I have to wonder if he’s not going to be back as a special guest sometime because this was so weirdly abrupt, even if he did want to leave the show. Or if something else was going on behind the scenes that caused him to leave.
At least we have Kate/Contessa? I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll see more of her in future episodes.
Thank you for this recap, Valerie. It’s obvious you put your whole heart into it. This weekend as the conversation about this took place on Twitter, I kept thinking of our TV Roundtable about how we handle shows that break our heart. All of our writers talked in it, to some extent, about how hard it is to write in this space where it’s a constant zero-sum game of This Show Fucked Up, Anyone Who Watches It Is Garbage and This Show Has A Thing I Love, Therefore It Can Do Literally No Wrong. I do believe that killing Dolls was a mistake. I can hold that feeling in one hand and explain why I think it. And in the other hand I can hold the feeling that this show really continues to excel at queer representation. And while I am doing both of those things, I can do what you’re doing here, which is to try to find a reason to hope and maintain constant vigilance and accountability.
The thing that made me feel like I was getting stabbed in the guts this weekend was watching how many white queer fans were rushing to silence those who were hurting, simply because they love this show’s gay ship. That’s some bullshit and I can’t abide it.
Most of the shows most of us love are problematic in their way — except Steven Universe, of course — and it’s on us to be grown-up enough to engage honestly with a show’s mistakes and missteps. We also, I think, have to keep talking about it, writing about it, pressing it to do better, or else we’ll be shut out of the conversation and every bit of TV and film criticism will be from straight white cis men.
Anyway all of that is to say thank you for this recap.
Thanks so much for the nuanced and relatable explanation.
I have never engaged in the Wynonna Earp fandom on Twitter before this past weekend and the reason why I did was exactly what you laid out. There seemed to be a lot of people trying to silence POC when they are being critical of the show. As a middle-aged lesbian of color with very thick skin and a …I wish a *beep* would attitude I felt like I had to support the baby gays of color.
Basically, I spent hours pointing out to people that there is a lot of literature on the fact that when POC, especially blacks, and especially Black women speak their truth, it is labeled as angry, mean, violent, argumentive, hostile, bitchy, etc. It has been a way to keep POC silent. And even though we don’t agree on this issue, the answer is never to shut down voices but try to have a constructive dialogue.
It actually led to some really good conversations. What I tried to get people to see is that saying there’s a race problem on WE doesn’t mean that if white people still watch it they are being racist. That my interpretation is that POC are frustrated that some people are not connecting what happened on the show to a broader struggle for representation.
Anyways, I hope something positive comes out of all of this!
I’m glad you had some good conversations, but I’m sorry you had to do that hard work. It sounds like you really opened people’s eyes, and hopefully Earpers are starting to understand.
I also don’t know how much benefit of the doubt this team has earned regarding POC representation. Women. LGBT+. Yes. Lost Girl had issues with this type of diversity too, though. And the side-lining of Dolls was frustrating. And I’m hoping that they aren’t thinking you can just replace one POC character with another, particularly not when you lost a founding member of the core team and are replacing him with…a recurring character? Or something? Anyway, I’m still feeling it all out in my own mind, so I thank you for the thoughtful paragraphs, Valerie, and also for the thoughtful comments regarding the issue here from other readers.
P.S. I was longing for and am now mourning the lost potential of polyamory (but also I dislike love triangles, and perhaps this is my mind’s defense mechanism, because Emily Andras…perhaps all show-runners…seems to love them). I think the internet called the Wynonna/Dolls/Doc relationship the Ghost River Triangle? It could have been glorious.
I too was shipping the Ghost River Triangle.
A) Thank you for reading. <3
B) GHOST. RIVER. TRIANGLE. I had never heard that but I now also mourn the loss of that opportunity.
Apart from commenting on the episode I wanted to write something on the Dolls’ death/Shamier’s decision to leave and how I understand people’s feelings (good, bad or indifferent) on it. But I don’t need to.
Valerie, you said everything I was going to say and you wrote it much better than I ever could. Thank you.
Now, I don’t know how to write my comment on this episode so I am just going to let the fingers do the typing and hope something coherent comes out. I think I want to try breaking it down by character so we’ll see if that works.
Wynonna: People say that Wynonna seeing Mama here is explanation as her going to see Mama in the season finale. But she drove to that spot in the season finale. Could it be a special spot for them, like where they went apparently survival camping?
With everything else that happened with Dolls, I hope she went back and actually shot the Revenent with Peacemaker because “basically dead” is not dead.
My favorite scene was when she was hanging upside down, it’s true when you kill a Revenent you just need a little me time.
She wouldn’t let go of the rope. It also brought it back to when Nicole was in the hospital and asked Wynonna to pull the plug if need be.
Waverly: It was hard to see Waverly locked in that cage but DAMN, even without a voice Dominique can convey so much. Some observations I made was that the cut on her face looked like a heart. When Dolls took her back to his car and needed to leave her there while he went to go help he called her “Earp”.
I know some people are confused as to why Dolls walked her back to the truck when she was injured and but if you look in the background Nicole is putting on her harness to climb down.
I did love the sweet moment they did get though. Make-outs and sexy times aside, my favorite WayHaught moments are the ones where they are there for each other, no words needed but just an embrace or a hand hold or a look.
Nicole: I just want to get this out of the way, I don’t like the new uniform. I liked the season 2 uniform and I don’t understand why they keep changing it.
I didn’t get it at first when she picked up the shawl and was like ‘she’ll be cold’, and then I was like oh yeah done Waverly hates the cold and that’s why they probably reminded us about the bonus blankets last week. And the first thing Nicole did even though Waverly had Doc’s coat was get a blanket to wrap her in. Again the little gestures.
How many impromptu weekend excursions does Nicole go on and A. does Waverly go with her and B. Please tell me she goes somewhere outside the triangle so no other Revenents can fuck with her rope.
Dolls was the only person Nicole told she was THE survivor of the Cult of Bulshar, I guess Waverly is going to help her research it.
Doc: I’m stuck as to what to say about him from this episode. It’s seems he’s either very dark or very light (looking over the cliff gives him the weezies) there doesn’t seem to be an in between right now.
Jeremy: Is he the type to blame himself? He knew for how long that this was happening to Dolls and didn’t say anything. It’s been 4 months at least. He couldn’t work a better formula in that time? Is he shadier than we’ve thought all along?
Dolls: He was the 1st WayHaught shipper/wingman. I’m sure we can all go back and remember a moment from either last season or the last episode where something just seemed off and the writing was on the wall for Dolls to be written off because Shamier was getting different roles in higher profile Hollywood movies and TV shows. I think Dolls going out the quiet hero he was was an honor. EOW.
Now everyone deals with grief differently, a sneak peek was released of next weeks episode and we see Wynonna being very quiet and to herself very much the opposite of the last time she “grieved” after she killed the last of the 7. Waverly is kind of all over the place, not sure if it’s okay to laugh or talk or cry (this is my when I grieve), Nicole most likely keeping calm cause she might have to step in to console Waverly or Wynonna, and Doc still being angry. I wonder if we will see Nedley keeping the X mug.
Phew. that was a rough one to get through. I’m sure there is more that I forgot to say but this was a hard one to process.
@punkystarshine I have read your recaps on Wynonna Earp for the past 2 years because you have always been funny and insightful when it comes to writing about the show and you have never shied away from commenting on its flaws. Thanks for that. But I have to end my Wynonna Earp journey here.
Like many I was upset about Dolls being killed off. But for me, my frustration was because it seems like a broader trend of Wynonna Earp and is why I gave up on the show. In my humble opinion Wynonna Earp has a ‘race’ problem and I don’t know if the WE crew actually see it. The problem has far more to do with just Shamier leaving and them killing off his character. Here are my frustrations about the show and race:
In season 1 of Wynonna Earp, aside from Dolls, the show was nearly 100% white. I mean even when you included background characters. The one woman of color they had…who actually had lines…was killed off. That felt kind of pointless and they could have had her leave Purgatory, especially considering that the show really did not have any characters of color.
I almost did not watch season 2. Yes, I appreciated what the show does for wlw representation…but I still have a problem watching a show that is 99.99% white. Then I saw in s2 they cast a Latina and S Asian man and thought the show was going to be more inclusive. But what I saw portrayed was damaging stereotypes.
The character of Dolls didn’t really have any development and instead, we got what I would characterize as the “Magical Negro” stereotype. Since you write about pop culture, I am sure you know the body of literature that discusses how blacks…particularly black men… when portrayed as “good” in pop culture are typically wise black men with no concerns of their own or desire to improve their status in life… instead, these characters function to help white characters overcome adversity. They are there for the growth of a white character and to spout wisdom that helps the protagonist ‘see the light’. This was basically Dolls role. All the other characters on WE have side plots and their own character development…but not Dolls. Besides learning Dolls is part dragon there has been nothing. I don’t like when this character stereotype is used for women and I don’t like it for POC. I don’t know if you watched the show Sleepy Hollow, but he got the Abby treatment. I don’t blame him for leaving because he really didn’t do much on the show.
Rosita was treated only as love interest for Doc and then a betrayer, which reinforces the stereotype you see of Latinas in pop culture that they are either “sex pots” or criminals. I mean they even have the twin, I can’t think of her name right now, be a betrayer. So, except for Dolls, who is the ‘magical negro’ and there to help Wynonna grow without anything for himself because clearly, her feelings are for Doc…almost all the other POC (mainly WOC) are bad people and out to harm the main protagonist and her Scooby gang.
I mean even Jeremy reinforces that stereotype of Asians being geeks/science whizzes. And he is de-sexualized which is commonly what happens to Asian men in pop culture…further reinforcing stereotypes. T
On top of all that in s2 they kill yet another woman of color…unnecessarily. Why did they have to kill the baby doctor? Yes, it was off-screen but they “killed” yet another woman of color. I mean they could have just had them kidnap her or kept her from helping Wynonna with the delivery another way…but they chose death. Nicole’s wife is just there to bring Nicole and Waverly closer…are you seeing the pattern…
Them killing off Dolls is just furthering the racial trope of black/POC being disposable…or there to get the white protagonist to realize what they need to do…make them stronger. For me to keep watching the show would have to excuse too much.
I get it that Earpers love the show. I firmly believe that you can love something and others can find it problematic and it does not have to take away from your love of that thing. But my politics are intersectional and I believe that the personal is political. So just because Wynonna Earp does a good job with its gay representation, does not mean that it can’t do better with race. Or I am going to excuse it on race. Maybe I am wrong or missed something, but the discussions I have seen the WE team have about race and inclusion on Wynonna Earp have been superficial. And I get it conversations about race are hard and we live in a racialized society (even in Canada), but if the WE really wants to be more inclusive and racially diverse, it should start looking at its patterns.
That is just my $.02…
This is a very detailed blow by blow, so thank you. Like you hinted, I had forgotten some of these events, particularly in S1, because the narrative zipped past them.
It’s important to keep ourselves honest.
Zoie Palmer’s character starts dating the vampire who spared Doc (it’s implied she has another name, besides contessa) and they spin off after S4 in some form of Canadian urban fantasy sitsch.
I kept hoping for more, so I kept track. On of the reasons I am frustrated with the Earp fandom is that they see this situation as a one off and it is part of a broader pattern.
If that Zoie Palmer spin-off happened…I would have to give it a try!
I feel like Zoie needs to be a regular on something and Canadia (sorry, American, couldn’t help myself) seems to be just crawling with feminist vampires.
Contessa and Mattie can have coffee complain about how hard it is to be a QVoC and so on. Laura can do a bit of fourth wall geeking about Lost Girl, etc.
Okay, here are my thoughts. I figured Shamier was leaving for awhile now just because of his change of tone in regards to the show on social media. I paid attention to how much everyone else was really a part of the discussions and live tweeting about episodes. That being said, I don’t like how he was written off. Am I that upset that Dolls died? No because that would really be the only way that he would go out. What i am upset about is that his character has been an afterthought since the end of the first season. The way he was written was as a stapler for wynonna in one sense and as a prop to be used as a comparison for Doc. Emily had time to actually give Dolls a good send off and i think with the way his character was written last season and in the 2 EPISODES this season really missed the mark. I felt his send off was rushed and honestly if he had to go so soon into this season why wasnt he utilized more. As the second actor billed in the credits they sure treated his character like he was recurring.
WE is good at catering to their queer audience because it knows that’s what keeps it alive, but they forget to acknowledge the small group of others that are there too. They spent the first and second season letting you believe that Wynonna and Dolls could be something more(the kiss in the first and Wynonna getting SUPER jealous at Eliza’s appearance in s2). After that though Dolls really disappeared and he occasionally made appearances but nowhere to the degree that he was before.
Jeremy and this new character Countessa are pics but theyre recurring too and they wont and shouldn’t fill the hole that Dolls left. It just needed a better execution on his send off. Every scene that Dolls had in this episode was with someone else and it read as a prop for their character development vs. Leading into a decent goodbye for him.
I hope that this next episode does a better job than its last when it comes to showing just how important Xavier Dolls was as a character because the way I viewed this past episode I didnt get that he meant much because he seemed to not have done much til the last minute; which doesnt scream Dolls of before.
I did not feel the loss on the spot because I have been off social media and thought, “haha, you won’t trick me, I will see you next week for the resurrection episode.”
Then yesterday YouTube was all “here’s a video of the cast saying goodbye.”
I’m not mad about the actor going on to bigger and better things for himself or about the character dying as I can’t see an alternative.
But I definitely get that others have their own valid feelings about it and the complaints about the broader then this episode issues of representation are legit. It’s frustrating that Dolls didn’t get developed so much further as a character. We know just enough about him to know that there are SO many interesting things that could have been fleshed out.
Is the character of Dolls in the comics?
He has shown up in the more recent comics that have come out since the show started, but he is not from them originally. (Pretty much the only the only thing the show has in common with the original comics is the characters of Wynonna being Wyatt Earp’s decedent and the Black Badge Division, though it was just the paranormal cops rather than some weird occult evil thing. Everything else, the curse, Peacemaker, Doc, the sisters, are all created from the show.
I have two things I’ve been worrying/thinking about. One is the fandom. It has been disheartening but not surprising that the predominantly white fans have not given frustrated black and POC fans space to be annoyed with the show. The idea that this is a “welcoming” fandom has been an excuse for not allowing peot to bring up real and genuine concerns. Dissent is squashed to preserve the “goodness” of the fandom. I don’t know the best way to help us argue better but it seems necessary.
The second thing is that I’m just going to miss the stories we could have had. Shamier is good at tenderness and has good comic timing, even as the straight man. I wanted more soft Dolls and Wynonna. I also wanted more professional Dolls and Nicole, and more Doc and Dolls being friends. Tim and Shamier were so great together. And, Dolls coming to believe in Waverly was so great. It could have been so much more.
Dolls and Doc should have been like Dyson and Lauren. Doc was Dyson alright but Dolls was more like Hale(Dyson’s partner and the show’s only POC. He died to save Kenzi -Waverly- )
As a queer white woman I aim to listen to POC who say there is an issue with POC being killed off and to other issues with representation and/or fandoms.
Straight people have tried to shut down or dismiss arguments about lack of good queer representation and straight people who kill of queer characters always like to say why in their specific case it is justified (eg Person of Interest), so I don’t ever want to tell other minority groups that their feelings and concerns are wrong or not valid.
Is it horrible that I’m not sad about Dolls dying? He’s always been my least favourite main character.
I was really concerned that Nicole would lose hold of the rope and die.
I feel like Wynonna hallucinating Mama Earp is kind of like her subconscious talking.
Dolls definitely got the Abbie Mills treatment. Ew.
I am an avid fan of the show but ass a black woman there is no denying that the writers do a terrible job writing characters of color. Dolls was always a shell of a character. He was mysterious but not in an interesting way but in a forgettable way. Both The Blacksmith and Rosita were sexualized and either killed or disappeared after they served their usefulness for the Earps. The way Jeremy is written also bothers me considering his sexuality always seems to be some kind of joke or goofy thing which is a stereotype for Asian men btw. And now we have Kate who has just showed up now that the other black character has arrived. I guess there can only be one. I explain all of this to say although I am a fan the show NEEDS to improve on this front or else I will tune out. LGBT rep or not.
Not a fan of how things ended with Dolls, I must say. I can see how this feeds into the bigger picture of how PoC are (generally) treated in media as proxy for (American) society.
The good rep that has been built around LGBT+ does not alone make a series progressive. So my hope is that the aftermath of Doll’s demise is somewhat treated sensitively, incl. more positive rep for PoC.
(Also, yeah for redheads! ?)
VA, I started reading your reviews back in the days of Orphan Black (RIP), and followed you on Twitter because of it – aaaand through that saw you kept tweeting about Wynonna Earp.. I figured, well, we both like at least one show, maybe this one’ll be the same.
I’ll tell ya this, Wynonna Earp is a little out of my usual realm, but damn if I don’t love it.
So thanks! Thanks for great recaps (seriously, you did some of your finest caption work during season five of OB – RIP), but you haven’t lost your touch. You write so well, but you also spend time figuring out the shows, pointing out things I did notice, things I didn’t notice, you agree and you disagree with me and yourself, and you’re funny.
This was unrelated to the actual piece, really, I just figured it was worth saying out loud.
Thank you so much for saying so. <3
(I miss Orphan Black all the time.)
I haven’t even read the rest of this but I just needed to share that I SNORTED at the New Rules reference in the intro