You know how sometimes you go on a roller coaster, and it’s fun and wild and you’re scream-laughing the whole time and feeling great but then that last sharp turn and abrupt stop jerks you so hard it hurts? That’s what this episode of Wynonna Earp felt like to me. For 80% of it, it was one of the funniest episodes of the entire series to date. The other 20% was Feelsfest 2018. But that’s what this show does best, isn’t it? That balance between the hilarious and the heartbreaking, the inhuman and the all-too-human. And I’m warning you now, I’m going to recap the episode as usual, but there’s no way to capture the flurry of blows this episode delivered in the form of jokes, one-liners, pop-culture references and facial expressions. The whole thing was a damn riot. Well, until it wasn’t.
Let the shenanigans begin!
And they do, indeed, begin right off the bat, with Wynonna fooling around with Charlie Fire Services in his fire truck. Nicole and Waverly show up for their Haught for Sheriff campaign and CFS thinks it’s weird that they’re dating each other but assures Wynonna it’s not because they’re both women. In fact, Purgatory Pride is his favorite event of the year. And suddenly mine as well.
Charlie Fire Services says that Nicole told him she was a hot mess, even though I still don’t really understand where he came from or why everyone is just okay with this, but he sees to be making Wynonna happyish so I’ll allow it for now I guess. Wynonna leans on the siren while they make out, thus ending their romp, so Wynonna hitches a ride back with the girls.
When Waverly asks if this means her and Doc aren’t together, Wynonna responds that she hasn’t seen Doc for a week.
During that week, it seems Doc has been slowly but surely making his transition into a vampire. Bulshar’s ring is only now starting to burn on his finger, and his reflection is only partially faded away so far. He seems a little stressed about it, but Kate assures him it’s fine, because now they’re together. Forever.
Which… doesn’t look like something Doc is particularly thrilled about at the moment.
Back at Purgatory PD, there’s a bunch of frat boys singing off their disorderliness in the drunk tank. The frat is Omicron Tau Psi, meaning they’re literally bros of the OTP fraternity, which is perfect for this BroTP-themed episode.
In the sheriff’s office, Nedley assigns Wynonna and Nicole to go through a secret closet he has where he’s been tucking away evidence that seemed… oogly boogly.
Also on Officer Haught’s to-do list today is to get the City Council’s approval to be sheriff, and the only wall she’s butting up against is named Bunny Loblaw. If you had given e a list of Council members and asked me to pick out which one was going to be A Problem, I easily would have picked Bunny Loblaw. But Nedley says Bunny is just a bully and that she needs to stand up to her, so Nicole plans to meet Bunny in her house later that day.
While the girls start cleaning out the closet, Doc is rifling through the Homestead barn, and I think he’s looking for something to put Bulshar’s ring in, but what he finds is the business end of Mama Earp’s shotgun. She needs his help, and is still mad at him for walking out on Christmas, so he agrees to help her, even though it’s kind of a low-key hostage situation.
Back in Nedley’s office, Haught is trying so hard to stay on task, but Wynonna cleans like I do and is sitting and reading an old notebook, laughing about raccoon antics and being entirely unproductive.
Wynonna finds a picture of Young Nedley with a little girl, and is laughing hysterically at his little baby mustache, but Haught wants none of it. I won’t lie to you, when I first saw that picture, my brain went, “OMG IS THAT LITTLE HAUGHT?! Oh, no, he has a daughter, it’s probably Chrissy, GET IT TOGETHER.”
Nicole is frustrated but Wynonna says this task is bullshit anyway; it’s meant entirely as a teamwork building exercise and she saw right through it.
Haught insists she help anyway, so Wynonna, frustrated, starts throwing things around, which pisses Nicole off. So they fight and wrestle over a mirror, which Wynonna sassily lets go of and sends the mirror smashing to the ground, breaking a few other things on the way down.
And then, in a shed somewhere far away, lightning strikes and a man in a silly red hat marches out, clearly on a mission.
Wynonna finds Nedley at Shorty’s and shows him the photo she found, and scoffs at the task he gave her and Haught. He says she ought to give her sister’s girlfriend some slack but Wynonna thinks she’s too much of a stick in the mud for her to ever get along with. But Nedley slides the photo back toward Wynonna and says, “You two have more in common than you think.”
Which is so very true.
At Haught’s House, Nicole is in her dress blues and rushing around making sure everything is neat and clean for Bunny Loblaw. Bunny lets herself in and is immediately cold and haughty, quite the opposite of our Haughty, who is just nervous.
Bunny freaks out when she sees Calamity Jane as if there was a wild tiger wandering around the house, and when Nicole goes to put her in a different room, Bunny finds a picture of Nicole and Waverly and puts it face down, declaring it disgusting. Which is an impressive level of homophobia; most straight people would have seen that picture and been like, “How sweet, she has a picture of her and her gal pal in her living room.” (Though I’m sure the whole town knows about WayHaught at this point.)
Mama Earp’s first stop on her adventure with Doc is Willa and Ward’s grave. She talks about her daughter, using the phrase, “Willa was Ward’s,” which is interesting because Wynonna’s hallucination of her said the same thing. She talks about how Willa was kind of a monster and would have been a shitty heir but that she was still her baby, and she still grieves her. Doc says, “She was just a child,” and it makes me wonder… obviously Mama knew about the night with Ward and Willa and the Revenants… but did no one tell her about how she was just kidnapped that night and ended up coming back twisted up the wrong way and that Wynonna had to shoot her? I mean, I think I support that decision if they didn’t tell her, it’s just something I wondered during this scene.
During the Bunny interrogation, Nicole is trying to tell her about her ideas and plans for if she were sheriff, but Bunny instead demands to know what she thinks Nedley is keeping from her, hinting at the supernatural goings-on. Nicole looks like she wants to disappear.
Wynonna storms in then, and Haught has probably never been so grateful for a Wynonnus Interruptus. Bunny takes this opportunity to say she would rather back Wynonna for sheriff, which makes Haught laugh pretty hard.
Bunny mentions that Wynonna is from of one of Purgatory’s “original families” which makes me wonder if she’s more than just the regular everyday type of evil. She calls Haught an outsider and too different, so Haught pulls Wynonna into the kitchen to tell her she cannot be here and she sure cannot be sheriff.
While they’re squabbling, Bunny sees the dirty, behatted man in the window and fancy-faints. They manage to wake her up but insist on taking her to the hospital, so they stick her in the back of the patrol car and fight about what to do next.
While they are bickering, two wild frat boys appear and steal the cruiser with Bunny in the back. Which feels like karma to me, but Haught really wants to be sheriff, so she’s dead-set on saving her. They call Waverly and Jeremy, who find their bad luck amusing, and track the cruiser to the Revenant biker bar.
Continuing this series of unfortunate events, when they find Bunny, Nicole’s spare key breaks off in the lock and they can’t open the door. They can’t shoot the window for fear of ricochet, and they can’t call the fire department mostly because Wynonna doesn’t want Charlie Fire Services to have to save her again but also because they wouldn’t let “us sheriffs” live it down. Nicole has gotten very good at ignoring Wynonna’s one-offs but that one got me good.
So instead they decide to go in and get the keys from the stray frat bros.
Meanwhile, Doc and Mama are reminiscing. Mama says she was about to leave to be on the rodeo circuit when she got pregnant with Willa and next thing she knew she was married to Ward Earp. She talks about how great Julian was, and how Bobo told her that the night Waverly was born, Ward shoved Julian outside the Ghost River Triangle, and he’s been unable to return. She also mentions that she let Bobo out of the well, which pisses Doc off. She says beggars can’t be choosers in the fight against Bulshar, calls Doc “Johnny Hank” and explains to him that she does what she wants, so get over it.
At the biker bar, Haught and Wynonna try to sneak in…
…but are quickly busted. The would-be sheriff in the heir, a Revenant who clearly keeps up on his Twitter feed calls them. In a bit of a panic, Wynonna challenges them to a drinking game to the death, much to Nicole’s chagrin.
Back at the station, Waverly (still blessedly in her campaign manager blazer) and Jeremy start to wonder if this extreme amount of bad luck is supernatural, and seeing the broken mirror, start to put it back together.
In the Revenant bar, WynHaught (one of my favorite portmanteaus on the show, second only to WayHaught, because “why not?” is just so perfect for these two) get handcuffed together and even though I’m pretty sure it’s not a team sport, both Nicole and Wynonna are pounding back shots.
Nicole is white girl wasted, and Wynonna is sitting pretty, swigging beer between shots like a champ. The Revenant spits up his booze first, meaning he loses, but then he realizes that every time Wynonna took a shot, she was spitting it into aforementioned beer bottle. A trick she learned from Coyote Ugly, a reference that made me whoop like I just won a sports game.
Realizing they’re in trouble, Nicole and Wynonna run for the hills. Literally. Hills of snow. Handcuffed together. Nicole drunk as a skunk. It’s so perfect.
In the Gardner mansion, Kate finds Doc going through the things she took off the people she’s killed. Kate thinks he’s helping Wynonna and goes from lashing out and hissing at him and being sweet to try to convince him she’s the gal for him. And listen I know I’m supposed to be intimidated when she bares her metal-lined fangs but she’s so cute???
Wynonna and Haught pause their running in the wood and start to bicker some more about who has it worse, the only survivor of the Cult of Bulshar who has sworn to protect Purgatory or the only heir to the Earp Curse who has sworn to protect Purgatory. Their fight is interrupted by some Revenants, but because they’re not having the best day, or because it thought it would be funny, Peacemaker jams. And it’s funny, when it comes to cleaning or chatting, they’re not on the same page, they bicker and butt heads at every turn. But the second it becomes important, the second there are Revenants to fight, they work together quite literally like ice dancers. They use their handcuff chains to their advantage, until it becomes their disadvantage, and the fight takes a turn. But then the grumpy, dirty man from the shed shows up and uses his pruning shears to solve their problem… and become one himself.
The ladies run back to the sheriff’s office, shouting about the man chasing them. The mountain man knocks our precious nerds out of the way easily, and he looks at Nicole and Wynonna and tells them why he’s chasing them: One of them has to be his new wife.
Upon hearing this, Waverly gets an idea and looks at the pile of broken artifacts once more. She finds a broken garden gnome and realizes that this isn’t a mountain man after all and starts putting the puzzle back together with Jeremy.
Wynonna and Haught then do the most perfect thing where they try to convince the gnome that the other is better wifey material by complimenting each other. It’s the kind of things they never would have said to each other’s faces, because that’s not the kind of relationship they have, but it’s proof the dynamic they do have, as contentious as it can be, is rooted in respect, love, and maybe a dash of jealousy.
Nicole does have an Ace in the hole though as she declares that she’s a lesbian.
In a hilarious flip of the script, Wynonna says she must have gone through an experimental phase, and Nicole declares “not with gnomes.” You so rarely, if ever, hear heterosexuality as the thing being called an experimental phase, despite that being the case for so many of us. It’s little but it’s big, you know?
Meanwhile, Jeremy and Waverly, upon putting most of the gnome back together, realize that the broken gnome is a lady gnome.
So Waverly, being the boob expert between them, finishes the puzzle and slides the lady gnome toward the giant angry man gnome threatening her two favorite ladies.
A flash of lightning hits the lady gnome and all her cracks disappear, she’s good as new. Man Gnome calls the lady gnome, “Monique!” and picks her up and leaves. She never turns humanoid, he never looks at any of Team Earp again. He just leaves. It’s fucking hilarious.
Doc brings his findings from the mansion to Mama, and she takes the new identity he brought her and some of the other getaway gear, but she won’t take his pistol. She has to go find Julian, and she says she’s leaving to save her family, as always. But Doc says Wynonna won’t see it like that. He accuses her of abandoning her daughters for love, but she scoffs at him. He’s one to talk.
At the sheriff’s office, Wynonna is carrying trash bags out of Nedley’s office—meaning she was actually, genuinely cleaning — when Bunny appears, saying that despite the events of today, she still won’t be supporting Nicole for sheriff, because she’s a xenophobic, homophobic, and a real Tucker of a woman.
But Wynonna isn’t having it. She leans in close and goes to bat for Deputy Haught.
She even goes so far as to blackmail her, telling her that Bunny thinks she wants to know about the monsters under her bed, but she really doesn’t. By the time Bunny hops away, she has reluctantly agreed to back Haught for Sheriff.
And guess what, Nicole heard the whole thing.
The two start off with jokes — Nicole giving Wynonna a hair-of-the-dog beer, Wynonna joking that she’s wife material, Nicole retorting, “You’re not my type, you cheat at drinking games.” But then they have a rare genuine feelings-share moment. Wynonna admits that she was afraid Nicole was going to leave her sister brokenhearted when things took a turn for the demony, but Nicole says, “I love her.” And you know what? She loves Wynonna, too.
And Wynonna understands now, that even beyond Waverly, beyond the Earps and their curse, Nicole is tangled up in Purgatory, same as her. She shows Nicole the photo of her six-year-old self with Nedley, so she goes to talk to the retiring sheriff herself.
Nedley confesses that it’s true, he’s the one who found her. She had gotten to the canoe herself though, escaped the fire all on her own. He kept an eye on her after that, because he didn’t trust parents who let their young child go to a music festival in the woods to do a good enough job. She says she doesn’t talk to her parents anymore, that they were selfish, and he asks if it’s because she’s gay. But it’s not, or at least not entirely; it’s also because she’s a cop.
Anyway, that’s why Nedley wanted her for the job as soon as he knew she was on the force, too. She says that everything good in her life she has because she came back to the Ghost River Triangle, and he says she’s like a daughter to him, and it’s VERY SWEET. Nicole fights tears and Nedley fights tears and they hug and it’s beautiful.
Nicole calls him a tough act to follow, but he promises that he’ll always be there for her if she needs him, even when he’s not her boss anymore. He calls her Sheriff Haught and tells her she earned that title well.
And even though those were warm and fuzzy feels, it’s a sign that the romp is over and it’s time for more serious business. Wynonna comes back to find her Waverly crying while reading a note because Mama is gone… again.
Wynonna holds her baby girl while she cries, and Wynonna looks sad but not at all surprised.
Waverly says that at least this time she’s really free, and I say at least this time she left notes.
Wynonna, having read her note, goes out onto the porch for some fresh air, and finds Doc lurking there. He gives her Bulshar’s ring and she lays into him for helping their mother run away from them again. She tells him that in her note, Mama warned her that Doc isn’t what he says he is, so she demands to know what that means.
It’s hanging in there air between them, but she wants him to say it, out loud. She slaps him around a bit and then sure enough, he vamps out. Then SHE looks like the one who has been slapped. She knows this is Kate’s doing and can’t believe how selfish he’s being. She accuses him of holding his immortality more dear to him than even their child.
She looks at him like suddenly there’s a stranger on her porch and backs into the house. She specifically tells him that he’s not invited in, that he’s not welcome in the Homestead, and closes the door behind her.
And even the Wynonna theme music that usually plays over dramatic moments, instead of doing its intense getting-louder buildy thing it does, it’s just… so… SAD. SO SAD. RIP MY HEART OUT WHY DON’T YA, SHOW. Eh hem. Anyway. That’s the end of that.
I know recapping it in words like this can’t possibly capture the fun energy of this episode, but I hope you liked it as much as I did. And I hope you’re now a superfan of the head writer behind this episode and lesbian icon in her own right, Noelle Carbone. I’ve been low-key obsessed with her since she started gifting us Gail Peck gems back in the Rookie Blue days, and I for one am thrilled she’s joined this season of Wynonna Earp. I also had the pleasure of (finally) meeting her in real life when I was in Toronto for EH Con and she’s just as wonderful as I imagined she’d be. She is hilarious and and smart and just one more reason to trust that our ever-growing band of queers in Purgatory is in good hands.