Previously on Wynonna Earp, Mama let Bobo out of the well (my favorite country song), Jeremy and Robin found mysterious stairs in the woods, the ring formerly known as Bulshar’s keeps reappearing despite anyone’s best attempts to toss or hide it, and Wynonna found out Bulshar is looking for the Garden of Eden. Also the last episode ended with Bulshar blowing a pile of dandelion puffs in Wynonna and Doc’s faces, which, as I predicted, didn’t send them to a magical dreamland where all their wishes come true.
This week’s episode opens on Waverly and Nicole groaning and saying things like “we need lube” and pressing their foreheads together…
…but don’t worry, they’re not just having sex in the middle of the kitchen, they’re still going to try to get that blasted ring off. Waverly is fine with keeping it on, but Nicole pointed out that she punched a zombie clear across the room without even trying, so who knows how dangerous it really is. Waverly relents and sends Nicole to the barn for some bolt cutters. Nicole leaves Waverly with a kiss and makes her promise not to touch anything while she’s gone.
When Waverly pouts at the idea of not being able to touch her girlfriend, Nicole smirks and reassures her that as soon as they get the ring off, “we get off.”
I loved the bookends of that scene for a few reason. One, the innuendo-bait-and-switch is a classic comedy move that I haven’t done the math on but I would venture to guess ends up being a male/female pairing 99.69% of the time. Two women having sex was part of the joke without being the BUTT of the joke. And to really drive home that fact, the scene ended with Nicole making it VERY clear that it wasn’t the idea of them having sex that was the joke. Because they’re gonna. It’s just one of those subtle but appreciated ways I love that the writers of this show put WayHaught on an equal playing field as the rest of the characters, while still treating them like the unique unicorns they are.
It’s also foreshadowing the things-aren’t-quite-what-they-seem theme in this episode, because when Nicole gets to the barn for the boltcutters, she thinks Wynonna and Doc are having a literal roll in the hay, but after a few minutes of hazy happiness, we learn that they’re not at all. Instead, they’re surrounded by Buslhar and his beekeepers, while Wynonna and Doc sit there, their eyes glazed over white-blue, hypnotized.
Forgoing the bolt cutters, Waverly and Nicole decide instead to meet a jeweler at the police station to see if he can help. Nicole has to use her Patriarchal Bullshit Land voice on this guy, who comments on the fact that a woman is wearing a “masculine” ring.
He is an all-around creep and when he tries to cut off the ring and it doesn’t budge, he starts to get even weirder, suddenly looking at the ring like it’s his favorite type of candy. Then someone named Tina, the true hero of this episode, calls Nicole on her walkie to tell her there’s a disturbance at the Gardner house, so the future Sheriff and her girlfriend get the hell out of dodge.
Wynonna and Doc are walking through the forest, happy as can be, when Wynonna starts to snap out of it. Her drive to defeat Bulshar starting to fight through the forced contentment. Peacemaker even gives her a little “hey what the hell are we doing” zap to help her out. When she finally fights through it fully, she sees the beekeepers and Doc’s glazed eyes, but she can’t get him to snap out of it with her. The beekeepers try to feed her the demon seed, but she is having NONE of it.
She seems to get the upper hand, but unfortunately Bulshar shows up. She’s ready to throw down, but he takes the easy way out and blows more puffs in her face instead, knowing he has to take a different tactic, since she’s made of tougher stuff than he was expecting.
She passes out again, and this time she wakes up on the floor in Shorty’s basement.
She runs up Shorty’s stairs, only to have to run down them to get into the bar, the first sign that reality has bent. I don’t know how universal this is, but in almost every dream or nightmare I’ve ever remembered, the doorways never go where they’re supposed to. It’s eerie. Wynonna knows something’s up but decides to go for what she knows first: whiskey. Unfortunately, before she gets there, she gets an arrow shot through the heart.
But then she wakes up right back where she started. Because that’s right my friends, it’s time for a LOOP EPISODE.
This time when she wakes up, she sees Doc’s eyes projected onto some crates. He can’t see her and doesn’t know where he is; he’s pretty much paralyzed. But he can hear her and she can sort of see him in an eerie way that I won’t lie, has since creeped into my own dreams.
Wynonna runs upstairs/downstairs again and this time avoids the arrow…only to get a dart to the throat. But once again, she resets, and she’s starting to catch on.
Nicole and Waverly head to the Gardner house and are expecting to find Kate and maybe Doc causing the reported ruckus, but instead they find a (sort of) familiar face: MERCEDES!
Mercedes has been traveling the world trying to find the perfect facial reconstruction surgery with…varying results. So she mostly looks like her, but she has sores and burns and scars all over her face, and her head is wrapped like she’s a cartoon with a toothache.
She’s in constant pain and my heart breaks for Wynonna’s old friend. But she hasn’t lost her spark, calling our girls a “couple of dildos” and asking them to help her break into her old safe that Tucker the Fucker changed the combination of. So Nicole (after swearing them to secrecy) shoots the box open, and seems to still relish a little in showing off for her girl.
While this is going on in the real world, in whatever looped hellscape Wynonna is in, she keeps resetting over and over again. She starts to mark off her attempts with tick marks on the wall, and what we see that she doesn’t, is that with every step she takes, a little dirt falls onto Doc, who is stuck, unmoving, under some floorboards. The poor, claustrophobic cowboy is being buried alive, little by little.
As Nicole and Waverly are getting ready to say their goodbyes to Mercedes, Derek the Jeweler shows up, a new hunger in his eyes. Mercedes knew him because she’s pawned some things with him before, but Waverly knows now that Derek is a demon. He’s desperate for the ring, suddenly overcome with the urge to pay fealty to Bulshar.
Nicole shoots him but he is just as agitated as if she had thrown a potato at him, so he starts to zap her with his laser fingers and tells Waverly she has to cut the ring off or he’s taking out the red-heads.
Waverly once again flies into protective mode, and instinctively throws up her hand at Derek.
He creeps towards her and almost as if by magnetic pull, her hand latches to his face and burns it to bits, which is pretty traumatizing for poor Mercedes.
Somewhere in the middle of the worst Groundhog Day ever, Wynonna off-hand mentions that she sees something falling on Doc’s face, but isn’t too fussed about it, what with all the die-respawn-repeat shit happening. She realizes the irony of being punished the way the Revenants are, and suddenly realizes this is kind of like a video game. And if it’s like a video game, that means she can win it. She had been sitting on the floor to rest while she pondered this, but just then she’s forced to play a high-stakes version the classic childhood game The Floor is Lava.
But this time when she opens the door, she’s not upstairs in Shorty’s, she’s back in the Homestead. She knows it’s not real though, because there’s a chair where it doesn’t belong. Oh and because Doc is still projected on the walls.
We, the audience, know it’s not real, because we see Wynonna bundled up in a bramble blanket with Bulshar and his beekeepers.
Bulshar does another one of his villain monologues about Wynonna watching the world burn and it’s clear this guy is just a giant piece of wrinkly shit who could probably use a hug.
In the imaginary Homestead, Wynonna drinks some whiskey but possibly as just one more element of torment, it tastes horrible. The good news is, when Wynonna stomps it out, Doc realizes that he’s below the floorboards. And Wynonna realizes that he’s being buried alive.
Doc tells Wynonna then about the deal he was offered, the deal he didn’t make, and knows that’s why he’s being punished now. More determined than ever, Wynonna storms out for a crowbar to free her favorite vampire from a horrible fate.
Back at the Gardner house, Waverly is telling Nicole and Mercedes what it felt like to use Bulshar’s ring, and also tells Mercedes that she thinks she’s still beautiful, gently caressing the side of her face.
Mercedes is moved for a moment, but then brushes her aside. Waverly thinks the only option is to cut her own finger off, but Nicole doesn’t think they’re quite at amputation stage just yet. Mercedes makes a joke about the ring interfering with Waverly and Nicole’s sex life and gives Waverly a hilariously gaudy oven mitt to wear until they figure out how to control the whole face-melty business.
Waverly says Jeremy will help them figure it out, and as if on cue, she gets a call from him.
Jeremy’s noticed something in the woods that gave him the wiggens and wants their help investigating.
Meanwhile, in the not-so-merry-go-round, Wynonna goes out to the barn to look for a crowbar, but instead finds a feral-looking Bobo. She Peacemakers him, but that sends her right back to the Homestead. When she looks at Doc to tell him about Bobo, she realizes he’s covered in so much more dirt than when she left…and she sees tick marks on the floor to imply this wasn’t her first Bobo rodeo.
It reminded me of that Doctor Who episode with The Silence and it sent a chill right down my spine. Realizing that killing Bobo had the same results as dying herself, she decides to leave Peacemaker behind.
In the real world, the Unkillable Gay Squad find what looks like a corpse in the brush.
This time, when Wynonna enters the barn, she tries to talk to Bobo instead of fighting him. She wants his help to quell Bulshar, the way Bobo and his crew did the first time around. But he says everyone who put Bulshar down the first time is gone, including the Robert Svain he once was. They do end up fighting, and both stab each other at the same time; they end up lying on the barn floor, intertwined, bleeding out slowly, together. Bobo thinks Bulshar has already won. Wynonna isn’t ready to give up so easily.
Out in the brush, Nicole pulls out the hatchets she just happens to have on her like a good little butch, and as they start to clear away the branches, they realize it’s Bobo inside.
When Wynonna wakes up in the Homestead again she’s so, so tired. She leans on the wall between Doc’s eyes and wonders aloud if this is hell. He assures her it’s not though, because he was in hell once, and he was alone there. At least they have each other. Kind of.
Wynonna says she never gave up on Doc, and wishes he hadn’t given up on her, but he assures her that he has never, ever given up on her. He asks her to try one more time, for him, and she steels herself as a dreamy version of her theme plays, soft at first, but getting stronger.
Once they get him out of his tangled bed, Bobo wakes up and tells Waverly that Bulshar has Wynonna and Doc and all about the mind control.
When Wynonna storms into the dream barn, Bobo isn’t there, but when she grabs the crowbar and leaves, Bulshar is. He has a free-floating door with him that reminds me of Monsters, Inc and then all of a sudden, couldn’t unsee Bulshar as Randall with a hat on.
Bulshar reveals a little more of his hand here, literally and figuratively, saying that the Tower card represents Peacemaker, which protects the garden, and he’s convinced he’ll get Wynonna to give him the gun willingly. Which Wynonna can’t fathom doing.
She storms back inside to save Doc.
Not knowing they’re running out of time, Jeremy uses his my-friends-are-scared mojo to point in the direction of Wynonna and Doc, and the team takes off running. But before she can get too far, Bobo senses that Waverly is wearing the boomaring, and he calls it, “Your father’s ring” which I find very, very interesting. I’m starting to feel like the ring is the key.
After Wynonna gets Doc out of the floorboards, they stumble outside and approach the door, but of course Bulshar cuts them off. He tries to play like they’ve won, letting Wynonna shoot him then turning into a bunch of shapes like his buddy did after Dolls killed him.
Wynonna goes through the door and is ecstatic at first, because they’re back in the barn, where it all began. She’s sure they did it, they won, they broke the curse.
She hears Nicole’s voice and whips open the barn door in excitement, but instead of being greeted by the mildly impatient look on her sister’s girlfriend’s face, she finds herself back in Shorty’s basement, and Doc is back to being projected on the walls, and he’s forgotten the whole ordeal.
A total reset. Total devastation. And as salt in the wound, Bulshar’s laugh echoes in the background as she realizes.
And this is almost too much for Wynonna to handle. She had been given the ultimate hope, the broken curse, the one thing she’s wanted all this time, only to have it ripped away from her and shattered. There’s no obvious way out of this situation, no clear direction to march or even task to try. She knows nothing is real and she doesn’t even know where to begin anymore. But she does know one thing: she can’t give up. So she literally drags herself up the stairs, and this time instead of ending up in Shorty’s, she ends up outside with Bulshar again.
He tells her to surrender, but she laughs at the idea. Until he takes a step back and reveals that she’s standing amongst the graves of the people she loves most.
Her hands are dirty and she realizes that Bulshar made her dig these graves herself. Wynonna tries to shake it off; this isn’t real, Waverly won’t give up. But Bulshar lies to her the way Jolene lied to Waverly and says that no one is looking for her. When in fact, Waverly, Nicole, and Jeremy are running through the woods right this very moment to do just that.
The trio finds the stairs that they now think might be the stairway to heaven the Garden of Eden, and they also find Wynonna and Doc in their weird deadly branch cocoons.
In her mind, Bulshar makes Wynonna hear Doc pleading at her, and says that he can play mockingjay for all eternity until she gives in. Waverly starts to call to her then, in the real world, crying out her name, but Wynonna can’t distinguish it from the torment Bulshar is imparting.
INSRET (either Waverly clawing at the branches or Wynonna looking devastated): “So close yet so far” is the most perfectly frustrating part of any good story.
Bulshar promises that the people she loves will be safe if she just gives him Peacemaker, and she’s so tired, so broken, that all she can do is look down at her heart in the ground and say, “I’m sorry.”
The team gets their friends free and Waverly holds Wynonna tight, coaxing her awake. But when she wakes up, Wynonna doesn’t look as ecstatic as one might think someone who just got saved from endless torment might. Instead, she still looks rather broken.
Doc looks at her and begs her to tell him she didn’t give up Peacemaker, but the hollow look on Wynonna’s face tells the truth for her.
Later that night, the Earp sisters sit by the fire and talk, aka my favorite post-chaos tradition.
Wynonna looks happy to be back with her very-much-alive sister but she still looks defeated. She says Bulshar won, that there’s nothing left to fight him with. But Waverly won’t give up that easily; she says they still have US. We is the team.
Waverly mentions the stairs in the woods, but Wynonna doesn’t remember seeing them (though in her defense, she was a little preoccupied) so she thinks maybe she’s just not Good enough. (This is when I realized that the only people we know have seen the stairs so far are the four queer characters, so even the fact that Wynonna suggests/it was written in the script that maybe only the righteous can see them fills my big lesbian heart with amusement and former-Catholic-school-girl smugness.)
Wynonna thinks Waverly is the only perfect one among them so Waverly tells her about the face-melting ring that won’t come off her finger. She can’t quite control it though, so she won’t let Wynonna touch it, and plans on keeping it in the hilarious mitt for the time being, because “all it does is hurt people.”
But then we cut to the Gardner house and learn that this simply is not true. Because Mercedes’ battered face that Waverly caressed and called beautiful is now restored to its former glory, no bandages necessary.
She’s so happy, and I’m so happy, because Dani Fucking Kind is BACK, BITCHES.
And as if that’s not enough, next week? ANNA SILK IS HERE. This show truly is the gift that keeps on giving.