“Wynonna Earp” Episode 401 Recap: Angel In Chains

:kicks down the door with a flourish: WE’RE BACK, BAYBEEEEEE!!!!

Hello! Hi! Hey there! And welcome back to Wynonna Earp recaps! It has been a MINUTE. And what better time for this chaos crew to return to us than in the middle of…well, 2020. The first half of this year has been an eternal night and Wynonna Earp just rode into town with a truckload of sun lamps to help us make it through the back half. I don’t even know if I remember how to write a Wynonna Earp recap, as evidenced by that ridiculous metaphor I just made, but I’m so excited to try.

Hopefully you spent the extra-long hiatus doing a full rewatch but in case you didn’t, here are some important things to remember that happened at the end of Season Three: Waverly kind of proposed to Nicole, Wynonna drugged Jeremy, Robin, and Nicole to keep them away from the Bulshar fight, Wynonna killed Bulshar, the door at the top of the sometimes invisible stairs opened up and vines stole Waverly, and Doc went in after her. When Wynonna got back to the homestead, her friends were gone and VALDEZ was scratched into the wall. All she had left was Randy Nedley.

The first shot of Season Four is of a barren snowy expanse with just a few stone structures looming. Surely that’s fine.

We quickly pivot to Wynonna in Shorty’s, going through some makeshift weapons and arming up. When she’s done, she flips her hair; Wynonna Earp is BACK.

Wynonna is back!

I guess the only turtleneck she had to cover up the Bulshar/Doc bites was from…a Barbarella cosplay? So shiny.

And then Nedley speaks for all of us when he says, “I feel like I’ve been standing here for two years.” And that’s just the first of many, many winks at the audience in this episode, which is basically just a 42 minute love letter to the Earpers who fought and campaigned and wrote and begged and FOUGHT for this show’s renewal.

Wynonna and Nedley head to the woods to find the stairs and are delighted to actually find them. Nedley gives her some words of encouragement and Wynonna climbs them and takes a leap for her baby girl…but lands on her back. She lets out a weak cry for her sister, which is echoed by a much louder scream from Waverly.

waverly in chains


When Wynonna gets up, she realizes the stairs have disappeared and is furious. (Funniest line read of the word “architecture” for 800, Alex.) And to make things worse, she’s got crabs. Demon crabs attack her and Nedley and they make it back to the Homestead, not unscathed. While Wynonna looks fruitlessly for a first aid kit, Nedley notices the VALDEZ scratched on the wall, and we get a little flashback showing us how it got there.

With Robin and Nicole still unconscious and some kind of agents closing in on the house, Jeremy is scratching VALDEZ into the wall with a knife because he couldn’t find a pen. The agents approach the door and Jeremy tries to hold them off by saying, “Gays only?” but they burst in and taser him.

When Nedley asks Wynonna what happened to her team, she confesses to drugging them, thinking she was keeping them safe, but now she’s worried it put them in more danger. Wynonna finds Bulshar’s/Julian’s ring on the ground and remembers Nicole wearing it and she realizes Waverly gave it to her. Nedley suggests maybe it was something even more serious than that.

wyonnna considers thering

Even the boomerang ring can’t find Waverly. :(

Wynonna makes a quiet plea for her favorite red hot chili pepper to be okay.

And then we find out that Nicole is…well, she’s not NOT okay, all things considered. She’s on a moving train to Bobo knows where, but hey she’s alive. Before even doing a sweep of the train car she wants OUT so she goes to open the door but it quickly pulled back.

Back at the Homestead, Wynonna finds these little explosives called “beaver blasters” (the most Canadian weapon ever) and flips them around and fumbles them like she did with Peacemaker oh so long ago. Her and Nedley are planning their next steps when they hear something in the kitchen. After a near miss with a thrown knife, they find Mercedes Gardner smiling back at them. She looks like she has made herself quite comfortable in the past few hours, and Wynonna can’t help but grab her by the fresh face to make sure it’s really her.

wynonna squishes mercedes' face

“Do you wanna build a snowman? Doesn’t have to be a snowman.”

Back on the train, we find out that it’s Kate who pulled Nicole back from the train car door, and it’s because the last guy who tried that got crispier than crispy bacon. Kate tells Nicole about how Mercedes bailed as soon as she saw danger creeping in, and Nicole asks if Kate can help her by giving her a reading and telling her what to do next, how to find Waverly. Kate asks if she has anything of Waverly’s and when she realizes she doesn’t have the ring anymore, she says she does have something of Waverly’s: Her.

haught offers her own hand up

“I am, you know. Yours.”

Meanwhile Wynonna is literally Googling “Valdez” and only finding images of tankers that caused oil spills (which could be a clue TRULY WHO KNOWS) and Mercedes is giving her own version of the story Kate told, claiming Kate told her to save her own beautiful skin and leave her behind. Also, Wynonna jokes that they “totally boinked” and Mercedes doesn’t deny it so it’s canon no take backs. Mercedes thought she’d be safe at the Homestead with the heir, but Wynonna tells her that the curse was broken. She’s not the heir of anything anymore.

Mercedes makes a joke about Wynonna’s “hot mess files” and that sparks Nedley to tell Wynonna that he actually does have Dolls’ BBD files back at his office. He pulls out the box from inside the couch (claiming nobody ever uses it, another wink) and Wynonna goes through the files, information about Dolls’ fellow agents, mostly those who have died.

Wynonna reads files

Waverly is usually the one who does all the research. :( :(

She sees files for Lucado, Moreno…and Gloria Valdez.

On the train, Kate draws the first two cards for Nicole. The Empress, representing feminine power, and Death, which makes Nicole freak the freak out.

Nicole screams

Also me whenever I get my tarot read.

But Kate reassures her that it doesn’t necessarily mean literal death. It represents transition, a doorway. Nicole tries to convince Kate to come with her to save Waverly saying she can save Doc too, but Kate is realizing that her relationship with Doc was toxic and that she has to be on her own for a while. The last card is The Fool, which represents a journey, and Kate knows she needs to help Nicole on hers. So she uses her vampiric fortitude and opens the door for her Haught pal.

kate is a hero

Not the hero we deserve, but the hero we need.

She gets zapped and Nicole jumps, but Kate is strong and as soon as two men come in to check on the prisoners, Kate’s eyes glow and her teeth gold up and you know she’s going to be just fine.

kate's eyes glow

Hope we haven’t seen the last of this badass.

Wynonna learns from the files that Gloria Valdez was a scientist who may have information on the Garden, and they find a photo of a city Mercedes recognizes as Monument, so that’s where Wynonna will go next. The thing is, Nedley is too injured to join her and Mercedes is too…Mercedes.

mercedes smiles

Also for the record, she’s wearing Waverly’s jacket from 309, and honestly that shirt looks familiar, too.

So she has to go it alone. Nedley sends her off with a bunch of beaver blasters and a, “Nobody fucks with our family.”

We cut to the Garden, where a door opens and Doc enters in all his cowboy glory. The door locks closed behind him so he sets off to find the littlest Earp girl.

Waverly, still chained to a rock, hears him enter and starts calling for him, her chains tightening.

waverly still chained to the rock

A 2020 mood if I’ve ever seen one.

Doc starts pulling at the chains and even though they go down into a well, he pushes through his fear to save our angel. He pulls out a mass of flesh and branches that my friend Monica wisely pointed out could be what’s left of Jolene, which would explain why Waverly looked so defeated when she was being pulled into the Garden, saying she couldn’t fight anymore. And it DOES look like a very, very big version of the gross seeds Bulshar was shoving down people’s throats, and Bulshar is the one who turned Jolene into a tree. But anyway Doc saves Waverly and holds her and she’s not alone anymore.

Exactly 169 miles from Monument, Wynonna’s trusty truck quits on her and she slumps against it, feeling like she can’t do this alone. She tries to imagine what Doc and Waverly would say to her, with adorable impressions of two of her favorite people.

wynonna leans on her truck

LOOK AT THIS SHOT. :squeezes your face and points it at the screen: LOOK AT IT! SO PERFECT.

She thinks of Haught next and is surprised to hear how accurate her impression is before realizing it’s the real Nicole. Wynonna flings her arms open, wanting a hug from her sister’s maybe fiancée.

wynonna goes for a hug

I miss hugs.

But she gets a fist to the face instead. Nicole is SO mad at her for counting her out before she could prove herself in the boss battle and Wynonna tries to brush it off as ancient history but it was literally yesterday. Wynonna says that you had to be special to get into the garden, and that Nicole isn’t a bisexual angel or an undead gunslinger.

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 572 articles for us.


  1. Yessss. Make all the ridiculous metaphors you want Valerie, I am here for this show and these recaps! I love that this show is over the top. I love that it’s on later so they get to curse a lot. I love that Nicole and Wynonna are BEST! FRIENDS! That was maybe my favorite moment of the episode?? It was definitely a hand to the heart moment for me.

  2. i do not remember the lead up to plausibility for Nicole/Wynonna being best friends, and i feel like it’s not that safe to be Wynonna’s person, but ok, this handbasket is headed somewhere…

    • I feel that aside from their usual jokiness together in the field, they’ve made a point of episode x07 (1×07, 2×07, 3×07) being the Nicole/Wynonna buddy episode. Wynonna is definitely her friend and I don’t think Nicole gets out much besides, so she’s probably best of a small group.

      S1 They’re drinking at the sheriff’s station and talking about who Waverly should be dating.
      S2 They’re retracing Wynonna’s steps at Pussywillows and being drunk.
      S3 They’re dealing with that idiot councilwoman and having Golden Girls trivia and there’s the gnome.

      Dedicating 1/12 of the season, each time, to the BROTP.

    • Besides all the 07 eps Andrew Zimmer mentioned, Nicole is who Wynonna trusted to arrange for Alice Michelle leaving, so that’s some huge trust that can’t be discounted. I think it’s also pretty clear in the last two eps of Season 3. There’s this one scene in particular that comes to mind with Wynonna and Nicole sitting on the curb and assessing the situation, and there’s a comfort there that they didn’t have in the beginning. While the friend pickins are slim, I think they have a really special sisters-by-“marriage” type of bond.

    • i would like to blame virus times, but really i just have trouble keeping track of Wynonna’s plot. super appreciate the comments above, you folks are on it! i mean, 7s, my goodness…

      on another show i’d have to stop watching until i knew Sheriff Haught was ok cause i still think bestfriending WE is risky for a mortal, but this show has been good about plu.

  3. So happy to see my Bisexual Angel and Tomboy Femme Daddy once again! Can’t wait till the whole gang is reunited.

  4. Glad to have you and your magnificent metaphors and captions back, Valerie Anne.

    For those keeping count, there were at least three F-bombs this episode.

    I for one cannot wait to see what happens next, and for the eventual Wynonna Earp spinoff – the misadventures of one Alice Michelle and Katie Haught.

  5. I like that you mention how it feels icky with our friends all so far from each other. That’s pretty much how I feel in the world right now. The episode felt like it was bringing all of us back together in some ways. I love Kate and Nicole. I want to see them together more. They bring out love. And they really live their passions. I’m glad they had that moment before Haught pulled a Fried Green Tomatoes train jump.
    I’m so glad these recaps are back!

    • Kate and Nicole being together reminded me of the little scene when Kate was patching Nicole up; I love that all the characters have independent relationships with each other, they’re not all via Wynonna.

      • Yes! And Kate said something about not apologizing for love. For a line that I feel in my core, I can’t quote it. Their scenes just really stick in my heart.

  6. What is it with Emily Andras and the combination of mysterious trains and tarot cards though?

  7. Welcome back, y’all. It’s been the longest two centuries of my life…

    What a whirlwind episode! I switched off at one point, and just enjoyed WynHaught’s incessant banter. Same for Wave/Doc support group.

    Can’t wait for the other shoe to drop (Zombies, BBD and ominous books)!

    Missed your WE recaps, Valerie Anne! #EarpersDelight

  8. The world may be a shit storm, but we have our crazy shit show back and these recaps are everything!

  9. Was I the only one DYING (in the best way possible) at all the Nicole Haught daddy kink references???

    I was giddy and cheering the entire way through the return of this wonderful, magical, gift of a show.

    Sooo glad it’s back and so glad your recaps are too!!

    • No! Why is no-one mentioning DADDY NICOLE is now official canon!

      I mean, someone’s been reading some fanfic. I nearly died laughing!

  10. We got WynHaught right out the gate! That alone was worth waiting a bazillion years for. I could watch and listen to these two banter and snark at each other all day. Soooo glad this show is back. It looks like it’s going to be a bonkers season and I am READY.

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