Previously on Wynonna Earp, Wynonna and Haught road tripped to an abandoned Black Badge outpost where they found a teenager who could match Wynonna quip for quip… and also zombies. Waverly and Doc were stuck in the Garden with a bloodthirsty machine and a lot of mysteries, and were eventually joined by the naked form of Nicole Haught.
We open with Wynonna yelling down the grate hole Nicole fell through, demanding she stay alive OR ELSE. Rachel Valdez saves her from zombies who are drawn to her shouting and tells her to shut up and that they have to keep moving.
Now, for the Garden storyline, I’m going to do something a little out of the ordinary for these recaps; normally I would treat each scene with the amount of knowledge we had while watching the scene from the first time. But I think there were some brilliant writing/acting/directing choices made here that I want to talk about so I’m going to shake things up. We later learn that the Nicole in the Garden is actually Eve (Kevin wasn’t kidding when she said, “Don’t get me started on that girl.”) using other people’s faces as pointed manipulation. And the clues were there from the start. For one thing, Nicole is dressed in her classic Season One french braid. Second of all, Doc had to point out to her that she’s naked.
When she realizes she’s naked she does her best to cover up, but Doc can’t give her his coat since it turns out Not!Haught is in some kind of barrier circle.
So Doc decides to go find Waverly, and Not!Haught likes this plan, a little mischief in her eyes.
When Doc finds Waverly, she’s reading the book she chose, but quickly shuts it and tries to deflect when he approaches. When he sees the cut on her arm, he scolds her for feeding the machine, but she says she has to protect the Garden. Doc tells her to cut it out with the scary cult-like talk and that Nicole is there, she scolds HIM for burying the lede.
They rush back to Not!Haught together.
Back in Monument, Wynonna convinces Rachel to lead her to where she thinks Nicole fell to, and also to the Gateway the BBD scientists had been working on. Rachel just wants to know if her mom is alive or not, and promises that she can kill her mom herself if she’s a zombie.
Wynonna really wants to tell her that she already knows that Gloria Valdez is likely dead, from the file she found, especially because she knows all too well what it’s like to have to kill a family member for the greater good and wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, especially not her new favorite teen, but she chickens out before she can confess.
But they do decide to work together, feeling a kinship, and keep moving.
When Waverly finds what appears to be her naked girlfriend, Not!Haught motions for Waverly to come closer and when Waverly can’t get through the barrier either, her face darkens. It’s a quick moment, a flickering shot, but it’s brilliant.
Waverly in her happiness of seeing another familiar face in the Garden says, “It’s really you,” with disbelief in her voice.
Not!Haught says, “Who else would I be?” in a voice that was very reminiscent of Jolene pretending to be just a regular gal pal to the Earps back in Season Three.
Our first piece of evidence that Not!Haught is not who she seems is that because at this point we go back to BBD and see that the real Nicole Haught is on the floor where she fell, alive but with a broken leg and a zombie slowly crawling toward her.
In the Garden, Not!Haught fashions herself a cherry blossom bikini, (which Waverly jokes is from the Isle of Lesbos Reserve Collection) and subtly suggests that maybe Waverly and Doc try not feeding the hungry blood machine, just to see what happens. Doc doesn’t want to risk it though, so he runs off to feed it.
Meanwhile, as the churning of stones gets louder, Waverly can also hear something else. Her throne, it’s calling to her. Not!Haught says that she’s already sacrificed too much, encouraging her not to go on the throne, and you can see her starting to lose her patience.
The facade is fading as she spits cruel insults about Doc, and calls Waverly “baby” more than a cheating boyfriend in a Destiny’s Child song. Waverly can’t quite put her finger on it just yet, but something isn’t quite sitting right with her.
Meanwhile Doc is about to feed the machine when a door opens and he strolls right through it, because this Garden can apparently gently guide people to do things.
The real Nicole is still lying on the ground telling the approaching zombie that she wanted to die with Waverly in Sara Lance cosplay holding her in her arms, which almost made me spit-take because I love little more than when my favorite shows reference my other favorite shows. Also this reference has been blessed by Sara Lance herself.
Love this 🥰 https://t.co/1EEjar5HRd
— Caity Lotz (@caitylotz) August 3, 2020
After a series of sex jokes and a wee lack of oxygen debacle, though, Wynonna and Rachel get there just in time to save her from getting bitten.
Waverly, still unable to put words to it but her natural intuition kicking in, asks Not!Haught
Waverly asks her where her ring is.
But Eve can’t resist digging on Bulshar and complaining about how there hasn’t been a god around these parts in 84 years. (Give or take some millenia.) Waverly tells her about the man they found who called the Garden a prison, and asks Not!Haught about if she’s mad Wynonna drugged her… it seems a little weird that wouldn’t have been one of the first things she mentioned. (Which is such a good instinct Waverly has; it was indeed one of the first things Nicole thought when she woke up, and also she immediately punched Wynonna about it upon finding her.) But when Not!Haught instead changes the subject to how desperate she is to get out, Waverly side-eyes her some more.
When Doc gets through the room to the Garden, he sees Nicole’s face on some stones but like a creepy art installation, when he walks around the pedestal, he sees Not!Haught’s true face… and it ain’t pretty. (I mean, the facts ain’t pretty. Eve’s demon face is still kinda hot. I think. I’ve also been social distancing for 145 days.)
So despite the machine going haywire for not having been fed, Doc runs back to Waverly and the demon he left her alone with.
Rachel checks Nicole’s leg and determines that, in her professional opinion, it is hella broken.
Wynonna gives Nicole back Waverly’s ring, and just in case she doesn’t make it out of this sticky situation, Nicole makes sure Wynonna knows that she absolutely is going to say yes to Waverly’s proposal the second she has a chance. And that’s when they realize that there’s a dead body in the room with them bearing Gloria Valdez’s Black Badge ID. Rachel interprets this situation to mean that her mom died keeping the door shut, so she whips out a gun and says she’ll do the same.
In the Garden, the machine goes unfed, and the barrier keeping Not!Haught contained disappears.
So she grabs Waverly’s hand and drags her outside. As soon as they’re out there, Waverly pulls her in for a kiss, but Not!Haught isn’t having it.
And Doc is running up to tell her as much, but Waverly realizes it on her own just in time: This isn’t her girlfriend. Also she tastes like sulfur. Waverly immediately worries about the real Nicole but the imposter in front of her says her name is Eve and she’s ready to watch the world burn.
Eve, still presenting as Nicole, is dragging Waverly around by her hair when Doc shows up to be the weapon he promised to be. But as soon as he punches Eve, she changes form to be Jeremy instead, appealing to Doc’s soft spot for the nerd.
At the BBD facility, Nicole and Wynonna manage to talk Rachel down, and Nicole tells her that they already knew Gloria Valdez was dead. But they plead with her to help them save Waverly, and she agrees.
Also/especially because they’re running out of time to exit themselves because the zombies are pretty close to breaking through the doors.
Doc resists Eve’s manipulation and after a scuffle, he stabs Eve with garden shears. But something in Waverly has changed, and she suddenly has a calling too strong to fight. She says she can’t let Eve leave her prison and uses her magic hands to knock Doc out so he won’t stop her.
Wynonna and Rachel work together to open the gate to the Garden but soon realize that Nicole can’t move enough to get through the door. She tells Wynonna to go get Waverly and Doc and meet her back in Purgatory. And now that she’s thinking about it, this is how it was always going to go. It has to be Wynonna.
So Wynonna leaves Rachel and Nicole in charge of taking care of each other and Wynonna says, “I”ll see you at home.” Then she takes a leap of faith from the zombie-infested basement of a secret agency science lab and into the Garden. And Nicole throws Julian’s ring in after her.
The first thing Wynonna sees when she gets there, besides the unending expanse of white and and snow, is herself. Wearing her Season Three finale outfit. And pinned to a door frame by garden shears.
Also then Wynonna Earp makes an Orphan Black reference, and between this, the Legends of Tomorrow reference, and a “must be Tuesday” Buffy nod, we have four of my top five shows of all time wrapped up into one episode. All five if Gloria Valdez’s name is a wink to One Day at a Time showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett.
The Fake Wynonna tells the Real Wynonna that she is Eve, she is Death, and she is going to flay her friends and strangle her with their skin. Which is Morgana from Merlin levels of dramatic and I am here for it.
Wynonna hears Doc calling for Waverly so leaves Eve to her own devices as she goes after her family.
Waverly, however, has plans of her own and finds the angel throne, knowing that sitting in it will keep Eve trapped here. So she calls herself the Guardian, the Failsafe, and she sits atop her throne.
And as soon as her lil booty is in the seat, Eve is trapped once again, and she screams in frustration. So close, yet so far.
Nicole and Rachel can hear that scream on the other side of the barrier, but Nicole is willing to take it as a good sign. The zombies are fast approaching, but Nicole proves that maybe she IS good with teenagers when it counts and keeps Rachel talking to keep her calm.
Rachel tells her about her family, the legend of a “mestiza princess” in her lineage, The Valdez, a warrior (Nicole calls her “Mayan Xena”) who was granted a kingdom and immortality. And this could be my NO BODY NO DEATH sci-fi #MayaLives bias showing, but knowing this story and the fact that we never see her face on the body or in the BBD file makes me feel like perhaps Gloria Valdez isn’t as dead as she seems. And maybe Rachel isn’t THE Valdez, but her daughter. Or maybe she’s just The Valdez YET. Maybe it’s one of those “into every generation a Valdez is born” things.
One thing seems certain though, if Rachel is immortal, she sure doesn’t know it, because she quietly asks Nicole if they’re going to die, sounding scared for maybe the first time since we met her.
Nicole says she doesn’t know for sure, but she does know that even though all they have is a beaver blaster and a dream, what they do now is they fight.
When Wynonna catches up to Doc in the Garden, she’s so happy to see him, but he thinks it’s still Eve, so he fights her. She eventually manages to convince him that it’s really her by using their safeword, Dollywood. Interestingly, name-checking their daughter doesn’t work because memories of the people you love are weird here and also he knows that would be a go-to tactic for baddies, but only Wynonna would use their safeword to prove it’s her.
They kiss, because even though they still have a lot of shit to work out, for now they’re just so happy to be together again. He sends Wynonna off to get Waverly while he goes to deal with Eve once and for all.
Wynonna finds her baby girl atop her dragonstone throne, unmoving and as serious as Daenerys about her dragons. Waverly says, “I came home,” but Wynonna won’t be hearing it. This is not her home. Her home is with her, with Nicole.
But nothing is getting through to Waverly. She says, “This is my destiny.” Waverly then says what she’s wanted to say all her life, though it’s not as triumphant as she had hoped. She said, “I am the heir.”
It’s all she wanted. She said it way back in Season One, that in all her research she never found a good reason why she couldn’t be the heir. Then she found out she wasn’t even an Earp and her hope of somehow being co-heir with Wynonna when she turned 27 was gone. Then the curse was broken so it became moot. But now she found it, she found the thing that only she alone can do. But the thing is, she’s not alone. And Waverly didn’t let her be the heir alone, so there’s no way Wynonna is leaving her little angelpants alone in this prison.
While Doc is fighting fake Wynonna, Eve turns into Jeremy again, insulting the amount of useless pop culture knowledge in his head, and Doc defends him loudly saying it shows HE HAS PASSION. But in his fervor, he makes the questionable decision to yeet Eve out of one of the doors, through a portal to who knows where.
With no one feeding the machine, the Garden is falling apart, so Doc runs off to find the girls; they’ve gotta get out of there, and soon.
Wynonna is having a hell of a time getting through to Waverly, who seems heaven-bent on fulfilling her angel destiny, even using telekinetic powers we didn’t know she had to woosh Wynonna away from her. But Wynonna shows her the ring Waverly gave Nicole in an attempt to find her sister under all that duty.
But Wynonna tells Waverly that she’s an Earp and she has a red-head waiting to say “yes” to her back in Purgatory. It’s time to start living their own damn lives, not trying to live up to their asshole fathers’ legacies.
Waverly breaks through then, the real Waverly, our Waverly, and quietly asks her sister to help.
So Wynonna slides Julan’s ring on Waverly’s finger and pulls her off the throne. Waverly says, “Take me home,” and Wynonna plans on doing exactly that.
They run and find Doc and try to go out through the door Wynonna came through but things never seem to stay put in the Garden, so they can’t quite tell which one it was. And besides, all the doors seem locked. One doorway starts to glow so they figure that’s where they’re meant to go and leap through.
Wynonna wakes up alone in the snow on the ground where the stairs were. It’s not where she entered the garden, so the location is curious. It is a significant place for her, it’s where she was when she defeated Bulshar, when the curse was broken, and where she last had Peacemaker, though the gun/sword is long gone now.
Doc wakes up at the well, though not in it, thankfully. He has a bag with a book it in, and he assumes it’s Waverly’s, but inexplicably pulls the book out and throws the bag down the well. It’s a small and seemingly insignificant moment, but it’s just odd enough that it made me feel like something isn’t quite right.
Waverly wakes up on the Homestead, back out of her Jolene coat and in her Season Three finale look (though… it’s dirtier than I remember it being…) and when she runs to the front of the house, she finds Nicole there. At first Nicole is defending the Homestead with a shotgun, but when she realizes the trespasser is Waverly, she looks like someone who is seeing the light after spending decades in the dark.
They run to each other and squeeze each other tight, barely trusting their hands, their eyes. Waverly kisses her girlfriend and doesn’t taste sulfur this time; this time it’s really real.
The music and the lights get soft, and they don’t even make it all the way upstairs before their clothes are off and their hands are everywhere, touching, squeezing, holding — and, as the song says, “clinging to the mess we made,” — because they know better than anyone that things can change on a dime. They’re together, they’re real, they’re in love, they’re safe. It might not last forever, so they are making the most of right now.
And from that first kiss until the commercial break, it’s just Waverly and Nicole, Nicole and Waverly. I think it’s the longest sex scene between two women I’ve ever seen that was so loving and tender and also was not intercut with a male/female sex scene, or any other scene for that matter. The only other show I can think of this happening on (that wasn’t on channels like Showtime, Starz or HBO) is maybe Lost Girl, but this felt different. I think because Lost Girl always felt like a niche show, an undiscovered gem, but Wynonna Earp has become borderline mainstream, with coverage in TV Guide and E! and Oprah Magazine.
And also, while a bisexual badass who needs sex to survive was the whole point of Lost Girl, Wynonna Earp doesn’t have all that many sex scenes in general. Wynonna and Doc have rolled around in the hay a bit, and Rosita and Doc were caught in a compromising position, but this was the longest, most romantic love scene on the show so far, and it was hard-earned, and it wasn’t gratuitous. It was a montage of softness and light flares, it wasn’t for us, it was for them. (But also it was for us.) It was two women in love who have been fighting like hell to get back to one another, finally in each other’s arms again.
And here’s the thing: We deserve this. Too often we’re brushed aside or fed crumbs of representation and told to shut up, or given excuses about how there’s “no room” in a show for queer stories; but Waverly and Nicole are in a literal hellscape, they are in life-threatening danger every 13 minutes, but they still find time to love each other, and the show always finds time to remind us of just that. Not unlike Avalance on Legends of Tomorrow, their main conflicts are rarely, if ever, about their relationship specifically as much as it is about one or both of them being in danger or separated by the world around them. There are no more excuses, you can’t tell me your show has too many characters or too much action or too many nuns to not give me the queer content I deserve!
I know you all know this. I know I’m singing queer songs to a queer choir. We fought for this show, Waverly and Nicole fought their way back to each other, I love this show, and this show clearly loves me back.
It’s also a testament to what queer representation can look like when there are queer people involved on all fronts. Queer writers in the writers room, queer actors playing the parts. Magic begets magic, or something like that.
And while most shows would have immediately cut to something hella straight to remind you that they’re not Some Gay Show, even when we do go check in on Doc and Wynonna, it’s just for a moment, and they don’t quite make it all the way to a kiss before being distracted by the difference in town.
When they finally come up for air, Waverly and Nicole are so, so happy to be together again. And uninterrupted.
Nicole starts listing things she loves about Waverly, Waverly looks Nicole square in the eye and says, “I love you,” firmly and clearly, because even though she knows Nicole knows it, she wants her to hear it, too. Waverly asks how Nicole got extensions so fast, but Nicole looks at her curiously; she didn’t get extensions, it just grew out. She can’t get over how happy she is to have Waverly in her arms, she missed her so much. Missed her. She says it with more vigor than someone who hasn’t seen their girlfriend in 24 hours, even a lesbian. Concern starts to creep over Waverly.
Wynonna and Doc are standing in the town square, bodies hanging from gallows in the middle of the street. She doesn’t understand how the town has changed this much, she just left Purgatory a few hours ago.
But Waverly finally starts to catch on and asks Nicole how long she was gone. Nicole says she was gone for 18 months, 3 weeks and 4 days. They all were.
Dun dun dun!! This show being on at 10pm EST has given us so many gifts already, from That Scene to all the f-bombs, and it’s just making me even more excited than ever for whatever the hell comes next.