“Wynonna Earp” Episode 404 Recap: The Grudge

Rachel still hasn’t told the girls exactly why she wanted to come here, so she hops out of the Jeep and takes off, and Waverly jokes about her not wanting to be seen with her sexy gay aunts.

wayhaught the sexy gay aunts

Waverly is really leaning into her role as aunt and I’m HERE FOR IT.

They start poking around to try to find someone, and Waverly finds herself face to face with a monster… but she doesn’t jump. Nicole calls her back, but Nicole doesn’t seem to see the monster either. And frankly the monsters you can’t see always scare me more than the monsters you can.

wayhaught with a reaper

The scariest ghosts in Haunting of Hill House are the ones you don’t notice until you do a rewatch.

A woman comes out and scolds them for being nosy, instead inviting them inside so she can help them find what they need. Waverly asks, in the cutest roundabout way, if they have any swords, Nicole playing it off like she needs it for She-Ra cosplay, a concept that makes Waverly (and me) go full Catra heart-eyes.

waverly loves the idea of nicole as she-ra

Waverly in Sara Lance cosplay, Nicole in She-Ra cosplay, we wouldn’t survive it but we DESERVE IT.

Waverly pops out to check more stuff out when the woman turns on Nicole and it quickly becomes obvious they’ve met before. Nicole calls her Margo and Margo teases her, saying they have rings if she needs one now that her love is back. She then says, “It’s time for you to deliver,” and Nicole hisses, “You stay away from us.” Margo says, “Love wins after all” with a sick grin on her face, which leads me to my first installment of: NICOLE, WYD?!

nicole glares at margo

I mean I know the answer is “anything she had to” but still NICOLE, WHAT’D YOU DO?!

As Wynonna heads off on her truck detail with a man named Simon, she calls Waverly to ask about her pocket rock because Jeremy said it wasn’t BBD tech. Waverly is excited to have research to do but since she’s at the junkyard, she’ll have to call Wynonna back.

waverly on her phone

Live footage of me scrolling TikTok at 3am.

And on her way back to her girlfriend, she fails to notice the same symbol burned into some wood nearby amongst the junk.

Wynonna and Simon’s truck runs over a strip of nails and gets flat tires, and Simon is convinced it’s “demon shit” and runs away, but Wynonna has developed a sense of town pride after two years of saving it and a confusing amount of time away, so she pulls out her guac gun and goes to face the intruder. Instead of a People Eater, though, she finds a good ol’ fashioned bandit by the name of John Henry Holliday.

wynonna is surprised to see doc

Mel is always brilliant but the line and delivery of, “Robbin’ stagecoaches?” is STILL making me laugh.

They’re both surprised to find each other on the job and clearly have some catching up to do.

Rachel runs around the junk yard until she finds Billy, but he’s not as happy to see her as she’d hoped. Rachel tries to tell him that she thinks he doesn’t suck which is such an angsty teen way of expressing your feelings that I LOVE IT.

Rachel looks nervous

Some serious “I lamp you” vibes up in here.

But he can’t talk about that, not now, not here. She assumes this means he doesn’t like her back after all and runs away, but that’s not what Billy means at all.

Rachel finds her Sexy Gay Aunts and asks if they can go, and Nicole can sense something is wrong and immediately agrees. Nicole gives Margo a death stare as they go, and Waverly can sense the weird vibe but doesn’t know what’s going on so she just forces a smile and follows Nicole and Rachel.

After catching each other up on their very busy few hours, Doc and Wynonna can’t say they approve of each other’s choices. But Doc realizes he pushed this quarrel too far when he mentions her losing Peacemaker and Wynonna’s face falls. So Doc gets back to the business of thievery instead, and Wynonna gets back to defending her haul, going so far as to handcuff herself to the crates. She tries to distract Doc with the promise of sexytimes, but Doc really wants that booze so he’s going to get some tools first. Though sexytimes are not off the table.

Back at Magpie Ranch, Billy goes to talk to his mother, who is furious he brought Earp lovers to their land. He promises to make it right, and she threatens to “reap” Rachel, and things have taken a turn for the yikes.

As Wynonna waits for Doc in the truck, it starts to get cold and creepy. She finds another rock in her pocket, and now taking time to really sit with it, she senses the evil in it. She tells it she respects it but that she would like it to kindly go away now, which honestly isn’t the worst tactic.

wynonna reasons iwth the rock

You ARE supposed to firmly tell ghosts to get out of your space, so this could have worked!

Alas the damage is done, and the creepy sounds get creepier, and the footsteps get closer, and a Reaper from the Magpie Ranch appears. Wynonna can sense something about it, that they know each other on some level, and she also knows she is in DANGER.

wynonna is scared

:sings: Don’t turn around! ‘Cause you’re gonna see that guy reaping. Don’t turn around!

She calls for Doc and screams and the Reaper eventually claws her out of her handcuffs (yay!) and claws her gun in half (boo!) and sends Wynonna running through the woods, right into those spooky rock piles, more scared than we’ve ever seen her by a long shot.

Billy runs from the ranch and heads right to Rachel in the Homestead barn, and while he’s trying to explain why they can’t hang out anymore, he sees Rachel pull an evil rock from the jacket she’s wearing and he panics.

Inside the Homestead, Waverly is researching the symbol, cozy and back in her natural nerdy habitat.

waverly at the hearth

A comfy chair for research is the only throne she needs.

She realizes that the symbol is a cattle brand for the Clantons, an old enemy of the Earps from back in the days of the OK Corral. Waverly hears a scream and runs out to the barn to find Nicole already there, armed and ready to protect Rachel from her still-panicked pal.

nicole and waverly ready to fight

“I’ve got friends who will run through walls.”

Billy is looking around frantically, asking where the Reaper is, saying only the marked can see it, and that once you’re marked it won’t stop until you’re shredded, but no one in the barn seems to be able to see anything that looks anything like a Reaper.

Because the Reaper is currently occupied with Wynonna, who has been trapped in a circle of rock piles, no magic gun to protect her, not even Antoni.

wynonna is spooked

For the first time in a long time she is both scared AND alone.

That is, until Doc comes to help. He’s a little confused at first; he’s never seen Wynonna this helpless, not really. And he can’t see the thing she’s most afraid of. But he doesn’t understand what Wynonna is going through to help, so he has her tell her how he can best support her. She takes one of his guns and guides him—he IS the weapon, after all—and they shoot the Reaper, Wynonna crumpling into Doc’s arms.

But, since we’re playing the horror movie game, of course the bad guy isn’t really down the first time, so when the Reaper sits up again, Doc kicks over a rock pile and the two take off running.

Nicole and Waverly are ready to take down this teenage boy in their barn, but Rachel stops them, promising he’s not usually like this. Waverly realizes that Billy is a Clanton, and Billy says that the Clantons were cursed, generations ago. And in that moment I almost felt silly for how long I went just thinking the Earps were the only ones cursed. Of course there are more cursed lines in this universe. Of course! Brilliant.

This time it’s Nicole and Waverly’s turn to hold RACHEL back though, because Billy takes pliers and shoves them into his mouth. The girls watch in horror as Billy pulls out a too-long tooth and starts chanting words about being enemies in kin but severing the root.

the girls watch in horror

“Is this a Gen Z thing? Does this mean you’re going steady?”

The evil rock starts to suck the life out of him, and not too far away, the Reaper is called off, and leaves Wynonna alone. She tells Doc that the Reaper hated her, so much, and maybe something in her was naturally opposed to this Clanton Reaper, maybe the two of them being so close amplified her fear, like two magnets of opposite charges getting too close.

Rachel runs to Billy, who is fine now, and says that he had one “covenant” and he used it on her. He says the Reaper is the black sheep of a family he doesn’t want to be part of anymore, aka the Clanton family. Know who else is a Clanton? Sheriff Holt and Magistrate Cleo. Also, of course, Mam Margo. He says Mam is the worst of them, and that the Clantons will never stop coming for the Earps and all who associate with them.

Billy tells Rachel that she opposite of sucks, kisses her on the cheek, and says goodbye in a way that felt so final it broke my heart.

It broke Rachel’s heart too, and she instinctively leaned into Nicole, as if perhaps this isn’t the first time the teen has gone to her for comfort. Waverly sees this and immediately wraps around her two traumatized girls, trying to protect them from any more hurt with her angel wings. (Metaphorically…I realize in this case that might be important to clarify)

wayhaught holds rachel

“We don’t need to be related to relate. We don’t need to share genes or a surname…So what if we don’t look the same? We been going through the same thing. Yeah, you are, you are my chosen, chosen family.”

Waverly finally gets her war room regroup, though it’s a bit more tense than she’d hoped.

solemn earps

This isn’t really the time for a PowerPoint slide with a checkerboard wipe.

They realize now that the Clantons seemed to have infiltrated Purgatory while the Earp sisters were away and that if they have these Reapers at their beck and call, they’re hella dangerous.

wynonna considers the clanton mark

Wynonna realizing for the millionth devastating time that her name and her curse affects more than just her.

When they realize it was after Wynonna, and that probably Rachel only got a rock because she was wearing Wynonna’s stolen jacket, she is PISSED that Billy sacrificed himself and it wasn’t even for her. (If it makes her feel better, that security guard got real dead just for having a rock so probably she WAS still in SOME danger.)

Rachel wants to go save Billy RIGHT NOW but Nicole tries to explain that now that their whole team is back they can’t just rush headlong into every dangerous situation. They have to wait and plan.

sexy gay aunts try to stop rebel teen

“Rachel, no.” “RACHEL, YES!”

Rachel wants to work alone, but Wynonna reminds her that she’s only 17 so she doesn’t have to work at all. She storms off, feeling ignored and misunderstood, and Nicole and Waverly instinctively want to follow but Wynonna is being haunted by the ghost of Wynonnas past so she knows that it’s better to let Rachel blow off some steam before they go after her.

For now, they have to get Jeremy back. Even if they have to beg for it.

wynonna looks so sad

When Wynonna sass-in-the-face-of-danger Earp is ready to beg, you know shit just got real.

Back the junkyard, Billy is tied to the Reaper chain, Mam tsk tsking her favorite son. He begs her to let the old ways die; just because it’s how we’ve always done it doesn’t mean it’s how we always have to do it, yaknow? But Mam says not to worry, she’s not going to kill anyone. Billy will. And then a Reaper comes out and starts spitting in Billy’s mouth and I haven’t seen Disobedience yet but I imagine this is significantly less sexy than that.

Inside, Holt watches in horror but takes his hat off when Mam comes in. Cleo is there too, and they’re both begging Mam to give Billy the Kid a break. They want to help put him on the right path but Mam puts her foot down about it and these two big shots we saw running the town with glee quickly demure to Mam.

cleo looks scared of mam

She’s like an onion! She’s got layers! But she’s also hot so she’s like…a fried onion!

It suddenly seems that maybe Holt and Cleo aren’t power hungry for power’s sake, but instead exerting control where they can since they clearly aren’t in control at home. Hurt people hurt people, and as Mam digs her finger into Cleo’s hand, it’s clear she’s no stranger to hurting her children. Mam knows by this cut that Cleo is the one who used her blood on that old high school photo of Wynonna to sic the Reaper on her.

Mam says the Reapers are not attack dogs, but their ancestors, and only she will decide when they “unleash hell” on the Earps. Then, as if she did nothing out of the ordinary at all, she sits down to dinner and says it’s time to say their version of grace. And as someone who used to get in screaming matches with my mother only to have her turn around and ask what I wanted for dinner as if I wasn’t still so mad I wanted to move to Mars…I felt their pain. Cleo easily reaches for her brother’s hand but is reluctant to hold Mam’s as they recite a horrifying “prayer” about vengeance and never forgiving, never forgetting.

Off to get her nerd as promised, Wynonna storms into the BBD facility, finds Jeremy and Naomi, and refuses to play along anymore. She’s Wynonna Fucking Earp and she’s the best demon hunter this shady-ass organization has ever seen and she’s done playing errand boy. She got beat by something scary, and she’s not too proud to admit she needs her team—her WHOLE team. And that means Jeremy. (And Robin, but Jeremy says he’s safe and would rather keep his boyfriend-who-almost-became-a-murder-tree-that-one-time out of this.) She gets down on her knees and lets him see the genuine tears she’s wiping away and she begs: Please come home.

wynonna begs

Who could say no to this face?!

Jeremy agrees, so she takes him back to join her “posse of dipshits” and restart the Purgatory department of Black Badge.

Across town, Nicole goes back to the Clantons with a jar in hand, shoving it into Mam’s hand and saying the deal is off, she owes her nothing.

haught is serious

Magic always comes with a price, Haught! Are you new?!

She says, “Doc and Waverly got themselves out of the Garden,” and Mam scoffs like she’s not so sure about that. (Which makes me wonder…this “deal” Nicole seems to have struck…did she strike it approximately around the time a very convenient door started to glow??) Nicole tries to say “it’s over” but Mam inspects what seems to be a jar of twigs and maybe Nicole’s own hair? And evil leaves pour out and fly into Nicole’s mouth. And no matter what this deal was, I can’t imagine Nicole knew she was signing up for A MOUTH OF LEAVES.

mam sends evil leaves toward nicole

“Larengix glaucitis, et max laryngitis,la voce to me! Now…SING.”

Which…I’m sure…is fine? That’s probably fine. Surely having a spooky cloud of evil leaves pour into your mouth from an enemy of the Earps and then going home to a house full of Earp and Earp-adjacent people will be fine. Juuuust fine. IT’S FINE. :screams:

Thanks again for joining me for another fun episode of Wynonna Earp—and while I have you here, could I perhaps ask you a favor? If you enjoy these recaps (if they make you laugh, make you think, make you happy someone cares as much about WayHaught as you do) would you consider supporting Autostraddle’s ongoing fundraiser? The thing is, there’s nothing Earpers can’t do, I’ve seen it with my own eyes time and time again, and we’re SO close to reaching our goal. I love writing recaps for this website so much, and I don’t want to have to stop any time soon.

And I know everyone always says “every little bit helps” but the math doesn’t lie: Based on the average number of people who have clicked on these Season 4 recaps so far, if HALF of you donated $8, we’d be at our goal. Round it up to $10, and we’d get there even faster. Just something to consider!

Thank you as always for going on this journey with me. And if you have Sexy Gay Aunts (or ARE Sexy Gay Aunts…)—wash your tablecloths!

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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 548 articles for us.


  1. – Rachel collects mugs, so by the end of the season I need her to give Nicole a “#1 Mom” mug.
    – We all saw the deer when Rachel and Billy were walking, right?
    – We need a gay icon shoutout listing. This episode: Fleabag, She-ra, Queer Eye, and Carol.
    – Billy’s tooth wasn’t too long. It simply had the root attached to it.
    – I wonder on how Rachel feels about Waverly. She’s had 18 months to form a mother/daughter relationship with Nicole by themselves, and now there’s this new person inserting herself into their dynamic. Sure, Nicole loves her, but to Rachel she’s a stranger that is having hot sexy times with her mom.

  2. I was wondering when all the foreshadowing would become actual shadows (ha!) Not sure what to think of the new (or rather old) Big Bad in town. Certainly not a family to mess with. But I guess, Nicole didn’t get the memo / was too desperate to get her Earps and Doc back– I hope, she’s not zombified during the remaining episodes…

    I hope that Special Agent Wynonna Aarp gets her groove back in the mean time, she was really scared. I guess, not having Peacemaker around took some toll on her after all.

    Missed the deer! Sad.

  3. Waverly in Sara Lance Cosplay, Nicole in She-Ra cosplay. Andras is just giving away the fan art prompts now. But, inquiring minds want to know – which version of Sara Lance? OG Black Canary? White Canary season 1 (my favorite) or season 2? Or casual Captain Lance in her jeans and tank top? Also, proper Couples’ Cosplay rules means that Waverly should go as Catra.

    “Haught Topics” would make a good name for a lesbian couture clothing store.

    As far as this episode goes … we’re starting to set the table, and we can see where the season is probably going to go. But that just gives Andras a chance to sneak up on us so she can hit us from behind with the feels stick.

    Bring it on.

  4. Did…did the show name drop Carol? CAROL? *THE* CAROL?!?

    Also, Ms. Valerie Anne, did you use a lyric from The Corrs’ Breathless for the screen grab of Waverly and Nicole kissing? If you did you deserve a damn big kiss.

  5. I thought Rachel was the one who said she just stayed to the forest when checking Magpie out?

    I just want to give Nicole a big hug at this point. I can’t stand her not being confident in her decisions. But damn Kat Barrell is really showing her acting ability.

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