As you might have guessed by now, Wynonna Earp is one of my favorite shows of all time. That’s why, this weekend, I went to Earper Homestead Con in Toronto (EH Con… GET IT?) and had an amazing time with fellow Earpers, incredible experiences with some actors, behind-the-scenes folks, and showrunner Emily Andras, and got to watch this episode in a room full of some of my favorite people. But I’ll talk more about the con at the end of this recap. First let’s dive into this episode.
Previously on Wynonna Earp, we mourned Agent Xavier Dolls, but evil doesn’t take bereavement and Bulshar is still up to no good. Speak of the devil (perhaps literally?), Bulshar has a cult following that involves mass sacrifice and no survivors, except for one tiny redhead who is a deputy now and is slowly uncovering those memories. Also, Wynonna started visiting her mother in her mental hospital/prison recently, because all her life she’s heard Mama talk about this Bulshar fellow and Wynonna is finally ready to listen.
We open on Wynonna and Doc chasing down a Revenant and we are reminded that Peacemaker uses literal bullets. I had noticed Wynonna’s ammo belt wasn’t totally full last week, but I thought it was just a post-battle thing, but now she seems to be plum out.
We also learn that the trees, on top of being generally creepy, aren’t just popping up out of nowhere, or messing with your mindgrapes. They can literally move. One jumped into the Revenant’s path like something out of a Disney movie, and it’s interesting — why did it move at that moment? Did the Revenant just happen to get in the way of the poplar crossing the street? Or did it purposefully take down the person Wynonna (or Doc) was chasing?
Also I know Wynonna isn’t the most perceptive, and Doc is new to the concept of paved roads, but neither one of them thought it was weird that there was a tree just… ON TOP of the street? Smack in the middle of the lane and unrooted.
Anyway, one person did think it was weird, but he’s weird too, so when he inspects it and finds it leaking something awful, he LICKS IT and discovers the tree is bleeding. He rightfully runs from the murder tree, but what he doesn’t notice is that there is a FUCKING FACE IN THE MURDER TREE. No thank you.
Elsewhere in the woods, Nicole and Waverly are inspecting the old site of the supposed music festival fire that was the story Nicole was always told about what happened the night her aunt and uncle died.
Nicole notices that the trees have grown back awfully well for having been burnt to the ground not all that long ago, and Nicole thinks back on what she remembers and doesn’t remember a fire at all. That’s when it hits her that the fire was a Black Badge cover-up so that the news of a demonic cult didn’t get to the people of Purgatory.
Waverly asks Nicole if she would consider talking to her parents about it, but they were also told the cover story, and Nicole snaps at Waverly about her own mommy issues, but one adorably incorrect sports reference from Waverly, and they’re back on track.
Just then, the tree-licker appears, and Waverly knows him, because of course she does. His name is Robin and she introduces him to Nicole as “Officer Haught” and at first I was nervous that this meant Waverly was embarrassed to come out to this stranger (despite later finding out she’s known he was gay since high school) but after panic-pondering for a while I’ve decided it’s because Nicole has asked her to be on the DL about their relationship while she’s in uniform.
As they start to head back to get Robin warm and find out what he needs their help for, Nicole hangs back for a second and just… CHUCKS the ring of Bulshar all WILLY NILLY in the DEMON WOODS. It’s like she doesn’t even care about my anxiety levels.
Back at the station, Wynonna tries to give Haught shit about not telling her about the cult thing, but considering the secret-Mama situation, she doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. So Waverly tells them that they should kiss and make up and Nicole and Wynonna reluctantly agree to work together in relative peace and Waverly brings them in for a group hug.
Speaking of Mama, Wynonna gives Waverly all the redacted documents Dolls got, and tells her baby sister that as soon as she’s ready, they’ll go see Mama Earp together.
And while Wynonna is assuring Waverly that Mama is getting better, Mama is proving her wrong by writing “Never ever get out” in her therapist’s blood on the padded walls of her cell. Yikes.
Wynonna and Doc start searching for some ammo while they wait for more funds now that BBD cut them off, and instead Wynonna finds something that might as well be a bullet for how it hurts: a cradle Doc had hidden away for Alice Michelle. They talk a little, finally, about their pain and guilt, but Doc doesn’t blame her for sending her away. Wynonna, though, says it feels like giving up, the same way she gave up on her Mama when she left Purgatory seven years ago.
Her mom had tried to warn her about Bulshar, tried to get her to take Waverly with her, but Wynonna doesn’t think she can protect Waverly, so she’s heading off alone. Mama reiterates that Waverly can never know about this prison, can never come to visit her, and Wynonna thinks she’s just being an asshole so she peaces out to Greece.
In the present day, Doc reassures her that she wasn’t anything like her mother, and kisses her. Nicole walks in on them, a little Haughtus Interruptus to make up for all the times the tables were turned, and tells her that Nedley is requesting Wynonna’s presence. Wynonna calls Haught’s pitch a Supergirl speech, and my friend Nic is convinced this was a shoutout to me. I am less convinced, as I know at least one writer in that room watches (watched?) the show, but it’s an honor to be nominated.
Jeremy and Waverly are in the ex-BBD office, worrying about what comes next without Dolls, and Waverly suggests Jeremy try going on a date, so his whole life isn’t just demon hunting. Jeremy teases her, saying not everyone can have a perfect meet-cute over broken taps.
He talks about how unicorns are rare (he says they’re called unicorns because there’s only one, but I always thought it was because they had one horn??) and Waverly mentions Robin. While Jeremy is protesting set-ups as a concept, Robin appears; like a unicorn in the wild.
Jeremy and Robin have a cute, awkward chemistry and Waverly not-so-subtly sees herself out. The boys talk about the murder tree, and exchange cute tree puns. They have a good repertoire, and bond over how much they love Waverly. You see, Waverly is the only one who was nice to Robin when he was an out teenager in Purgatory. They make a date with the murder tree, and it’s all very pure and lovely.
On her way out, Waverly gets a call from the institution telling her that Michelle Gibson is being transferred, and realizes that if she wants to see her mother, it’s now or never. So she heads there, alone, and sees her mother for the first time since she was six years old.
And at first it starts to play out the way I’m sure she’s imagined time and time again, “My little one,” Mama says, her eyes alight with love. But then things quickly take a turn for the nightmareish when Mama’s expression changes and she starts to freak out. She starts yelling, “Get out,” and “I’ll kill you,” but there was more fear in her voice than hatred.
But Waverly misinterprets this fear, and says, “I won’t hurt you.” But then the guard goes to tase her mother, and she instinctively reaches out. As soon as their hands touch, though, Mama’s mood shifts again, and now she looks absolutely terrified.
“She’s unbound, she’s loose, kill the demon.” She repeats that last part, “kill the demon” as a traumatized Waverly watches her mother get dragged away.
In less sob-worthy news, Jeremy and Robin are looking for the murder tree in the woods, but can’t seem to find the pesky thing. They do, however, find some not-so-sexy fog and a staircase that doesn’t seem to lead to anywhere. Jeremy’s mysterious instincts tell him those stairs are not safe, so he stops Robin from climbing them and calls Doc for help.
Back at the Purgatory Sheriff’s Department, Wynonna is mid-way through sassing Nedley about maybe being too old for this gig and maybe promoting his best deputy when she sees her sister storm in sadly. One subtle thing I liked as Wynonna ran off to check on her baby girl is watching Nicole’s eyeline. She spots Waverly and probably would have gone after her herself, but as soon as she sees Wynonna’s on the case, she stays put.
Waverly tells Wynonna about the visit she just had while desperately searching for answers in the redacted files; maybe it’s her medication, maybe that’s why she said the things she said.
Wynonna tries to reassure Waverly, but as soon as Waverly says that Mama tried to kill her, Wynonna’s eyes darken and she storms off. She gets to the prison just as Mama is being taken outside to be transferred, she yells at Mama for threatening Waverly, but Mama drops to her knees, catching Wynonna off-guard just long enough to overtake her and the guards and she ends up running away with Peacemaker and a real gun.
The guards decide they can’t call this whole day a fail so they throw Wynonna in a cell as Wynonna screams for her sister.
Back at the station, Waverly cries to Nicole, saying Nicole was right about not reconnecting with estranged parents. She tells Nicole she thinks her mom called her a demon, and now is wondering if she was the reason she left in the first place.
Nicole tries to reassure her that her mother has as psychological disorder and that none of this is her fault. She shows Waverly the arrest report; Michelle Gibson was put in jail for burning down the homestead barn. Waverly says that doesn’t make sense, and also why has most of the report been pulled? Hearing is cue, Nedley comes into the room and says that he’s the one who pulled the rest of the report. Because the truth is, Michelle Gibson did burn down her barn, but also her youngest daughter was in it.
When Doc gets to the woods to find Jeremy and Robin, he hears the sounds of a baby crying. He follows it until the crying turns into the infernal sounds of his past torment. He falls to his knees and sees Bulshar himself approach. Bulshar offers to remove his memory of his time spent in hell, the looming dread of his future torment, all for one simple exchange. My biggest fear is that the exchange he wants to make involves Waverly.
Jeremy finds Doc and snaps him out of it, but he hadn’t seen Bulshar, just like when they go back to look at the pictures of the staircase, they realize it wasn’t really there. Also side note Robin coughed up what looked like dirt? Probably because he LICKED THE MURDER TREE. To be determined.
The warden have Wynonna kept in her old cell, and she’s frantic because she wants to stop her mother from hurting anyone, namely Waverly.
But the guards are more ego than brains so they decide that instead of sending out a search party, they’re going to quietly bring Michelle Gibson back and take care of the one witness in the meantime.
In his office, Nedley tells Waverly the story of what happened the night her mother was taken away. When Nedley got to the scene, the barn was on fire, Waverly was covered in soot and crying but unharmed, and Michelle was locked in the back of Ward Earp’s cop car. Ward said he saw occult symbols in the barn and accused his wife of trying to murder Waverly, but Nedley doesn’t buy it. Everyone loved Michelle Gibson.
But Nedley says Michelle wasn’t herself that night, talking about vanquishing a demon. Ward thought Michelle believed Waverly was the demon, just like Waverly does now, and Nedley went along with it because Ward was his boss. He chokes up as he says he regrets it, and you can just see Waverly’s heart breaking six ways to Wednesday.
When Nedley became sheriff, he pulled the report to do his part in protecting the Earp girls, but Waverly wonders if maybe sending her away was the right thing to do. After all, evil wears many faces.
Wynonna doesn’t spend too much more time in the prison, because as soon as she realizes the guard on murder duty is a revenent, she kills him dead and brings his head to the warden in exchange for her handcuffs being removed. He updates her on what we just learned about when Michelle was taken into custody, and she sasses him about being bad at treating mental illness before booking it for the Homestead.
At the homestead, Waverly is in her bathrobe listening to her mother’s old therapist tapes.
Michelle is saying she likes being in the prison and away from her girls, and asks again nervously that the prison promises to keep her girls away from her. It’s clear to me she means for their own safety, but Waverly is way too upset to realize this. Michelle tells the voices in her head to shut up before going back to talking about birds. And listen, I can’t consider it a coincidence that she specifically mentions robins in the same episode we meet Robin. She also mentions magpies which reminds me of my old proven-very-wrong theory about the goo being a magpie demon and made me laugh.
Nicole brings Waverly tea while wearing a unicorn t-shirt and I’m sure the dialogue was lovely but I was overwhelmed by the perfection of how so casual and normal their relationship is even when they’re talking about literal demons.
Anyway, whatever they’re saying is interrupted by Doc storming in and demanding good whiskey. Waverly heads out to the barn to get some and Nicole tells him to chill out. Doc hears the tapes playing and asks what the hell they’re listening to and Nicole explains that it’s Michelle and her therapist talking, and Doc says no, but who’s the third voice? And listen, I was watching this for the first time in a room full of Earpers so hyped up that it was 200 degrees Celsius in the room and I was sweating from every single one of my pores, but when Doc asked about the third voice I got LITERAL CHILLS. Doc starts to panic when he realizes she can’t hear the horrible noises he hears, and he tells her, “We will not be enough.”
Waverly goes out to the barn and finds her mother putting candles around an occult symbol. When she sees Waverly she yells at her to go away, and Waverly asks her if she thinks she’s a demon. Mama, more lucid than we’ve seen her, raises Peacemaker up toward Waverly…
…and says, “No. But she came for you.”
Waverly turns and sees a demon that looks like a life-size doll of the girl of the ring come to life and dipped in The Goo, and screams. And the room I was in screamed, too. It was pretty amazing.
Robin goes home to see his dad and notices plants growing in the snow, but as he leans down to take a photo of them, a Jumanji-sized vine grabs his ankle and drags him away.
Wynonna runs into the Homestead, ready to take down her own mother to save her sister, but instead of the mayhem she was expecting, she finds Waverly, Nicole, and Doc, sitting peacefully at the table, surrounded by heaps of dessert.
She asks about Mama and a face you might recognize appears saying Mama is locked in the barn. Waverly and Nicole call her Jolene and say she showed up, “Just in time.”
Jolene shoves a brownie into Wynonna’s mouth and within seconds Wynonna has the same glassy-eyed look on her face, says she’s grateful for Jolene, and joins her family at the table.
I’m so excited for the next episode, because the writers did a panel at EH Con and said 305 is absolutely bonkers. There was talk of “the full Palmer,” for example. And we all know what kind of amazinginess Zoie brings to the table.
I do want to talk about the convention for a moment, because it was unlike anything I’ve ever been to. I’ve never been to a singularly focused con, and there’s something to be said for sharing a space for a weekend with 500 people who you know you have at least one thing in common with. And a big thing, a thing that means a lot to you, considering you all traveled to a con based only on this one thing. And there’s something about Wynonna Earp, specifically, that seems to connect people in a deeper way faster than if they had something more general in common; like I don’t think the same kind of bonding happens at Dog Con amongst dog lovers as it did amongst Earpers. And one way you can tell from events like this that Wynonna Earp is special is that it’s not all about the actors. The actors are surely celebrated for their part in it, and rightly so, but it goes further than that. And of course, Emily Andras is celebrated for creating this thing we all love. But what really warmed my heart was that similarly loud cheers were heard for the writers on their panel, for the script coordinator and digital content providers, for the music supervisor and composers. Hell, even for the moderators, who are dedicated Earpers themselves. It’s like Wynonna Earp has its own set of core values and it attracts people who live by those values and therefore it’s one of the best groups of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with.
I could write three thousand extra words on my own personal experience there — one thousand about meeting the writers aka my heroes aka who I want to BE someday and also at least 50 words about how proud of myself I was for not telling them to their face that I want to be them because yikes — but I’ll spare you all that. I just couldn’t not mention it, because I’m still reeling from being back in the real world after being so comfortable in my own weirdness for a long weekend.
See you next week! On time next time, promise!