Wynonna Earp series finale recap below! Major major major spoilers for the whole show!
Previously on Wynonna Earp, Waverly grew wings and made Nicole her angel’s shield, Jeremy lost his job and his boyfriend but helped save Purgatory, Wynonna and Doc had half a decade of love and heartbreak, and Waverly and Nicole fell in love and the very fabric of sci-fi television and queer representation was changed forever. Casual.
We open on a red wedding that feels like a bad omen for a big gay wedding episode of teevee. A woman in a white wedding dress with a blue sapphire heart wields an axe and chops everyone up and ultimately chops herself up, too. Seems chill and fine…
…until we cut back to present-day, where Waverly is taking that very same wedding dress out of a box, impressively bleached clean of the bloodshed. Waverly holds it up to show Wynonna and it hits them both anew: Waverly is getting married.
Later, Nicole is putting flowers into the back of Wynonna’s truck, smiling lovingly as her big day comes together, when Wynonna snaps her out of her reverie. The Earp heir is inspecting her sister’s wedding cake with wee spectacles and has determined that it’s not vegan, like they ordered. It’s buttercream! A disaster!
Nicole isn’t worried about it, she jokes about just not telling Waverly, but Wynonna is holding on to a thread about it. She wants this day to be perfect for her baby girl, but Nicole promises her that it will definitely not be perfect. Nothing that has ever happened on the Homestead has been perfect. But Wynonna wants this to be the exception, BECAUSE of that. She reminds Nicole that both of Waverly’s dads died right here and Nicole probably thinks maybe they had that intervention for Wynonna too soon because she could use a little loosening up right now.
Waverly comes out, just as chill as Nicole, and they’re both all cute and smiley about their impending nuptials. Wynonna tries to get HER on her level of stress about the buttercream, but Waverly is also too busy basking in the bliss to be stressed. Besides, this isn’t her first vegan rodeo, and she has cupcakes in the freezer.
Wynonna takes her nervous energy into the barn where she is dutifully hacking at a plank of wood with a knife when Waverly’s dress catches her eye. Next thing you know she’s wrapped up in a coat despite the beautiful sunny day and storming to Doc’s RV, things literally falling apart around her as she walks, and tells him that she felt compelled to try on the dress…and now she can’t get it off.
They flirt a bit while Doc tries to get it off but he can’t even cut it off her so when they hear a familiar jeep approaching Wynonna DIVES inside the RV before Waverly can see her. Waverly is here to give Doc a gift and ask him an important question. The gift is Wyatt Earp’s saddle, restored to its former glory. And the question is whether he’ll be her best man. Doc has been one of the only people to not underestimate her from the jump, and has always been a rock in her life like no man has been before. Not her ex-boyfriend, neither of her fathers. Maybe it would have been Uncle Curtis, if he were still with us, but at this point in Waverly’s life, Doc Holliday is the best man she knows. And not because he’s perfect, or even always good, but because he is constantly trying to be better.
Doc asks about Wynonna, but Wynonna is going to stand with Nicole. Because they’re best friends. No take backs. Doc accepts Waverly’s offer with pride in his voice and she squeals with delight and scurries away. With a hiss of a reminder from the hidden Wynonna, Doc asks Waverly where she got her wedding dress and she points him toward a quant boutique…
…named CURSEY’S. Sweet angel what did you DO.
Wynonna and Doc make their way around the bridal shop, when they get the pearls scared out of them by a wispy wacky woman in a bridal gown…who is also Charlotte Sullivan,
Gail Peck, ladies and gentlepeople!!
The dressmaker tells them that the dress will make Wynonna kill everyone at the wedding, and the only way to kill the dress is with the silkworms that made it. Or to kill the person in the dress, but Wynonna and Doc think they’ll try their luck with the bugs. Wynonna isn’t about to let some haunted hussie ruin this day for Waverly. No matter how pretty she is.
Back at the Homestead, Jeremy and the brides-to-be are surveying the sudden damage to all the wedding goodies and can’t figure out what the heck happened. Jeremy spots a caterer and gets a funny feeling in his groinal region so he storms off to accuse the man named Damon of being a demon. Damon thinks he’s giving him shit because he knows he’s gay, which sounds pretty rich coming from the guy who is about to officiate a marriage between two women.
Waverly and Nicole follow the trail of destruction into the barn and see that Waverly’s dress is missing, at which point she realizes she doesn’t actually like the dress after all. Nicole points out that only the wedding stuff is trashed…and then they both realize at the same time that this means they have a haunted wedding dress on their hands.
On their hunt for silkworms, Doc dives into a dirty pond and while he’s fruitlessly looking for silkworms, Wynonna sees her name on a note sticking out of his jacket that she’s holding and reads it, sadness washing over her like she was the one who jumped in the pond. The note is a goodbye letter, and he tries to justify it; he’s a human man now, the imminent danger has passed, what’s left for him here in Purgatory?
Back in the barn, Waverly and Nicole have set up an impromptu murder board and research station, where they start seeing a pattern of wedding murders that Waverly never noticed before because, well, there’s a lot of murders. They trace it back to a dressmaker named Bridgitte, who Waverly confirms is the wackadoo that sold her the dress, and who was the first to have a red wedding, killing all her wedding guests after being left at the altar.
Nicole can understand the sentiment; if Waverly left her, she would, and I quote ,”Fuck shit up.” This assertion makes Waverly smile a sly smile and pounce on her girl.
As Doc puts on dry clothes after his impromptu dip, Wynonna calls him a coward. He scoffs and says she’s one to talk; a hero in war but a coward in love. He does say though that, in his defense, he wasn’t just going to leave a letter. He was just drafting his goodbye. He asks her to come with him when he goes, but she fights back tears and changes the subject instead. They have earthworms to paint.
Meanwhile, Jeremy walks in on a post-coital WayHaught who apologize but solving crime makes them horny.
Jeremy tells them he found their culprit and is surprised that at the same time he says demon caterer, they say haunted wedding dress. That’s when he realizes he fucked up but good. Waverly feels bad for JerBear but she has a flapper to stop so she runs off with a shotgun and a pun.
Wynonna and Doc bring their faux silkworms to Brigitte the Dressmaker, but she’s not fooled. She is, however, amused at their sad attempt and delights in the fact that they’re all going to die.
Wynonna tries to reason with her, says that failure is never irreversible, and that she’s determined to give Waverly the perfect wedding day. Brigitte is suddenly confused about whose wedding it is but before she can ask more questions Waverly comes bounding through the door, chasing Brigitte around with a banner that I definitely thought said WHORE at first.
Waverly saves the day with a spell and Wynonna is ready to send Brigitte to hell but Waverly says not today. Just this once, everybody lives. And besides, she has sympathy for this woman who was left at the altar; no one deserves that much pain. Brigitte is still confused as to who’s marrying who but she appreciates the understanding.
The Earp sisters go back to the homestead where Waverly decides to wear Mama Earp’s wedding dress instead. We’ll take regular baggage over a homicidal curse any day. Waverly can tell something is weighing on her sister but Wynonna plays it off as wedding day feelings.
Nedley goes to the house to give Nicole her boutineer and finds her nervously pacing.
She takes the flower from him and says she has one more thing she needs from him. And then she asks her to walk beside her down the aisle, like he’s been walking beside her since he first saved a little redhead girl from the Cult of Bulshar.
He accepts like the proud papa he is and takes her outside where the wedding begins.
The song sings happy words like, “Every up and every down made us who we are now, wouldn’t change it for the world.” The sign does not in fact say WHORE, but “Where you go, I go.” It’s a makeshift wedding and a makeshift family and it’s absolutely perfect.
Wynonna walks Waverly down the aisle, looking beautiful and delicate in blue as she leads her favorite person on this planet to stand with her best friend. Before letting go of her arm, Wynonna presses her forehead against her sister’s and reminds Waverly that she’s the best of us. Still, always.
Jeremy officiates, wrapping Nicole and Waverly’s hands together with twine as Nicole promises her angel to stay by her side on every adventure and to hold her hand when the firelight grows dim.
Waverly says she’s grateful for the bulletproof vest Nicole once wore (which…same) and a love stronger than she’s ever known and promises to always stand beside her.
The music swells and the camera pans over the chairs labeled for people they’ve loved and some they’ve lost and Jeremy tells the beautiful brides they are officially married. You may kiss the bride.
Rachel is so grateful to be part of this family and tells them all they’re inspiring heroes to her. She didn’t know what to get them as a gift, so she decided to sing them a song, and it’s perfect.
There is a joyful montage and gods it’s so nice to see them all SMILING and laughing and dancing and being able to BREATHE, at least today, at least for now.
Wynonna toasts her best friend and her baby sister, happy as can be that two people she loves so much are in love with each other.
Nedley is a little tipsy and trying to share his champagne with the cake toppers when Rachel and the Billy formerly known as Invisible Monster Teen approach. Nedley is planning on taking Rachel on a fishing trip and she’s so excited that she wants to bring her maybe sort of boyfriend with them. After a warning Billy to keep his lures to himself, Dad says yes and Rachel squeals with glee.
Next page: Are you crying yet? If not, GET READY.
Deciding to leave on a high note I GUESS, Doc says his goodbyes and leaves right from the reception. He’s already said his goodbyes to Wynonna, so he just gets into his car and heads back to his RV while Wynonna watches with sadness in her eyes.
As Damon packs up his catering gear, Jeremy comes over to apologize and they awkwardly flirt and agree to go on a date. It’s very cute and very nice to be reassured that sweet Jeremy won’t be pining after Robin forever. That he’s ready to move on. Jeremy gets a call and a sexy, sexy voice promotes him to Deputy Director of the Ghost River Triangle division of Black Badge and he says he’ll be there…after his date with Damon.
Wynonna marches across the Homestead to Doc and tells him to stop bluffing and unpack his car, but he has his eyes on the horizon and he’s on his way. She all but begs him to stay, and Doc admits he lied to her once. He told her that vengeance is what kept him sane in his well-shaped prison, but the truth is it was only partly the promise of revenge that fueled him. It was also the thought of love, and the hope of finding it one day that got him through.
He says that life isn’t as short as the idioms want you to believe. Life is long, and it can be lonely. All you can do is find people to get through it with. “A group of souls who will tolerate you and elevate you.” And if you’re lucky, one special one who will love you more than the rest. And that love? That bond? That’s what it’s all for.
Wynonna tearfully says she can’t leave Waverly, so Doc calls her the best Earp he’s ever known and kisses her cheek in farewell. She apologizes for hurting him, but he says they only ever hurt themselves. “I wouldn’t have changed a note,” he smiles sadly at her before he drives away, leaving her standing alone in her feelings.
Wynonna goes back to the h=Homestead to tell everyone what happened and they’re a little confused as to why she did the whole metaphorical running through the airport to stop him and then did not go with him. They know the WynDoc relationship is complicated, but c’mon, no one is asking her to marry him, just to give it a true shot. Wynonna is surprised they’re taking this stance. What about Purgatory, what about them, what about Peacemaker? She can’t leave the Ghost River Triangle. To which a smol angry bride storms out of the house telling her that she absolutely fucking can.
Waverly drags Wynonna to the barn by her ear and starts packing her things. If Wynonna wants to leave town with Doc, she is leaving town with Doc, even if Waverly has to bamf out her goth wings to fly her to him herself. Wynonna has given up too much for Waverly, for everyone, for Waverly to let her give up this, too. She tells Wynonna that even though she likes to walk the loner walk, she’s not alone. And she deserves this.
When Wynonna again expresses concern about Waverly’s safety, Waverly all but scoffs at her. Nicole is the Angel’s Shield and the sheriff, Jeremy is the head of BBD, Waverly can melt faces with her bare hands and also stopped the Silk Witch without Wynonna’s help. They’ve got this! She says Doc has been trying to prove himself to Wynonna for years (actually says the cowboy became a cowman which helped me laugh through all my tears), and that they’ll be okay without her for a little while so she can have her own adventure.
Waverly says there was a time where she was terrified Wynonna would never come back. But now she knows she always will. They cry, and I cry, and Waverly reminds them that they have cell phones. It’s not like they’re going to disappear from each other’s lives just because they’re not living on the same plot of land anymore. They will still be each other’s home even if they’re not physically together.
So Wynonna wraps her baby girl tight in her arms and tries not to stain her wedding dress with tears. They’ve grown so much in the past few years, separately and together, and now they know their relationship can survive anything, even a little time apart.
And so it’s settled. Wynonna runs outside and everyone helps her to get ready to leave. She puts on the outfit she had on in the pilot, right down to the seasonally inappropriate leather jacket, and when her truck dies she instantly remembers another mode of transportation she has at her disposal.
So Wynonna Earp mounts her bike and takes off after the love of her life, shooting out his tires just to show the fastest gunslinger in the West that she’s a damn good shot, too. She tells him that he was right and that she loves him and they kiss in the middle of the road. It’s very romantic.
And at first part of me had a twinge of sadness that she ended up with anyone at all, but then John Henry Holliday — THE Doc Holliday — got on the back of Wynonna’s bike without hesitation or even so much as a joke about it and I realized this is exactly what Wynonna deserves. She doesn’t need a man, but she will be happier for the support and love of this man in particular. This man who knows her, flaws and all, and loves her both in spite of and because of them. Someone to reassure her that even if she’s a little broken, it doesn’t mean she’s not worthy of loving someone and being loved in return.
Wynonna says, “It’s been a long time since I’ve traveled light,” and they take off down the road that Wynonna once feared was a one-way street. When she came back into town on her 27th birthday, she had the weight of a legacy on her shoulders, and she felt like she was stepping into a deep lake with it. But over the years she managed to stay afloat with the help of her family and friends, and little by little they chipped away at that weight, together. They killed the demons, they broke the curse, they saved the day. And with everyone sharing her burden, it didn’t feel so unmanageable anymore. It’s taken her a while to realize she could stop treading water so hard, but now with the wind in her hair and Purgatory at her back, she realizes she can finally stop kicking and not be dragged under. She can just float.
As Wynonna and Doc plan their road trip, Wynonna suggests perhaps they take a detour through Miracles, Montana, where a certain little girl might be keen to see them.
Back in Purgatory, Waverly and Nicole look out over the Homestead. Their home, together as wives. Quiet for the first time in a long time.
Waverly asks if Nicole wishes they could go on a whirlwind honeymoon but Nicole doesn’t need to stray far from this porch to feel like she’s on an adventure as long as Waverly’s by her side. All she’s ever wanted was this.
Waverly Earp smiling at her from her front porch – from their front porch.
Waverly Earp says the last spoken words of the show, which also happens to be the point of it. They spent four seasons protecting it, fighting for it, building it. And now they get to enjoy it.
The camera swings to the familiar sight of the mailbox with EARP written on it, but as it pans up the signpost, more names have been added. One sign adds, “and Haught,” another says “sometimes Holliday” and then there’s one more. And I think it’s for us. It says, “Everyone welcome.”
Wynonna Earp started in April 2016, less than a month after the Bury Your Gays trope came to a head with the death of Lexa kom Trikru on The 100. So many queer characters had died by the time that episode aired, and Lexa wasn’t even the last. But in the Season One finale of Wynonna Earp that June, Nicole Haught, resident lesbian, was shot but ultimately survived because she was wearing a bulletproof vest. It felt like a “fuck you” to the Bury Your Gays trope, which it was, but it also felt like a direct response to Lexa’s death, which it technically wasn’t. The episode was written and filmed before episode 307 of The 100 ever aired, which honestly makes it more special, in my opinion. Because Wynonna Earp was always going to do right by us, the timing of it was just a lucky coincidence.
Eventually when the character Jeremy was added to the mix, he, Waverly, and Nicole were dubbed the “Unkillable Gay Squad,” which was a nickname supported by the show’s creators, and while some shows wouldn’t have dared made such a promise because it seems to lower the stakes, these writers knew that the stakes could be plenty high without any queer characters’ lives on the line. They had queer people in the writers’ room, they had queer people on screen, they were unapologetically gay at every turn and didn’t care what any Bunny Loblaws had to say about it. They were going to make it as gay as they could; they had the opportunity that not a lot of people get, and even less people take, and they were going to make the best of it.
And then, this show had the GALL to go even further than that and give us the HAPPILY EVER AFTER we so rarely get. And not even just for the queer people, for everyone. The last two episodes pair together like whiskey and donuts, a hard-fought battle and the hard-earned happy ending.
And it makes sense. This show was about love, top to bottom. Sister love, found family love, queer love, complicated love, lost love, new love, rekindled love, friendship love. Loving yourself and each other even when it’s hard, fighting for the things and the people you love. The love an audience can have for a show, and the love a show can have for its audience. It hurts so much to say goodbye, but that pain is just proof that it was so special.
I’ve always been bad at goodbyes. I’m not one for crying in front of other people very often, and in fact I’m not quick to crying in general. And listen, I know crying isn’t the be all end all of expressing emotion, but it’s how I know I’ve bubbled over. When I was a junior in college, I remember one time I was particularly emotional, partially because of exhaustion, partially because of alcohol, and partially because it was becoming clear that my relationship with my best friend was over for reasons I couldn’t control or honestly comprehend, and while I was telling a friend about this, I straight up burst into tears. And I’ll never forget the look on my friend’s face because she was surprised and also looked mildly terrified. She kind of put her hands up like she wanted to make it stop and she said, “What is happening? You’re Valerie! You don’t cry!”
But goodbyes are always the exception. I’ve cried at wakes and funerals, of course. But also I’ve cried on the last night of every musical or play I’ve ever been in. I cried on the last night of every dance recital, on the bus from Boston to New York at the start of every school year in college and from New York to Boston at the start of every summer. I cried at the end of every service trip in high school, first night back from every A-Camp, and after every graduation. And though Wynonna Earp has made me cry a little here and there in the context of the show, I’ve never cried as hard about it as I have a) saying goodbye to friends I only see every few months on our last night together as a group at the end of Earp-specific cons, and b) at the end of this series finale. This show was so special to me for so many reasons; for how much I enjoyed the show itself, for the experiences I’ve had because of it, for the people who have come into my life through it.
And I’m not saying the show was 100% perfect 100% of the time, but it was extremely important to me and it changed my life for the better. I know I’m incredibly biased because I have had the pleasure of meeting so many people involved in making this show and they have all been so wonderful, but I’m not even exaggerating; the entire shape of my world is different than it was five years ago, and some pretty big parts of it can be traced back to this show.
I wrote for a different website when this show started, and when that website unceremoniously dumped all its freelancers, the first thing Heather said to me was that my Wynonna Earp recaps could have a new home at Autostraddle. It was only one season in, and it was already clear how important this show was to me. And so I started writing here, which has been one of the most professionally and emotionally fulfilling experiences of my life.
Wynonna Earp also brought me the friends that introduced me to D&D, and Autostraddle brought me my adventuring party, and I truly would not have survived 2020 without them. This show has brought the people I love most in this world, including people I don’t think I ever would have met if not for our shared love for this show. And now they’re the people I can message on bad days, after a frustrating work meeting or from a hospital waiting room. They’re the first people I want to share my good news with. They’re the people I stay up til 3am with talking about nothing and everything, they’re the people I’d go anywhere with just to spend time with them, even if we never get farther than 60 ft from the hotel, because we could make a cursed triangle of murdertrees fun. We have the same sense of humor and the same understanding that sometimes a TV show isn’t “just” a TV show. Sometimes it’s your comfort, your hope, your anchor. Sometimes it’s home.
When Waverly Earp looked at her sister and said, “We have cell phones, ding dong,” it felt like she was reaching through the screen and comforting me directly. Stop crying, silly, just because the show is ending doesn’t mean it’s over. It doesn’t mean all the feelings you had never happened, it doesn’t mean the memories you made will be forgotten, it doesn’t mean the friendships you made are going to vanish into thin air. The powers that be can stop ordering new episodes of Wynonna Earp, but they can never take Wynonna Earp away from us. We don’t need new Wynonna Earp episodes to make more Earp memories. (Though frankly more episodes would be nice.)
Part of me hopes this is like when you’re at a party and you start to leave but then someone calls you over and an hour later you run into someone you already said goodbye to. Or when you say your teary goodbyes to a room full of people only to return 30 minutes later because you forgot your bag. I don’t care how awkward it would be that I wrote a farewell letter to my favorite show and then it got renewed. I’ll take that on, it will be worth it. Because last time I said goodbye to my friends, I didn’t know it would be a year and a half before I hugged them again and it breaks my heart. I’d rather say goodbye a thousand times then have wasted my last opportunity.
So first I will say thank you. Thank you to the writers and showrunner, Emily Andras, who gave us this gift. Thank you to Melanie Scrofano, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Kat Barrell, Tim Rozon, Varun Saranga, and everyone in the cast who gave this show their all, whether their parts were big or small. And I will say goodbye to you, Wynonna Earp. Goodbye to all the inside jokes and big gay moments and heartbreaks and hiatuses and fights and renewals and celebrations. Goodbye to all the leather jackets and crop tops and Stetsons. Goodbye to the tears and laughter. Maybe we’ll say hello again, but maybe we won’t. Maybe that’s okay, because this time together was so special.
As much as I hate goodbyes, this episode was a perfect one. And we’ll always have Purgatory.