Previously on Wynonna Earp: Last year there was a character called The Blacksmith but she got murdered by Constance Clootie, this year Mercedes and Beth Gardner had their faces stolen by the demon Widows and they are on the hunt for Doc’s ring which coincidentally was made by Constance Clootie, Waverly kissed Rosita, Rosita is a revenant, everything was good, except that Widow Mercedes is on Nicole Haught’s doorstep right now.
Picking up right where we left off last week, Nicole greets Mercedes by saying “Mercedes, God, your face!” which is exactly how I would greet Mercedes but mine would be much more adoring. Mercedes just tackles her without a lot of preamble and they get to fighting. They say a lot of tough things back and forth and there’s kicking and rolling and whatnot. Then Waverly shows up all Molly Weasley like “Not my Officer Haught, you bitch!” and she makes a big show of twirling around her fighting sticks like she was practicing last week. I guess it was a broom handle? But without a broom on it? She just kind of has a big stick and breaks it in two. She does get some good whacks in, but then Mercedes takes a big, gruesome bite of Nicole’s forearm and disappears. Waverly is left holding Nicole on the floor simultaneously calling an ambulance and begging her not to die. It’s a great opening scene! There are some really good scenes and good moments in this episode, and I love this show, and I love these characters. These are things I need to be very clear about to you and to me, because there are parts of this episode that I really did not love.
Wow okay Mercedes I am sorry about that crack about your face.
At the Hospital, Wynonna is asking Sheriff Nedley for a favor we don’t know about yet but that won’t make any sense once we do know about it, so whatever. I assumed at first she was there about Nicole, but I was incorrect: she’s there for Faceless Mercedes! Dolls did rescue her! They have a sweet moment where obviously Mercedes is unconscious but Wynonna swears to get Mercedes some vengeance and Dolls swears to get Wynonna some candy.
For all the “she has no face” dramatics, that sure does look like a nose.
But then there’s Nicole on a gurney and Waverly in a panic. It’s straight out of Grey’s Anatomy, except that one of the nurses turns out to be the twin sister of Mattie the Blacksmith from last season and if this were Grey’s Anatomy she would of course be twin sisters with Meredith.
Wynonna finds Waverly and calms her down enough to get her to explain what exactly is going on here. First she tells her she “cheated” by kissing Rosita, which Wynonna agrees with me isn’t really an accurate assessment of that situation. But then, in the first of many out-of-character moments from various people in this episode, Waverly volunteers the information that Rosita is a revenant? Like one hour after promising not to do exactly that and with absolutely no reason? I know the excuse for this (and for Waverly’s actions later on) is that she’s panicked and desperate to save Nicole, but we have seen her panicked and desperate before. I don’t buy it. Waverly blames herself for Nicole getting bitten and then gets really weird about Wynonna mentioning that she knows where the third seal is. Dolls and Wynonna sneak off to have a top secret conversation in Faceless Mercedes’ room about how deadly the Widow bite is, which suggests that Waverly doesn’t know how deadly the bite is yet so why would she be panicking hard enough to tell Rosita’s deepest darkest most important secret for no reason at all? It’s malarkey, is what it is.
While that’s happening, Waverly goes outside to get some fresh air and runs into Widow Beth. Beth tells her that human doctors can’t save Nicole and their venom is so big and strong and all that villain stuff, and tells Waverly she’ll give her an antidote if Waverly gets her the third seal. These scenes just feel out of order. If Waverly had already had this conversation before talking to Wynonna, the other stuff wouldn’t have seemed quite so irrational. But here we are!
Beth, you are a terrible monster but your hair looks very nice today.
Nicole is writhing in pain and telling Wynonna how she wants her end-of-life medical care handled, because she doesn’t trust Waverly to let her go (I think that’s meant to seem romantic?) And I don’t know how Wynonna can promise anything at all given that she has no authority to make medical decisions for Nicole, but she does promise, and it doesn’t matter anyway because obviously Nicole isn’t going to die today.
This show, at all times, has a lot of Buffy in it. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. When they are drawing on Buffy for inspiration for plot or tone, it’s very low stakes. If it comes off as kind of silly, so what? This show is kind of silly, and Buffy was kind of silly. But in this episode they are pulling directly from Buffy for some of the huge emotional beats of that show, and it feels cheap. Nicole is in peril for two reasons: to make everybody stand up and fight for her like the Scoobies did for Tara in “Family”, and as an excuse to make Waverly act out in ways she never would like the Dark Willow arc. They’re using Nicole as a prop, and as a result, these scenes that are meant to be emotionally heightened come off feeling transactional. And it is infuriating. Because the one thing I have never doubted on this show is these characters’ love and loyalty for each other.
So, back in Nicole’s hospital room, she is being a big damn hero and also a perfect person telling Waverly how sorry she is and how much she loves her and Waverly is trying to comfort her while also carrying an increasingly heavy burden guilt about kissing Rosita, and the actors are working very hard to make this scene function, and I admire their efforts. Nicole is put in a medically induced coma to slow the venom down, and now it’s everybody else’s job to save her.
Sincerely, though: Please don’t die.
Wynonna, Waverly, Dolls and Jeremy meet up in the waiting room to divvy up responsibilities for Saving Officer Haught. Jeremy brought all of his Widow research and his non-travel coffee mug, all of which he presumably will just be taking straight back to the lab. Except for the mug, which Waverly breaks and feels a lot more concerned about than she did for, say, Rosita’s life earlier in the episode. (If you’re wondering when I’m going to let this Rosita thing drop, the answer is definitely not today.) Jeremy is going to work on an antidote. Dolls is going to talk to the Firemen Cult and maybe get a sample of Juan Carlo’s envenomated flesh. Wynonna is going to grab Doc and try to follow Mercedes’ trail from Nicole’s apartment. (Wynonna says that when she finds Mercedes, she’s “Gonna milk that bitch like a snake.” Something about that line felt so subversive and vulgar and wonderful, and I really do sincerely love this show.) That leaves Waverly to hang out alone in the hospital with nobody around to remind her not to do anything drastically stupid. Sounds good, what could go wrong?
Doc is at Shorty’s, mourning the loss of his immortality (and maybe his luck too, judging by how his poker game is going.) He’s playing cards with a revenant named Stevie who name-drops Bobo and unsubtly tries to get a look at the basement before being run off by Wynonna and Peacemaker. No idea yet what he’s up to, but I suppose we’ll find out. She’s like “Sober up, Doc, we’ve got work to do.” He responds by giving a long and languid speech about the fact that he has to be a regular old human now and also how he doesn’t necessarily work for Wynonna. But Wynonna says “Nicole is dying,” and, like we knew he would, Doc drops all pretense and says “Lead the way.” (This was a really good moment. I liked it a lot, but it was also never in doubt. Why do we need an episode proving how much everybody cares about Nicole when we already know how much everybody cares about her? What are we learning?)
While Doc is getting ready, Wynonna takes the opportunity to confront Rosita with Peacemaker. Wynonna threatens her and obviously feels guilty about it, telling her she needs to go to the lab and be a pincushion for Jeremy to test antivenom on. Rosita tells her she doesn’t need a gun to her head to want to help Nicole, she would have done it anyway. It’s tense and hurtful and nobody leaves the room feeling very good about themselves, and it is a beautiful example of these two characters’ dynamic.
I knew people were mad about that kiss but this seems a little drastic.
Beth apparently has nothing better to do than to walk laps around the hospital today. She grabs Waverly again to have the same conversation they had at the beginning of the episode, except this time she’s actually holding a vial of the antivenom she referenced earlier. (Who cooked that up, anyway? And even though it does turn out to be real,why would you assume it was real? It mostly just looks like raspberry Kool Aid.) Waverly doesn’t know where the seal is but mostly resists the idea she’d hand it over even if she did. She is starting to falter though by the time Beth wanders off on yet another circuit around the building.
Before Waverly can chase Beth down, Nedley stops her for two reasons. The first reason is that he needs Nicole’s keys so he can go pick up her cat, Calamity Jane. I really like his implied history with the cat because it makes me imagine him coming over to watch football or whatever with Nicole and drink beers and have cat-times, and I want that friendship for everybody involved. The second reason is that he wants to tell Waverly that he had to contact Nicole’s next-of-kin. Waverly is like “She doesn’t speak to her parents,” and Nedley is like “Neither did I,” and apparently that conversation ended exactly right there in that impossible place?
Because Waverly immediately heads back to Nicole’s room and finds a super hot woman there dressed not at all like a Doctor and is like “You must be a doctor!” And the lady is like “Coincidentally, yes in fact I am, but also, I am her wife.” And Waverly is SHOCKED. So I guess Waverly, asker of questions at all times, just left Nedley after his vague pronouncement without any follow-up inquiries. Cool. That is exactly how human conversations work in real life. (Also, where does this lady live that she can get to middle-of-nowhere Purgatory in like an hour? Nothing about this makes any sense. I am so salty.)
Who wrote this?! Tina?
They met “rock climbing in Nevada,” which I can buy, but then got Vegas married, and that is just not a believable thing for this character. And also if they were just a short term fling who just happen to have gotten married that one time, what is even the point of this storyline? Why would this ever be a secret if it’s not an actual ongoing relationship? It just feels so hacky that I’m kind of convinced Shae (the wife) is not a wife at all but is maybe a Black Badge agent or something else sinister? God I hope so. (Dolls doesn’t recognize her when he stops by, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.)
Dolls finds the Firemen Cult out in the woods, standing around a forest fire they have of course lit themselves because they remain as always the worst firemen ever. It’s Juan Carlo’s funeral pyre. So not only have they shat all over the teachings of Smokey the Bear, they have also destroyed the only real lead we had for finding samples of venom to test. (I’m not sure if they took any tissue from Nicole herself. Maybe they did? That would make sense.) Ewan the Fire Chief hilariously offers to protect Wynonna’s baby from “dangerous cults,” like, buddy, I can tell by your haircut that you own a mirror. He also says “We can’t beat the Widows, but there’s a chance you all might be able to.” So, in summary, despite being admittedly less capable of killing the things that would be a danger to the baby, he thinks he would be the safer guardian for the baby. He also gives back that Purgatory Fair commemorative plate from the beginning of the season, calling it a “weapon.” (There is a throwaway line in this scene about how Dolls was maybe taken from his family by Black Badge as a child. Could be important someday, but for now, it’s at least curious.
Jeremy is so happy to see Rosita when she gets to the lab, thinking he’s got some help on the chemistry front, but he’s way less enthusiastic when he finds out she’s his guinea pig. He’s not comfortable testing on her (I agree with him that it’s inhumane, but also I wonder who exactly he would feel okay testing on?) She doesn’t give him an option though and sticks the needle in her own arm. I just love Rosita so much and I love how loyal Jeremy is to her and I want her to be happy, okay? I am much more concerned with her place on the team than I am with Nicole’s.
I feel tough when I get even a flu vaccine, look at this hero!
Wynonna and Doc go to Nicole’s house to look for clues, and they find some. Fresh blood, Nedley’s hat on the rack, and Calamity Jane hiding in a closet. They realize Mercedes must have come back and snatched up Nedley when he came by for the cat. Mercedes has him trussed up in one of the million or so empty barns around town, and I only now realize that the bustle on the back of the Widow dresses hangs down like a big ol’ spider butt. I love it! She’s all “Give me the seal!” And he’s just like “I am a startlingly loveable character, you can’t kill me this episode because then everybody would know for sure that Nicole is going to be okay. It’s called ‘plot armor’.” He does get pretty soundly tortured though.
Waverly comes with Dolls back to Black Badge to check up on the antivenom progress, and finally remembers that Rosita is her friend and is horrified to see her being lab-ratted. She takes the IV out (gently! A television miracle!) and tells everybody about Beth’s offer of antivenom in exchange for the seal. Dolls gives her the go-ahead to trade the seal if she can find it, and steps in to take over antivenom-testing duties. Waverly gives him a kiss on the cheek for his help; I hope we can all agree that this was not cheating.
And he even looks good in orange.
Waverly goes back to the hospital to hang out again with Dear God Please Be Fake Wife Shae. Shae tells her “Specifically a thing you should know is that she has iron in her veins.” And this gives Waverly the idea to do the stupidest thing in the history of this show, and a thing that Waverly Earp would never do. She goes to Mattie the Blacksmith’s twin sister and is like “I hear you are an Iron Witch. My girlfriend is part iron. Would you like to make an open-ended deal with me to save her life in a manner I don’t even get to specify?” What even? In what crazy world would she ever do this? How many times have they talked about the dangers of making deals, and she doesn’t even bother to find out what this deal is before shaking on it?
WAVERLY EARP, YOU ARE SMARTER THAN THIS.
So Gretta The Iron Witch gives Waverly a note and says “that’s your cure right there” and the note tells her to check Nedley’s coffee mug. And there she finds the third seal. This is the favor Wynonna asked Nedley at the beginning of the show. To take the third seal. Whyyyyyy. If nobody knows what the seal is why can’t Doc keep it, or Wynonna, or Dolls or anybody in this town with any sort of ability to fight or defend against the Widows? If Wynonna just wanted a hiding spot, she could have thrown it into one of Waverly’s steamer trunks full of costume jewelry and it’d never be seen again. But, nope. The ring goes to Sheriff Nedley, and he hides it in plain sight like it’s a portkey instead of a horcrux.
Knowing that he has the seal does serve to make Nedley’s tough talk in the face of torture more impressive, at least. By the time Mercedes is finishing up with him, his face is looking almost as rough as hers. But before she can finish him off, Wynonna and Doc drive their truck right through the front door and send Mercedes flying into the wall. (Hopefully her spider-butt bustle absorbed some of the impact, nobody deserves a broken tailbone.) Doc shoots her a bunch of times and Wynonna punches her a bunch of times and then gives one in the leg from Peacemaker, which is at least enough to weaken her enough to capture. They bring her back to the lab in a Hannibal Lecter face mask and use a giant needle to take some venom straight from the source, which is I guess all they needed to finish off the antivenom. Dani Kind was a hell of a lot of fun to watch going full-on villain this week, but the way. Hopefully, now that they have both Mercedes(es) in their possession, they can work out some kind of face exchange situation and we can keep her forever.
You better bring that face back in the same condition as when you borrowed it.
Wynonna is skipping, or kind of skip-waddling, through the halls of the hospital, cure in hand, all hyped up on saving the day. But Nicole is already awake and on the mend (and her “wife” is nowhere to be seen), so Wynonna immediately knows that Waverly has done something she wasn’t supposed to.
So Wynonna runs off to vent to Dolls. And Waverly runs off to Shorty’s (without saying goodbye to Nicole, who is supposedly important enough to her that she did all this stuff in the first place.) Wynonna takes a look at the Purgatory Fair plate and has an idea of how to stop the Widows. But at the same time, across town, Gretta takes a look at the Hockey Trophy from earlier this season and has an idea of how she’d like to settle her deal with Waverly. She does a spell to make one Earp sister disappear, so that the other can know how she feels without her own sister. Doc gets in the way, and gets disappeared back down into the well. And at Black Badge, Wynonna disappears. And everybody who is left is now wearing different clothes and seems to have already forgotten Wynonna ever existed.
Wynonna’s face is my face about this whole episode.
So, I am actually okay with Waverly handing over the seal. I think that is a thing she might do if it would definitely save Nicole. But I don’t think she would ever have trusted Beth to give her a real antidote in the first place. And I definitely don’t think she’d have made that deal with Gretta. The Widows could have gotten the ring any number of ways that would make sense within the overarching plot of this season, but instead we get Nicole on her deathbed and Nedley getting tortured all day, and both wind up just being filler in service of setting up an Alternate Universe episode next week. And I’m not gonna lie, I like AU episodes. But we just kind of had one with the Flashback episode a couple weeks ago. (And also if you’re getting constantly compared to Buffy do you really want to take on “The Wish”?) But maybe it’ll be great? I hope so. I’m saying. I really really do love this show.