Queer TV

Wynonna Earp Recap 2.8: One Ring to Bind Them

Whoa Nelly. Saddle up everybody, we’ve got ourselves one heck of a plot monster this week. The last few episodes were warm and fuzzy character-driven feelings-fests. This one is more like a Wikipedia entry. And also an overt homage (or ripoff, depending on your point of view) to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Let’s get into it.

We open on a frozen lake, where Willa has thrown Waverly’s teddy bear and where we see a very young Waverly running out to get it. The ice cracks, and the adult Waverly having this flashback tells us that Willa did it on purpose, and would never have rescued her even if she’d stuck around long enough to see Waverly go under. The context of this story is Waverly talking out her To-Earp-or-Not-to-Earp feelings with Wynonna. She thinks Willa hated her and their dad hated her because maybe he wasn’t her dad at all. Wynonna doesn’t remember it that way. She remembers Waverly coming home from the hospital, and “Mama used to call you her angel.” She remembers naming Waverly herself. And maybe both of them are remembering it right or maybe not, “But it doesn’t mean you’re not an Earp.” She asks Waverly who pulled her out of the lake after she fell in, and Waverly responds “You did.” Wynonna definitely doesn’t remember that.

Then Dolls’ truck pulls up to take Wynonna to the doctor and Waverly runs up to meet him, leaving her pregnant sister to waddle up the hill alone. Rude.


Out on the highway, good samaritan Juan Carlo stops to check on some stranded motorists but instead finds himself face to face with Mercedes. Two episodes ago she said they weren’t strong enough yet to handle Juan Carlo, but I guess breaking that second seal put a little pep in their steps. He’s like “I put you in a box!” and Mercedes is just like “It was made of plywood and you left a giant hole in it, Padre.” Obviously they want the third seal. Obviously Juan Carlo talks a big macho game about not giving it to them. Obviously Beth bites him, because dang: that girl likes to snack. For some reason she bites him on the back through his coat instead of on his neck which is right there. I admittedly don’t have much experience in cannibalism but that just seems like the wrong way to do things.

At Shorty’s, Rosita is alive! She’s coming down the stairs and flirting with Doc and I guess they are still a thing, which I’m happy about. He tells her she really ought to make friends with the Earp girls, because he might not always be around to protect her. Is she a revenant? For some reason I just assumed she was when we first met her and Doc offered her “protection”. Maybe the way she called Wynonna “your friend with the big gun.” But I’m realizing that they’ve never actually said that she’s a revenant so who knows. He tried to convince her that they’re more than just the law, and the way he says “Everybody loves Waverly” is really tender and sweet. He tells her he’s going to the Salt Flats, and that’s the last we see of him this week. Kind of.

Wynonna is at the OBGYN for a checkup. All I could think during this scene is how weird this must be to do as an actor when you’re also going to actual appointments as a pregnant human. It’s such a specific thing. I wonder if she was ever like “No, Pretend Doctor, you’re doing it wrong.”  Also I keep wanting to abbreviate “doctor” to “doc” but that is just not a possibility on this show. Anyway. They discuss adoption and “options”, or at least they say those words, but Wynonna shuts down pretty quickly. Then the doctor shows her the ultrasound image without a lot of warning and Wynonna is just out of there. She gives Dolls an envelope for Wynonna, which is “confidential”, and he runs out after her. But all he finds is blood and some ripped up pamphlets and the exhaust of a black pickup truck hightailing it out of there. (I rewound this scene so many times on first viewing like “Are we supposed to know what all that paper is on the ground?” But I guess the answer was no.)

Oh dear.

Dolls goes to Nedley to run the plates, but Nedley doesn’t need plates to know that that’s Juan Carlo’s truck. He suggests Dolls try talking to that awful fireman cultist from earlier this season. Dolls brings him in for an interrogation and he is condescending and dumb, saying things like “Those demons breaking seals all over town aren’t our problem. We are here to fight DEMONS. Which those are. But somehow they are not our problem.” I hate him so much. I’ll do my best to never screencap his face. Luckily Wynonna calls at that moment so Dolls doesn’t have to talk to this guy anymore. She seems kinda fifty-fifty on whether she’s been kidnapped or not, but she does tell Dolls she’s at a church before Juan Carlo snatches her phone and disconnects the call.

While all this is going on, Waverly and Nicole are playing pool at Shorty’s and being all handsy and cute. Nicole is dressed like a Pink Lady from Grease. Waverly is dressed like Waverly. They’re talking about Waverly’s uncertain parentage, and Nicole is like “If Wynonna says she brought you back from the hospital, who are you gonna believe, her or Bobo?” And then Waverly tells that instead of worrying about it forever, she’s gone ahead and sent in a DNA test, and Nicole should expect to see it at work because it’s being mailed there for whatever reason. Nicole is like “Blood test what blood test I have never heard of such a thing” and “Are you sure you want to know?” They are interrupted by Rosita, who is making an attempt at friendliness. She wants to throw Wynonna a baby shower, to help her see this baby as a blessing, and that sounds like a terrible idea! Nicole is all for it though, like “Great idea, yes, a baby shower, that will be a perfect distraction for Waverly, I mean Wynonna, I mean don’t look at me.” Waverly texts Wynonna an invite to meet her for nachos. The perfect cover. Honestly nacho night is a better plan than baby shower anyway. They should just do that.

Tell me more, tell me more.

Out at the church, Juan Carlo tells Wynonna that her sister is texting about nachos, and Wynonna is like “Well, looks like I ought to get going then.” She pulls Peacemaker on him but it doesn’t glow because he’s still not a demon. We do see the spot where Beth bit him earlier, and it didn’t even break through the fabric of the coat! There’s a stain, but no holes or blood. And it is definitely the same coat. But he’s all “Chill out. You know I’m not a bad guy, and you let me kidnap you with only a little punching. Go do this ritual in that church because I say so.” She asks if she’ll be back in time for nacho night and he says “The Earp Sisters will be reunited before sundown,” which sounds very much like he is not talking about nacho night at all, and maybe not about Waverly at all. And then she asks if the ritual will show her how to stop the Widows and he says “It will show you a shitload!” Again, this does not answer the very direct question she is asking.

But despite the ominous vagueness of everything, Wynonna goes into the church and does the ritual, and she maybe gets a quick tingle out of it but otherwise feels pretty unchanged. So she leaves, and shows up at Shorty’s, and I am confused about what happened in between. Because she doesn’t think anything is weird yet. So did she walk all the way back to shorty’s from the Church of Nowhere? When the weird stuff starts happening, she notices it right away. So she would have noticed walking through the church doors straight into the bar, right? I’m gonna tell you right now, this part of the episode is hard to keep track of.

So Wynonna is at Shorty’s, and there’s Doc, but he doesn’t pay any attention to her chatterboxing, which is weird but not weirder that the exit to a church being the entrance to a bar miles away, but this bit of weirdness she notices. And then she’s suddenly not at Shorty’s at all anymore. She’s at some other bar outside of Purgatory, and it is A Very Long Time Ago. Doc Holliday is gambling and dying of tuberculosis, and Bobo Del Ray is William the Bloody Bad Poet, except instead of poetry he believes in Wyatt Earp. He’s there to deliver a message to Doc: Wyatt Earp needs his help to take down the Demon Sheriff of Purgatory. Doc is unmoved. He runs Bobo off, and then there are gunshots and I can’t tell where or when they are happening. The transitions in this whole time travel sequence are confusing.

Wyatt wanted me to tell you: “My heart expands, tis grown a bulge in it…”

Wynonna gives herself a pep talk and follows the noise outside and finds herself now in downtown Olde Purgatory. A couple walk by and do us the massive favor of explaining the entire lore of this show in like twenty seconds: Wyatt shot Clootie and Clootie cursed Wyatt. Wyatt left town to visit “a dying friend.” Clootie’s three Widows are steaming mad. They’re “the Padre’s” problem now.

There’s a blood trail leading out of town, and Wynonna follows it. It leads, of course, to the church. And I still have no concept of where this church is supposed to exist in relation to Shorty’s or the rest of the town. Inside she finds Bobo, slumped in a pew and bleeding out. Then suddenly it’s a different time in the same place, because now the Widows are also here, caught in bear traps. And a young Constance Clootie is binding them with magic. The husband they’ve been talking about lately is none other than The Demon Clootie. And then suddenly it’s either yet another time or just a really awkward introduction, because Father Juan Carlo shows up like Dr. Nick from The Simpsons all “Hiiii everybody!” and punches one of the Widows.

Less confusing Interlude! At Shorty’s, party prep is well on the way. There are ugly decorations and Rosita has come through with a piñata shaped like a giant baby. I cackled. She says it’s full of donuts but this is one of those empty-coffee-cup situations where you can tell by the way they carry it that it is not full of any such thing. Rosita leaves to make drinks, and Waverly is like “Why is she being nice to us? She hasn’t spoken to me in like three episodes.” And Nicole is like “To be fair, she hasn’t appeared at all in the last three episodes except for when you saw Doc snoozing in her crotch so that’s not really her fault.” And also “You Earp girls are a hard party to crash.” Waverly decides to get drunk and give Rosita a chance.

I also brought a slip n slide with a vagina at the end, but that’s really for all of us.

Also in the modern timeline, Dolls shows up at the church and confronts Juan Carlo. Dolls is impressively unimpressed when Juan Carlo uses the force to steal his gun right out of his hand. Dolls is in his most macho tough guy posturing stance while he’s talking to Juan Carlo, but when he goes inside and sees that Wynonna is alive and mostly okay, he collapses on her in such gentle relief.

His immediate worry assuaged, Dolls heads back outside to have a more in-depth conversation with Juan Carlo. Juan Carlo gives a speech that goes something like “I am vague and unhelpful because that is my curse. But I don’t care about the consequences anymore, so I guess at this point I am being vague and unhelpful out of habit. Sorry about that. Anyway, I caught gangrene from Beth Gardner gumming my shoulder through my coat. Alas, I am dying.” And then one of the Widows comes hoverboarding across the frozen prairie and Dolls is hyped up for something to kill, honestly. When he stalks off to fight, Juan Carlo hilariously calls out “Don’t worry about me, save Wynonna!” as if Dolls was ever considering anything to the contrary.

Back in time, Bobo and Juan Carlo and Constance Clootie have shut the Widows up in their box, complete with that gaping armhole. They make a plan, which is that each of them will consecrate a seal, and while those seals are unbroken they will keep The Demon Clootie bound and buried. For whatever dumb reason they concoct this plan right next to the box of Widows, who smartly do not say “Hello, we can HEAR you.”

The key is to loudly explain every aspect of your plan mere inches from your mortal enemies.

The three seal-people leave to do their rituals, and Wynonna means to follow them, but winds up back in the church, where Bobo is again bleeding out. When Wyatt fought Clootie, Clootie grabbed Bobo to use as a shield, and Wyatt took the shot right through him. Constance gloats. She knows about the curse, and the curse dooms anybody killed by Wyatt’s gun to go to hell and come back a demon to haunt every new Earp heir until the curse is broken. Bobo is like “I can’t go to hell, I’m nice!” Constance tell him she’s so sorry there’s nothing she can do to help him, that is, unless he can help her find the bones of her demon offspring. He hesitates, but, like, he really doesn’t want to be a demon.

She leads him to the well where she’s thrown Doc. And this whole “immortal trapped in a hole forever” plot has always reminded me a lot of when Connor and Tina from The L Word sunk Angel to the bottom of the sea that time. (Maybe they should have sunk the Widows’ box to the bottom of the ocean?) Doc is begging for help, and Constance is presenting Bobo with a moral dilemma. Doc is in the well not for anything he did wrong, but to punish Wyatt Earp for killing Constance’s demon kids. Doc is also in possession of a ring that grants him immortality, which potentially could prevent Bobo from ever dying and therefore from ever becoming a demon. But if you take the ring from Doc, he dies. And if you take the ring at all, well, it’s also the third seal. So he’d be taking something very dangerous out of its hiding place and out into the open. There’s no good answer, and by even presenting Bobo with the puzzle she is forcing him to be bad.

Bobo lowers down a spool of thread and tells Doc to tie the ring to it, and when he’s done that, Bobo will throw down a rope. Doc refuses. He doesn’t trust it. And so Bobo drops the string and leaves him in the well, maybe because the ring is safer in the well and maybe because he’s salty that Doc wouldn’t give it to him. Probably a little bit of both. So Bobo has committed to dying, and to not helping Constance. She’s all “Someday you will.” And now he’s bitter and his voice breaks and sounds like the Bobo we know, and he says “You don’t have anything I want.” And she’s all “Someday I will.”

Well hey there son, seems you’ve gotten yourself in a bit of a pickle!

At Shorty’s, Waverly and Rosita are getting tanked and playing Never Have I Ever, and Nicole is looking a little jealous about how fast Waverly came around on Rosita. In her defense, Rosita is very great, especially when they pivot to Pictionary and she says “I hope you’re as good at drawing a placenta as I am!” While Rosita is off getting more games, Waverly reaches for her purse but grabs Nicole’s instead, and there’s a big ol’ honkin’ DNA Test envelope stick right out of the top that literally has Waverly’s name on it. And she’s already opened it! Waverly is like “Why didn’t you tell me?” and Nicole says the worst thing she could possibly say in this context, which is “Because I love you.” And, okay. The first time I watched this, I was like “Well if it’s in her purse probably she was planning on showing her eventually, maybe it’s just not the right time because they’re in public and now they’re drunk” and all kinds of excuses. But upon rewatching it, Nicole makes multiple references to how Earp-y Waverly is and deliberately avoids the subject of the test, and now I’m not sure if she was ever going to tell her. And why did she read it first? Was it addressed to her maybe and she opened it before she knew what it was? Because why would you even want to read it first and have to carry around that burden of knowing something nobody else knows? It’s just so not cool. Probably the actual excuse is “I honestly did not know what to do, and I understand now that the thing I chose was the wrong thing.” And that’s understandable on a human level, but not necessarily forgivable on a trust level.

Waverly is rightfully upset, and she leaves with the envelope.

Serves you right for lying to your lady, Officer Haught.

Dolls is in the woods trying to fight the Widows, but they are too ghosty and too quick for him, and they hit him with a double dose of venom and start talking about dinner. But he uses his dragon powers to melt the venom away (so it is venom or freeze breath? Or it some deadly new combo of the two?) And apparently gangrenous human is more delicious than fresh, healthy whatever-the-heck-Dolls-is, because the Widows are going to town on Juan Carlo now. Dolls rolls up all “Bet you thought you’d seen the last of me,” and the Widows disappears to somewhere slightly offscreen for long enough for Dolls to mercy-kill Juan Carlo and barricade himself in the church with Wynonna. (The barricade doesn’t seem very useful considering how light those pews looked and the fact that the doors open outwards, but okay.) He finally succumbs to the frost venom and passes out next to Wynonna.

The Widows try to storm the barn despite only seconds ago being scared enough of Dolls to run away from him, but they can’t get in because “he has claimed sanctuary,” but the problem might be that seem to be trying to slide the doors open instead of pulling them. Either way, they decide to just burn the church down. (They recite a couplet that rhymes “barn” with “burn.” I don’t want to talk about it.)

Back in olden times, Wynonna is back in the church with dying Bobo, but now he sees her, and he calls her his angel. He says he’s caught glimpses of her before, too. Wynonna is like “You left Doc in that well to die,” because she’s looking for a way to keep hating him, but even she knows that’s not really enough. I’m conflicted on this whole Bobo backstory to be honest. It’s obviously super tragic to be doomed to evil when you’re basically very good. But it also feels hand-wavey to make Bobo so squeaky clean? He always had complexity, I always could tell he wasn’t mindlessly evil. I dunno. Michael Eklund is great. I feel like he almost told us this story just in his acting last season and it feels a little heavy handed to see it now. And this whole time travel plot, interesting as it was lore-wise, felt more told than shown. Wynonna was sidelined for most of the episode and might as well have been reading this plot in a book. It’s fun, for sure, but it really feels like they crammed all the lore for the season into this one episode and it’s a little overwhelming.

Inspired by your gun… effulgent.

But I digress. Wynonna tells him his name will be Bobo, later, and I’m like “Well, NOW it will. Do you not understand time travel?!” He says he’s afraid that, since she’s an angel, they’ll be enemies when he comes back. He promises not to hurt her and asks her her name, and after a long pause, she says “Waverly.”

While this scene is happening, Wynonna is coughing more and more and losing consciousness, because in real life the church is filling with smoke. She begs to wake up, and Bobo hops up with the agility of a man who has not been dying of a gunshot for this entire episode and rings the church bells.

Dolls revives Wynonna outside. They were rescued by the firemen cult. Apparently they heard the bells ringing and decided to check it out. I would have thought that the roaring blaze and towering column of smoke might have brought them, since they’re firemen and all, but nope. It was the bells. They are so bad at all of their jobs.

Waverly is back at the lake, reading her DNA results and having the latter half of that memory from the beginning of the episode. This time, she’s been pulled from the ice, not by Wynonna, but by Bobo. She calls him “Papa.” I don’t know if that exactly means he really is her dad? Because obviously the test won’t say “Bobo is your dad” because I highly doubt she sent them any of his DNA. But I’ve thought he was going to be her dad for a while now and it makes sense with how at the beginning of the episode Wynonna said “Mama called you her angel.” So I guess it’s true, and therefore: I CALLED IT.

I just like it when they smile.

At the homestead, Dolls and Wynonna are having a recovery snuggle in bed, and it really does look very cozy and I would not mind napping there with them. Wynonna tells him everything she learned, about Doc’s ring and about the possibility of Demon Clootie rising from the not-exactly-a-grave. Dolls tells her she died for seventy seven seconds. I tell the television screen “SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TAKE HER BACK TO THAT BABY DOCTOR TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS OKAY WITH THE FETUS” but they do not share my concerns. Wynonna’s concern is that, as the Earp heir, does it mean anything that she died a little? Apparently she hasn’t seen Buffy, because of course it means something. What it means, for reasons I don’t understand, is that Bobo Del Ray is back. But in the Previouslys they said the revenants come back when the new heir turns twenty seven? But the new heir is only approximately minus two months old so the math doesn’t really work? Also, does everybody come back or just Bobo? And does Willa come back too because Wynonna shot her with Peacemaker and Juan Carlo said “The Earp Sisters will be reunited before sundown?” Guess we’ll find out.

Does his coat come back from hell too? Because Black Badge def had it in the truck in episode one.


  1. I’ve suspected Bobo was Waverly’s father from season 1. But it also seems too obvious now. Science question, since I don’t understand DNA testing at all. With just Waverly submitting a sample, how exactly would that determine who her parents are? Or did she steal some of Wynonna’s hair and they test her DNA against Wynonna? That’s the thing that really confuses me.

    I thought I would enjoy the time travel episode more than I did. I mean, it was a good episode, and although it was so confusing it did answer a lot of questions. But when I envisioned a time travel episode before season 2 started, I had hoped Wynonna would somehow meet Wyatt. Also it was really confusing to jump back and forth after Wynonna had already time traveled. But for its flaws I’m glad we have answers, like the reason Doc is still alive although Clootie had been killed.

    About the heir, maybe only Bobo resurrects until the heir turns 27, which gives him time to amass a new trailer park army (because they weren’t ALL revenants, right?). Emily said only Bobo resurrects, so hopefully there will be an explanation in the next episode.

  2. She probably sent in some Wynonna hair or something to test against? But yeah I don’t really know how that works.

    I think there was just too much happening in this episode. It was a lot of information all coming in at once, and for me at least the weakest part of this show is the lore so it just didn’t quite click. I wish they could have gotten this information to us through natural character interactions instead of just making us sit with Wynonna in that church and watch it all unfold. It did fill out the world some, so I’m glad for that, but I look forward to getting back to more character driven episodes.

    And yeah, I have no idea what’s happening re: resurrection.

    1. Whoa, here’s a wacky thought. If Waverly secretly took some hair from Wynonna’s hairbrush, what if the hair she plucked wasn’t from Wynonna? I know that’s probably very far fetched, even for this show. But I’m still holding out hope Waverly is an Earp.

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