Thursday, June 20, 2024

Nevermind the WayHaught Drama and Pacing Issues

Share This Post

Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 9 “Forever Mine Nevermind”

I’ll be honest up front. This review is coming to you from a hotel room in Gallup, New Mexico because I’m helping my parents move to Phoenix. It’s been a long day, and I’m tired, so this may not be the most thorough of reviews, but I’ll make it as coherent as possible. Wynonna Earp deserves that much from me after all the joy and happiness it’s given me.

Get ready for a whole lotta the Widow Beth. Nice to see she has a personality!

OMG, what?

We open on Waverly practicing her eskrima (a Filipino martial art) with Wynonna, who makes a comment about Waverly’s fight with Nicole that throws her off her game enough for Wynonna to take her down. Wynonna asks for a night off from fighting/planning/training. Doc runs into a creepy bartender who offers Doc a painting of what looks to be the homestead. Oh, and the bartender is actually a demon who killed the real bartender, and he has a thing for toying with Doc. In Purgatory, Dolls gets his serum dose from Rosita and gives her a gift card to a spa in return. Rosita offers to whip up a really delightful sounding drug for Wynonna’s childbirth. Doc announces he’s going to dinner at Wynonna’s, which upsets Rosita.

“I still can’t get over Constance being their sister wife. Her outfits were so fiercely non-polygamous.”—Waverly

Dolls introduces Jeremy and Waverly to the finer points of cricket. Jeremy tries to like it, and a hangry Waverly accidentally lets slip that Wynonna and Doc are having dinner at her place. Dolls looks displeased. Nicole bursts in to mention she found a body that’s burned beyond recognition but has Tucker’s ID bracelet on it. When the Widow Beth comes down to claim the body, she claims he did it to himself. She also flirts with Waverly, trying to justify Tucker’s gross behavior toward her and Nicole as out of love. Nicole tries to shut it down, but Waverly tells her to back off. She’s still upset about the DNA test, and even when Nicole points out that Waverly lying to Beth to spare her feelings is no different from her lying about the DNA test, Waverly’s not satisfied.

“What medieval misogynist lets a woman go drug free? I need all the drugs, yesterday.” —Wynonna

At the WynDoc dinner, Doc gives Wynonna the painting, which has changed since he bought it. Doc reveals that Constance has been beheaded, and Wynonna drops the bomb that he has the third seal. Back at the homestead, the painting continues to evolve while Wynonna reveals her plan: destroy Doc’s ring, let Clootie rise, then kill him to break the Earp curse. Rosita takes Waverly to the spa to help her relax and get away from her post fight blues. Doc’s not sold on Wynonna’s idea to raise Clootie and takes offense at how glibly she treats his immortality agelessness since it’s tied to the ring. Wynonna calls him selfish for not wanting to sacrifice the ring for the Earp curse. He throws the insult back at her, then decides to walk to Purgatory.

“Keep calm and drink champagne. Just take care of yourself for once.”—Rosita

Apparently only one Black Widow can plan at a time, because Mercedes is nowhere to be seen while Beth uses the scrying rings by herself. Meanwhile, Dolls recruits Jeremy to help him take a fresh look at the seals, and also to make the serum for him instead of Rosita. Jeremy impales his hand on a leftover fingernail from the Widows, and they realize Beth (who had a bandage on her finger) is one of them. Wynonna prevents Doc from leaving. He opens up about his fear of tight quarters ever since his mother died of tuberculosis (he used to hide under the house to listen to her cry), which is what made the well so torturous. They hear sounds in the house and split up.

“Cops are dumb; stealing is fun; my sister-wife is pretty much done.”—the Widow Beth

At the spa, Waverly perceives Nicole’s desire for reconciliation as being controlling and decides to stand up to her. She sends a vicious text that she instantly regrets, now believing Nicole to have been right. Rosita comforts her, and Waverly kisses her impulsively. Rosita leaves to get changed. When Waverly comes to apologize, she finds a frostbitten Tucker crouched over her prone body. He tells Waverly he came back to protect her from his sisters. Jeremy and Dolls investigate the Gardner estate. Tucker tells Waverly he killed(!) Rosita to protect her from ‘corruption’. Wynonna and Doc bicker over missing guns and curses while a creepy doll looks on from a high shelf.

“So you think that because I’m the size of a giant cheeseburger with a baby cheeseburger inside, and maybe a little hungry right now, that I can’t do my job?”—Wynonna

Tucker is acting really entitled and actually controlling with Waverly. He tells her about the Widows stealing the Gardner sisters’ faces just in time for Doc to discover one of them still alive in the basement of the estate. He tracks the Widow Mercedes while Waverly convinces Tucker to let her call Wynonna. It goes to voicemail (Wynonna and Doc are too busy fighting). Luckily Rosita wasn’t dead, and she knocks Tucker out. She also confesses to being a revenant. Dolls tracks the Widow, but Jeremy shows up to protect him and she gets away. Doc and Wynonna realize the demon!doll is behind their bickering in order to get the ring. Wynonna sends the demon!doll to hell, then promises to include Doc both in the baby planning and in the showdown with Clootie. He gives her his ring on bended knee while the painting he bought bursts into flames.

“You kept the receipt, right?”—Wynonna

Tucker goes searching for Waverly but runs into the Widow Beth. She calls him a traitor, paralyzes him, then begins to eat his wrist. The Widow Mercedes finally shows up. Apparently her magic is gone (since when?) and Beth abandoned her, so she begs the head of Constance Clootie and her buried demon husband to show her where the third seal is. They do. At Shorty’s, Waverly promises not to tell Wynonna about Rosita being a revenant while also admitting she believes she’s half revenant herself. With encouragement from Rosita, Waverly decides to go make up with Nicole. At her place, Nicole opens the door to find…the Widow Mercedes.

Favorite One Liner: “No defects, no bubbles, no magic.”—Rosita

I Gotta Say…

First of all, can I get a cheer for pregnant Melanie Scrofano doing all her own stunts? Because I am so freaking impressed by her. Is there anything she can’t do?

Along similar lines, Wynonna gets more and more comfortable with her pregnancy, the ‘high fives’ and ‘baby bump apology’ were adorable. I love how slowly they’re letting this develop, while also still including moments of fear, trepidation, or shock (“Oh, god, it’s gonna have hands.”). It works well, and comes across as very honest and true to Wynonna’s character.

The rest of the episode though…I don’t know, peeps. Maybe it was the long drive today, but I’m really not feeling everyone’s cranky, reactionary behavior. This felt like the episode where all the ships blew up for no reason. Rosita suddenly feeling jealous after Doc declared it was casual. Dolls feeling jealous when he’s always put Wynonna’s desires before his own. This is the guy who pep talked Doc into being a good baby daddy for Wynonna’s sake. Did that one cuddling sesh last week suddenly imbue him with entitlement?

Speaking of entitlement…we all only wish this were actually Tucker’s body at this point.

And don’t even get me started on WayHaught. I didn’t find this round of drama as convincing as the tension earlier this season. It’s predicated upon Nicole acting out of character last episode in lying about the DNA test. Because I find this action unconvincing, any drama derived from it feels out of place.

Moreover, it relies upon Waverly and Nicole continuing to act in ways that don’t feel consistent with their previous characterizations. When has Waverly been slow to forgive Nicole in the past or held onto a grievance for an action done out of love, however misplaced or hurtful it’s results? Everybody loves Waverly. She’s the nicest person in town. Her holding onto this and failing to accept Nicole’s apology seems remarkably bitter for her.

Which could make sense at one level were her reasons for being this way explicated further. We know she ‘has her moments’ of being bitter about her life, and she has a lot going on since the DNA test. But until the end of this episode, we had no idea what the contents were. Without knowing what they said, there’s not enough in universe explanation for this level of resentment toward Nicole. Especially given how supportive Nicole has been of Waverly’s quest from the beginning.

And that’s what I keep coming back to. It’s not only what makes Nicole’s action in hiding the truth so out of character for her, but also what makes Waverly’s reaction feel off base. Other than last week, Nicole has been literally nothing but supportive. She has stood by Waverly the whole time, reassuring and comforting her through all of Waverly’s fears. She called Waverly the “Earpiest Earp of them all” and even got her the documentation she needed to file requests for birth, school, health records, etc (where are those by the way?). Waverly’s reaction seems to throw all that support out the window based on one event that she ought to know is out of character given how much it differs from Nicole’s previous behavior.

And then calling her ‘controlling’? Girl. Your girlfriend is the least controlling person around. What it comes down to is that the narrative doesn’t match Waverly’s reactions to Nicole’s behavior, yet not once is Waverly’s reaction challenged or called out for being off base. Rosita checks her nasty text message and tells her to make up with Nicole. But the narrative never actually undermines Waverly’s assertions that Nicole was a ‘control freak’, and Nicole was definitely not being a control freak. Like, at all.

Waverly’s change of heart happens with the speed of light. She writes one spur of the moment vicious text message that completely changes her perspective to Nicole being in the right. Emotional whiplash much? Granted, Waverly’s over-reacting because of the news about her family, but still. There are more options than “Nicole was wrong” or “Nicole was right,” yet the narrative seems to only want those two perspectives to be in play. It’s overly simplistic, and doesn’t work well with the level of nuance the show is normally capable of when it comes to portraying different perspectives sympathetically.

I get the desire to inject some ‘sexy drama’ into their relationship, perhaps out of fear that it was becoming too stable or overly supportive to the point of saccharine or boring. I’d rather not have a closer to earth WayHaught after seeing something similar happen to Sanvers on Supergirl. But this wasn’t the way to do it.

Instead of hiding it completely, Nicole could have held it back. The seals, the Black Widows, the baby. It’s perfectly within character for Nicole to wait for the right time so as not to overwhelm Waverly. Waverly could still be upset, of course, and feel lied to or like Nicole was being too protective. Only in this scenario, she doesn’t call Nicole ‘controlling’ (which doesn’t fit regardless) and her accusations of “I get to decide when and what’s right for me” have a bit more heft to them. Nicole delaying a reveal instead of outright hiding interferes with Waverly’s desire to control the situation as much as possible because she feels like it’s the only thing she can control.

She could still ask for space because she’s hurt, too, or even blow up at Nicole, only make Waverly’s main sticking point be “stop hiding the truth from me” rather than Nicole being controlling or infantilizing her. It fits in more congruently with her feeling of her family lying her whole life anyway.

See? Much better and no mischaracterizations necessary.

In the end, it felt like the writers were trying to draw too strong a connection between Waverly’s reaction to finding out she’s not an Earp and Tucker’s feeling of not belonging in his own family. There are parallels there, for sure. But by trying to force Tucker and Waverly’s lives to be even more similar, Waverly’s and Nicole’s characterizations suffered in the process. Also, I’m uncomfortable with the choice to create a strong parallel between a homophobic, privileged, wealthy jerk who kidnapped and almost raped a woman in his desire for Waverly, and Waverly herself. Especially because Waverly is a queer woman who suffers sexual and verbal harassment from Tucker. Not the best of characters to be drawing close parallels between.

The demon doll/painting thing was pretty creepy, but with so much else going on, there wasn’t enough room for it to breathe. The scenes between Wynonna and Doc could have packed even more of a punch if there weren’t also two other pretty significant plot lines going on as well. In fact, their scene felt more like the subplot of the episode. It was too rushed for such an emotionally weighty conversation, the transitions between it and the other plots too sudden and jarring. The resolution was equally unsatisfying in its brevity and perfuntoriness.

The rush also meant that threads got dropped in the Black Widow plot line (since when did Widow Mercedes lose her powers? Did Dolls save the surviving Gardner sister?). The pacing was all off this episode, and that’s something Wynonna Earp has done really well this season, so it’s disappointing to see it fall below standard.

Something about the early parts of the dinner scene with Doc and Wynonna felt off as well. Of course Wynonna’s a terrible cook; I expect it. But, I don’t know, maybe the apron was one step to far. She just seemed…diminished. Trying too hard for her normally casually confident self. Wynonna seems more likely to just order a couple of pizzas than to try and play Susie homemaker with Doc in order to tell him her plan to raise Clootie.

The scene discussing the ring, Doc’s agelessness, and his vow to protect her worked significantly better. Their reactions felt real and honest, especially his mixed feelings about destroying the ring and beginning to die. His vow to protect the Earps once he met Wynonna hurt so good, and I appreciated their make up scene a lot.

I did really like Rosita’s metaphor with the champagne though. It’s a good one to explain that perfect isn’t as desirable as it sounds without being too preachy or hackneyed. The reveal of her being a Revenant was pretty cool, too.

Sadly, overall, this week’s episode was a bit of a let down to me, especially after last week’s Bobo reveal punched me in the feels. But I love and believe in this show, so I still can’t wait for next week’s episode. For now, it’s an unfortunate weak point in what so far has been an excellent sophomore season.

Also Dani Kind is so very talented. Is it bad that I kind of root for her?

I see you, Andras Zarowny

  • Who was this demon anyway?
  • Jeremy is way too gay to function sometimes, and I love it. He wants Dolls to like him. Professionally.
  • Wynonna’s one pot meals remind me a lot of mine in college.
  • The painting thing was super creepy.
  • Where is Mercedes? Why is she not involved with Tucker’s dead body?
  • I really don’t like the term ‘daddy’ for a sexual/romantic partner. Shame on Wynonna Earp for making me hear it on this episode.
  • Jeremy and nervous talking is so relatable.
  • Okay, someone else called Waverly their angel (Tucker *hrrk*), this is definitely a theme.
  • The Rosita/Waverly kiss and WynDoc ‘proposal’ are blatant fanservice, but they’re delightful regardless.

Tune in next week for a Waverly screaming for Wynonna, the Widow Mercedes attacking the town cinnamon rolls Nicole and Nedley, and…a cat named Calamity Jane?

Images Courtesy of SyFy

Latest Posts

New Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 Gameplay Overview Trailer Shows Off Co-Op Combat And New Classes

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 Shows Off Intense Combat & Mechanics in Today’s New Gameplay Overview Trailer

Publishing Is Heating Up With These Summer Horror Releases

Summer can be spooky, too! And this summer horror...

Help Your Littles Ones Read Better With Popped: The Reading Game

Popped! The Reading Game is a card game combined...

From the Vault: “Panther Squad”

In his essay on bad movies, critic J. Hoberman...