Thursday, April 18, 2024

Nicole Haught and The Terrible, Horrible, Actually Pretty Good Day

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Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 3 Review, “Gonna Getcha Good”

In which every queer woman spontaneously combusts from cheerleader Waverly. Oh, and some guy with maggots and a feed sack on his face forces people to kill themselves. Great combo, right? Only in Purgatory.

OMG, what?

About that cheerleader Waverly thing…it starts the episode. Once I Nicole Haught recovers, things get frisky. Once again, Wynonna interrupts, and just in time to see a knicker-less Waverly demonstrate her high kick. That’s right, that cheer routine was commando. (Where are Doc’s vapors when you need them?) Nicole leaves for work, Wynonna works out her sexual frustration polishes her gun. At the high school gym, a guy rips out his own liver while the lovechild of Scare Crow and Rorschach with the voice of Nolan’s Batman stares at him from the trophy case. At the crime scene, Nedley tells Nicole to kick the case to BBD, and she don’t look happy.

“You’ve polished the shaft hard enough.”—Waverly

Doc, meanwhile, gets cranky about Rosita being behind on her ‘cocktail’ and Wynonna gets jealous of Rosita. Wynonna and Mercedes do shots, and Mercedes tries to set Wynonna up with Perry. She can tell Wynonna needs to get laid. Perry thinks she as hot as Mercedes does, but Wynonna’s not into it…yet. At BBD, Jeremy doesn’t have anything final about the symbol in the school. Oh, and the self-evisceration doesn’t seem connected. Perry calls to ask Wynonna out, and she agrees. For sex the investigation. When he hangs up, he drains blood out of a skinned rabbit into a bowl. As you do.

“Snitches get stitches.”—Wynonna

Waverly helps Wynonna pick out lipstick for her not!date, then turns into Gooverly and eats the lipstick once Wynonna leaves. (Hey, it’s better than spiders.) At the high school, Mercedes gives a pep talk. Wynonna and Perry discuss letting go of the past but are interrupted by a drunk Skip Morgan raving about Bryce being dead. Perry drags him away very suspiciously. Lucky for him, Wynonna thinks this is hot. She tries to recruit Waverly to help out, but Waverly has plans with Nicole. Wynonna doesn’t want her to forget she’s an Earp and has priorities; Waverly doesn’t take kindly to her sister’s concern. What with the whole “maybe not actually an Earp thing” going on in her head.

“When you stop dating psychos then you can start giving me relationship advice.”—Waverly

Inside the gym, WayHaught flirting suddenly becomes, as Nedley puts it, “a public display of gal pal-it is” (a make-out sesh) when Waverly sees the trophy and becomes Gooverly. Nicole takes out her annoyance on your not-so-friendly neighborhood pervert Tucker Gardner (Mercedes’ brother), who she catches taking upskirt photos of the cheerleaders on his phone. Wynonna finds still drunk Skip with blood on his door and forehead he says Perry put there. Creepy McSackface shows up to force Skip to pull out his own entrails, but he doesn’t finish the job. Down at the station, Nicole watches Tucker get off scot free because his parents were wealthy good people.

“I’m sorry, did I hit my head and wake up in patriarchal bullsh*t land?”—Nicole

Wynonna arrives to pick up books for Waves. Perfect time for Nicole to confide that she’s noticed Waverly is acting, well, not exactly like herself. Wynonna brings up BBD, which was exactly the right (and wrong) button to push. Poor Nicole, it all went downhill from the cheerleading. Perry shows up at the homestead; Doc takes a little too much pleasure knocking him out, just in case he’s the bad guy. Only he’s not. Waverly explains the symbols and blood he made were protective. They wake him up, and he explains that 10 years ago, the hockey team summoned a marzaniok. It’s basically a genie-like creature that can grant wishes, but exacts a price. And it’s harvest time

“It’s true, you are some kind of paranormal warrior.”—Perry

Doc suggests using the demon to help Dolls. See, he needs demon blood for the serum he’s been cooking for Dolls (told you so!). Wynonna agrees not to kill the demon. In town, Doc and Perry find another dead hockey player. Waverly runs into Tucker on the way back from seeing Skip’s wife, and he’s all kinds of gross. Gooverly doesn’t take kindly to his casual sexism and homophobia. But a call from Doc interrupts her choking him, and she leaves to find Skip. Wynonna gets the trophy from the school after beating up a couple of jerky teenagers.

“There, there, compadre. At this rate you’ll be broken enough for her in no time.”—Doc

At the station, Skip is in jail for drunk driving. Unfortunately for Nicole, the marzaniok shows up, making her already bad day even worse. Doc, Wynonna, and Perry show up to contain it. The marzaniok tempts Wynonna with whatever she wants. So she wishes the monster back into his trophy, saving Perry and Dolls in the process. She and Perry share a kiss, but it’s not to be. Wynonna believes she’s too broken for him (cue ugly crying). Nedley lets Nicole in on the Purgatory secret: everyone just wants a normal life. He tells her he’s grooming her to be sheriff after him, as she’s the perfect person to watch out for the normals. He then hands her a file on Tucker Gardner, explaining that he’s playing a long game.

“Trying to save the others, sometimes that’s all we can do right?”—Wynonna

At the Gardner homestead, Mercedes cuts Tucker off from his money, protection, and privilege. Wynonna inspired her. But before she can enjoy her life change, the Women in Black grab her. At the bar, Waverly translates the incantation for the Marzaniok. Doc explains to Wynonna that he promised Dolls he wouldn’t tell her about the serum, as he’s expendable. Just as he’s explaining that Dolls would be a fool to come back to Purgatory, Dolls crawls into the shed in the homestead. Too bad Gooverly is being a magpie and ignores him.

His head does look naked. Poor Doc.

Favorite One Liner: “The people that choose to live here, they want a simple life in a small town with a sh*tty hockey team with a view of the Rockies, and some of us feel that that’s worth ignoring the occasional mermaid poltergeist.”—Nedley

I Gotta Say…

Brendan Yorke wrote a doozy! This season is relentless. With the pacing thus far, we truly are on the Fury Road, and it looks like that’s not letting up any time soon. I love it. And for all the body horror this episode, the gore levels were fairly low. Nothing’s fake looking, but the violence lacks the voyeurism cloaked in ‘realism’ that so pervades the Dark and Gritty™ narratives on TV these days. It’s a fine line, and like Johnny Cash, Wynonna Earp walks it with dignity.

Tucker is the real villain. He’s all of the worst things every woman has had to experience at the hands of entitled men. The demands for smiles, the casual misogyny, sexism, and gross male gaze. Then you have the flagrant dismissal and disgust toward her being queer. Plus, he’s a white, wealthy, trust fund kid. He’s the Dolores Umbridge to the marzaniok’s Voldemort. Creepier and more frightening because he’s a known evil, a villain we’ve faced every day of our lives.

The continued balance of action and emotion continues to impress, as does the writing. If I hadn’t known that three different writers wrote each of the last three episodes, I wouldn’t have been able to tell. The writing is honestly so seamless, and the tone and characters so consistent, you’d think it all fell out of the same head. Though maybe Andras is actually the queen of a hive-mind-like collective brain. You never can tell with Andras. I’d join that hive-mind, ngl.

Back to dialogue. The rapid fire snark hides a surprising amount of depth in its quippiness. Characters like Wynonna and Doc hide their feelings under glibness, so if you scratch the surface, their words will break you apart. Melanie Scrofano (an acting queen) may deliver lines like “Sometimes that’s all we can do, right?” and “No, I’m the one who’s broken”, with a wry raise of her eyebrows, but her voice tells a different story. That slight hitch in her throat that she does conveys a world of hurt hiding not so far below the surface. At least she didn’t cry this episode. I die a little inside when Wynonna cries. Seriously, when Wynonna Earp breaks down enough to show her feelings, it’s a wonder all of Purgatory doesn’t drown with tears.

As far as Doc is concerned, this episode proves a point made in the comments from last week. That Doc wants to be Wynonna’s choice, but also doesn’t want to be her default choice. I also have to wonder if Dolls’ mortal danger reminds him of his own immortality. Which reminds Doc that he will eventually outlive Wynonna, hence his comments about making deals you regret. Just punch me in the face. It would hurt less.

Speaking of my feelings, Nicole and Nedley stole the whole episode. I mean, I loved that opening scene (as Nicole said, “that’s everybody’s thing”), but Nicole and Nedley managed to top it. One, my girl Nicole really did have such a terrible day. And no one noticed. She’s been suffering quietly, onscreen but still behind the scenes, since this season began. Wynonna was the only one to see the truth (not Waverly), and then used it against her. By the time Nicole yells at the marzaniok at the end, I’m right there with her.

Honestly, I was so mad when Nedley brushed her off and let Tucker go but then…he turned right around and became the best damn Cop Dad ever. Did you catch how well this was done? Nedley didn’t just offer her a future and then tell her to earn it or wait for it. He told her his plans for her, then gave her the space to start making that reality true for herself. She immediately wanted to make changes, and he stepped aside. Good Lord. This is so well done.

Nicole is so well done. She feels useless and overqualified for her job and wants something where her her work will be recognized. But Nedley pegs her perfectly. She isn’t the hotshot that solves the big flashy stuff; she’s the cop who cares about everyone, the person who keeps the ‘normal people’ safe. She’s the Steve Trevor to the Earp Sisters’ Wonder Woman, saving the day so that they can save the world. And god if this doesn’t mess me all up inside. Nicole has such a huge heart and cares so much about everyone. She’s intuitive, insightful, and nurturing. She leads with her empathy and intuition and knows people better than they know themselves. Oh my god, she’s my favorite character type (I have a piece on that coming up, so stay tuned).

I mean, how choked up she gets after Nedley’s “Just be a good cop it matters” kills me. She matters. Her work matters. It’s what she’s always wanted, to do work that matters and keeps people safe. And now she’s getting it as the new sheriff in training (*sniff* my precious baby). I think this might make up a little bit for the bs she had to deal with today.

I’m grateful to see the tension between Waverly and Nicole isn’t going away after the makeup sex, a hope I voiced last week. Not that I have any reason to be surprised. Emily Andras did describe WayHaught this season as “sexy, sexy drama”, so… Honestly, their relationship tension is written and acted so well. The stakes are neither infantilizing nor Shockingly Dramatic™. They’re real. WayHaught is proof that you can write an arc with real consequences for a romantic relationship between queer women and have the relationship itself still feel safe. High stakes ≠ death or breakup.

Sexy, sexy drama Exhibit 12 (and counting).

We got some interesting tidbits about Waverly’s character this week, too. We learned she’s always been prone to being more invested in other people’s accomplishments than her own, used to playing second fiddle. Despite being prom queen, head cheerleader and valedictorian, she watched Champ play video games rather than give her own valedictorian speech. She likely missed her own graduation for him. The metaphor is pretty clear when you think about it. The episode started with her in her old cheer uniform, then we find out she was the head cheerleader. Get it? It’s a metaphor for her life. Always the head of the cheer squad rather than the one in the middle of the action.

It only makes Nicole’s remark about Waverly losing her sweetness that much more poignant. On the one hand, yes Waverly for being her own person and not sitting on the sidelines! As Wynonna said, she’s come a long way. On the other, we don’t want to see Waverly lose the warm heart and supportiveness that makes her such a great sister, girlfriend, and person. Somewhere in there, she needs to find balance between orbiting around someone and pushing everyone away like Wynonna does.

Gee, it’s like Wynonna being in touch with her emotions and more vulnerable and Waverly finding assertiveness and making her own way in the world are a foil for each other or something. It’s almost like sisters are a great way to explore two sides of the same coin. I wish other shows would realize this.

I see you, Andras Yorke

  • Good job with the nasty woman reference.
  • I’ve been waiting for that Breaking Bad reverence, ofc Wynonna wouldn’t let me down
  • Can I say how much I love Dani Kind as Mercedes?
  • Jealous Nicole at the beginning is so cute. She doesn’t want those cross-eyed hooligans checking out her girl.
  • Love how Waverly throws out the “flaming ladybug” line thinking she and Wynonna are doing a bit, then Wynonna actually calls herself one.
  • Also, “calm down flaming ladybug” is my new motto.
  • The look of pain on Waverly’s face when Wynonna mentioned forgetting being an Earp. My heart.
  • That little snort Melanie Scrofano does is adorable.
  • We know now for a fact that Waverly doesn’t remember what Gooverly does.
  • I used to watch my older brother play video games for hours. I really am Waverly in so many ways.

Don’t forget to enter the Wynonna Earp giveaway!

And come back next week for a good ol’ fashioned bar shoot up scene and Dolls giving away Gooverly’s secret!

Images Courtesy of SyFy

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