Saturday, May 18, 2024

Nicole Haught Outshines the Plot on Wynonna Earp

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Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 10 “The Other Woman”

Wynonna Earp is limping its way toward the finale this year, and when I say limping, I mean it. Plot-wise, this episode was as contrived and paper thin as I’ve ever seen this show to be, though I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy every minute of Kat Barrell and Michael Eklund’s acting. Oh, and the show finally officially confirmed Doc and Wyatt were boyfriends. Just in case anyone hadn’t actually figured out the blatant subtext since S1.

OMG, What?

We begin with a flashback to 1887, where Juan Carlo and Bobo talk about Bulshar, the “blood eclipse,” and getting ‘peacemaker’—here a sword—to ‘the champion.’ In the present, a caged-up Bobo tells Wynonna that hope is gone. Jeremy and Waverly arrive with lattes in time for Wynonna to leave, depressed that Bobo can’t tell her more to help defeat Bulshar. Jeremy and Waverly provide a helpful ‘recap’ to bring the audience and themselves up to speed on what we know already about the season. Bobo urges Waverly to ask Doc about a woman named Maeve and the book she kept for Juan Carlo. At the homestead, Wynonna tells Charlie that Bulshar was using the root system of the murder trees to find the garden. They hear a noise outside and find a stranger, Kevin, who says she’s going to help Wynonna save the world.

“Wow, you’re a regular Mariska Hargitay.”—Kevin

At Shorty’s, Nicole finds Doc chowing down on contraband blood and asks him about Maeve, who turns out to be the ancestor of Greta and Mattie Perley. They agree to go to the Perley homestead together, with Doc giving Nicole permission to kill him if he gets bloodlusty. Kevin, meanwhile, admits to being a plot contrivance from an order tasked with ‘keeping the balance.’ She tells Wynonna of a weapon her man bosses don’t want Wynonna to have. Kevin tells Wynonna and Waverly they need to retrieve Bulshar’s severed arm from the mine to synthesize a weapon. At the Perley homestead, Doc explains to Nicole that Maeve was burned for being a witch. Apparently, her ghost is still around. She possesses Nicole, telling Doc she’ll give him the book if he kills Nicole so Maeve can have the body.

“Weather update, being the heir still sucks balls.”—Wynonna

Waverly and Wynonna find a radioactive revenant at the old uranium mine. Waverly recognizes the revenant as “One-armed Clint” and realizes his second, green arm is actually Bulshar’s. Doc calls Jeremy and Robin for help with Nicole. When he arrives, Maeve hops bodies into Jeremy, then hops back into Nicole because she needs someone more “purely human.” She then coughs up a journal page loogie to prove she has the book. Wynonna attacks the revenant, but as he’s radioactive, she only ends up hurting herself. They limp away as the revenant limps after them.

“Just so you know, he does not like you right now.”—Maeve as Nicole

Robin plays jazz music for Bobo, which makes him a teensy less crazy. Maeve, meanwhile, inadvertently gives up the journals hiding place—in the fireplace. When Doc and Jeremy retrieve it, Maeve forces Nicole to shoot herself. Thankfully, the gun was loaded with wooden bullets so Nicole doesn’t die (….okay). Maeve is knocked out of Nicole and shoots a fireball from the fireplace, setting the cabin on fire. Charlie and a team of firefighters show up. Waverly and Wynonna make it to the Gardner home, where Mercedes tells Waverly that she healed her. The revenant attacks and in the ensuing fight, Waverly realizes Bulshar’s ring controls his arm, so she forces the revenant to choke itself. Charlie saves Doc, then Doc attacks him. Kevin tells Waverly and Wynonna that the revenant was a test to see if Waverly truly was “the one,” i.e., “the champion.”

“The problem with humans is that sometimes…sometimes…you make truly beautiful things.”—Bobo

Nicole discovers Charlie’s body. She tells Doc to leave and that if she ever sees him again, she’ll kill him. Kevin tells Waverly that her father was one of the angels to guard the garden. Jeremy, Robin, and Nicole use the book to discover that Bulshar was the serpent in the garden. That’s right, he’s Satan. They also learn that they can only destroy Bulshar on the night of the blood eclipse, which only occurs once every 120 years. And guess what, it’s tomorrow! Kevin tells the Earp sisters that Waverly has to take her father’s place, which would mean she turns to stone. Waverly isn’t sure she can to it, so Kevin turns on the guilt before driving away.

“You selfish, short-sighted, weak-willed millennials. You’re going to kill us all.”—Kevin

Nicole and Jeremy fret about what to tell Wynonna about Charlie. Wynonna tells Waverly that she’s going to be selfish and not let Waverly sacrifice herself to save the world. The episode ends with Mercedes getting nabbed.

Favorite One Liner: “We are the heirs of cruelty and torture.”—Bobo

I Gotta Say…

I know my remark won’t be well received, but this episode was some of the sloppiest writing I’ve seen Wynonna Earp produce. “Forever Mine Nevermind” (2.09) might not be my favorite episode, but even it didn’t struggle with plot contrivance the way this episode did. Everybody knows things instantly without talking to each other because the plot demands it. Information is uncovered offscreen and told to us as if we should know it already. And the show still hasn’t explained how Peacemaker is a key and a tower and why the tower means both destruction and the way into the garden! The writing makes a lot of assertions without explanations, and that frustrates me.

Especially when screentime is wasted on useless recapping. Jeremy’s “we need a recap” might be one of the most hamfisted pieces of dialogue I’ve ever seen from this show. One of the things I typically appreciate about Wynonna Earp is that it never treats the audience like it’s stupid or needs handholding through basic plot details. But apparently we needed a recap of information we knew from watching the previous 9 episodes instead of, I don’t know, actually digging into things that were later nonchalantly dropped into conversations as if they had been explained.

Like how Bulshar was using the root system of the people-turned-into-trees to find the garden. Excuse me, what? Why were we just fed this line of dialogue from Wynonna in an offhand manner without any explanation? How did the team figure this out?  When? And why were we given a recap of the season when we could have been shown Jeremy and Waverly figuring this out instead? It might have actually given us more time to watch Waverly do her ‘research thing’ that Wynonna, and the show itself, finally remembered used to be Waverly’s primary role.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been annoyed with the show not giving Waverly enough to do this season. With Jeremy’s arrival last season, the role of chief nerd and researcher became his and Waverly moved on to being…Nicole’s girlfriend who looks nice and gripes about jewelry being tacky. I’m glad the show remembered what Waverly used to do, that her primary skill is in the years she spent studying the Earps, their history, the curse, and each of the revenant’s stories. I loved seeing that again this episode with One-armed Clint. Finally, Waverly was actually contributing to the team again in a meaningful way that’s not bringing coffee and being Wynonna’s should to cry on.

Not that being Wynonna’s support system is bad. I love it. One of the other things I still deeply appreciate about the show is the dynamic between the Earp sisters. No matter what else works or isn’t working, the writing for Wynonna and her dynamic with Waverly remains strong. With how much Wynonna has had to suffer this season, she’s needed a stable foundation, a shelter in the storm, which Waverly has provided. Just like Waverly, I’m ride or die for Earp sisters feels.

No, what bothers me is just how little Waverly has had to do…until right now. Even Waverly’s struggle with her mother’s abandonment and finding out the truth about her father has been secondary to what these plot points mean for Wynonna. And I get it, it’s Wynonna’s show. Her name is in the title, not Waverly’s.

At the same time, if the show is going to do an about face to make Waverly a chosen one, couldn’t we have had this season be more about her? About her journey of self-discovery so that the moment she hears she’s the one who has to save the world it has some weight to it? Even now her being the champion isn’t about Waverly, it’s about how much Wynonna wants to “be selfish as hell” by preventing Waverly from stepping into the role of hero that she’s apparently been born for. Waverly’s right, Wynonna is willing to sacrifice herself all the time. Her getting in the way of Waverly doing the same does feel selfish. And I get it, Wynonna has suffered a lot this season. Again, though, after a season where Waverly’s growth and character has taken a back seat in what should be her own story, this is just one more time where Waverly has to defer to what Wynonna feels about her life instead of make her own choices.

And what do you want to bet Julian is going to show up at the last second and take his daughter’s place saving the world right as she meets him for the first/last time?

Also, since when does Waverly use Yiddish? That’s a new one.

To get back to my original remark about plot contrivances, Kevin. For one, I’m not a fan of characters who know everything but can’t get involved. Everything about such characters requires narrative contrivance. They know everything but ‘can’t tell you’ because reasons. They have the answers but ‘can’t get involved’ because reasons. They’re human (or non-human) McGuffins. They only exist to move the plot from point A to point B. Your mileage may vary, but I find them incredibly lazy as a narrative device.

Yet so much of this episode came across as written out of necessity, and even then sloppily so. Despite both Charlie and Wynonna agreeing to no strings, he gets hurt just so we’ll feel sadder when he dies. Doc kills Charlie just so we’ll have yet one more reason to keep Wynonna and Doc apart now that Kate left.

To put on my nitpicky details hat for a second, this really isn’t how wooden bullets would work. If we accept that the firing mechanism wouldn’t burn them up, shatter them, or light them on fire as they were being ejected, there would still be enough force to put a hole in her head. If she was expecting to be able to shoot Doc through the heart with one of the bullets at some distance, they would presumably be able to  penetrate her skull from point blank range. The gun is pressed against her temple. It would absolutely kill her. I mean, I’m glad it didn’t #UnkillableQueer.

But still. The writing didn’t need to be absolute nonsense in order for this to happen. Nicole could have made a resurgence and fought Maeve off at the last second so the bullet went wild. Have Nicole fall and hit her head to knock Maeve out of her and you have the same thing without the ridiculous plot hole.

Speaking of plot holes, why didn’t the journal burn when Maeve lit the fireplace up earlier? Did she just teleport it there like she forced Nicole to cough up the page? And if she did, why didn’t she use her ghostie powers to move it out of the fireplace when she accidently revealed it was hidden there? How did the firemen know about the house burning? Why didn’t Kevin just turn off the Bluetooth headphones and play the music from his phone? A lot less work and he wouldn’t have to stand so close to Bobo. And then how did Bobo get the headphones in between scenes? I suppose Robin could have tossed them over the glass, but still. It’s another example of how sloppy the writing was.

And if it seems like I’m being overly picky, it’s because I know the show can do better. These actors are amazing and deserve well written scripts. Kat Barrell killed it as Nicole possessed by Maeve. Honestly, she was having such a great time that I pretty much ignored all of the potshots lobbed at how annoying the writers apparently find teenage girls to be. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Someone get this woman an award because damn. Seriously. That was epic. (Speaking of Nicole, are we going to ever get back to her being the survivor of the Bulshar cult and that being an important thing?)

Finally, Bobo seems to have gone very swiftly and conveniently downhill into utter madness since last episode. It’s yet another weak point in the writing that he’s rushed into almost utter incoherence, but this is another thing I can’t be mad at. Michael Eklund tears my heart to pieces with Bobo, and even if he’s conveniently unable to help, I can’t look away. Bobo is so f***ing tragic. My god.

Please, Wynonna Earp. I want you to do better. You have such deep, compelling, complex characters and a truly talented cast. Step up the writing game to match because next week is the season finale, and I don’t want to end this season with a sour taste in my mouth.

I see you, Andras

  • Superimposing Wynonna’s face on Bobo’s in the opening scene was so gorgeously done. *MAJOR Hearteyes*
  • Empty coffee cups. The bane of my existence.
  • Oh yay, now that Waverly is ‘officially’ a lesbian and Rosita labeled a treacherous demon, the only bisexual characters left on the show are Bobo and Doc, a crazy demon and a bloodthirsty vampire. Yay for more bi male rep, but could it not be the violent, murderous characters when you’ve taken away the only positive bi rep the show had?
  • I really wish Jeremy weren’t so much of a gay joke all the time.
  • Kevin’s, “Oh no, the menz.” attitude was a bit eye-rolly for me. I’d prefer the writers create strongly written female characters and plots instead of scribbling off pithy faux-feminist one-liners.
  • Still, I appreciate the historical accuracy of calling Maeve a witch for being in introverted, bookish woman who didn’t like men and taught women about contraceptives. Seems about right for a hundred or so years ago.
  • What what what about Jeremy not being “purely human?” I HAVE QUESTIONS.
  • I also have questions about the sword ‘peacemaker’ that I am hoping will be answered next week.

See you next week for the two-part season finale, “Daddy Lessons” and “War Paint.” Kate’s back, and possibly working with Bulshar, and Waverly is going to try to save the world without Wynonna’s approval!

Images courtesy of SyFy

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