It’s been five minutes since Wynonna’s back, which means there’s an angry mob trying to hang her for murder. But let’s back up just a bit. When Doc and Wynonna realise Purgatory is a wee different than they remember, they don’t have Nicole to fill them in on the time gap. Instead, they turn to their ole reliable watering hole, Shorty’s. Only Shorty’s is more of a juice bar, emphasis on the juice (Purgatory is now a dry county on top of everything else that’s happening).
Chrissy Nedley, Nedley’s daughter, is behind the bar. Wynonna’s expecting a cheery reunion. She gets an eggplant lobbed at her head and her hair snatched. Everyone in the bar pulls out a piece and aims at Doc and Wynonna. Chrissy’s got beef because she thinks her dad is dead and Wynonna responsible.
As they’re trying to hang Wynonna, she and Doc learn it’s been a year and a half since anyone has seen Nedley or them. The Sheriff, who’s decidedly not Nicole Haught, breaks up the mob, placing Wynonna under arrest. She’s going to get a trial before they hang her, like all the other people they’ve hanged. She’s tossed in a holding cell with a helpful half-demon, who fills her in with the current ongoings. After the town was excavated for ‘forest fires’ the woods became a monster hot spot. People eventually came back but the demons had already put down roots. Now the Ghost River Triangle is under quarantine, people are allowed to come and go but monsters and demons are locked in.
At the homestead, Waverly meets Rachel, who made herself at home, making kombucha and helping Nicole hold down the fort. In the past 18 months, they’ve set traps around the homestead to keep the monsters at bay, but they’ve been having issues with one troll in particular. But when one of their traps goes off, it’s no monster. Well, it’s not an unwelcomed monster. It’s Doc.
Nicole gets him caught up on the status of their friends and allies. Kate and Robin’s fate are uncertain. Jeremy’s okay, but hasn’t kept touch. It’s clear that even though they’re all home (mostly), Nicole’s still carrying the weight of all that time alone. But Wynonna’s impending hanging takes precedence. Doc tracks down the last person Nedley was with, Mercedes, who’s been frequenting a demon bar because Purgatory has a new demon bar. It’s called the Glory Hole.
Mercedes, or Portia as she’s been going by these days, is pretending to be a vampire so she can have protection in town. The last she saw of Nedley he ran to the woods, smelling like a teen boy and blue cheese. Meanwhile, the owner of the Glory Hole has taken a liking to Doc, Doc Holiday is an undead legend after all.
Back with the Earps, Waverly’s checking on her sister and pretending to be her lawyer. She tries her best to ‘Ellie Woods’ Wynonna out of jail, but the Sheriff isn’t having it. Nor is the new Magistrate, Cleo, who runs the town. She announces that there will be a chilli cook-off for freedom. One inmate gets to go free if they win.
At Shorty’s, Waverly and Nicole show up to support Wynonna and maybe help her. Make that definitely help her, after she decides the first step in chili is a chuck whole block cheese in the pot. Wynonna and Nicole share a moment over onions. Wynonna’s usual sarcasm presses too far into some raw territory for Nicole. She lost the Sheriff position because she was protecting the Homestead and Rachel and looking for them all. In the end, she feels like she failed everyone. Wynonna doesn’t get the time to console her, with the chili to save her life being cooked. She and Nicole might have had a momentary miscommunication, but they’re on the same page about Waverly’s vegan chili. They’re not winning anything with that.
New Sheriff and Nicole size up, exchanging false pleasantries about no hard feelings. The new guy knows just what to say to get into Nicole’s head. His passing comment about Rachel and the Homestead is enough for Nicole to get skitterish and head back home. Also, Wynonna steals some bacon for her chili.
Meanwhile, Doc’s been tracking out in the woods. He’s hoping to find some sign of Nedley. Instead, he finds a lost shipment meant for the Glory Hole. Oh, and that troll that’s been terrorizing the Earp Homestead. When bullets don’t work he falls back to the Homestead. Nicole arrives not a moment too soon. Rachel had been rebaiting traps when the troll found her. Doc lured it away before she could hurt. Nicole takes her inside, barring the doors and windows. Doc bangs on the windows to be let in, but Nicole’s frozen like she’s somewhere else. Rachel snaps her back to the moment and lets Doc in. Nicole fires at the monster, sending it fleeing.
Back at Shorty’s Wynonna’s slim chances of winning takes a nosedive when Cleo announced Chrissy will be judging the competition with her. But to everyone’s surprise, especially Chrissy, Wynonna is the winner. Even Waverly looks this gifted horse in the mouth when she tastes the chili. The magistrate wanted Wynonna to win, using it as a cover to take Wynonna away. Wynonna starts to put it together that Cleo knows more about her than she’s letting on.
Nicole, Doc and Rachel are gearing up for a fight. Rachel is convinced her kombucha hurt the troll ,and Doc is skeptical that it’s actually their enemy. When Rachel describes its smell exactly as Mercedes and Nicole shows him a piece of Nedley’s shirt she found in a trap, Doc realizes the troll is Nedley taken over by some sort of puffball parasite.
With Wynonna in zip ties, Cleo takes her to the edge of town to leave her for the monster. She talks about the Earps like she’s been personally wrong by them, calling Wynonna the ‘daughter of Earps’. But Cleo didn’t take into consideration that Wynonna isn’t the only Earp in town. Waverly shows up to save her sister, stealing Cleo’s t-shirt canon to use as a weapon.
Nicole and Doc join the fray, armed with a lasso and super soaker filled with kombucha now that they know it’s Nedley. As she watches her family fight to get their Nedley back, Wynonna lets herself bask in the moment. She isn’t alone. They’re all idiots, but they’re her idiots. The girls take Nedley back to his daughter while Doc returns to the Glory Hole to sell their own shipment to them. He also strikes a deal to protect future shipments.
Back at home, despite having Wynonna home and knowing Nedley’s safe, Nicole’s walls are still up. She can’t shake the fear that the homestead’s threatened and she has to be the one to protect it. But at least she still accepts Waverly’s help when offered. Elsewhere on the Ghost River Triangle, Chrissy is leaving. As she’s getting her papers checked at the border, she whispers ‘they’re back’ to the Black Badge supervisor. As she pulls away the camera pans up to a familiar face. Jeremy! Who apparently got a promotion since we last saw him.
At the homestead, there’s a small conflict of bedrooms now that everyone’s back. Wynonna surrenders hers to Rachel and thanks to her for being there for Nicole when they couldn’t. But when Wynonna moves into her new living quarters, the barn, it’s already occupied. By armed men in tactical gear.
On the off chance you didn’t know, this was Melanie Scrofano’s directorial debut (for an entire episode, as she’d previously directed a scene in season three). And what a fun episode this was. One of the great things about time jumps is the shift they can bring to the narrative. A shift in the status quo to throw the characters and audience off-kilter.
Nicole’s arc is already proving to be wonderfully angst-filled. A year and a half is a long time to be fending for yourself against literal monsters. Not to mention she got the gut punch that the one she’s been fending off for most of that time was really her father figure she thought she’d lost.
With all that angst there needs to be a balance. That balance came in the form of kombucha filled water guns and those glorious aprons and banner. The entire scene trying to save Nedley was one of the most delightful ones Wynonna Earp has gifted us.
As the season gets its gears turning we’re setting the broad be set with some interesting pieces. New characters with their own agendas. New settings and with a name like Glory Hole, that club better be a major setting this season. And there are plenty of questions laid out for the rest of the season. Who is this Cleo and what is her beef with the Earps? Where’s Eve? Did Jeremy’s promotion come with his own SWAT team?
Best of Earpisms
- Cock Holiday was a great pun but ‘I Walk the Lime’ and ‘Go Ahead Make My Smoothie’ need shout outs too.
- ‘What the fig, Chrissy?’
- Demon parties and clubs don’t seem that far off from what usually passed for normal in Purgatory.
- The entire Seitan conversation. I missed those three together, so much.
- Rachel and her kombucha, surprise MVP.
Images courtesy of Syfy