Sunday, May 19, 2024

Purgatory is Paradise on Wynonna Earp

Share This Post

Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 8 Review “Waiting Forever for You”

It’s date night in Purgatory this week, which mean’s nothing will go as planned, demons will show up, and maybe someone will lick a potato. That’s right, this week brings us the infamous potato licking scene from the S3 trailer. Just why does Robin lick a potato? Let’s find out.

OMG, What?

I dig the sibling dynamic between these two.

We open on Wynonna teaching Jeremy how to play pool. He leaves her to deal with Charlie, whom she’d ghosted after last week; she tells Jeremy to lock up Bulshar’s ring, then agrees to dinner with Charlie. Bulshar, meanwhile, raises the previously-buried-alive-in-salt Constance Clootie, aka the Stone Witch, from the dead. He hands the mummified Constance a long, serrated blade, telling her not to fail him again. Kate has kidnapped a man for Doc to eat, but he leaves, preferring to hunt for himself. Jeremy invites Robin to a “big gay dinner” hosted by Waverly. On the hunt, Doc attacks Robin in the woods.

“What you want to do is aim right for the placenta stain, which should drive the seven ball straight into that corner pocket-slash-stirrup.”—Wynonna

Doc brings Robin to Jeremy because he tastes “like fouled earth” and might be ill. Charlie and Wynonna’s dinner date is going awkwardly when Jeremy interrupts to explain about Doc being a vampire and biting Robin. Wynonna takes Charlie along to hunt vampires. Charlie traps Doc in a holy-water-soaked rope while Wynonna confronts Kate. At the homestead, Jeremy/Robin meet up with Waverly/Nicole for dinner. Kate tells Wynonna that Doc is responsible for turning her into a vampire. When she came to America looking for freedom, Doc helped protect her from a man whose fortune she refused to read. At Shorty’s, Charlie and Doc bicker about Wynonna until mummified Constance shows up.

“You should at least get to know a lady before you try to kill her.”—Kate

Doc and Charlie take on the mummy. In the fight, Doc realizes it’s Constance and has Charlie call Wynonna. She ignores the call. Kate continues her story of the past, how she left Doc with Wyatt to return to Hungary when he was dying. At the homestead, Waverly and Robin banter until Robin goes all weird talking about seeds in the ground that Bulshar can talk to. In the dining room, Bulshar’s ring (that Jeremy locked up) appears up in a biscuit Nicole is serving. Robin runs off. Doc and Charlie try to throw mummified Constance in the well; instead, she steals their car.

“What do you think a potato feels when it’s in the ground?”—Robin

Waverly, Nicole, and Jeremy find Robin in the barn, half-naked, picking at his bite wound, and talking about ‘fertilizing the soil.’ Constance finds Kate and Wynonna but leaves them be. Doc’s struggling bloodlust leads to him asking Charlie to punch him. In the barn, Robin snaps out of his trance, then Constance shows up and digs around Doc’s things. Waverly puts on Bulshar’s ring and inadvertently uses it to magically throw Constance out of the barn. However, Constance stole three tarot cards from Doc, who had stolen them from Kate after Sheriff Clootie came to her for a reading. He had asked her to help him find something in the Ghost River Triangle, and she refused to read his future. Constance delivers the cards to Bulshar: Past, the devil; Present, the lovers; Future, the tower.

“I touched tentacle goo and made a lightning rod out of spoons.”—Waverly

Wynonna and Kate find Constance, and Wynonna ends her life. Charlie and Doc square-off over Wynonna. Meanwhile, believing her and Bulshar’s fates are linked, Wynonna asks Kate to read her tarot. Nicole and Jeremy try to remove Bulshar’s ring, which is stuck on Waverly’s finger. They discover that her wearing it has made a word appear on the band. Wynonna interrupts with the results of her reading: the devil for the past, the tower for the present, and the lovers for the future. Wynonna says he is looking for the first two lovers, Adam and Eve. Jeremy interjects with the translation of the word on Bulshar’s ring: garden of paradise. Robin arrives just in time to tell them Bulshar has already found the Garden of Eden.

“Nobody deserves to be somebody’s meat puppet.”—Wynonna

Kate brings a basket of breadsticks to Wynonna from Charlie. She tells Wynonna of her final run-in with Constance, after she’d returned for Doc. When Constance refused to help her find Doc, Kate became a vampire so she could search for him. Kate tells Wynonna Doc became a vampire for Wynonna then leaves to ‘find a stagecoach.’ Wynonna finds Doc in the barn, where they agree to overcome their differences to fight Bulshar together. Speaking of the devil, Bulshar arrives and blows a white powder in their faces.

Favorite One Liner: “You may have made me what I am, but that does not make you my mistress.”—Doc

I Gotta Say…

First off, some highlights. The music this episode had a Stranger Things vibe to it that worked well to set the tone for Robin’s scenes. The potato-licking bit was weird, and I don’t think worth all the pre-season freak-out, but I enjoyed his plotline. I’m curious to see the follow through on his statements about the trees ‘unwillingly’ working for Bulshar. When we first met the murder trees, they seemed sinister. To learn that they may be ‘bark puppets’ the way Constance was a meat puppet is a major revelation. I want to know more about that for sure! And I’m also intrigued by his connection to the trees and Doc’s statement about him tasting like ‘fouled earth.’ What is that about?

I’m disappointed no one made a bloody mouth pun.

Speaking of unexpected connections, Waverly being the one to end up with Bulshar’s ring took me by surprise. I’ll admit, I’m disappointed. When it found its way back to Nicole again this episode, I assumed it had something to do with her being a survivor. I liked the idea of her getting a chance to be the special one with the unique connection to the supernatural, because she so rarely gets to have the spotlight. I love Waverly, don’t get me wrong, and love seeing her get to be a badass. And the ring clearly has something to do with her angelic lineage, so it makes sense. Still, I don’t understand why the ring kept showing up with Nicole if it was meant for Waverly.

Another source of confusion stemmed from the Garden of Eden reveal. I enjoy the irony of Purgatory being Paradise, though the idea of Paradise being in America took my brain immediately to Mormonism.

But since when is the Ghost River Triangle (GRT) ‘protecting’ anything? In the first season, the show established that the GRT existed to keep the demons connected to the Earp curse in, not to protect something from being found. I understand that as the show evolves we receive new information. The GRT being a sanctuary of some kind on its own is fine. So does containing the Earp curse demons to prevent them from ravaging the earth. What doesn’t make sense is keeping the demons imprisoned in the Garden of Eden. Who would do this? Why? Chaining up demons in paradise seems like a truly bad idea. I know Andras is not known for her, ah, worldbuilding consistency, but this still baffles me.

Another highlight was seeing the unexpected team ups to come from date night, like Charlie with Doc and Kate with Wynonna. I’m not sure how well it subverted the love triangle tropes since both pairs spent at least half their time together sniping at the other for their interest in Doc or Wynonna. Still, some of their interactions were surprisingly amicable. Wynonna and Kate especially. I’m honestly surprised Kate ended up being the lover to leave, given her initial animosity. I have a feeling Charlie will not go so gently.

At the same time, I found certain aspects of the main plot arc with these four everywhere on the spectrum from annoying to…let’s got with in poor taste for now. The dialogue lampshading Wynonna blaming Kate for turning Doc didn’t make the fact of that any less an example of catty women fighting over a man. Nor did the dialogue lampshading how well Kate fits into the sexy lady vampire trope make the fact that she does fit it any less true. Someone needs to inform the writers that lampshading the use of a bad or clichéd trope isn’t subversion.

Someone should also point out that Kate’s initial description of her backstory with Doc contradicts what actually happened. Kate tells Wynonna, “Doc is the one responsible for turning me.” She then proceeds to tell a story where she willingly became a vampire to find him after he’d been thrown in the well by Constance Clootie. How is Doc responsible for her choice?

Multiple times this episode Kate and Doc underscore the point that no one tells him what to do, no one controls him. He makes his own choices. At the same time, Kate denies herself agency in her own choices, giving all the responsibility and blame to Doc. She blames Doc for ‘making her’ become a vampire because she loved him so much. She blames Doc for her choice to leave him behind to go to back to Hungary. And, she blames Doc for not chasing after her, even though he believed she left him and didn’t care about him anymore. It’s his fault for not knowing she wanted him to chase her and instead going to Constance for eternal life after Wyatt also abandoned him.

The show portrayed Kate blaming Doc for her choices while simultaneously denying herself agency for making them. Doc wasn’t responsible for turning her, she made a choice. To see a woman denying herself agency because she was chasing down a man on a show that’s widely lauded as feminist doesn’t sit well with me.

Especially a Black woman.

This is where the plot moves from unconvincing and frustrating to at the very least insensitive and in poor taste. I’ll come back to agency in a second, but first I want to address Kate’s backstory as a Black daughter of European nobility.

On the one hand, I applaud the show for bringing attention to an aspect of history that’s often overlooked. The whitewashing of people of color from European history is a significant problem in the way we, meaning Western white people, tell history. With white supremacy a growing problem in our society, audiences need to know that people of color existed in Europe for centuries and were more than slaves. They were merchants, business owners, and nobility. They were courtiers, courtesans, and people of influence. With all the choices available for a backstory, they went with one that brings attention to the erasure of non-slave Black folk in Europe. For that, I give them props.

On the other hand, this backstory exists in the same season that has brought us the swapping out of one Black love interest for another, the death of the only primary character of color/love interest for the protagonist, jokes about a Black woman’s nose and lips, and a “sexy vampire lady” played by a Black woman. Kate is the most sexualized character on the show right now, and with everything else about her character, that aspect leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In that context, her backstory feels like an attempt to be ‘woke’ without doing due diligence elsewhere in the series.

Moreover, this very same episode gives us a story where a white woman ‘grants independence’ to a Black woman who then says ‘independence didn’t take’ when she goes off looking for her white husband. And then the Black woman ends up leaving so that her white husband can be happy with his white lover. Just…yikes, writers.

Y I K E S.

Wynonna Earp desperately needs to do more than lip-service for its characters of color. Black fans deserve more than a historically woke backstory over halfway through a season that doesn’t feel like it’s taken the time to screen jokes and plotlines for potentially problematic implications. The writers need to watch their language about characters of color, what jokes they’re telling about them, and how the characters end up leaning into potentially harmful tropes. So while I applaud them for giving her a backstory that reminds audiences that Black people were nobles in Europe, there’s so much more work to be done. I said it when Doc was killed off and I’ll say it again: Wynonna Earp desperately needs to hire Black writers.

I’ll end on a positive note. I thoroughly I appreciated the women-loving-women and men-loving-men solidarity this episode. Big Gay Dinner may not seem like a big gay deal, but it is. We rarely see queer folk being friends with other queer folk and just…hanging out. Being friends and doing things together. I hope we get more scenes like this. Not only do we have four canonically queer characters on one television show, they’re all friends. That’s truly special.

I see you, Andras

  • How were Kate and Constance able to hold Peacekeeper without it burning them? Or would they just not have been able to shoot it? I seem to remember demons can’t even hold the gun. Oh well. Another week, another forgotten aspect of Peacekeeper’s lore.
  • Yay, women comparing pain. Fun.
  • Can we please stop using gendered slurs against women on a show widely proclaimed as feminist?
  • Is it me or has Waverly has gotten…shallower? The Waverly we met in S1 with her jean shorts, braid, and shotgun wouldn’t have cared if the ring were a ‘princess cut’ or not.
  • Do the Present and Future cards being different for Bulshar and Wynonna mean anything?

See you next week for “Undo It,” where we might be getting another AU-style episode, as Bulshar promises Wynonna will watch the world burn for eternity. Sounds hellish!

Images courtesy of SyFy

Latest Posts

‘Thelma the Unicorn’ is too Autotuned

I don’t know quite how to feel about Thelma the...

New Spider-Society Series Pulls In Every Spider-Hero From The Multiverse

Spinning out of the hit Edge of Spider-Verse comic book series, Alex Segura and Scott Godlewski’s SPIDER-SOCIETY launches this August!

Peacock’s New Documentary ‘Queer Planet’ Will Explore Nature’s Rainbow Connection

The playful and fascinating documentary, narrated by Andrew Rannells, Streams June 6 on Peacock

Beauty is Possible With youthjuice by E.K. Sathue

Former beauty editor E.K. Sathue has given us a...

Storm Faces Planetary Peril In New Solo Series

Earlier this week, Marvel proudly announced that Storm, one...