Sunday, May 26, 2024

Wynonna Earp Does a Twisted Take on Groundhog’s Day

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Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 9 Review “Undo It”

Get ready for Wynonna Earp does Groundhog Day! And in true Wynonna Earp fashion, it’s a dark, twisted, emotional roller-coaster version rather than a lighthearted romp where the hero learns a lesson about being a nice person. Instead, it’s about the lengths Wynonna will go to protect the ones she loves, and what she might lose in the process.

OMG, What?

We open to sex noises but it turns out to be Waverly and Nicole trying to get Bulshar’s ring off of Waverly’s finger. Out in the barn, Wynonna and Doc actually do get lucky, but the pleasure doesn’t last long. As they fall asleep, Bulshar shows up and nabs them. Waverly and Nicole try, unsuccessfully, to get a jeweler to remove the ring, then Nicole gets called to check on a disturbance at the Gardner House. Wynonna and Doc are wandering in a peaceful wood, enjoying each other’s company. Wynonna wakes up from the illusion to see Bulshar. He blows dust in their faces and Wynonna wakes up in Shorty’s basement. She heads upstairs to the bar and is shot by an arrow.

“When we get that thing off…we get off.”—Nicole

Wynonna again wakes up in Shorty’s basement and a pile of crates with Doc’s face on them tells her he’s paralyzed. She goes upstairs and dies again, sees Doc again, dies again. You get the drill. Waverly and Nicole find Mercedes trying to open her family safe to get money for facial reconstruction. Wynonna dies a couple more times, and we see Doc is trapped somewhere under a floor. Derek, the jeweler and a revenant, shows up at the Gardner House to steal the ring from Waverly. He tries to attack Waverly, but she accidentally melts his face with the power of the ring. Wynonna realizes that she’s in a kind of video game. The floor turns to lava and she runs upstairs to Shorty’s, only to end up in the Homestead.

“I’m like metal. The more you hit it, the stronger it gets. And I’m shiny. And dense.”—Wynonna

Wynonna discovers that Doc is under the floorboards and Bulshar is slowly burying him alive. Wynonna heads out to find a crowbar to dig up Doc, only to find Bobo. She shoots him and wakes up back in the Homestead. Waverly calls Jeremy for help with the ring; he tells her to meet him in the woods. Killing Bobo gets Wynonna back in a time loop, so she tries to talk to him instead. They kill each other, and as Wynonna’s dying, she pleads for Bobo to help her fight Bulshar. In the woods, Jeremy, Waverly, and Nicole find Bobo trapped in a nest of tree branches. Wynonna wakes up, discouraged; Doc asks her to try one last time. Bobo jolts out of the dream and tells Waverly Bulshar has Doc and Wynonna and wants revenge.

“Your sex life is about to get really great or really, really, really bad.”—Mercedes

Wynonna runs into Bulshar, and he tells her that Peacemaker is the “Tower” that guards Paradise from demons. Wynonna tries to kill him, but can’t, so she goes to dig up Doc instead. In the woods, Bobo tells Waverly that the ring she’s wearing belonged to her father. Jeremy senses Doc and Wynonna nearby and they go in search of them. Wynonna and Doc confront Bulshar; Wynonna shoots him, and he turns to ash. They walk through a red door, believing they’ve won only for Wynonna to wake up once again in Shorty’s basement. She’s all the way at the beginning of the ‘game.’

Doc: How did you defeat Bulshar?
Wynonna: I want to say boobs, but I’m just so tired.

Wynonna sobs her way over to the stairs out of the basement, only to run into Bulshar. He tells her there’s no way to win. He shows her Doc and Waverly’s graves, telling her that she’s going to die alone because no one is looking for her. In the woods, Jeremy, Nicole, and Waverly run across the spooky stairs again. They then find Doc and Waverly caged in branches. Bulshar causes Wynonna to hallucinate Doc and Waverly screaming in pain to get her to give up Peacemaker in exchange for not torturing them. Doc and Wynonna wake up in the woods; Wynonna admits she gave up Peacemaker. The Earp Sisters have a touching moment by the fire. At the Gardner House, Mercedes takes her bandages off and sees Waverly’s touch healed her.

Favorite One Liner: “Are you two gonna just stand there like a couple of dildos?”—Mercedes

I Gotta Say…

When Wynonna Earp is on point, it knows how to suckerpunch. This week kicked my feels in the teeth and didn’t stop kicking them until I was a hollowed-out husk. My metaphors may have gotten a bit mixed up in there, but the points stands. This week reminded me why I love this show so much: the angst.

This is the kind of messed up I live for. Much like Waverly did in “Jolene,” Wynonna must face a demon who believes it knows how to make her give up. We even get a similarly framed scene where Bulshar tells Wynonna that everyone she loves is going to suffer and die, so she should just end it all. Wynonna responds how we expect, with a promise that she’ll protect them and an expression of belief in Waverly. We think we’ve just witnessed a similarly shining moment for Wynonna that Waverly got. Yes! Earp sisters protect each other!

Only this is exactly what Bulshar wants. Instead of preying on her worse instincts, he’s preying on her best. See, he knows that deep down, she’s not as self-interested or cynical as she seems. She cares about protecting those dearest to her, and that’s what he’s counting on. He knows that given the proper incentive, she will allow the world to go to hell to protect Waverly. Which, for all intents and purposes, is what she was willing to let happen by giving up Peacemaker to Bulshar.

This is who Wynonna is. And her choice isn’t the same as the one Bobo made. He was worn down by loneliness and having nothing to live for. Wynonna didn’t precisely give up. She made a deal. Sure, it’s a deal with the devil, but that’s not the same as giving up. She sure as hell can still fight, which is what we’re going to see in the next couple weeks. From a Doylist perspective it does come across a bit wheel-spinny and convenient, but I don’t mind because of how perfectly in character it is for Wynonna to do exactly what she did.

Speaking of Bobo, seeing him on my screen again brought such joy to my heart. Bobo fast became one of my top three favorite characters last season. Michael Eklund absolutely nails the balance of madness, loneliness, cruelty, and that touch of humanity that make Bobo so compelling. He’s torn between believing he’s beyond saving and clinging to the tiny shred of himself that he recognizes only when he sees Waverly. He wants to be better for her, but he’s not drawn enough to the light to make a lasting change. But he also can’t quite entirely let go of the desire to be with her, and what that means for him. I love the messiness of it.

And speaking of Waverly, we finally got to see Waverly being all the things I love about her character this week. She’s at her best when she’s reaching out to people most others wouldn’t. Like with touching Mercedes’ scarred face and telling her she’s beautiful. Or how she protects Bobo from Jeremy and Nicole. Or how she feels absolutely terrible melting a demon’s face who was trying to dismember her. Literal angelic-ness aside, Waverly as a character shines when she’s given space to be the hand of kindness. She’s fierce when protecting her loved ones, as fierce as Wynonna. But her general mode is one of compassion and empathy. For much of this season, it’s felt like the show kind of forgot what made her who she was, but this episode brought her back. I can only hope it continues.

I’m digging the ring lore much more this episode than last. I especially like how it’s basically Waverly’s Peacemaker. She’s just a different kind of heir to a different kind of power, and one that, like Wynonna did, she has to learn how to control. It’s pretty cool, especially when you think about her S1 arc. She desperately wanted to be the Earp heir and had spent most of her life learning the lore because Wynonna seemed disinterested in her inheritance. Only to find out not only is she not old enough, she’s not even an Earp so she can never be the heir. Instead, she gets her own, unique magical tradition.

So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room that is the contradictory statements between what Dominique Provost-Chalkley said at ClexaCon this year about Waverly and what Wynonna Earp writers keep putting in the scripts. Dominique said Waverly would identify as bisexual if pressed for labels. Yet twice now a character on the show has referred to her as a lesbian and Waverly has not been given space to correct them. Since this is a writing choice, not one the characters themselves make, Waverly not being given space to correct her labels reads like an intentional absence rather than forgetfulness. If the writers wanted to include such a scene, they could. But they didn’t. So to my mind, that implies that such a scene is not as important as, say, WayHaught sex noises or Wynonna dying for the 50th time.

I’m being a big facetious, but the point stands. Writers include what they think is most important, balancing character development, plot, and pacing. Ergo, Waverly not being given space to respond and correct her labels (twice now) must not be as important to character development as the scenes that were included. Why it’s not important to the writers to include is not my place to say, but I think it fair to say this was not a priority, otherwise we would already have such a scene.

What I don’t understand about this situation is why it happened at all. If you, as a showrunner and head writer, already know what is going to be in your scripts, informing your actor so they can say the right thing in public is just common courtesy. If, however, the scripts had not been written when Dominique spoke at ClexaCon, this entire thing should have been easily avoided. Inform your other writers not to use specific labels or labels that would contradict what the actor has already said.

The team has put Dominique in a truly uncomfortable position. What is she supposed to say now? She’s already said Wavelry would identify as bisexual. But, with the show calling her a lesbian over and over, is she supposed to say the show is wrong? Or that she was wrong earlier when she said Waverly was bi but she’s actually a lesbian? One answer looks like erasure, the other looks unprofessional.

Back to the show, what the eff is up with the trees??? Thus far, the show has done a good job building up the lore surrounding them in a consistent, if piecemeal way. I don’t have all the pieces yet, but they seem to make sense as I have them. There absolutely better be a satisfying explanation to all this. I’m practically tearing my hair out over trees here! I need answers!

On the flip side, I’m very confused about everything surrounding the tarot readings and the tower that leads to the garden of Eden but is also Peacemaker but also represents death and destruction and the end of the world. Unlike everything to do with the trees, this feels like random pieces that look like they fit, but don’t actually when I try to put them together.

Bulshar, Wynonna, and Kate keep saying that Bulshar and Wynonna’s fates are linked. Fair enough. Cool. A bit Harry Potter adjacent but no so much that I’m annoyed. But how? What significance is there to the tarot readings being the same three cards but in different order? And why did the tower card represent the destruction of the world last episode but now represents Peacemaker and the way into Paradise? How is a gun the way to paradise? Could Peacemaker send someone to paradise instead of to hell? Is that perhaps what it meant when Peacemaker glowed blue for Rosita last season? But how could Bulshar manipulate that into happening? And even if true, what the eff does that have to do with a tower tarot card that also means destruction?

Certain aspects of the plot this season seem to make sense, but once I start poking at them, they make zero sense.

Take Bulshar’s game with Wynonna. He says at the outset that he’s going to make her watch the world burn forever and ever. But that’s not actually what happens. Instead, we see him slowly chipping away at her resolve and sanity via repeated deaths. Then, he gives her a taste of victory, only to steal it away from her. It’s agonizing. It’s hell. Melanie Scrofano’s sobbing crawl across the floor of Shorty’s basement is a most heart-wrenching scene. Her experience is absolute torture, and you can well imagine why Bobo couldn’t hack it. He had far less to live and fight for that Wynonna.

As a torture device to wear down someone’s sanity and resolve, you couldn’t ask for anything more. However, this isn’t really the same as forcing Wynonna to watch the world burn. I suppose if Waverly and the rest of the team hadn’t have rescued her, she might have stayed in the dreamworld and ‘watched’ Bulshar do whatever he’s going to do with Peacemaker. But that doesn’t make sense because she woke up as soon as she had given him what he wanted. Maybe everything will make more sense on rewatch, and I’m sure as heck in for the ride, but the lore seems more messily done this season than any other.

Regardless, this was an episode packed with angst and just enough comfort at the end. The Earp sisters bonding eased off the emotional turmoil just enough without undercutting the gravity of Wynonna’s choices. All around, a solid episode in some regards, even if there are areas of weakness or frustration.

Did I mention I love angst?

I see you, Andras

  • Having sex and then sleeping in the barn on piles of hay can’t be comfortable.
  • Wynonna sure did get over Doc being a vampire real quickly once Kate left. I wonder if we’ll ever see Kate again or if she really did exist purely for the love triangle nonsense.
  • Had Jeremy’s spidey sense been established prior to last week? I don’t remember it being talked about, but I may be forgetting. It’s a very convenient ability and one that seems to work in plot convenient ways.
  • Pleasant surprise to see Mercedes again. I’d heard rumors she was coming back, but I didn’t know which episode. I like her. I hope she sticks around.
  • I see that “the floor is lava” reference. High five!
  • Nerd references all over this episode! Pretty fun to see them all get intertwined.
  • Is there anything more iconically Bobo Del Rey than being shirtless and wearing a fur coat?

See you all next week for “The Other Woman,” featuring Anna Silk’s guest appearance and, according to Bobo, we better get ready!

Images courtesy of SyFy

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