In case you’re new, my Wynonna Earp Season 1 watch-along recap series begins here.
Episode 2 opens on a typical club scene, a bunch of young women, probably out for a “girls’ night,” conspicuously all blondesi. They’re all sporting cutesy club outfits. Wynonna enters, seemingly the only brunette, not blending into the party at all in her leather biker jacket.
Sidenote: Does a town the size of Purgatory really have a club? If not, where is this club? Because revenants can’t leave Purgatory. Anyway… carry on.
Flash to a scene from “Earlier” – Dolls lectures Wynonna about being discreet when killing revenants, which is what her family has always called the hellspawn that lurk in Purgatory. Dolls insists on calling them demons. He gives Wynonna her very own government-issue demon-whacking gun. She remains skeptical of this firearm, which corresponds to her general suspicion of all things law enforcement. She bets Dolls that it won’t kill the revenants. We already know who’ll win the bet…
So Dolls has assigned her to kill a red-haired creepy demon we saw last episode talking to Hank / Henry / Val Kilmer aka Doc. Reinforcing our belief that Red is indeed Awful, he bites some lady’s finger off. Wynonna tries to get the guy to freeze but he doesn’t when she yells that she’s a Marshal Deputy, no one disperses. Instead she iconically declares “Crazy chick with a gun” and fires into the air. People clear the area, she manages to shoot the demon, but he doesn’t die. She tells him, “Bad revenant! Stay!” This is one of the many one-liners that this scene is so full of I completely lost track.
Dolls: “So much for discrete.”
Wynonna: “Discrete went out the window when Red started snacking on ladyfingers.”
For those keeping score, Dolls loses the bet regarding the effectiveness of the supposed demon-dispatching government-issue gun.
The next scene takes us to a series of Quonset huts, abandoned, creepy, in the middle of nowhere. A security guard with a flashlight patrols inside them. They appear to from some kind of warehouse facility. The guard gets attacked by some glowy-eyed demon in a dramatic black cape. Uh oh.
Henry / Doc extra leaves a trailer that’s been spray painted “Bitch.” He finds a group of revenants playing cards outside, talking about the recently arrived Earp. The Red-Haired Fnger Biter declares, “The new heir is sportin’ tits, a rabid case of nymphomania, and the wrong gun.” As if this guy was not horrible enough, what with biting ladies’ fingers off, he also talks nastily about women and is prone to embellishing stories. Nymphomania? Really? Where’d he get that part?
We find out that Doc has never played Texas Hold-Em before. “The rules have changed since your day.” He believes he can catch on. I have no doubt of this.
Dolls gives us a little history of the Black Badge Division. Apparently Roosevelt founded it. I love how Wynonna immediately assumes “Elanor?” Dolls: “Teddy.”
They’re training with weapons. We learn that the public is not allowed to know the demons exist. Because mass hysteria. Dolls explains that Black Badge’s number one priority is to keep the public from finding out. Wynonna: “We survived hot dog stuff-crust pizza. I think we’ve got this.”
Uh, not so much. Dolls shows her a picture of a giant crater. Apparently the government blew a town in New Mexico to smithereens just to contain the story. Awesome. Oh… also there are 77 revenants. Crap. For some reason I thought there were only seven.
Waverly and Champ drive by in a Jeep. Champ: “Wooooo!” We find out in passing that Dolls “doesn’t do relationships.” I’m not sure I buy that, but okay. Also Champ is exactly the dude you thought he was – the kind who stands up in a moving Jeep, endangering his life to yell “Wooooo!” for no reason whatsoever.
Apparently Doc / Val Kilmer Lookalike has beaten everybody at Texas Hold-‘Em while telling them stories of the old days and how he had sex with some lady who had a tail. A big dude in a fur coat, sporting a mohawk, plus a patchily bleached beard (and eyebrow?) walks up, immediately tromps on Doc’s head, and calls him “Hank.” Doc apparently doesn’t want the Earps to figure out who he “really” is and what he “did to their great granddaddy.” If he gets the gun from the Earps, Fur Coat will allow Doc to get some sort of Important Revenge he’s seeking.
Back at Shorty’s, Wynonna and her sis look at some of Waverly’s childhood art, wherein Wynonna refers to her as “Frida Kahlo” (lol! gay foreshadowing! called it!).
Waves casually mentions a childhood imaginary friend. Wynonna: “You adorable psycho!” Waverly wants to join Black Badge. Then creepy redhaired club demon shows up and threatens to kill Waverly and demands gun. He ends up grabbing it but it burns his hand. Wynonna sends him to hell, and it leaves a super gross stain on the floor. Gus: “I’ll get a cloth.”
Enter Officer Haught!
Waverly conveniently sprays herself with the broken beer tap. And we get Nicole Haught, leaning on the door, in full police gear, including cowboy hat: “I didn’t know Shorty’s had wet t-shirt competitions.”
Nicole walks right over and introduces herself in a very straightforward manner indicative of the best sort of game. Watch and learn, ladies. Waverly shows instant signs of being flustered. The officer orders a cappuccino, but the bar isn’t open yet. “When I see something I like I don’t wanna wait.” Woah, layin’ it on thick there, Nicole. Waverly seems acutely aware that Nicole is hitting on her, and she’s not entirely averse to it.
Waverly: “God I’m sopping wet.” Hah – okay. Double entendre red alert! I’m not sure we caught’s that, Waverly – could you say it again? LOL. Waverly asks Nicole to turn around while she changes. She casts a few glances over to see if Nicole is looking. Yes. She knows. Her blouse gets stuck on her hair. Well, that escalated quickly. “Good job you’re not some guy, right or this would be really… really awkward” and then their eyes meet. And it’s mildly awkward, but also cute. Is this a ladyqueer meet-cute? I think it is.
Nicole instantly switches gears and it is sweet and helpful, looks Waverly in the eye, not at her boobs.
Waverly: “I owe you one.”
Haught: “How about you buy me that cup of coffee? How ‘bout tonight?”
Waverly stammers around, and then stumbles over the fact that she’s in a relationship with a boy… man… boy-man. Nicole “A boy-man. I’ve been there. It’s the worst.” She leaves her card on the bar and says “some other time… I mean it,” smiles, and strides out while donning her cowboy hat. Waverly still looks flustered as she looks at “Officer Haught’s” business card.
I love how they played this scene. It should be taught in WLW 101 class, the lesson on how to approach a lady. 1) be assertive and make your intentions known, but in a completely non-creepy, matter-of-fact way, 2) make eye contact and smile, 3) be a kind and comfortable presence, 4) go ahead and ask her to go out – don’t wait around thinking she’ll do it for you. Kat Barrell added the exact right amount of … bravado? game? … without taking it into stereotype territory in any way.
Nedley and Dolls have a fight over Dolls taking up office space at the Sherrif’s department for Black Badge. Dolls wins, which is fine by me because Nedley has been nothing but a sexist jerk so far. Hah! In your face, Nedley!
Doc tries to pay for his drink at Shorty’s with a gold coin and flirts with Waverly. She pegs him as an Old West fan boy. She first introduces herself as an Earp but then corrects it to EarpER, aka fan of all things Earp. And thus, Emily Andras cleverly introduced the name of the show’s fandom, on the show itself. That was a super smooth move there. Instantly, “Earper” fandom was born.
Despite the flirting, Waverly claims that Doc-they-don’t-know-is-Doc-yet is “not her type.” Doc declares, “Darlin’ I’m everybody’s type.” Waverly also claims, “I’m an excellent judge of character.” Given that she’s dating Champ, we really can’t take that statement too seriously.
Wynonna and Dolls unpack various boxes at the new Black Badge digs. Wy describes the effect Peacemaker had on the revenant when he tried to take it from her, which somehow turns it into a vibrator joke: “I have my toys. You have yours.” I AM HERE FOR ALL VIBRATOR JOKES. Good job, writers! She goes on to explain the fact that Peacemaker is the Earp heir’s designated weapon for killing revenants, “Which only I can handle.” Naturally, at that point she fumbles with the gun and it falls out of her hands. This show really plays well with classic comedy moments. You’d think a bit like that would fall flat, but it feels fresh and absolutely hilarious thanks to Melanie Scrofano’s comic timing.
Officer Haught enters the Black Badge offices unannounced. Dolls tells her that if she comes into his office again without knocking he’ll arrest her for treason. He also reminds us that the penalty for treason is death, so “death was implied” in that threat. He is really serious about keeping the whole Black Badge / demons situation under wraps. Yikes. I guess that crater town in New Mexico really wasn’t a joke?
Bobo / aka Fur Coat Dude speaks with a lackey and indeed confirms that Peacemaker can’t be touched by revenant hands. Apparently this half-baked scheme to get the gun from Wynonna last episode was not Bobo-sanctioned. “I do the thinking for all of us!” We also find out the revenants’ motive for being so dastardly (besides that they’re… well, demons.) Apparently they all want to get out of Purgatory so they can “feast on everything and everyone.” They are going to get a “sucker” (with “mortal’s blood”) to hire “him.” The sucker is Doc, no doubt.
Doc – just like everyone else these days – snoops around Waverly’s apartment. Wynonna walks in on him, but he shoots the gun out of her hand.
Cut to a meeting between Bobo and Doc at the trailer park. Bobo wants Doc to engage the services of one “Jim Miller” aka “Killer Miller,” a psychopath who apparently put down Jesse James, contrary to popular belief. He’s now a shadow assassin (“as far from human as it gets”) who can only be activated by a blood sacrifice. Doc: “You all sure have gotten dramatic since you were human.” Word, Doc. Word.
Wynonna reports the break-in to Waverly and mentions that she’s not safe anywhere. They discuss the possibility of moving back onto the homestead because revenants can’t come onto the property – or at least couldn’t but apparently can now? Dolls suggests that they have to find a talisman, something “unfamiliar, occultish” that makes it possible for demons to enter the property. If they can get rid of that, no prob. All revenants uninvited.
Doc and Bobo’s lackey enter the place where they are supposed to call up the shadow assassin / aka Killer Miller, which requires Doc to cut his hand and smear the blood on a door frame. People are always cutting their hands on shows. I just want to state for the record here that a knife cut to the palm a really hard wound to heal because hands have so much motion to them. Also hello: lots of important nerves and tendons there. People should really just cut a finger. Fingers bleed a lot from small cuts. Or their arm or something?
But I digress. Doc gets sucked into a hole until he gives order of whom Miller is supposed to kill. The assassin looks really creepy. It’s the glowing eye dude from the warehouse before. The item Doc throws in the hole to mark the target belonged to Waverly, so she’s the mark now? Great. Lackey is surprised he chose Waverly: “that sweet little thing? You must really hate the Earps.” Honestly, I’m also not sure why he chose Waverly either?
Wynonna and Waverly talk about Champ, unfortunate relationship choices, and the height marks on a door facing. It shows marks for Willa and Wynonna, but not Waverly. Wy: “It probably rubbed off.” Wave: “Yeah, that’s what I used to tell myself.” This gives us some hint of where Waverly feels she falls in the family – forgotten, maybe a little neglected, an afterthought.
Lights switch on and off. They receive a call from Dolls about a talisman buried in the ground. The sky goes dark, always really bad omen! But Dolls says he’s 30 minutes out. The girls light a fire outdoors to ward off the evil, aka “a good old fashioned cookout,” as Wy calls it for Waverly’s benefit.
Talisman? Wait, Waverly has a memory of burying a talisman. She also remembers the name of her imaginary friend: Bobo, who apparently wasn’t imaginary after all. The fire goes out. Wynonna tells Waverly to go inside while she checks the generator.
Creepy Glowing-Eyes Miller comes in and says “Your hair smells like lilies, the flower of funerals.” Wynonna: “Worst pick-up line ever.” (!!!) Apparently Creeper McGlowEyes is the one who took their dad and sister. He shows up in the house behind Waverly. Both sisters run to the Jeep, but it won’t start, and Light Sucker is after them. They go look for the talisman. “In the pet cemetery.” (Nice nod to Stephen King.)
Dolls shows up, identifies the demon as Killer Miller. Waverly – ever the Nancy Drew of the gang – has researched Killer Miller and knows that he wears an old timey bullet proof vest (iron plate) and doesn’t get immediately shot by Peacemaker. But Wynonna puts a few holes in the vest, which addle him enough that she can shoot him in the head at close range and send him to hell. All the light comes back immediately.
Just then Bobo’s lackey shows up with an axe, but Dolls knocks him down. Wynonna could shoot the guy, but instead she spares him so he can go tell Bobo that she’s coming for him and “the seven” (I guess those are the main revenants, but there are 77 total?).
Lackey, despite the fact that he’s lying on the ground with Peacemaker in his face dares suggest: “You’re just a girl.” Really, dude?
Wynonna: “I’m THE girl with the big-ass gun. And one by one, I’m gonna blow you all to hell.”
Waverly pulls out the talisman, throws it, and Lackey goes flying off the Earps’ land.
Waverly and Wynonna sit again by the fire. Dolls has okayed Waverly to be a “Black Badge consultant,” and the sisters will move back to the homestead. Doc is busy replacing the mailbox that got messed up in all the demon-fighting hubbub. They call him “Henry” and still believe that he’s an Earp fanboy.
Wynonna: “Everything in my body tells me he’s one of the bad boys…. My entire body…” So Wynonna thinks the guy is hot. It’s already been established that Wynonna has made poor relationship choices in the past, so this can’t be good.
I’d like to mention here that the camera in this scene, and in many scenes in Wynonna Earp, comes from a female perspective. In this case, it is shot from Wynonna’s eyeline, admiring Doc in a pair of Champ’s jeans. This perspective is honestly rare. The camera’s “gaze” is often, automatically, a male perspective. We perceive that perspective as neutral because it’s so ubiquitous, but in fact a vast percentage of the time it is male. (Here’s the seminal academic work on that topic.) As you watch this show, take time to notice the perspective of the camera’s “eye,” and how often that eye belongs to a woman character. That happens in this show far more often than it does in just about any series I can think of. I wish we had more shows that gave us that actual eyeline view, a visual perspective on the world from something other than a cishetero guy POV.
The sisters also talk about Waverly having been tricked into burying the talisman, and it’s not her fault. I mean, nobody in this family really smells like a rose. They both inadvertently did some really unfortunate things in their childhoods. I like that they are both very generous with the forgiveness.
Wynonna concludes, “How scared can you be of a guy named Bobo?” I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.
Bobo tests Doc’s loyalty. Says Doc has to chain Levi (the lackey dude) to a gate “across the line” that humans can cross (outside of Purgatory city limits?). In other words Doc is supposed to subject Levi to torment, which he does. It’s super creepy. Doc even apologizes: “I am sorry, Levi. But it’s you or me.” Bobo has some scars on his back that light up with the revenant symbol. “May no other revenant turn away from my guidance” or apparently they get the same as Levi. “Let the Seven deal with the heir.”
Doc maybe understands he’s working with the wrong element? Bobo to Doc: “I can give her to you – the woman who changed you.” Doc appears pleased and agrees that they are, indeed, in business. Levi screams some more. Doc struts off looking determined but grave. However, I can’t take him seriously in Champ’s jeans with fancy embroidered pockets and decorative stitchery. He should put his John Ford extra clothes back on.
So to summarize some important reveals in this episode: we meet Officer Haught, and we get semi-subtly introduced to an ongoing subplot involving her and Waverly. We learn more about the revenants and their motivations for wanting to defeat the heir and get out of Purgatory. Apparently, the Earp heir is the only thing that stands between the revenants and a world ravaged by demons. Big responsibility. We also find out a little more about the Black Badge Division and how they operate, accompanied by the growing tension between Wynonna’s methods versus the official, institutional ones represented by Dolls.
Structurally, this episode gives us a taste of what the show will grow into: advancement of Bobo’s “big bad” arc of freeing the revenants from Purgatory, Wynonna’s fight to stop his progress, how the demon fighting does/does not fit into her life in the town of Purgatory, Wynonna’s evolving relationship with Waverly, Waverly’s growing involvement with Black Badge (and possibly a certain attractive police officer), and a monster-of-the-week plot woven into all of these.
I find the tightness of Andras’s storytelling impressive even this early in the series, and as we’ll come to see, it gets tighter as the season progresses. There are no throw-away scenes. Not even any throw-away lines.