In case you’re new, my Wynonna Earp “Countdown to Season 2” watch-along recap series begins here.
We begin this installment with Doc telling Wynonna a tale of the last time he saw his best bropal Wyatt Earp.
Flashback – Doc lies sick in bed with some kind of 19th-century coughing pestilence. I presume tuberculosis. Didn’t everybody have that back then? Wyatt comes in saying the two of them are about to pack up and go to Purgatory to see “a corrupted lawman we gotta fix.” Doc has heard the sheriff in Purgatory is “part devil,” but the officer insists “there ain’t no such thing as devils.” Doc decides he’s too sick to fight: “This is farewell, Wyatt.” We’ll later learn that Wyatt does, in fact, believe in devils and already knows he’s being pursued by them.
I’m not sure how this story about Doc being too sick to accompany Wyatt to Purgatory is supposed to prove he’s really Doc Holiday, and neither is Wynonna. She wants a shooting demo, which Doc provides. It’s pretty impressive, but not good enough. He fires off a few trick shots. Okay, she’s a little more impressed. And then she asks the question we’ve all been asking, if he’s a revenant, a ghost, what? We find out he made “a barter for eternal longevity” that cured him of his tuberculosis, “unless I catch a bullet, a knife, or an oncoming train.” Finally!
Next we find two ladies in an argument. One of them, Megan, seems rather desperate to convince the other that something she did was an accident, not her fault. The other lady tells Megan she “needs help” and leaves the room. Megan grows more desperate, cries for help, and a creepy offscreen voice says “Tick tock. Tick tock. Forgiven or not?”
You know what? No one who says “tick tock” in any context ever means well. It’s either bitchy, sarcastic, or evil. Every single time.
Megan tries to cover up a mirror with a robe and begs the mirror for more time. But too bad, Megan. The mirror tells her that her time’s up. The robe slides off the mirror. A hand holding a straight razor comes out and (thankfully off-camera) slashes her. Poor Megan bleeds out on the floor. Ugh. Why are mirrors always so creepy?
I mean, I know why. Mirrors are a whole thing related to The Uncanny. The doubling effect. This fantastic SNL Digital Short starring Ellen Page and Andy Samberg illustrates the Uncanny and the use of mirrors to both startling and comic effect. In a nutshell: on some level, mirror images of ourselves still have the power to freak us out on a lower brain level, which is the level that most horror works on first. But anyway, I digress…
The police and Black Badge investigate the scene. “Repent Sinners” is scrawled in blood on the mirror. Wynonna knows the victim and “always hated her.” Back at HQ, Wynonna, Dolls, and Waverly review the evidence.
Waverly: Oh no. Megan Hunsford. I always loved her.
Wynonna: You didn’t know her like I did.
Waverly informs them of a hellfire and brimstone preacher named Father Malick who was killed by Wyatt Earp for dispatching women he had determined to be “sinners.” Wave expresses her interest in going along on their mission to flush Malick out of wherever he’s hiding. They don’t let her come with them. Wy informs Waverly about the identity of Henry aka Doc Holiday, which Waves already knew, of course. She tells Wynonna about the meet-up with Bobo in the trailer park, after which Doc shot at Waverly to scare her off.
Jump cut to Wynonna roughing up Doc outside Shorty’s. Doc explains that he is “plying his trade” at the trailer park, aka playing poker to win money off the Revenants. Aka that’s only partly true. He also tells her he shot at Waverly to run her off, and since he has already proven what a good shot he is, this is plausible. He also informs Wynonna that a certain Malick might be hanging out in said trailer park.
Enter an armed Dolls and Wynonna at the Demonic Trailer Park. Like, they just walk in? Bikery types who might be demons stand around looking menacing. As Dolls helpfully points out, he and Wy are grossly outgunned, so they can’t just shoot Bobo. Meanwhile, Bobo, exits a stationary bus alongside two ladies while conspicuously re-buckling his belt. Gross. He and Wynonna trade barbs for a while, Bobo’s mostly consisting of cutting comments about her family. Dolls threatens him when Wynonna has enough and almost uses her gun. He asks about Malick. Bobo gives them permission to visit Malick, but of course, if any harm comes to him, they’ll get shot.
Father Malick’s tent is stinky. Reeeeally stinky. He looks disgusting too, and he spouts a bunch of nonsense about sin and whores and what not. Turns out he’s not the killer, though, because he doesn’t have any legs. He tells Wynonna, ominously, “His blade thirsts for you. He will drink from the cup of your sins.” I’m not sure what the point of all this Malick nonsense was, given the Red Herring factor, but okay.
Pulling into town with Dolls, Wynonna looks in a sideview mirror to see a blue dude in an old timey barber outfit holding a straight razor, pointing it right at her. We get another flashback memory. The psycho with the razor was also there on the night when the Seven attacked the homestead.
Wy and Dolls visit a witness, “Samantha Perkytits Baker,” according to Wynonna, aka “another one of the Britneys that froze me out.” I get the sense that Wynonna wasn’t Miss Popular in high school? Megan had randomly called Samantha out of nowhere, showed up at her house and said she needed to “confess.” Samantha also manages to get a couple of digs in on Wynonna about the idea that someone would trust her with a badge. Megan had been the driver in a hit-and-run drunk driving accident that had killed Samantha’s dad. That’s what Megan had wanted to confess and get forgiveness for “like her life depended on it,” but Samantha – somewhat understandably – hadn’t forgiven her.
At Shorty’s, Doc joins a sad husband at a table, sharing a bottle with him. We find out that Sad Husband has done some sort of unforgivable wrong to his wife, and the consequences are going to hurt. Doc goes off about the “biblical” proportions of the vengeance he seeks. Dude gets up and walks off.
We find Husband in the bathroom. And sure enough. “Tick tock. Tick Tock. Forgiven or not?” Obviously not. Because he gets slashed by Blue Mirror Barber. Hiding in the bathroom stall doesn’t help. Barber just unscrews the stall hinges creepily from the outside.
Back to Wynonna and Dolls. Turns out the party where Megan got drunk and ended up killing Samantha’s dad was indirectly because Wynonna hooked up with Megan’s boyfriend. Megan had angrily zoomed off even though she couldn’t drive. Of course Wynonna hooked up with the dude as revenge because Megan was awful and did horrible things like, oh, say, fill Wynonna’s locker with entrails? And Dolls is… oddly comforting in this instance?
Shorty’s bathroom, Doc finds Unforgiven Husband on the floor in a pool of blood, and Creepy Blue Barber appears to him in the mirror with the now-familiar “tick-tock” routine. Doc pulls his knife (not his gun?) on reflex. Naturally, Waverly walks in at just that moment, and Doc is already on her shitlist. Doc: “I can explain.” No one in the history of explaining has ever said those words and then subsequently explained to anyone’s satisfaction. In real life or on TV.
Investigation scene with Dolls, Wynonna, and Waverly. We find out that Dead Husband is none other than Wynonna’s probation officer, Jay Novak. And oh yeah Dolls doesn’t know that “Henry” is actually Doc Holiday. The MO and scene match everything from Megan’s death from before, so they lean towards revenant activity, not Doc, but Doc still has to be questioned.
Turns out, Dolls has found nothing on Doc in any database and refers to him as a “non-entity” and therefore has no rights? I’m no legal scholar, but this seems… untrue? Anyway, carry on. So the two of them play this weird manly game of “Who’s bluffing?”
Oh but wait, Dolls does know he’s Doc Holiday but thinks he’s a ghost?
Wynonna: I was definitely gonna tell you before Christmas because then you two could be each other’s secret Santas. How cute would that be?
Nedley bursts in to let them know that the murder victim’s wife has asked to see them. Cut to her house. She explains that Jay had confessed to her that morning that he had been “a bigtime drug dealer” for ten years – in addition to being Wynonna’s parole officer. And he had used his parolees – including Wynonna – as “unpaid minions.” Jay’s widow buys the whole thing about the Blue Guy in the mirror because he started appearing to her too after the murder.
It seems our now-widow had Wynonna sent back to juvenile detention (the third time) by ratting her out about the drug deal: “It was either you or my husband.”
Naturally, things start getting intense, and gruff-voice Tick Tock guy shows up. Wynonna claims to forgive the widow, but she doesn’t really, not in her heart at that moment. Wy tries to shoot the mirror when Murder Barber shows up in it, but he comes out of the TV screen and slits the lady’s throat.
So: one more thing for Wynonna to feel guilty about. Great.
We finally get a full-scale reveal on Creepy Murder Barber at this point, and He Nasty. I hate it when people lick blades. Or just the appearance of razors in any context in any scene ever. Especially straight razors. Nothing good ever happens in a scene with straight razors. So this episode really put me on edge (as it were) the first time I saw it.
He gives her two hours to find forgiveness from the souls she’s hurt? Umm, given her checkered past, that could be a lot of souls?
Wy and Dolls try to work out the logistics of shooting a demon that only appears in mirrors. Anytime a person turns around to see him, he’s already gone. Oh, of course! They’ll transmogrify him. Simple! Genius! Wait, what? They just need to turn him into flesh and blood. Okay, no prob.
Plan B is for Wynonna to get everyone to forgive her. Yikes. Her first attempt ends in one brother chasing another out of Shorty’s after breaking a pool cue over his back. Wynonna asks Waverly for help identifying the murderer but gives her next to no useful details, then runs off to get forgiven.
Waverly: But everybody hates you.
Wynonna: I’m aware.
Waverly heads to the jail with some folders full of research to show Doc. They argue about why he shot at her. He claims he regrets the episode. She offers to help get him out of jail if he helps her identify the Creepiest Barber Ever. Doc compliments her research skills and suggests that she is, “The true keeper of the Earp flame.”
Let’s keep that in mind, shall we? Doc referred to Waverly as “The True Keeper of the Earp Flame.” That might come in handy later. Maybe.
Doc immediately identifies one August Hamilton, aka Augie the Barber. Guys would go to him for a shave, and they’d use him as a confidant, aka confess their sins. Wyatt Earp found out about a cattle rustler from Augie, and Augie disappeared before Wyatt could get him on the witness stand. So Wyatt didn’t kill Augie directly, but by forcing him to testify he de facto kinda did? So, instant revenant.
Waverly keeps her part of the bargain, but the result is a lot of yelling (at Doc) back at Black Badge. In a certain burst of authority, Waverly makes them shut up and get back on task. Adorable authority, I might add.
Dolls sets up the mirror ritual with a Black Mirror. No really, an actual one, made of obsidian. Apparently Black Badge owns a lot of cool exotic occult artifacts.
In this scene we find out that Waverly is a badass at Latin. I would expect no less.
They’ll evoke August Hamilton by name, but other spirits who have “a bone to pick” with Dolls may also try to slip through. So, impending free-for-all. Check.
Waverly busts out with some sweet Latin, and then Dolls gets promptly possessed by something that has him creepily floating in the air, and his eyes are all black. Black eyes mean possession. It’s universal in all supernatural-themed TV shows. Luckily, they’re able to taze the demon out of him. Good to know that’s a thing.
Meanwhile, Blue Creeper comes out of the mirror, and Wynonna tries to shoot him with Peacemaker, but he shatters like glass, which seems like maybe it didn’t work right. Also Dolls isn’t breathing. Wynonna gives him CPR. This is all super intense because Blue Creeper may show up again any second now. Ugh. Luckily the CPR works. However, the demon was toying them. The ritual didn’t work. They’ll need to regroup.
Dolls coughs up some water and they notice watery footsteps on the floor. Whut? Water is reflective? He can project himself through water. Wynonna has figured out something super-smart. Yay, Wynonna! Oh and apparently Doc … sorry, “some scoundrel”… had gotten paid to make Hamilton go away. To the bottom of a lake. That’s important because that lake is his home base. Got it!
So Doc, Waverly, and Wynonna head to the lake. This seems ill-advised, but okay? And then sure enough. Blue Creeper flies out of the lake, lands next to Wynonna, holds the razor to her throat, and she can’t move. He has some power to freeze his victims. “Who have you hurt the most?” he asks. Of course it’s Waverly. “What wrong have you done that she can never forgive?”
In a heartwrenching exchange, Wynonna goes through all the things she’s done that have hurt Waverly: accidentally shot their father, caused Willa’s kidnapping/death, left her alone in Purgatory for several years. Waverly finally opens up:
Waverly: Oh my God no. I’m over it. You came back. You came back, and now you’re here and you’re the chosen one and… and… that’s definitely not what I’m mad about.
Wynonna: Then what do you? What you mean the chosen… Wave… Just say it. Say it.
Waverly: I should be the heir.
Wynonna: Yeah you should. I’m sorry.
Waverly: I forgive you.
Barber: Not in your heart.
Waverly: I FORGIVE HER!
Barber: Say goodbye.
Wy elbows the Barber in the head just as Doc shoots the razor out of his hand. She turns around and pulls Peacemaker on him.
Wynonna: Guilty, sinner, forgiveness. Just another dude telling me what I’ve done wrong. And now, I’m about to do some right.
And blam. Another demon gets sent to hell.
In Wynonna’s truck, Wy and Doc talk about Doc’s past. He admits that his one regret in life is that he never apologized to Wyatt.
Wynonna approaches Waverly back at the homestead, apologizing again about being the heir. Waverly claims she only said the thing about “the chosen one” because, “Vidal Sassoon would’ve killed you if I didn’t find something to be mad at you about.” Naturally, Wynonna doesn’t believe her and pulls out a bottle of bubblegum sake to get her to talk.
That is the grossest thing I’ve ever heard of. Wynonna agrees. Anyway, carry on, ladies.
Waverly: I spent years compiling research on the revenants. I did a four-year university degree by correspondence – on ancient cultures and languages – because I thought that maybe, maybe I could break the curse. And you, who’s never tried to be good at anything in life, got to be the special one. While I just got to be Waverly.
Wynonna: Who everybody loves. Cause you’re so awesome. I mean, you have a million reasons to hate me, but you still love me. That’s what I love about you, dude.
We find out why Doc should’ve apologized to Wyatt. He took the deal with the Stone Witch so they could ride together to Purgatory. Wyatt sees Doc as one of “them” now, the devils that seek to end the Earp line, and that ends their friendship.
I like this episode a lot because we see some serious character development in Wynonna, Waverly, and Doc. We find out how Doc betrayed his best friend in a bid to regain his health and longevity. This betrayal and Doc’s repository of regret over it – while still remaining fueled by selfish motivations – give us two of Doc’s core motivations and the tension between the two: loyalty versus self-seeking. Here we see his best character trait and his biggest flaw locked in diametric opposition to one another. What we learn about him in this episode gives us a better understanding of his behavior up to this point. I’m not saying I don’t fault him, but at least I understand it better now.
We get more of Wynonna’s backstory in this installment as well. We’ve already gotten some hints that she fits the bill of the classic high school misfit in terms of drug/alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, “loner” behavior, and general delinquency. We also know, however, that much of this acting out has to do with her past trauma involving her family history. This pattern of trauma and acting-out has of course led to a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle for her in the past. And kids (and later many adults) being the vindictive creatures that they are, this led to much mistreatment, which of course further contributed to the cycle. Her role as the heir – despite her understandable distaste for law, authority, and ambivalent feelings towards men – has given her the opportunity to make something better of her life. She doesn’t believe she deserves this opportunity and at times resents that it has been thrust upon her, but she accepts it nonetheless.
Perhaps the most intriguing reveals we get in this episode come from Waverly. She continues to surprise us every time. By appearances, and by her sweet, bubbly demeanor, we expect her to be the typical cutesy girl, but we keep experiencing new facets of her character. Not only has she devoted years to researching local history, but she also got a B.A. degree in Near East Studies (or something similar) via distance learning. That takes a ton of dedication and intelligence. Few schools even offer degrees like that, so we can assume she got into a fairly elite one in order to make that happen.
In this episode and the previous two, we’ve gotten hints that Waverly really wants to be included in Black Badge’s investigations, and they have allowed her to a limited degree. We finally learn in these exchanges with Wynonna how she believed she deserved to be the heir because she worked so hard to be the Good Sister, staying with the family, holding down a job, getting her degree, doing all the research that has, frankly, proved essential to the success of every Black Badge endeavor in Purgatory so far. Heartbreakingly, Wynonna believes Waverly deserves it too.
This dynamic – both of them questioning their self-worth, separately and together – is part of what makes these two so appealing to viewers. We sense the unconditional love between them, even when they don’t say it, but we also see in them the plight that a lot of us women face in our everyday lives: questioning our own value to the world even when we all possess incredibly unique, individual gifts.