Hello, friends, and welcome to my recap of the Wynonna Earp episode “When You Call My Name.” I’ll be honest starting out — it probably won’t be Unnecessarily Long this time, because I was away for the weekend with friends, including Editor-in-Chief of The TV Junkies Bridget Liszewski. It was a lovely time, but it means not much time was left for writing because “we never get to hang out, Monica.”
And the boss is always right.
This episode gave me a lot of feelings all over the place, so it may be more of a feelings shouting than a step-by-step recap, and that’s why you’re all here, right? To hear me vomit my feelings? I kind of feel like that’s my brand.
Anyway, let’s do this, my friends.
We open on the remnants of the truck crash and one of the most terrifying sounds in the Earp verse — Waverly screaming “Wynonna!” It doesn’t help that she’s being dragged away, blood staining the snow, as it happens.
As Wynonna slowly comes to on the side of the cliff, her first thought — her only thought — is Waverly. Even when she’s alone on the side of a bunch of jagged rocks, inches away from her death, shivering from the cold and clearly going into shock, she both shouts for her baby sister and lets her know she’s okay and that she’s still there. It’s sad that this is what it takes for Wynonna to get a moment’s peace, and I don’t think this is what she had in mind. Her subconscious scares up some company in the form of her mother (and some rocks), though, and they hash out some family stuff. Michelle talks through the rules of getting through a survival situation, one of the last lessons she was able to teach Wynonna. Apparently just the two of them went camping before she went away, something that gets brought up a few times in this episode, leading me to wonder if there was a specific survival situation Mama and Wynonna dealt with…involving Bulshar and maybe even someone else? Perhaps in the near future we’ll hear Nicole run through these rules of survival, too. But Subconscious!Mama knows how to motivate her middle daughter, and just the mere thought of Waverly being dead is enough for Wynonna to pop her arm back into place and scale the side of the cliff, even if it means leaving behind Peacemaker. Good thing she has those half gloves.
Waverly, meanwhile, is the filling in a shit sandwich of her own. She’s been kidnapped by a voice-stealing, limb-chopping woodsman who is able to Ursula away his captives’ voices, those poor unfortunate souls. He laments that his woods are changing, something that seems like it could be Bulshar’s doing. Despite Waverly’s best efforts to outsmart him, he takes her voice and talks to Nicole, brushing her off. Nicole’s annoyed but doesn’t realize Waverly was once again not her Waverly.
Finally able to climb back to the truck (may she rest in peace), Wynonna runs around in terror and tries to chase after Waverly, because, as she tells her mother, she doesn’t leave Waverly behind. You know, not anymore, because she definitely left her behind until a year or so ago, but sure. Subconscious!Michelle is able to talk her through the panic, though, and she takes a deep breath, roots through the truck to find a blanket and some whiskey, and off she goes to find her number-one priority. She also grabs a difficult-to-see object that probably definitely won’t be important later and a tire iron (a great throw-back to Episode 202 and the spider goo) and sets out to find her sister. Oh, and the simultaneous behind-the-ear hair tuck? It gave me chills. All of these scenes with Wynonna and Michelle are just more proof that we get to witness a freaking master class in acting from Melanie Scrofano and Megan Follows this season.
At the pop-up Purgatory location of the BBD lab, Jeremy tries to get Dolls to tell the rest of the team what’s going on with him…and fails. Jeremy just loves Dolls so much — he was there for Jeremy when no one else was (and helped him with that one pull-up), and he is frantically trying to save his friend’s life. Jeremy hasn’t learned the tough lesson yet that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. He leaves Jeremy with one last Harry Potter reference — a nice tribute to his nerdy friend.
Michelle accuses Wynonna of growing soft and relying too much on her team, but Wynonna realizes what Buffy always did — her strength doesn’t come from being alone. Her power comes from being the supernatural bullet of this team of misfits. They couldn’t do it without her, but she couldn’t do it without them. Like any relationship, they gain strength from each other; they push each other to grow and become better people. They save and are saved. They are a somewhat-finely tuned machine, and they work well together. Your subconscious is trying to tell you lies, Wynonna. You is all the team.
And like all of us ladies, Wynonna is terrified she’ll turn into the thing she dreads most — her mother. She’s had to deal with her mother’s bullshit since she was a kid, and now she finally has a family who has her back. Michelle had different reasons for leaving her girls behind than Wynonna did for leaving Alice, but obviously Wynonna feels guilt for abandoning her daughter. How could you not? You grow up your whole life being angry at your mother for leaving you, and then you turn around and do the same thing. Sure, you know you had your reasons, but it still hurts. And all of this after a lifetime of people telling you you’re garbage? It sure doesn’t help.
“You abandoned me,” Wynonna says, and when she turns around, Michelle is…gone. Vanished. Just like the last time they were in the woods together.
Dolls heads to Shorty’s to bring Doc up to speed, and Doc, brooding about vampires and contessas and lives lived and, oh, being sent to hell, isn’t in the best mood. They trade barbs, and Doc tells him that they’re the same — they’re both killers, destined for Hell, no matter how much good they do in the world. Dolls insists they aren’t the same — he’ll do the right thing just because it’s the right thing to do. He needs no other reason.
With the help of a stranger who misplaced his son, Nicole happens upon the wrecked truck and realizes there’s trouble for the Earp sisters. Meanwhile, at Ursula the Woodsman’s cabin, the misplaced kid gets himself killed on some booby traps while voiceless Waverly whisper screams in terror and then gets herself put in a cage for her trouble.
Can anyone else picture craft night at the Homestead? Everyone takes a turn picking a craft, and they range in all kinds of levels of expertise. Nicole picks a complicated “ship in a bottle” one. Waverly wants everyone to learn how to crochet covers for all of the throw pillows at the homestead. Wynonna just has everyone fill up whiskey bottles with some rocks she thinks are pretty, mostly because she can claim that she’s drinking more “for craft night.” Doc teaches everyone how to whittle. Dolls does woodburning carvings for everyone. Jeremy chooses Harry Potter Legos because “they’re totally crafts, guys!”
The thing that I love about Jeremy lately is how much he’s coming into his own. He isn’t the shy kid who was terrified to say anything negative to Wynonna and who turned into a quivering mass of fanboy around Doc. He stands up for his friends, sure, and that’s a big deal. But even more importantly, he stands up to his friends. I don’t know if anyone could have called Doc out on his bullshit and I’m sure he didn’t know how Doc would react, but Jeremy did it anyway. And he stands up to Dolls, insisting he tell everyone about his serum issues, finally making the hard call to clue Doc and Waverly in. He doesn’t want to break his friend’s trust, but he also doesn’t want him to die.
Wynonna finds Waverly locked up in a cage in a killer Revenant’s cabin, and this should not be the setting for one of the funniest scenes in the history of this show, and yet, here we are. It’s like some insane game of Charades, or maybe like a Hush/Little Mermaid mash-up where only one of them can’t talk because a demon took her voice. You know, just regular stuff. Wynonna is horrible at whatever game this is, though, and after such inspired guesses as “jiggling C-cups” and “breast alligator,” she finally lands on booby trap. Her little sister helps her maneuver across the floor, but she has to hide as Waverly’s captor comes and goes. He insists that fear has a scent, and all I can think of is maybe that’s why Jack from Lost could only let the fear in for five seconds.
Waverly’s had enough of this dipshit.
Doc and Nicole (HaughtDoc?) are at the truck, trying to trace the Earp sisters’ steps, and there were a couple of nuggets in this scene I really liked. Nicole, worried that Waverly would be cold (you know, on top of whatever other hellish nightmare she was in). Dolls referring to the Earp sisters as “our girls” to Nicole. Doc trying to comfort Nicole before her panic over Waverly gets the better of her. Doc completely freaking out over Jeremy shouting in his ear, and then Jeremy sciencing a solution. Nicole giving a reason why she doesn’t trust Wynonna’s instincts, but admitting she trusts her instincts regarding Waverly. Just…a lot of good stuff packed into a little scene. I’m excited to see more of these two together.
Wynonna isn’t able to knock the lock off of Waverly’s cage, so Waverly thinks this is the best time to have a one-side conversation about Mama, pressing the prison pass she…somehow managed to hold on to through the snow and meat ornamenting and caging. She blames it on Waverly being too young, but I can only imagine Waverly is absolutely done with people protecting her for her own good. She’s an adult now, and strong like a tiny Amazon. She deserves to be treated better, by everyone — her sister, her girlfriend…her mother. All of these women are just trying to protect Waverly, but they don’t realize that Waverly doesn’t need their protection. She just needs their love.
Wynonna trades some info with the Revenant, then takes off into the woods. He thinks she’s fallen down one of his traps, but the goddamn Earp heir is smarter than that. Remember that thing she grabbed from the truck? It was a voice recorder, and she’s taped her voice to shout for help and thrown it down into the trap. Clever girl, indeed…until she gets a bit hung up.
Everyone’s back at the cliff now, physically safe for the moment, if not mentally stable. Nicole is terrified for her girlfriend, Waverly is angry at her sister, Dolls is trying to hide the fact that he’s dying, Wynonna is emotionally exhausted from just the last 24 hours, and Doc has been through a lot of shit lately, Jeremy. And this is just on the surface. I’m almost sad for them that they can’t stay in this moment for a little while longer. Everything is a double shit sandwich, sure, but they are in the calm between storms and have no idea what’s about to happen.
Waverly tries to talk to Wynonna about the Mama Earp in the corner, but after Waves finds out Wynonna has been lying to her the entire time about their mother at her own mother’s request, she’s just…done. She bypasses her girlfriend in favor of Dolls, maybe because she hasn’t yet completely forgiven Nicole for doing the same thing to her. It’s one thing for the women in Waverly’s life to want to protect her, but it’s another thing for them to go behind her back and keep things from her. As far as we know, that’s one thing Dolls has never done. He’s always been honest with her (you know, as far as she knows), and he’s always encouraged her to be honest with herself, no matter what she’s feeling, And that’s what she needs right now.
Sometimes even when you’re a tiny Amazon, all you need is your Dolls.
Much to your girlfriend’s disappointment.
Nicole rappels down the cliff side, which is a good call-back to how she and Shae met and also how she runs towards the danger. This is a nice scene — another calm before the shit storm — that makes me want to see more of Nicole, Doc, and Wynonna together. And I have never sympathized more with Doc than I do right here, because heights also gives me the wheezies. We get a tiny hint here that Nicole thinks of herself as more expendable than Wynonna because she’s the heir, but she also gives her a hard time. I’m enjoying seeing their relationship grow as the show progresses. And despite everything, Nicole still hasn’t lost her sense of humor. And she’s right – redheads do do it better, even us…unnatural ones.
Dolls starts devolving even more, terrifying Waverly, and he looks at his medicine and he’s just…done.
Heroes get tired, too.
And then Bulshar’s right-hand beret cuts Nicole’s rope. Her freaking rope! Gaah!
And what does Wynonna Earp, the spare heir, the one who thinks she’s no good, do? She runs towards the cliff, grasping at the rope to keep Nicole safe. And what does Doc Holliday do, despite his lack of immortality? Attacks the henchman, with no fear of what might happen to himself. Nicole shouts at Wynonna to let her go, because it’s more important to her that Wynonna live. And Dolls runs to them, ultimately sacrificing himself to save his friends.
Because at the end of the day, each and every one of these people would die to save each other.
And Bulshar looks on, clapping like one of the Gentlemen watching a particularly impressive hole-in-one.
Dolls collapses, and his last word? “Wynonna!” Because while Waverly may be her number-one priority, she was always his.
Wynonna, Doc, and Nicole, like so many of us when faced with the death of a loved one, refuse to accept it. Wynonna insists all he needs are his drugs and looks on while Nicole tries to revive him. Doc shouts at his friend to wake up, probably terrified of the fate that could await him. But Waverly? Jeremy told Waverly about Dolls’ devolution, and she — always the smartest one in the room — knows he’s truly gone. Finally accepting, at least on the surface, that Dolls is gone, she refuses to leave him alone in the cold, because he’s scared of the woods. Logic doesn’t usually have a place in your head when your friends die.
“He saved us. He saved me,” Wynonna says. And I think we all know that she wasn’t talking about just that day. She sobs, being held by her sister as she faces the cold, stark reality that this man — her rock — is gone. How will she do anything now? How will she ever move on? She can’t picture a future as the heir without him. She doesn’t see herself the way Dolls does, and she thinks she’s weak. “It’s not fair,” she says. And she’s right. It isn’t. Good people die every day — without warning and without reason. They leave a gaping hole in your life, and you have no idea how you’re ever going to fill it up. It seems impossible, and Wynonna truly makes us feel this here. Dolls may be at peace, but Wynonna feels she never will be.
In a show about a supernatural demon-killing gun, it has never felt as real as it does right now.
Dolls may be dead, but he’ll never be truly gone. Everyone is going to have guilt and regret over how things ended, mixed with joy at having Dolls in their life and sadness that he’s dead. Her mother may tell her that she needs to let him go, but that’s not true, really. Not deep down. Because she’ll never, ever let him go. She’ll always carry a piece of him with her in her heart.
Goodbye, Agent Xavier Dolls. He left the world a better place than he found it, and when the Earps break the curse? Well, it’s because of how Dolls led them and what he taught them. He helped make them what they are, and I think that’s his form of immortality — living on as the hero who helped the Earps break their family’s curse.
Monica’s Random Thoughts of Randomness:
The Woodsman says he likes “his kind better,” and that brings up a lot of questions. What is his kind, exactly? Could this be a callback to Nicole being “not the right kind”?
This was obviously a really, really heavy episode, but there were some great one-liners in it — motherless goose, breast alligator and booby munch, craft night being Thursdays, MMBop — I could go on and on. The Wynonna Earp writers are experts at injecting humor into sad times.
Wynonna, after scaling the cliff: “What kind of savage does this for fun?” The kind that is in love with your baby sister.
I used to think Waverly screaming “Wynonna” at the top of her lungs was the most terrifying sound ever, and then I heard Wynonna scream “Waverly,” and, well, that was…a lot.
Wynonna arguing with her subconscious about if she wanted to see Hanson when she was a kid is something I didn’t know I needed.
Waverly being “everyone else’s” — hmm. Wonder if there’s anything to unpack there. Probably just a throwaway line.
Very telling that even the Revenants are scared of Bulshar.
“You cannot kill me with mortal weapons” was very reminiscent of The Judge on Buffy to me.
Well, my friends…I’ll see you here next week. I think it’ll be another emotional wringer, but I’m here for it. Maybe find a loved one — parent, pet, friend, partner, spouse, or some combination of all of those — and give them an extra-squishy hug.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Share your thoughts below!
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space Channel.
Monica is a queer fangirl who lives in Pittsburgh with her wife and cat. She cohosts a Wynonna Earp podcast called There’s Something in the Heir, her favorite Buffy episode is “Doppelgangland,” and one of her favorite TV couples is Ben and Leslie. You can find her shouting about strong female characters and queer representation @lesbiyinzer on Twitter.