Do you know what it’s like when you make plans to see a friend months in advance and you’re so looking forward to it, but as the friend date approaches, you realize that there’s no possible way it could live up to the hype you’ve built in your head? But then you hang out with your friend and it’s like the months spent apart have just vanished into thin air and never happened? Because it’s just as comfortable and hilarious and heartfelt as it always has been, and it’s like you were never separated? But it’s even better, because you’ve both grown as people and everything just means more now.
Welcome back, Wynonna Earp. It’s like you never left.
Watching the Season 3 premiere, “Blood Red and Going Down,” was like putting on your bestest bonus blanket and feeling at home, you know? Like, things are a little different, sure, but it still feels good and familiar…like when you used to do recaps for your blog but now you’re at a legit site and you didn’t actually think this would ever happen but now it has and NO PRESSURE, MONICA.
So it’s just like that. This week’s episode was a great “welcome back to Purgatory” episode, and it had all the things we knew we wanted and didn’t know we needed. Training montages, domestic WayHaught, bromances and romances, and motherfudging vampires. So grab a stake, my friends, and let’s get to it!
Previously on Wynonna Earp, Wynonna had a baby then kicked some ass, she and Doc both had to say goodbye to little Alice Michelle, Nicole clearly knows something she’s not telling the class, and — oh, yeah — Wynonna knew her mother was alive, and she’s somehow connected to Bulshar! What the potato?!
We open on Pussy Willows, and Nicole Haught takes the words right out of all of the Earpers’ mouths.
I can’t believe we’re back here, of all places.
And then Waverly, dressed in her most Willow Rosenberg jacket of all time, says how she really feels about Wynonna.
She knows what she’s doing…right?
They’re discussing Wynonna, and both of them obviously see a change after she’s given up her daughter. She’s relentless and determined, sure, but drinking a lot. And Waverly begs her not to “Earp this up.” Later, our softest couple debate the benefits of various weaponry, proving that they get along in more than one room of the house, and have their guns trained on the outer door of our favorite strip club, which apparently has more to offer than just dancers.
Inside our favorite Purgatory strip club, Wynonna is doing her best Debra Winger impression on the mechanical bull at Pussy Willows and decides that the bull is thirsty. Not even two minutes into Season 3, and Wynonna is going all Wynonna again. I’m here for it.
Actual photo of Earpers watching this premiere.
As the weaponry debate continues on a nearby rooftop, Wynonna
stumbles out of gets thrown out of the bar, apparently forgetting she threw her beer all over herself and the bull, and is promptly surrounded by a bunch of Revenant dickheads who are taunting her about her baby, and she is SO OVER IT. Hmm. A bunch of dudes shouting insults at a defenseless woman? Feels familiar. Wonder how confident they’d be if it seemed like she was able to fight back?
Because — surprise — she CAN fight back. She’s just luring them into a false sense of security, outsmarting them as Earps do, with Dolls as her own personal Lando Calrissian skiff guard, just so she can beat the stuffing out of them, which she does.
Pregnancy hasn’t softened our heir one bit.
She grabs Peacemaker from Dolls and kisses him on the cheek, then takes off after her runner Revenant, where Waverly gives support from up above. Interrupting!Wynonna makes an appearance as she shouts at WayHaught to WayCoolDown…after admiring Waverly’s markswomanship, of course.
And another runner takes off, and we start to see just how well our little Scooby gang is working together. A mustachioed Jeremy attacks a guy with a Pussy Willows happy-hour sign…and then Doc promptly saves Jeremy from said guy with some impressive knife action. Wynonna sends him to Hell, too, and then we are treated to a walk-and-talk with so much swagger that even Aaron Sorkin would be proud…until Wynonna trips on the happy-hour sign with a shout of “stupid Pussy Willows,” perhaps the new “Stupid Carl” of Season 3.
Next we spend some time with Nedley and probably his least-favorite officer, Lonnie, but not to fear, Nedley. Lonnie won’t make it past this scene. A cadre of well-dressed vampires get out of a tour bus, followed by a plume of pink fog, and they immediately put Nedley under their thrall. Nedley, echoing the sentiments of Earpers across the world, stands in the sunlight and joyfully says, “It’s about time we had some vampires up in here.” So say we all, Randy. So say we all.
After a smokin’ new opening credits sequence, we go now to Waverly’s bedroom, where Nicole and Waverly are their soft, squishy, soulmate-y selves. They wake up in bed together, chatting quietly in voices heavy with sleep, and in one tiny scene, we get resolution on the mistakes that both made at the end of Season 2.
They talk about Nicole’s marriage and Waverly’s hot-tub shenanigans, letting us all know that it’s been resolved off-screen. Hope that counts for Nicole creeping on Waves’ parentage, too! They’re soft and romantic and just…normal. They fought and are clearly still in the making-up phase of the fighting, but, true to form, Wynonna goes all Wynonna again and takes them from WayHaught to WayNot in 0.4 seconds flat. At her girlfriend’s heart-eyes’d insistence, Waverly goes to investigate her shouting sister, who’s sparring with Doc in the barn. As Waverly leaves, Nicole gets a call from Nedley, and it doesn’t look like it’s to chat about the latest episode of Real Housewives.
Wow, pregnancy really hasn’t made Wynonna soft. She quickly turns the tables on Doc, holding one of his knives to his throat while she pins a perfectly sculpted arm behind his back. Because it’s Doc and Wynonna, though, each line of dialogue (and moment of no dialogue) has 17 layers of…stuff in it. You can feel sexual tension, regret, sass, regular tension, and, above all, the weight of their daughter pressing on every word.
Doc tells us it’s been 19 weeks since the finale and Alice Michelle was born, and I’m picturing him counting off each day he’s separated from his daughter on a calendar hanging on the wall of the barn. Not with a pen or Sharpie, though — that’s not his style. He carefully scratches a line through each day with his knife, gently scoring the paper so as not to tear it and mar the page underneath. Deliberate destruction.
Doc leaves, and we see Wynonna’s delicate sadness. “He won’t touch me unless he’s training, and he won’t talk to me unless he’s angry. So I keep him training and angry,” she says with a sad smile as she shoots whiskey from the bottle. Waverly talks about breaking the “knob-gobbling curse,” which is just adorable, eliciting laughter from both Wynonna and me.
Is there anything this barn doesn’t have? Who rides a bike?
Waverly tells her sister to have some faith that Doc will come around, and in the meantime they just keep sending Revenants to Hell. Nicole does her best Interrupting!Wynonna impression as she enters the barn and says it’s all hands on deck. The look of terror on Nicole’s face is unsettling, and the improperly dressed Earps follow her.
The sisters step out of Gus’ truck (how the hell is she taking Alice Michelle to her doctor’s appointments?!) and walk into Pussy Willows. It wasn’t always Pussy Willows, you see, and when it was The County Line Saloon, Mama Earp used to love it and was apparently part of the rodeo circuit. Good to know, Waves.
Nedley scares the snot out of them as he thunders out of Pussy Willows in a sharp-ass neckerchief, insisting “they didn’t do this.” Well, that’s not cryptic or creepy at all, Nedkerchief.
And apparently Wynonna has a ladybug that flames for Jason Momoa. Sounds familiar…
Inside Pussy Willows, well, things seem a lot more grim than they did last night. Bodies stabbed by a serrated blade, posed deliberately, it would seem. This might surpass the Great Chili Cookoff debacle of 2005, if we’re being honest.
I just hope the mechanical bull is OK.
Nicole mentions that BBD has been tracking the killings since 1920, which leaves us a lot to unpack. I…thought Black Badge was no more? And so the one who didn’t sign a blood oath is thumbing through their files? Anyway, if Nicole’s correct, that means Nedley is also correct — the vampires didn’t have anything to do with the Massacre at Pussy Willows™, and that wasn’t just his glamour talking.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate what a classy joint Pussy Willows is, shall we?
The sign has a shiny silver-fringe backdrop, and there are multiple levels for your viewing pleasure. Underneath the “beer” sign, there’s some tasteful dancing-lady art, plus maybe one Bigfoot outline. Yeah, that one on the left. Lots of comfy chairs, though the ones on the floor aren’t ideal for lap dances, but whatever. I’m just saying if Doc wants to do his best Truvy Jones impression and exclaim “I’m a chain!” well, it’s a good choice.
Nicole explains that for some reason, the words “cult of Bulshar” jogged something in her memory, and so Dolls gave her some old files. Plausible, certainly; believable, definitely. But is that the whole story? I doubt it. But when it comes to Xavier Pamela Dolls, well, who knows what to expect?
As Nicole becomes increasingly uncomfortable with all of this Bulshar breeze shooting, Wynonna leaves to investigate a suspicious noise, but not before Nic has a complete meltdown after seeing this symbol.
That’s probably a bad sign, huh?
The suspicious noise is not, sadly, a horny flock of Jason Momoas but instead a bloodied military-looking dude in a beret, who wipes some extra blood he had on hand on a poster advertising Michelle Gibson, a first and last name that are…very familiar to us Earpers.
Waverly is in the loo with Nicole, because at a murder scene, I guess you go into the bathroom to get some water, and she’s having a meltdown of her own, and maybe a little bit of a pity party. Get it together, Waves. Everyone dealt with the shit you brought on by touching the goo for months. You can handle this.
She decides to leave her girlfriend and head back out for some Pussy action, and she’s stopped (and thralled) by Petra, a vampire she initially tries to comfort because she incorrectly assumed she was a victim. And that gives us a clever cute mirror trick, along with Waverly being her adorable self, and then we get to see what Nicole looks like when she’s obsessed with someone. I prefer it when those intense Haught eyes are trained on Waverly, thank you very much.
Doc’s fallen asleep at his bar, presumably because of late-night sparring shenanigans with Wynonna, and wakes out of a nightmare of hellfire. Well, that’s no good. He hears a disturbance in the distance and goes to investigate, gun a-blazing, and it’s Jeremy, who is…dancing with a wooden pole?
Pole dancing is at the other bar, Jer bear.
Jeremy calls Doc out on his exhausted aesthetic, and while Doc claims that it’s because Bulshar is out there, ready to strike, Jeremy knows better. He’s sad about Alice Michelle. It’s okay, though, because a pink cloud of sexy vampire fog is on its way to cheer everyone up. Everyone at the bar is passed out, and it takes Jeremy approximately 1.4 seconds to correctly clock the pink haze as vampires. Quite the talented one, our Jeremy.
Doc gets taken, and as he’s pulled away, his concern is for Jeremy, telling him to run, but it’s all for nothing. Jeremy meets a vampire that’s a cross between John Travolta and The Situation, and immediately becomes the Xander to his Dracula.
Wynonna enters the Ghost River Prison and tells Mama Earp that they need to start talking about…him.
SHE DOES NOT LOOK HAPPY.
She seems to have a hospital bracelet on her wrist, signifying that maybe this is isn’t just a straight-up regular jail. She tells her mom about a “buttload of murder,” but Mama sits there silently, only making eye contact when Wynonna utters the name “Bulshar.” Wynonna says Bulshar put a curse on their family, but her mother clarifies that “he put a curse on the Earps.” It seems that she knows more about him than just the Earp ties, maybe from the voice that she hears. Wynonna begs her to step up and BE THEIR MOTHER, for Waverly, but Mama Earp storms away, shouting that her daughters are off limits. You know, to someone.
And can I just say what a powerful scene that was with Melanie Scrofano and Megan Follows? I know it was really short — just a teaser intro to Mama for us, really — but it was just so beautifully done. And it was like a freaking master class in acting. It gave us enough to intrigue us, I think, and really just made me super excited to see else happens between these two.
Michelle walks away, but Wynonna is marched out by some armed guards. Canadian locked facilities are really different than the ones in Murica.
Doc has gotten himself in some trouble. He’s clearly not at Shorty’s anymore, but even though he’s handcuffed to a stripper pole, he’s not in Pussy Willow’s, either. Apparently the Vampmobile has a pole, too, and he’s trying to smooth-talk his way out of whatever this sticky situation is. He’s talking to the woman we Earpers know as Kate, because Chantel Riley isn’t a human we will soon forget, but he refers to her as “The Contessa.” She’s allegedly trying to vamp up Doc, and not in the way that some of us Earpers want to. No, she wants to make him a bloodsucking fiend.
Just look at her outfit!
She wants Doc to prove he’s Doc and not just some Tom, Dick, or John Henry, and for some reason she thinks that torturing him is the way to go. Um…sure. Okay.
Back at the prison, we find out Michelle wants to stay where she is — she requested no parole hearing and says she doesn’t want to leave. The administrator of the facility reminds Wynonna that she’s nobody and Gus is Michelle’s power of attorney…and then Dolls tells the warden that Wynonna is a U.S. Marshall and so just give her the damn files, dude.
Oh, and there’s a nice little moment between Dolls and Wynonna where she calls him her boss and he says he’s her partner. My, how far we’ve come from him having to blackmail her to join BBD.
Still a great butt, though.
Apparently Dolls and his pencil-thin mustache have been following Wynonna for a while, and now two people know that Mama is in jail. Oh, and also alive.
Now all he needs is a two-toned Ricky Ricardo jacket and an autographed picture of Andy Devine. Anyone? No? I’ll stick to Steel Magnolias, maybe.
He was worried about Wynonna, of course, because that’s what his motivator always is.
Father of the Year Ward Earp never told his eldest daughters why Mama went to prison, and he instructed them to tell Waverly that she ran off. Apparently Ward heard us say he couldn’t get any lower than drunkenly dragging your child out of bed for target practice and decided to posthumously ask us to hold his beer.
Murders have been committed in Bulshar’s name for years, way before he made his most recent appearance in Purgatory, so he obviously has help. Wynonna points out she does, too, and she and Dolls almost share a moment…but not quite. Instead, he gets out of Gus’ truck and runs straight into Petra.
Back in the VampiRV, Doc pleads with his captor that he doesn’t want to be one of the Lonely Ones, but she doesn’t care what he wants. He asks if they’re in Purgatory for him, but no — they’re here to watch the inevitable Bulshar musterbluck. And she monologues a bit and lets us all in on the plan — Bulshar will spare the vampires and let the rest be eaten. Man. That’s a real bad day.
Doc is all “my plucky gang of misfits will potato your business up,” and lets it slip that he knows Kate knows that they know each other. He calls her by name — er, title — and the Contessa knocks him out and says he’s still an asshole. So I’m just guessing that maybe they weren’t besties.
Wynonna pulls up to the barn and sees a crap ton of pink fog pouring out of it. If they properly sided that building, well, maybe it would stay inside. Anyway, Wynonna, doing her best Nicole Haught impression, runs toward the danger and goes inside the sexy fog barn.
Wynonna dispatches Hot Kamin, the barn vamp, but when she tries to get the gang to mount up, well, they’re still pretty pro-bloodsucker. She should be grateful Nicole only knocks her out after she finds out Wynonna isn’t glamoured, since we know she’d shoot anyone for her best baby. They’re all dressed…kind of fancy, but like “entertaining company in the boudoir” fancy, not “dress up Wynonna and shove her in a casket” fancy.
At the most lit party Purgatory has since Bobo and Willa poisoned everyone, sexy fog wafts over humans and vamps alike (and fairy lights!) as they rock out to some sweet techno beats. Jeremy and Nedley share some glamour chat, and it’s seriously hilarious. This is probably my favorite random pairing of this episode. Just look at them!
Waverly and Nicole wander around the party, and we finally get to see Nicole in that sexy black dress she talked about in Season 1. Nicole tells Waverly she loves her so much and nothing will tear them apart…except maybe the “hot European vampires.” I mean, everyone has their breaking point, I guess. As Nicole tells Waverly she’s always been a survivor, a glimmer of understanding starts to dawn on her. She’s the survivor…of something.
The HVIC (Head Vampire in Charge) makes an appearance at the party, and at least he has better fashion sense than Bobo. No pleather calf-birthing gloves in sight! He throws shade at the citizens of Purgatory and praises a “he” I assume to be Bulshar. The Unkillable Gay Squad listens to Jeremy talk about maybe getting to first base with his liege while Dolls finds Wynonna in her casket. He…knocks and she says “come in,” like you do when you’re trapped in a casket.
Wynonna worries that Jeremy is the one who dressed her, what with her half gloves and all, but either way, she looks hella fierce. She asks Dolls how he got away, and he just…doesn’t answer. Hmm.
Dolls reminded me so much of Giles when he pulled out his vampire-killing kit, which also had diagrams that looked like our favorite librarian himself created…or that were created by IKEA. He’s so stoked to use new tech!
AND we get a stake-making montage! This is like the Buffiest Buffy that wasn’t in Buffy. I love it so much.
Petra calls for the “old families” of Purgatory, and Waverly is torn. She’s not an Earp, but she’s not NOT an Earp, you know? But it doesn’t really matter, since everyone’s getting eaten. The pedigree only matters as to who gets to do the eating.
But in true Wynonna fashion, she interrupts the party, crashing through the window with the truly amazing line of “I’ll tell you what you can eat — a dick.”
She cleverly gets Waverly to reveal her sire, which releases WayHaught (and Nedley) from their glamour. Nicole throws Peacemaker at Wynonna, because the best thing about her sexy black dress is that IT HAS POCKETS and she’s been holding on to it all along.
And it’s time for another montage, and this one is a cracker. A rocking song plays as Wynonna double-fists Peacemaker and a chair stake and mows her way through the vamps, with backup (not the singing kind) provided by her Scooby gang. It’s fun, exciting, ass-kicking, and joyous — so many of the things that made me love this show in the first place. Waverly takes a minute to save her girlfriend from a second glamour, and they just googly-eyes each other so hard that I can’t stop smiling.
Doc is still chained to the stripper pole in the VampiRV, and he struggles to get out.
He…succeeds, but in true Doc fashion, it’s in the most undignified way possible. And bless you, costume department, for this tank top. Bless you, Tim Rozon, for your arms.
The Contessa has escaped the musterbluck at the Gardner house and finds Doc, escaped and…bleeding. She obviously cares for him, because she doesn’t want Doc to get vamped, and she tells him to stay put. But because Doc has seen the series finale of Lost Girl, he climbs onto the roof of the VampiRV, then chases after Kate as she runs through the snow. He draws on her but refuses to pull the trigger as she races off into the darkness after telling Doc she did come back for him. He stands there…stunned.
Of course, because vampires, one comes back for a final scare, but don’t worry — shirtless Doc Holliday dispatches him with a stick. And Doc seems…lighter after his tussle with the Contessa. More like the pre-Alice Michelle Doc we used to know. It looks good on him, and it looks good on him with Wynonna.
Wynonna interrogates HVIC for information on Bulshar, but it isn’t super helpful. They decide to send him back to Bulshar to handle, and it…doesn’t go well for the vampire. Also, this dude is creepy AF. Like the villainy of the Gentlemen mixed with the fashion sense of Cruella de Vil.
And…what is that pin he’s wearing? Think it’s a fandom one? Maybe the rainbow mustache, or a WayHaught?
They force him to…eat something? Probably not a Bezoar. Bereted henchman says he’s going to show the others the path of serving Bulshar, and that’s probably nothing we’ll circle back to in this season. Doubtful it’s important.
At Shorty’s, Doc thumbs through some tarot cards as a still-fancy Wynonna enters and asks for a whiskey. Doc pours them each a shot and toasts Wynonna to another day alive…and to their daughter. He then leans in for a kiss so intense that I’m surprised his mustache doesn’t stick to her. It’s nice to have these kids back to quasi-happy, even for a little while…and even if his motives aren’t pure, since he’s clearly thinking about the Contessa.
The group has a confab over some Chinese food (I didn’t spy a jar of peanut butter, though), and Waverly says the townspeople will probably just get kind of…foggy over the whole vampire situation, since that’s what happened to her. Waverly also says that being glamoured felt kind of warm and tingly, and I wonder if Wynonna is jealous that she didn’t get to experience that. Not even for a minute did she get to forget about the burdens she carries — of Peacemaker, of Alice Michelle, of being her sister’s and her mother’s keeper, of killing her father and Willa.
Waverly theorizes that Peacemaker protected Wynonna against the vampires’ thrall, Doc seems like he knew how to avoid them, and in the middle of Dolls trying to explain what happened, Jeremy jumps in with a “yer a lizard, Xavier” explanation, and the look on Dolls’ face says that there’s definitely more to it. Wynonna (almost voluntarily) skips the whiskey and drives Waverly home since they still need to have the mother of all talks.
Nicole is back at Pussy Willows and admits something she’s been struggling with for a while now — there was a lone survivor of the Cult of Bulshar, and it was her. STAY OUT OF THE FOREST, NICOLE!
As Wynonna and Waverly make their way through the snow-covered roads of the Ghost River Triangle, Wynonna tells her sister that the thing she needs to talk about is about their mother…as she slowly hands her a visitor’s pass for the local prison. Then Waverly gasps, does her best “Leader of the Pack” impression, and we hear a thud as the truck careens off the road.
Over a backdrop of a slow country song, a bloodied Waverly is dragged away from the wreckage, literally kicking and screaming, because Wynonna is still in the truck. Her scream of “Wynonna!” is the last thing we hear.
Monica’s Random Thoughts of Randomness:
- That vampire music is LIT. Seriously, I love the little theme that plays when the vampires are vamping or thralling or just being generally creepy.
- One of the things I like about WayHaught is that they take care of each other. Sure, Nicole would shoot anybody for her lady, but Waverly sees her best baby’s meltdown and wants to help make it better.
- I know vampire influence isn’t a thing to be trifled with, but Thralled!WayHaught is SO FREAKING AMAZING.
- So Michelle clearly refers to both Wynonna and Waverly as her daughters, so if Waverly’s parentage is muddled, perhaps it’s only on the paternal side.
- The ABSOLUTE JOY on Nicole’s face when she knocks out Wynonna? Priceless.
- I wonder why Petra wanted Wynonna alive. Orders from Bulshar?
- Why the potato is there a casket at the homestead?
- Two of my favorite things we found out about Wynonna in this episode — she lost her virginity in a cramped canoe and she spent a month touring with NIN.
- Why the heck did the Gardners have all of those wooden chairs in the basement?
- Petra is ROCKING this fanny pack.
- I’m a fan of the exploding pink dusted vampires.
- The dick jokes in this recap were truly sublime.
- I wonder if Wynonna has a special use in mind for the stripper bus!
- At first I thought Doc was stabbing his food with chopsticks, but then I realized he was actually eating it with his knife. Perfection.
Well, friends, do you ever wonder what it’s like to have a slump from one season to the next? I mean, I sure don’t, not with this show. This was packed with goodness from beginning to end. It answered questions and addressed cliffhangers while also introducing new characters and storylines, but nothing felt crowded or forced.
Emily Andras and her team have created another perfect episode of television, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next week.
Stay sexy and don’t get murdered…or join the Cult of Bulshar!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below!
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space Channel.