Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 1 Review “Steel Bars and Stone Walls”
Last night was the premiere of Syfy’s Wynonna Earp, and I gotta say. Hot damn. I could barely keep up with the live tweet (#WynonnaEarp #EarpWatch)! It was a lightning speed, whirlwind, dynamite of an episode. I’m still reeling, and I’ve already watched it twice.
For those who might not remember, here’s the DL for how last season ended: Dolls was arrested by Black Badge for treason, Waverly touched some goo and has smokey demon eyes, Wynonna had to kill Willa, and the Ghost River Triangle protections are now down so all manner of demons and beasties can get in and the revenants can get out. We ready? Hold onto your butts, folks!
Waverly and Doc run through the woods from a beastie with one heck of a mouth on it. Luckily Wynonna is there to save them, but not before the monster destroys Doc’s hat. Cue Wynonna hair clip and gun twirl. Meanwhile, Agent Lucado informs Dolls of his transfer to Black Rock prison, and Sheriff Nedley lies that Bobo was Wynonna’s jilted lover, so he poisoned everyone. Wynonna’s not happy about the implication, nor is she happy that Black Badge has arrived to take all of Doll’s things (after handing out the antidote, of course). Except his mug. Nedley kept that.
“Earp, you might be the hero that Purgatory deserves, you’re just not the one it needs right now.”—Sheriff Nedley
Wynonna picks locks at a motel until she finds Dolls’s room. She also finds a mysterious woman, with whom she immediately gets into a brawl that ends with both of them pointing guns in each others’ faces. Back at the homestead, Waverly tends to Nicole’s bruises, which lead to makey-outy times. Doc walks in (politely). Nicole leaves to feed her cat and Doc asks Waves how she’s doing after Willa’s death.
“I’ll have you know I’m kind of a big deal around here. I’m the Earp heir.”—Wynonna
In the motel, Wynonna snarks to mystery woman Eliza because she’s jealous worried about Dolls. She informs Eliza that Black Badge got him, to which Eliza replies that it’s gonna be bad if they don’t get him out soon. They decide to team up, reluctantly and with plenty of eye rolling. Dolls doesn’t look so good, probably going through withdrawal from his lizard juice. The rest of Team Earp meet Eliza and plan the rescue. Wynonna’s clearly on edge, so Waverly takes her aside to check on her. Wynonna says they have no time to grieve, they need to rescue Dolls. Eliza breaks into Dolls’s safe to find all his lizard eye juice gone; Doc says he has a vial and they break the news to Wynonna that Dolls isn’t entirely human. No time to ponder that, though, they have to break into the safe house to get Dolls!
“Christ, you smell like sh*t, rolled in sh*t.”—Black Badge Officer
Doc and Wynonna sneak into the safe house with the power of stink to find Eliza already inside. She and Wynonna exchange smirks and one liners. Back at the homestead, Waverly goes all demon eyes and just when it looks like she cut Nicole with an axe…she chopped off the monster’s head from the opening scene. Doc, Eliza, and Wynonna get stuck in the tunnels because her security clearance was revoked. Thankfully, Waverly, ahem, “Liz Wallace Windsor, Scotland Yard” arrives with a demon head for ‘delivery’ to get her in the front door. ‘Agent’ Haught waits in the getaway car. Inside, Lucado taunts Dolls about his friends being trapped.
“Listen, I know the location of Black Badge safe house, I’ve a stonking great demon head stuffed into a wheelie bag, and I’m due back on a plane to London in three hours. It’d be one remarkably elaborate con, right chap?”—Waverly
Waverly finds the lab (filled with all kinds of monsters) and gets a call from Wynonna about a change of plans. Eliza tells Wynonna she came to Purgatory to help Dolls, and herself, find out what Black Badge turned them into. Waverly (tries to) flirt with the techie to get him to open the security doors. When she tries to knock him out, the smell of his blood makes one of the monsters go crazy. Waves then talks lab tech Jeremy into helping her save Dolls by opening all the security doors.
“You must be yankin’ my vajay.”—Wynonna
Doc then traps Eliza and Wynonna back in the hallway because he doesn’t want Wynonna to have to kill someone else she cares about should Dolls not “still be the raging *sshole we know him to be.” God, I love Doc. The ladies head to the lab and kick some butt on the way there. Doc finds Dolls and Lucado; she pulls a gun on him, because she likes to break rules. Fortunately, Doc likes to break rules, too, because he’s packing dynamite. Old dynamite. Unstable dynamite. Dolls chokes out Lucado but Doc talks him down from killing her. In the lab, Waverly prevents the soul-devouring demon with the power of her smokey demon eyes just before Wynonna busts in to shoot it.
“Not today, Satan.”—Wynonna
Doc gives Dolls some lizard serum; Dolls gives Doc a message for Wynonna before running off. Lucado catches Wynonna, Waverly, Eliza, and Jeremy, and Doc, and threatens to shoot them all only to be interrupted by Moody, one of her superiors. He assigns Wynnona the task of patrolling the Ghost River Triangle for revenants on behalf of the Black Badge, then kills Eliza and threatens the rest if they don’t fall in line. They’re all expendable but Wynonna. They all sign a contract in blood, except Nicole, whom Waverly protects by lying about their being anyone else who knows about the plan. Moody claims he can help Wynonna break the Earp curse. When she overhears in the car, Nicole drives off. Doc lies about there being a message for Wynonna from Dolls.
“You can respectfully kiss my little white *ss.”—Doc, to Moody
Wynonna drops a not-so-subtle “come up and do me” to Doc, who turns her down politely. Nicole brushes Waverly off because she’s upset that she didn’t a chance to ‘make it official’ and become a part of the team by signing the contract. Wynonna wanders aimlessly into Willa’s old room, crawls into her bed, wraps her arms around one of her stuffed animals, and cries. (Please excuse me while I go sob in the corner for a while). She sees a flash of light that leads her outside to find her necklace (which she’d dropped), and Dolls, who smiles and leaves. Wynonna and Waverly discuss sticking together and hunting demons. In a room somewhere else, we see a questing hand reach for, and find the dynamite Doc left behind. The episode ends with a literal bang.
Favorite One Liner: “Waverly, that is the worst British accent I’ve ever heard.”—Nicole
I Gotta Say…
Holy crap. That’s one way to start off a season. It hit the ground running (quote literally) and those literal—and metaphorical—hits kept coming. I’m still not entirely certain about what happened when Waverly shot the gun at the end of last season’s finale, but I don’t even care. This is how you do a premiere. The action beats followed swiftly on each other’s heels, yet it never felt hectic or over-stuffed. The dialogue had the perfect amount of humor and snark, the emotional moments the precise amount of weight and length that you engaged with them without the pace dragging.
Seriously. This was one of the most perfect hours of television I’ve ever seen. And from what I’ve heard from Emily Andras’ Twitter, the season’s going to keep up this pace the whole way through. I’m quite literally on the edge of my seat waiting for next week.
I loved the new additions to the team, no matter how brief their stay. Rachel Skarsten killed it as Eliza.
Only Andras and her team can manage to have a whole fight scene between two women, one in her bra and panties, without it being male-gazey, catty, or exploitative at all. RIP Eliza. You will be missed. Varun Saranga is such an excellent addition to the cast. Can’t wait to see what he brings to the team this season. Also, he and Waverly are #TeamNerds forever. Moody likewise is a fascinating character. I’m not sure if he’s full of it or not, but it’ll be fun to see what intrigues lie in Black Badge this season.
Okay, so, Nicole knowing something was up with Waves because she tastes different. How extra is that? I also love that we’re getting more from her psychologically. She so desperately wants to belong to the gang. To not just be on the sidelines; she calls herself an agent, which is clearly a fib, though I love Doc for playing along. Her anger at Waves keeping her out of the contract worked well and made sense given she has a very personal stake in the conflict. Not just because Waves is involved. Let’s not forget Willa shot Nicole. She’s ‘in’ it whether Waverly understands it or no.
At the same time, I appreciate that we can sympathize with Waverly’s perspective as well. She just lost her sister and almost lost Nicole. Of course she wants to protect her girlfriend! As a side note, I love how Waves pointedly calls Nicole her girlfriend when Wynonna hesitates. She’s having none of the hiding nonsense. Good. There are plenty of shows where discomfort or hedging around an LGBT relationship is a part of the storyline, which is fine. That’s a real life struggle for our community.
At the same time, it’s nice to see a show where it’s a simple fact without any fuss. Everybody’s cool with it. That’s a valid story, too, and one I like seeing. Besides, there’s not a lot of room to make a big deal out of it when there are demons running around. Plus, Waverly is part demon herself at the moment, so she has other things to deal with.
I appreciate the honesty with which this episode dealt with how each of the sisters responds to Willa’s death. Wynonna, who had always connected with and looked up to her older sister, is clearly the most affected on the surface. Not least because she was the one who dealt the final blow. The scene near the end where she cried broke me inside. Melanie Scrofano is an amazing actress. When she’s crying, I can’t help but tear up myself. When you add in all the other details, from the stuffed rabbit, to the fading, molding wallpaper and the dusty light, the tone is suffused with grief, decay, and death. It’s heart-wrenching.
Yet Waverly isn’t untouched herself. She’s honest about her feelings for Willa—“She sucked.”—and appears both cool and strong. However, underneath the bitterness (and the demon eyes), flashes of sorrow break through. One gets the impression that Waves draws on the demonic force within her to suppress the sadness, perhaps even the guilt, she feels over Willa’s death and how she feels about it.
On the other end of the spectrum, the camaraderie between Doc and Dolls this episode, hot damn. Doc being the one to save Dolls in the end was packed with so much meaning. They’ve been through a lot last season. They hated each other for a while and bickered over Wynonna. Yet here, we see they’ve found balance, friendship even. Doc was willing to blow himself up to save Dolls. And Dolls almost killed Lucado when she threatened Doc. Boy does this make my heart grow three sizes bigger.
Nevertheless, the relationship that drives the story forward is still that between Wynonna and Waverly. Their love for each other, mutual protective instinct, and deep-seated need to be with and stand by each other grounds everything. Because at it’s heart, this is a show about a family of two sisters against the world. They have their friends, their lovers, and their colleagues, but they’re the legs the story stands on. And let me tell you, these pillars stand tall. No matter what they face, they’ll face it together and bury their family’s demons and their personal ones. Because, like Wynonna said,
“It’s always demons.”—Wynonna
I see you, Andras
A tribute to all the little details I don’t have time to discuss in full.
- It took less than 5 minutes for us to get WayHaught kisses. #Bless
- All the jokes about Doc’s hat. It never got old.
- Wynonna is the queen of eyebrows and one-liners; Melanie Scrofano can do so many amazing things with her face and communicate so much without words. It’s a wonder to behold.
- “My Waverly”. UGH. WayHaught kills me in the best way.
- Dominique in that skirt, heels, glasses combo with the accent? I couldn’t breathe.
- Doc opening up his jacket to flash his boobs dynamite. A+
- I saw that Phoenician alphabet in the background of the storage room. Yay, Easter egg for me!
- Love the literal “ride or die” line.
- A+ stunt work. For real.
- WAVERLY. EARP. Dominique Provost-Chalkley is so, so amazing. All the little nuances, the slight facial differences that tell us she’s not ‘our Waverly’…and then she is. God. She’s amazing. Not that I’m biased because I met her and she called me “the real Waverly Earp” or anything.
See you next week for “Shed Your Skin”. Oh no, this is about Waverly isn’t it? Feel free to join me in the live tweet at 9pm CST/10pm EST! In the meantime, check out our store for Wynonna Earp merch and our forum for community discussions.