Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 11 “Daddy Lessons” and Episode 12 “War Paint”
This is it Earpers! The season finale. Wynonna, Waverly, and the rest of the team are back to save the world, and they’re not taking any Bullshar. Will we meet Waverly’s dad? Is Doc going to be okay? Did they get the baddie? And if so, at what cost?
At the police station, Waverly and Nicole wonder how to tell Nicole about Charlie when Nicole leaves to help Nedley evacuate the town. Waverly touches Charlie’s neck wound, bringing him back to life. Wynonna sits on her porch trying to figure out how to save the world then heads into town to find Waverly, who is no longer at the station. A couple of stragglers from the evacuation try to loot Shorty’s and run into a bloodthirsty Doc. Wynonna finds Waverly in the woods at the stairs, threatening to climb them to save humanity. Wynonna punches her to prevent her from sacrificing herself.
“Like daddy used to say, this hurts you more than it hurts me.”—Wynonna
Wynonna tries to enlist Nicole’s help to prevent Waverly from sacrificing herself. Recently resurrected Charlie arrives and Wynonna asks him to drive Waverly out of town. Kate arrives in town, having been texted by Doc. He wants to revel in who he is and forget Wynonna. Some revenants bust into the police station and find Bobo. He drops some intel in the hopes they will release him, but they leave him in the glass cage. They find Wynonna and kidnap her to offer her up to Bulshar.
“Well, it’s almost spring, I just want to feel the asphalt between my toes.”—Charlie
Wynonna tries to convince the revenant to let her go while Charlie takes Waverly to her mom’s greenhouse. A creepy fog rolls in, trapping them in the greenhouse. Doc is still hungry after feasting on two people, so he and Kate go in search of more blood. Waverly asks Charlie about his past, but he doesn’t remember anything before walking into Purgatory. Doc attacks Charlie’s boss, shooting both him and Kate. Kate remarks that his thirst for Charlie’s blood is wrong and unusual. The revenants offer Wynonna to Bulshar.
“It’s creepy how you keep trying to get ladies into your dead wife’s dress.”—Revenant
Wynonna serves drinks (?) at Bulshar’s end of the world party, where she runs into Mercedes. She just wants to survive this thing, so she’s pretending to be Bulshar’s arm candy. At the greenhouse, Charlie is freaking out because the flowers are blooming and he knows both the greenhouse and Waverly’s ring. Kate calls Nicole for help on the fire chief’s radio. Bulshar accepts the revenants’ fealty and tells them he’ll take one of them on as his right-hand warrior. Wynonna steps forward to offer herself as his lieutenant in exchange for keeping Waverly from sacrificing herself. He imprisons her instead. At the greenhouse, Waverly helps Charlie remember that he’s actually Julian, her dad. Doc arrives, out for Charlie/Julian’s blood.
“What you’re not getting is this whole thing is…an apocolatunity.”—Mercedes
Wynonna, Mercedes, and a revenant figure out that if Wynonna touches Bulshar, he’ll die. Because when there’s a curse, there’s a cost. Doc attacks Waverly due to his bloodlust for Charlie’s angel blood. Nicole patches up Kate, who is only seeing death in the cards. Waverly tries to reach Doc but he shoves her away. Charlie takes the ring from Wavelry and uses it against Doc. Kate then sees ‘hope’ in the tarot deck. Freed, Wynonna tries to get the revenants on her side against Bulshar in order to break the curse.
Bulshar: “What is this?”
Wynonna: “Stich n bitch club, wanna join? Mostly we embroider.”
Doc awakens and goes in search of Charlie. Jeremy struggles to figure out how to weaponize Bulshar’s severed arm. Bobo tries, once again and unsuccessfully, to convince someone to free him. After Jeremy and Robin leave, Bulshar arrives and offers Bobo a job as his lieutenant.
“I think more answers should come from music. In life.”—Robin
Wynonna gives a speech to the revenants about working together to take down Bulshar. In the woods, Bulshar uses magic to turn peacemaker into a sword, which he stabs into the stairs to the garden. A door opens. He sends a beekeeper up the steps, but the beekeeper dies because he’s neither mortal nor righteous. Bulshar then sends Bobo after the Earps. Waverly and Wynonna catch up on the craziness of the revenant army and Charlie being Julian. Jeremy figures out he can probably make an antivenom against Bulshar because he’s a snake. Nicole and Kate get attacked by Bulshar’s beekeepers.
“Never apologize for love Red, not to me.”—Kate
Mercedes arrives at the Gardner home and sends a slightly wounded Nicole after the Earps. At the police station, beekeepers attack Jeremy and Robin, but Nedley shows up to save their asses. Nicole faints from bloodloss on her way to Waverly. Wynonna talks to Julian about the past. He tells her how he and Juan Carlo, the other angel tasked with protecting the garden, sought out a mortal champion—Wyatt Earp—to defeat Bulshar, but he failed. Waverly finds Bobo in her room, who asks her for a favor: “when the time comes, I want you to set me free.” Julian heals Nicole. Jeremy decides to mix Bulshar’s DNA with Robin’s blood, who seems to be immune to the beekeepers. Julian gives Waverly his ring back, as he used up all his power saving Nicole (?).
“They look like big dongs but they’re actually giant p*ssies.”—Mercedes
Doc seems to have gotten over his bloodlust for Julian just in time for beekeepers to attack the homestead. A firefight ensues in which Bobo nabs Wynonna and takes her to Bulshar for sacrifice. Julian saves Wynonna but is then killed by Bulshar controlling Bobo. When Bobo turns to attack Wynonna, Doc shoots at him. Waverly then kills Bobo, freeing him. Wynonna confronts Bulshar in the woods. He tells her it’s over then disappears, and when Waverly finds Wynonna, Wynonna tells her Bulshar ended the curse.
“Bulshar has sorely underestimated the utter assholes he’s up against.”—Doc
Waverly is suddenly back at the homestead again and grieving the loss of her dad. Robin and Jeremy bring a ‘perfume’ that will prevent the beekeepers from seeing them. Wynonna talks to Doc, where she explains that Bulshar used her blood to make himself human so he could enter the garden. They make out, then Wynonna traps him there with a rope soaked in holy water. Waverly proposed to Nicole with Julian’s ring. Wynonna interrupts and calls a final get together to plan on taking down Bulshar. She drugs the rest of the team and the two sisters head out to the stairs to fight Bulshar. Waverly draws Peacemaker from the stairs and declares not herself, but Wynonna to be the new chosen champion.
“I’m just a girl with a bigass…ass.”—Wynonna
Waverly can’t descend the stairs to the garden. Wynonna kills Bulshar with the flaming sword, but as he dies, he turns into a serpent and bites her. Doc found a way out of the holy water soaked rope and pulls an Edward Cullen by sucking the venom out of her. Vines creep out from the door to the garden and grab Waverly, dragging her inside. Wynonna can’t go after her, but Doc can, so he does. The season ends with Wynonna, once again in possession of Peacemaker, but without her sister and her love.
Favorite One Liner: “I can’t handle seeing the looks on your faces if I fail.”—Wynonna
I Gotta Say…
Whew, wow! That’s a finale. A lot happened in these two hours, and I’m going to do my best to break it down. First, I once again applaud Wynonna Earp and Melanie Scrofano especially for the ability to bring the pathos. There’s a reason I chose the line up there as my favorite, and it’s because that one moment had so much emotional depth to it. It summarized so much of Wynonna’s character at this point in the story, ironically both her greatest weakness and her growth. She’s afraid of being seen as a failure.
Think back to the first moment we met Wynonna in S1. It’s safe to say she embraced being perceived as a failure, reveled in being the town screw-up. The pall of having accidentally killed her dad and never quite fitting in had shaped her into someone who projected a veneer of blasé unconcern. But it was all a mask, and over the past three seasons we’ve seen that mask slipping. More and more Wynonna has looked at some hard truths about herself, acknowledged how much she needs the ones she loves and what she will do to protect them, and embraced how much she desperately wants to be seen as a hero, not a failure.
Yet at this most crucial moment, that weakness slips back in. She falters at the last second, not wanting to have to face the family she’s created for herself if she fails. It’s a movingly vulnerable moment for her and one that prevents the final showdown with just Bulshar and the Earps from feeling overly contrived. It is hands down the highlight of the episode for me. That one brief moment that lasts only a few seconds yet says volumes.
At the same time, other aspects of Wynonna’s characterization fell flat to me. I didn’t like how Wynonna using violent force against Waverly was framed as ‘for her own good.’ I hate to put it this way, but if Wynonna were a male protagonist treating a female character this way, the inappropriateness would be glaringly obvious. Forcibly restraining someone to prevent them from sacrificing themselves to save the world from a demon isn’t all that sympathetic to me. Wynonna punched Waverly full in the face then locked her in the gun locker of her truck. I’m supposed to be on Wynonna’s side in this? Nuh-uh. It’s not cute or loving, especially not when Wynonna is quoting her and Waverly’s abusive father while she’s doing it. That’s just disgusting.
I had the same reaction to the final confrontation. So, for the past two episodes, the show has been setting up Waverly as the champion, the hero who will save the world. Then, she’s prevented from being said hero by her sister, who admits to doing so because she’s selfish. Then, in the moment where Waverly could actually get to be the hero the show proclaimed her to be, she abdicates in favor of Wynonna. All that hype about Waverly being special, anointed, an angel and champion to save the world…only to have her pass those special attributes back to Wynonna. Because we better not have anyone but the titular protagonist sacrifice themselves to save humanity on this show. Oh the horror.
Once again, it’s the framing that bothers me most. Why spent multiple episodes talking about how special this female character is (Waverly) only to have her use her specialness…to make the hero special again? Not to belabor the point, but if Wynonna were a male protagonist, people would be screaming about a female character being sidelined in her own heroic arc for the sake of the male primary character. Waverly was a back seat in her on story only to have her story actually be about Wynonna being the true hero all along. That’s both cheap and lazy.
Speaking of cheap and lazy, the plot contrivances were out in full force once again. I feel like for much of this season, I’m being asked to just shrug my shoulders and say, “Sure, okay, why not.” It wouldn’t bother me so much if this were an established aspect of Wynonna Earp as a whole. Though I’ve never watched it myself, I know that Lost Girl had similar issues. The thing is, the previous two seasons of Wynonna Earp didn’t have nearly the same level of plot contrivance and wind-vane characterization this season has had.
For example, wo episodes ago, Bobo was as coherent as he had been at the end of last season and beginning of this one. Then, just in time for him to not be able to give things away last episode, he was utterly crazy. It made sense coming off of his ordeal being trapped in the Groundhog Day-verse, but this week, he was back to mostly coherent. Where did the crazy go? Doesn’t matter because the plot needed him to be together enough to accept Bulshar’s request and die by Waverly’s hand.
Just as an aside, I have to say, his death was so anticlimactic. I’m disappointed about that more than anything. With the level of pathos last season gave to him, I feel like this season did him dirty by failing to follow up on his conflicted soul. I wanted more from his character than to have him join Bulshar and die immediately. That was a bottle rocket of an ending if there ever was one. So much build up for so little pay off.
Anyway, back to inconsistencies and plot contrivance, why was there a price to pay when Charlie healed Nicole but not when Waverly resurrected him and healed Mercedes’ face? Why can Waverly do endless miracles and Julian only one? Julian and Doc both say, “there’s always a price.” But really, there’s only a price when someone else needs to be centered in the plot. Julian had to be a one hit wonder in order for him to die and Waverly to get the ring back. That’s all there was to it. Just like Doc needed to be bloodlusty for Julian and Waverly to confirm that Charlie was Julian, and once that plot point had been hammered home, Doc went back to being his non-bloodlust-y self. Or how Kate only came back to confirm that Doc’s bloodlust was unusual for a vampire…in order to further drive home that Charlie was Julian and why didn’t we have this set up the whole season?
No really, why wasn’t Charlie being Julian foreshadowed at all the rest of the season? 3.11 packed an entire season’s worth of foreshadowing into a single episode. I’m really good at picking up clues like this. In fact, the very first one, when Waverly and Charlie were in the greenhouse looking at the statue and Charlie kind of freaks out a bit, my immediate reaction was, “Oh, Charlie is Julian.” Because we saw Mama Earp looking at that statue when she was talking about Julian. It’s a great piece of foreshadowing that could and should have been utilized earlier. We ought to have known that Charlie had no memory of his old life. (Heck, we never even learned why or how he lost his memory, we’re just supposed to accept it happened.) We ought to have known he had such a drive to help people and a strong connection to Waverly.
We got zero lead up to the reveal that he’s Waverly’s dad until the episode that revealed it. And I admit, the foreshadowing was really good this episode, it just should have been spaced out so that we got a chance to fully appreciate what the reveal means for Waverly and Wynonna. It felt like the writers forgot that this was a reveal they needed to seed until the finale, and then we got all of it. I might have enjoyed the implications of Wynonna banging Waverly’s dad more if it hadn’t happened in a season where Charlie spend most of it being a white bread replacement for Dolls as a love interest in a triangle with Doc. In fact, this season had a lot of wasted potential when it comes to love interests and the Wynonna-Doc-[insert character here] love triangle, which might become its own meta analysis piece if I have the time.
Also, it a bit “Jacob was in love with the ova that would become Renesmee” when Charlie is shtupping the daughter of his one true love (only in reverse), the daughter who happens to be his daughter’s half-sister. Like…what even. Even for Wynonna Earp standards that’s weird and uncomfortable. Just…why.
Speaking of Twilight, I honestly think that one of the writers just read those books because not only do we get a reversed version of the Jacob/Bella/Renesmee triangle with Wynonna/Charlie/Michelle, there’s the final scene. I’m not even kidding, Doc sucking the poison out of Wynonna was LITERALLY HOW EDWARD SAVES BELLA IN TWILIGHT. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it because it felt so derivative and out of place. Especially after a whole scene describing how Wynonna had done everything possible to keep Doc locked up then he ~magically~ gets out with zero explanation just in time to save her. Talk about plot contrivance.
That being said, I am curious to see what happens next season. Yes, the vines grabbing Waverly did feel a bit too reminiscent of the end of S1 with Mictian grabbing Wylla, but I do want to know what happens next. What’s going to happen to the revenants? Do they even exist anymore? What’s going to happen when mama finds out about Julian and Wynonna? What is Wynonna going to tell Nicole? I have a feeling Nicole is going to be pissed.
I see you, Andras
- Wynonna quoting their abusive father to Waverly as she forcibly kidnaps her to prevent her from sacrificing herself to save the world probably isn’t the best narrative choice.
- Wynonna ripping the sleeves off of her dress was pretty damn hot.
- The wings are a little…weird looking.
- Even Nicole’s blood smells like vanilla dipped donuts? I love it.
- I really, really hate when p*ssy is used as a gendered slur against men. Can we not use slurs whose root is in misogyny?
- I love Nedley so much okay. I’m so happy to see him again.
That’s it for this season! It’s been quite the ride, and who knows what next season will bring!