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Purgatory is For Lovers, A Fond Farewell to Wynonna Earp

After four seasons, five years, and a treasure trove of memories, the Wynonna Earp series finale (maybe) is here. This episode is a love letter to this series and the characters we’ve watched fall in love with each other on our screens and who we fell in love with our selves. Even the ‘previously on Wynonna Earp’ flashes all the way back to season one, episode two with Nicole and Waverly’s first meeting.

We start off, not at the wedding we’re dying to attend, but one where the attendees are still dying. In 1968, a bloodied bride stumbles out of a church, the bodies of her guest and groom behind her. She slits her own throat, a heart of blue gems on her dress barely marred by the blood staining it. In the present, Waverly Earp’s wedding dress was just delivered, a familiar lace dress with a heart of blue gems. Completely unaware of what this dress is, the Earp sister blissfully celebrate the impending wedding.

The homestead’s been transformed for the celebration. There’s are lights strung up, flowers everywhere and with neither of the actual brides freaking out enough to be deemed the bridezilla, Wynonna’s taken it upon herself to fill the role. Nicole’s content with an imperfectly perfect wedding but Wynonna won’t hear of it. This for her baby sister. Everything needs to be absolutely flawless. What’s the opposite of flawless? A buttercream wedding cake for a vegan bride. Waverly, for what it’s worth, isn’t too concerned either. She made vegan cupcakes the day before just in case.

Waverly and Nicole
The day is finally here.

Rachel and Nedley, meanwhile, are getting ready for a fishing trip after the nuptials. Rachel’s excited for the trip and Nedley’s just excited she is, his own daughter never one for fishing. In the barn, Wynonna decides to try it on the beautiful dress.

 Naturally, it’s cursed and won’t come off. Grabbing a trench coat to hide the dress Wynonna flees the homestead to find help. As she does, things fall apart around her. Literally. The barn door falls off, the arbour bursts into flames and the wedding cake explodes.

A burning arbor while Wynonna walks away.
Wayhaught’s wedding is hot enough with literal fire.

She runs to Doc’s (who’s got a trailer set up somewhere in the picturesque Purgatory landscape) for help. He offers to cut her out of the dress and sew it back together but he can’t cut through the fabric. While they’re trying to get the dress off, Wynonna notices Doc’s been writing something and assumes it’s a wedding speech. Doc folds the paper away in a pocket.

Waverly arrives, forcing Wynonna to hide in the trailer. She’s brought a gift for Doc: Wyatt’s saddle, which she had restored for him. And she has a question, she wants him to be her best man. He asks about Wynonna, but she’s standing up for Nicole. He’s more than happy to say yes. Before Waverly leaves, Wynonna prompts Doc to ask where she got the dress. 

Doc Holliday
Even after everything he can’t believe he’s anyone’s ‘best’ man.

‘Cursey’s Vintage’ is where she got her dress. You’d think after living in Purgatory her whole life, Waverly would know to stay away from a place with ‘curse’ in the name, but then again maybe she thought an actually cursed store wouldn’t be so on the nose. Everything in the store is covered in cobwebs and dust, and there’s an eerie look to all the clothes, including the wedding dress worn by the strange propitiator. She reveals the dress will make Wynonna kill everyone at the wedding unless they can find a silkworm.

Back at the homestead, Jeremy, Nicole, and Waverly have discovered the path of destruction left by the dress as Wynonna was leaving. Jeremy suspects the caterer as their wedding ruining culprit. He accuses him of being a demon, but the caterer is just a guy named Damon who unfortunately thinks Jeremy doesn’t want any gays at the wedding for a lesbian and bisexual.

Jeremy and Damon, the caterer
To be fair to Jeremy, there was a high chance of this guy being a demon.

Nicole and Waverly follow the path of destruction to the barn. They notice Wynonna and the dress are missing and once it’s not in front of her Waverly realises she doesn’t even like the dress. That plus the fact it’s only the wedding stuff that’s damaged is enough for Waverly and Nicole to figure out the wedding dress is haunted.

Doc and Wynonna are hunting for silkworms and by Doc and Wynonna I mean Doc diving into a pond while Wynonna watches and holds his jacket. In said jacket, Wynonna finds a letter addressed to her. It’s a note from Doc explaining why he’s leaving Purgatory.

Back at the homestead, Nicole and Waverly have whipped up a classic murder board like that’s a completely normal thing to do hours before your wedding. Unsurprisingly Purgatory has had dozens of wedding massacres. They link all the massacres to a dressmaker, Brigitte Hogback. Brigitte herself was left at the altar and killed her guests. Nicole can relate, saying she’d snap too if Waverly left her at the altar. Waverly is endeared (and turned on) by the sentiment.

Waverly Earp
One last murder board.

 Wynonna and Doc have backed into their old corners as they argue. Wynonna’s heartbroken Doc would leave and was going to tell her in a letter. Doc, finally free of his past and his demons (and demonic side), wants to put Purgatory behind him. He knows Wynonna loves him but when it comes to her heart, Wynonna is scared to take risks. He wasn’t going to leave without saying anything, he was looking for the right words. He asks her to leave with him but Wynonna can’t do that. When the emotions get too real, Wynonna pushes the conversation aside and redirects to the cursed wedding dress.

At the homestead, Jeremy walks in on Waverly and Nicole getting busy (it couldn’t be Wynonna Earp without Wayhaught being interrupted one last time). Jeremy’s certain their caterer is a demon but Waverly points to their murder board and all the evidence pointing to a haunted dress. To his horror, Jeremy realizes he yelled at the normal, human, and very cute caterer. Waverly pulls up her pants, catches a shotgun from her bride-to-be, and heads out to deal with their wedding demon.

Waverly and Jeremy
Off to deal with a demon an hour before her wedding and isn’t even late.

At the wedding boutique, Wynonna and Doc are trying to pass off painted earthworms as silkworms. When that fails to fool Brigitte, they try to reason with her. Brigitte is confused when Wynonna mentions it’s someone else’s wedding day. That’s when the bride herself rushes in, using her own wedding banner to restrain the demon. A hard cut and one removal spell later, the dress is off and their wedding demon tied up.

Wynonna’s ready to send Brigitte off with Peacemaker but Waverly stops her. She understands Brigitte’s pain and it’s her wedding day so she gets a pass. Brigitte is still confused why, if it’s Waverly’s wedding day, is Wynonna wearing the dress. Waverly is curious about the same thing. Wynonna sheepishly admits to wanting to know what it felt like as she refuses to look at Doc standing two feet away.

Wynonna and Doc
Couldn’t end the series without Wynonna in her underwear and boots one last time.

Once they’re back at the homestead, Waverly’s pulls out their mother’s dress to wear. Wynonna’s looking at her baby sister with a watery look. She says it’s happiness and maybe it is in part, but maybe there’s something more to the tears in her eyes.

In the main house, Nicole is trying to shake out the wedding day nerves when Nedley finds her. Nicole asks him to walk her down the aisle. He’s the one she wants walking beside her, like he has been most of her life. He couldn’t be prouder to.

Nicole Haught
Nicole Rayleigh Haught

It’s time for a wedding.

The wedding banner (the same one Waverly used to tie up the silk witch just a few scenes ago) says ‘where you go, I go’ the words Nicole once said to Waverly and echoed when she stopped her from going into the garden. At the end of the aisle, Jeremy is waiting to officiate as his friends, this family, comes out for this celebration of love. Nedley walks Nicole down the aisle. Doc takes his place as Waverly’s best man.

And then Waverly walks out, her sister walking her down the aisle. Those nerves, which until now had lingered on Nicole’s face, vanish. There’s no place for anything but love. Before the sisters part, Wynonna pulls Waverly close and tells her, she’s ‘the best of us, baby girl.’

Wynonna and Waverly Earp
The Earp sisters will always be each other’s first loves.

Jeremy’s words as he begins the ceremony reflect on their first meeting, that first connection that bloomed into the love they’re there to celebrate. With twine binding them together, they say their vows, Nicole promising to be there for every adventure in their lives and to hold her hand when the firelight dims. Waverly thanks the bullet-proof vest that once saved Nicole’s life without which she wouldn’t know the strongest love of her life.

The camera pans around the chairs that couldn’t be filled, names of friends and family who couldn’t be there for one reason or another. Jeremy says the words everyone’s been wanting to hear. You may now kiss the bride. And they do.

Rachel is so thankful for all of this. Getting to attend her first wedding. For being able to do so many things she wouldn’t have if she hadn’t met these heroes. She didn’t know what gift to get the couple so she dedicates a song to them. Not just any song, but the one that played over Nicole and Waverly’s first kiss.

Nicole and Waverly
They’re married. They’re wives.

We montage through the reception. We see them dancing, the bouquet toss (Jeremy catches it), eating cake (probably not the one that blew up). We see their happiness. Wynonna gives her speech, endlessly happy for her sister and her best friend. Rachel and Billy use dual puppy dog eyes to get Nedley to agree to let Billy join their fishing trip. But there must be an ending, and Doc chooses this to be his, saying goodbye to Jeremy, Nicole, and Waverly. Wynonna watches him leave.

The caterer Damon is packing things up when Jeremy wanders over to apologize. There’s some flirting and Jeremy gets himself a date. He also gets a call telling him he’s the new deputy director of Black Badge.

Wynonna goes to Doc’s, finding him packing his car. The first time he and Wynonna met, he said vengeance kept him sane when he was trapped in the well. But that was a lie. Love, the hope of finding love and finding people to share this life with. He’s not going to stay, needing to move forward. But he does invite her again to join.

Wynonna and Doc
The only upside of this being the last episode: No more seeing Wynonna’s sad face again.

She can’t, not when Waverly is here. He understands because, in Waverly, Wynonna has that love he wants. He calls her the best Earp he’s known. She apologises for the ways she’s hurt him but Doc wouldn’t have changed a beat of their journey. And he leaves.

Back at the homestead, the others are processing the fact Wynonna didn’t go with Doc. The Doc Holliday as Jeremy points out. Nicole’s trying to be a good best friend and agree with her. The others are just confused as to why Wynonna came back after running after him. She says she can’t. She’s the heir. She’s the one who can wield Peacemaker. She can’t leave the Ghost River Triangle.

With a righteous fury, Waverly storms out of the house, grabs Wynonna by the ear, chastising the others for not giving Wynonna the kick in the behind she needs. She drags her sister to the barn, packing a bag for her. Wynonna tries to say she’s not going but when Waverly asks if she wants to go she deflects saying she wants to protect Waverly.

Waverly scoffs. Wynonna isn’t a loner anymore. She hasn’t been for a while. Wynonna deserves to go after her happiness. Waverly isn’t going to let Wynonna use her as an excuse anymore. Waverly has Nicole and Jeremy there for her. She’s a grown half-angel who can protect herself. And there’s the fact Wynonna loves Doc. That’s a big point for going.

Wynonna and Waverly
Them. I’m going to miss them.

Waverly kneels in front of her sister and lets Wynonna know it’s okay to leave. At one time Waverly was scared Wynonna would never get to know her, the real her. But that’s not the case anymore. Wynonna is her hero for so many reasons. And she knows now Wynonna will always come back home. Also, they have modern technology now. Cellphones are a thing.

So Wynonna puts on a familiar outfit and her friends cheer her on as she climbs in her truck. And said truck chooses now to die on her. The others rush for jumper cables. Jeremy’s panicking because Doc’s near the border (yes, he does have a tracker on Doc’s phone, what of it?). Nicole, with her priorities in the right place, grabs Wynonna’s leather jacket for her. ‘Fashion first bitch.’

Just as Wynonna thinks she’s missed her window her gaze meets something off-screen and she knows how she can catch up. It’s the return of her bike and what a triumphant return it is. She catches up to Doc, shooting out his tires to stop him. She declares her love for him and she’s coming with him, but they’re taking her ride.

Wynonna Earp and Doc Henry Holliday kiss in the middle of the road and its grand and romantic and exactly what they deserve. Then Doc gets on the back of Wynonna’s bike and they drive off together. Later, Wynonna’s looking at Doc’s plans and asks if they can stop in Miracles, Montana. Doc asks what’s in Miracles, Montana. Wynonna doesn’t answer her words, but her expression is answer enough. They ride off into the sunset, towards their daughter. Together.

Wynonna and Doc
And they lived…

For one last time, we head back to the homestead. In the light of early evening, Nicole joins her wife on the porch steps. Waverly asks if Nicole wanted to be the one out there, seeing the world. Nicole’s exactly where she wants to be. Home. With her wife. Waverly echoes her words. Home.

Waverly and Nicole
…Happily ever after.

The camera shifts to the Earp mailbox. In the same way this story started with the Earp name but grew to encompass other names, so too has the signpost on the homestead, growing for the names that became a part of this journey. A part of this story. A part of this home. Earp. And Haught. Sometimes Holliday. Everyone welcome.

Review

Home. How fitting that’s where we start and where we end. This story began when Wynonna reluctantly returned home. She had a sister she didn’t know, a legacy she’d never asked for and a homestead filled with painful memories. Slowly but surely she made a home she wants to return to. She ended the curse no other Earp could. She chose her family to fight next to her. And she stood by her sister as Waverly discovered her own happiness.

Wynonna Earp is one of those rare gems that comes along and changes the formula. When it began it felt like exactly the kind of storytelling we needed most. Female lead, both in front of and behind the camera.

A beautifully flawed protagonist who is allowed to be brash and funny and headstrong in a way women are rarely portrayed. She was sexy without being a sex object. She could be vulnerable without being weak. There was never a doubt she was the hero of her story. The men in her life were there to support her, never to take her place. That’s why there is something so beautiful about her choosing Doc in the end. Her happy ending wasn’t a man, it was choosing love. To love and be loved. Something she deserved.

A moment made all the better by Doc getting on the back of her bike. The cowboy riding off into the sunset, alone, has long been the trope. They were the hero because they were alone, because they were ‘strong’ enough to stand alone. But not Wynonna. Never Wynonna. Wynonna Earp that strength, real strength is choosing love. It’s in knowing there are people to lead on, no matter what. Love is strength, not loneliness.

Wynonna Earp gave us a queer love story for the ages without ever reducing Waverly or Nicole to just the love interest. The last episode being their wedding felt like the best gift these characters could get. After all the fighting, all the pain, all the struggles, they get to come home, to each other. Nicole and Waverly choose each other, over and over and over again. And though this is where we leave them, we know they will continue to choose each other.

Wayhaught has always felt like a rebellion in a way. Their story began when Bury Your Gays was the height of the zeitgeist. Then Nicole took a bullet to the chest but was wearing a bulletproof vest. She survived the very thing that had taken so many queer characters from us. It felt like an answer to Bury Your Gays (even though it was serendipity because the episode had been shot before BYG took off in the social consciousness). It felt like a promise to the fans. One bulletproof vest showed Wynonna Earp understood a queer character’s story can be more than a tragedy, more than a stepping stone for someone else’s arc.

With Jeremy and then Robin that notion only grew. While they didn’t have a happy ending in the same way Nicole and Waverly, they both survived. Jeremy’s journey ends with him ready to move on from Robin. Maybe that means moving on with someone else, or maybe it won’t. But he’s allowing himself to move forward and that’s the important thing.

Everyone’s in a better place by the end of this journey. They’re right where they’re meant to be. Wynonna Earp wasn’t perfect. Far from it. There are some beats I think were handled poorly (I’m looking at Dolls). Some arcs could have been explored more this season, like the Clantons and Dark Waverly. Eve was dropped entirely. But that doesn’t change the fact that to me, this is an incredible story meant to be told. Like the titular character herself, there are flaws there but there is so much more to love.

Maybe this won’t be goodbye forever. Maybe we’ll get to return to Purgatory one day. But it is at least goodbye for now. Goodbye and thank you, Wynonna Earp, for this journey.

Best of Earpisms

  • “This isn’t a secret wife Nicole, this is the matrimonial icing.”
  • Even while hiding from Waverly and in an awkward place with Doc, Wynonna can’t help but smile when Waverly asks him to be her best man.
  • We never did find out the specifics of Jeremy’s forewarning crotch. Maybe that’s for the best.
  • “Failure is never irreversible and I’m living proof of that.” – Wynonna just dropping one of the themes of the show.
  • Its moments like Waverly running in to restrain a demon, seeing Wynonna and Doc, casually greeting them, and continuing to restrain the demon that are those moments I’ll miss the most.
  • The wedding. Just all of it.
  • Having Martina Ortiz Luis sing Wildwood was an emotional gut-punch I wasn’t prepared for.
  • Jeremy got his promotion from the showrunner herself. You don’t get higher management than that.
  • Waverly’s quadruple ‘f’ you, not you sweetie pie’ is my second favourite thing to come from the later time slot (the top spot is of course the staircase scene).
  • “How do you have 72 bras and one pair of panties.” I miss this show so much already.
  • The ‘And Haught’ from the very end was being carved by Wynonna earlier in the episode.

Images courtesy of Syfy

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Author

  • Dayana

    Proud Trinidadian. Writer, poet and game writer when she isn't busy dissecting fictional worlds or galavanting through the latest video game.

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