While the circumstance are very specific to Wynonna Earp, last night’s episode had a familiar ring to it. And along the way we saw a world that is not our show, an old friend return, and the alarm finally go off on Clootie.
But let me get more specific about the alternate history format which comprised the bulk of the story. It is a familiar trope of genre shows at this point. Many follow the format outlined by It’s A Wonderful Life, in which the heroine discovers what her town would be like if she had not embraced her destiny. It often sees her trusted friends reduced to the mundane or having joined sides with the enemy. In some rarer cases, it’s the villain who discovers she must restore the status quo. And yet still in others, it’s just an excuse to let the actors play outside the usual range of the characters.
A few shows have found interesting twists to it. Dark Matter pulled it off twice be restoring the memories of the Raza crew and by visiting an alternate reality in which Five never joined the team. Dallas used it as its first series finale, leading to a two-hour spectacle which makes no sense unless you recall every person J.R. Ewing screwed over.
Wynonna Earp managed to subvert the formula by not having the heroine or villain at the center of the world changing. Instead, the realization that the world is wrong first happens to Doc, seeing as he held onto the trophy as the spell was cast last episode. His alternate life might’ve been the most interesting. At some point in the past, his other self crawled out of the well, organized the Revenants and brought Hell to Purgatory. He also killed Sheriff Nedley along the way; which is just about one of the most despicable things a character can do on this show.
But Doc’s spotlight doesn’t last long as we meet up with Nicole and Waverly. Now Sheriff Haught, she still has it bad for Waverly — who’s still working at Shorty’s — but never attempted to suggest that they could be more than acquaintances. Waverly, meanwhile, is engaged to a man and ready to leave town. At least, that’s what she’s telling herself. I’m absolutely amazed she wasn’t engaged to Champ. It would’ve been a lovely call-back, but I guess it would not have played as well with the notion that she’s leaving. Champ would never leave town.
Meanwhile, Doc’s discovered that his other self turned the Earp homestead into a paradise for Revs, thanks to the charm Bobo gave Waverly all those years ago. He’s also got Rosita tied to the barn cooking up drugs. While all of this seems out of character for Doc, one imagines his alternate self got to this point by sheer boredom. Or maybe climbing from the well did something to him. Kind of like how going to Hell again scrambled Bobo’s brain. It is funny that none of the Revs noticed the change in Doc as he arrived on the homestead. It’s also interesting to note how quickly Doc took to that leadership role.
Over at BBD, Dolls and Jeremy appear to be agents in good standing and still have one of the Clootie Widows in lock up. Even if Dolls can’t quite recall how it happened. Curiously, the Widow senses the absences of Wynonna and is thrilled to learn Doc senses it to when he gets thrown into the cell.
Oh, yeah. Doc’s attempt to talk to Dolls at BBD was one of the funnier moments. And it almost seemed as though Doc was getting through to him. But like their later shootout at Shorty’s, it’s devoid of dramatic tension as episodes like these hang the reset button around their necks. Then again, we don’t know if Doc or Dolls actually survived once the rest button was pressed. Hmm…
Did you notice how little things changed for Dolls and Jeremy? Other than their BBD status, their dynamic was unchanged. The only real difference was Jeremy’s familiarity with a gun. Shadings of the future?
Speaking of the future, another way this episode breaks the established “Wonderful Life” format is by moving the season plot forward. The Widows still have the third seal and Bobo’s resurrection still matters. Last week, I assumed everything would reset since Doc was in the well and I’m glad it didn’t. It meant those story tensions could continue in interesting ways. For one, the Widows still need each other to get to Clootie. And then there’s Bobo trying to figure out the world around him. He still has memories of Wynonna, even as his mind seems further altered from his recent stay in Hell. It’s clear the spell had some affect on him as the more familiar Bobo appeared once the trophy was destroyed. But he’s still bad news, he’s even ready to deal with Clootie to get out of the curse.
Which just about brings us to Wynonna. But before we get there, I just want to highlight the way the episode allowed Waverly and Nicole to fall in love again. It was quite touching to see them find one another again. Even though we know that bond is rock solid, it’s nice to see it reaffirmed this way.
So, anyway, back in the field, Wynonna’s seen Bobo and the Widows. She’s found the remains of the third seal and is she going into labor? Once again, next week cannot come soon enough.
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays on Syfy.