Since the rather sudden departure of a character last week, the whole of Wynonna Earp fandom has gone through its own forms of grief: outrage, sadness, disbelief. And it seems the show anticipated this by giving a whole episode over to the loss, how the characters left behind process it and just a little bit of world building along the way; setting up a question worth asking.
But it’s worth noting just how complete the show paused to honor the Xavier Dolls and actor Shamier Anderson. Ever since genre shows adopted the use of big, dramatic deaths, the follow-up episodes tend to see the characters readying for revenge or trying to swallow their grief with some sort of distracting mission. Here, there is nothing left to do by grieve. We see it in Waverly’s (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) giggle-fit and her need to make sandwiches. We see it in Doc’s (Tim Rozon) stoicism. Even Nicole’s (Katherine Barrell) ill-timed confession about her past is tied to her grief and her mostly off-screen friendship with Dolls still felt real and valid thanks to the performances in the last few episodes.
And yeah, I realize I’m leaving Jeremy (Varun Saranga) out of the list as someone needed to lighten the mood. That said, his willingness to pack up his “science sh*t” when Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) told him to leave definitely speaks to the grief he was processing as, in some ways, he’s lived with the reality of Dolls’ death the longest.
We do get some plot strands for a little action. A pack of silly-ass Revenants stole the remaining counterfeit Black Badge Division drug Rosita left at Shorty’s. Which is a great way of tying up that plot strand — though Jeremy mentions a supply remains at the office — and allow Dolls’ friend Rowan Quinn (Peter Mooney) to see the business Dolls got into in Purgatory. Maybe he even saw why Wynonna stole his heart. Then again, Quinn serves an interesting function throughout as he ends up embodying all the rage Wynonna was expressing at the beginning of the episode and the exact sort of response Wynonna would have had two seasons ago. That’s probably not an accident and reflects just how much Wynonna has grown since coming home. Where Quinn was ready to torture Jeremy for the drugs in order to go out in blaze of glory, Wynonna embraced the best possible way to grieve for Dolls … and the only way to protect what remains of him.
So we get the only sort of funeral those left behind could give Dolls. Respecting Quinn’s understanding that the remaining Black Badge would seek out his body, Wynonna had Dolls cremated. The respectful urn was laid to rest on a hill near the homestead with a tombstone declaring the proud agent “died with his boots on.” Everyone left behind some memento, like Doll’s coffee mug. But Wynonna left behind the necklace she’s worn since the show began. Yup, a right proper funeral for Dolls.
Besides the journey to process the loss of Dolls, there were some other significant moments in regards to the season’s overall tale. Doc told Waverly that Kate (Chantal Riley) is his wife. Waverly asks rhetorically if anyone in town lacks for a secret wife; recalling Nicole’s surprise spouse from last season. Nicole, in turn, finally told Waverly about her encounter with the Cult of Bulshar and how it inspired her to come back to the Ghost River Triangle and mete out justice. Waverly noted it cannot be a coincidence. Finally, Waverly confronted her feelings, and Wynonna after a fashion, about her exclusion from the Earp family plot.
It once again points to Waverly’s mysterious ancestry — though Kate seems to have found the truth in her cards — but also reaffirms the bond between Wynonna and Waverly. To an extent, it doesn’t matter where she comes from. As Wynonna points out, they are stuck together and may just end up buried side by side on the homestead. Wynonna would even be willing to save a spot for Nicole even though she wants to be eaten by animals and pooped out across the forest.
Oh, and as for that question the episode set up: just how much of Black Badge is still operating?
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays on Syfy.