Just when you think you’ve seen the best episode of Wynonna Earp, the next episode comes along and it proves to be the best episode of Wynonna Earp. Laying bare the truth about Michelle’s (Megan Follows) attempt to kill Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) all those years ago, this week’s show proved to be an emotional wringer, insanely funny and a showcase for the incredible talents of Provost-Chalkley and guest star Zoie Palmer, who’s appearance as the demon Jolene proved to be worth all of the set-up and extra carbs from her baked goods.
Oh, and then there’s that revelation.
But before we get there, let’s talk about Mama Michelle. Up until tonight, we hadn’t really seen the real her. Well, in some ways we still haven’t because of Jolene’s pastries, but we’re closer than ever before. Prior to last week’s episode, Michelle was fighting with Jolene’s spirit; the source of all the anger we saw back in the sanitarium. Freed from this, we now see Michelle and Wynonna (Melanie Scorfano) really are a pair. The willingness to get into a drunker brawl during Shorty’s karaoke night — and their equally pained hangovers in the jail cell — definitely paint a picture of the two as mother and daughter. As Michelle put it, it would be hilarious and awesome to see them drunkenly cheer on Alice during the Christmas pageant. We also got to see Michelle embrace Waverly without fear of hurting her. That was a big moment and I’m glad to have seen it. Hopefully, Wynonna and Nedly (Greg Lawson) will figure out some legal way to get her out of the ward now that the true cause of her madness has been dealt with.
The bulk of the episode saw Jolene baking a lot of animosity into her pastries and spilling the few remaining secrets Team Wynonna had left. The real point was to isolated Waverly and get her into a suicidal state, but it seemed Jolene was also happy to cause collateral damage by letting the truth about Kate (Chantal Riley) slip and point out that Nicole (Katherine Barrell) is always the last to know about any of the weird stuff going on around Purgatory. There should be an apt baking metaphor for the demon’s ability to weaponize certain truths, but I’m nowhere near as talented as episode writer Shelly Scarrow or the rest of the show’s writing staff.
Jolene’s oven-fresh scheming led to the greatest fight staged on the show yet: a full bar-brawl during karaoke night at Shorty’s. It features what might be a record number of extras — though it might be tied with the party in the Season 1 finale — and an extra dose of madness which almost tops last week’s scene introducing Jolene. It also gave us Doc (Tim Rozon) getting slapped by another member of the family. This time it was Michelle, who did not take the news about Doc’s stealth wife well at all. Granted, neither did Wynonna, but I think Michelle’s presence added a notable fuel to the usual Wynonna fire. It also aided Nedly’s disposition the next morning. Thankfully, his complete ignorance about Jolene led to enough clarity for Michelle and Wynonna to figure out the truth.
Back at the Gibson greenhouse, though, Jolene was able to work her magic and get Waverly into a state where she was willing to contemplate suicide. As a number of Earpers mentioned on Twitter during the live-tweet, the scene was eerily — and sometimes unsettling — close to a real depressive episode. In fact, all of Jolene’s machinations mirror the way depression lies to those suffering from it and the way it isolates them into believe no one cares if they survive the darkest of thoughts. And thanks to the powerhouse performances of Palmer and Provost-Chalkley, the scene is among the best in the series. We also learned a little bit about Jolene and why she hated Waverly from the moment both we born. In the demon’s view, Waves got everything. She was “born of the light” and is beloved by her family and the greater part of Purgatory. Jolene had nothing but the desire to take what she saw in Waverly. It’s definitely an interesting backstory and paid off in Jolene’s utter grief when Wynonna shoots her.
Not that the bullet from Peacemaker ends her existence. Instead, the Murder Trees appeared to consumer the demon. Her final words: “Bulshar.” To me, that’s enough evidence to say the Trees are in his service. It also left me a little sad. Even though Jolene got the end she deserved, I’d love to see Palmer stick around and bring her gifts to the show on a continuing basis. There could always be a Joanne demon, right?
But if you’ll notice, demons seem to have a special fondness for Waves. And it would appear we finally know why. When they first get to the greenhouse, Michelle reveals to Waverly that her father’s name is Julian. At the end of the episode, Bobo (Michael Eklund) adds an interesting wrinkle to the story: Julian is an “honest-to-God angel.” For those who remember their Bible, there is a special creature which is the product of “the sons of God” mating with “the daughters of men.” This species, known as the Nephilim, appear so briefly in the Old Testament that they become a tantalizing riddle to anyone who comes across the passage. So if Bobo is telling the truth, Waverly is a Nephil — perhaps the first to ever feature on a television show.
Provided the show goes in that direction, of course.
To cap the episode, Tim Rozon offers one of his best moments yet by defying Bulshar and promising to drag him down to Hell with him. Which leads to a handful of questions for the week: Is Bulshar’s ring really what Doc was holding or is it Nicole? She threw the ring away awhile ago, but it was suddenly in her hand when Jolene tried to seduce her. Why is Michelle so certain Julian cannot help Waverly? Have the angels abandoned the mortal world entirely? And why has everybody become so obsessed with banana liqueur of late?
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays on Syfy.