This Wynonna Earp review contains spoilers.
Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 1
No TV show throws a party like Wynonna Earp, and that’s what this Season 3 premiere is: a celebration of all that is wonderful about this show. Syfy’s queer, feminist darling wastes no time in its summer return, refusing to rest on the laurels of the show’s revolutionary Season 2. Bulshar has risen. Mama Earp has returned. Wynonna and Waverly are in mortal danger. Also: vampires. Yep, I’m in.
While “Blood Red and Going Down” might not dwell too long on the goings on of Season 2, they of course inform where all of our charaters are at in the Season 3 premiere. As Waverly puts it: “Wynonna’s in denial, training herself to death. Doc’s all sad eyes and quiet mouth. And you, [Nicole], who’s usually my rock, is having a panic attack?” Yikes!
Baby Alice’s departure at the end of Season 2 has cast a pall over Wynonna and Doc in particular (though it does seem to have thrown the revenants off of Alice’s trail). Doc is doubly haunted because, not only did he lose his baby, but he also spent some time in hell. At one point in the Season 3 premiere, we see him waking up from a nightmare, having fallen asleep on the bar in the middle of the day. He’s seemingly pulled a Buffy and not mentioned to any of his friends that he spent some time in the underworld, though Jeremy, ever the Doc-watcher, seems to know that something more than just Alice’s disappearance is at work here.
Team Earp has done a pretty good job holding down the Ghost River Triangle since Bulshar’s rising. They’ve seen neither hide nor hair of the demon who originally cast the Earp curse, and it’s been 19 weeks. The seeming calm before the storm has left the group uneasy, but efficient. They take out revenants at Pussy Willows as a team, even if, individually, the members of said team are a little to a lot unstable.
Well, maybe everyone but Nicole and Waverly, who are happier than ever in their relationship and lives now that they’ve worked through their issues surrounding Nicole’s lies to Waverly and Waverly’s kissing of Rosita (who is nowhere to be seen in the premiere). They flirt and makeout during missions, wake up together at the Earp homestead, and are all around adorable in all situations. It’s enough to make anyone, even poor, broken Doc, believe in love.
The post-Bulshar holding pattern is finally broken, however, when a cabal of hip, party-loving European vampires saunters into Purgatory on a cloud of pink fog (not smoke or a surprise Rihanna concert, sadly) in a tricked out stripper bus. They murder a bunch of people at Pussy Willows, in tribute to Bulshar, and glamour much of the rest of the town as part of their plan to give the descendants of the original families of Purgatory to the demon. It’s a lazy, yet effective plan. They get most of the townspeople, save for Wynonna, Dolls, and Doc, who are all immune to their glamour.
That immunity is all it takes. Cue the stake-making montage (easily one of my favorite moments from the entire, excellent episode) and Team Earp is off to the races. In traditional TV vampire fashion, if you kill a vampire, everyone they have glamoured will be broken from the spell. The European vampires never stood a chance, as everyone gets into the staking, and this show revels in its unironic use of pink filters, a synth pop soundtrack, and, yes, vampires. Ironic distance is so incredibly overrated.
One vampire does escape: new character Contessa, who has a history with Doc. She kidnaps him and tortures him in the stripper bus, claiming that the cabal wants him as a member. But is it the cabal or is it Contessa? Wynonna lets another vampire go, as well, letting him return empty-handed to Bulshar—at least I assume it’s Bulshar. The creepy man in the creepy hat feeds forces something into the mouth of his vampire minion, which is classic Big Bad behavior. The fact that Bulshar is just hanging out on the town limits, biding his time, is creepier than any show of all-out force could ever be. And with vampiric Cults of Bulshar showing up, eager to do Bulshar’s bidding, it’s unclear if Bulshar will even have to lift a finger to get what he wants. (If that even is Bulshar and not just another one of his groupies!)
Speaking of the Cult of Bulshar, Nicole has a serious connection in her past. After seeing a symbol carved into the flesh of one of its victims sets off a panic attack, she confirms in the episode’s final act that this isn’t the first time she’s encountered the Cult. She tells Dolls (who, bless him, is pretty much every character’s emotional support in this episode) that she thinks she is the only survivor of the Cult of Bulshar. Um… she thinks? Did she get glamoured into forgetting? How old was she? Does this mean she lost her family in some tragic circumstance, a la Wynonna and Waverly? I’m not sure how I feel about another character on this show having a super tragic backstory, but I am more than willing to see this play out.
In other Complicated Family History news, we finally get to properly meet Mama Earp, aka Michelle Gibson, aka Anne of Green Gables Forever, aka Canadian National Treasure Megan Follows. She is in a nearby prison, and seems full-on crazy, hearing voices in her head. (Odds are these voices are connected to the Cult of Bulshar, and Mama Earp isn’t as crazy as she seems.) Wynonna has been visiting her enough recently that Dolls has noticed and trailed her. Because that’s what friends do when they don’t have the stalk your friend app.
Wynonna has known that her mother is incarcerated much longer than the recent visits suggest. She’s known since her mother first went away. Six months before Wynonna shot her father and Willa was taken. Daddy Earp made Wynonna and Willa promise not to tell Waverly the truth, which is pretty messed up, considering that even Aunt Gus has known this whole time that Michelle was in jail and not run off to join the rodeo circuit, as sweet Waverly once imagined. Even if they didn’t tell her when she was a child, Waverly has not been a child for a long time. And this is exactly the kind of secret-keeping Waverly got so angry with Nicole about last season. Actually, it kind of makes Nicole’s withholding of information seem like a minor faux pas.
We don’t get a chance to see how Waverly feels about Wynonna’s massive truth bomb. Just after Wynonna has told her (while they are driving—never have intense heart-to-hearts while driving), Wynonna and Waverly are forced off the road by something in their path. They crash and Waverly is dragged from the wreckage, screaming for her sister.
Oh, you didn’t think Wynonna Earp was going to let these characters live happily ever after for more than a commercial break, did you? We get the snark, but we also get the angst. This is a supernatural horror western filled with vampires, zombies, and family tragedies, and you wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s so nice to have Wynonna Earp back.
Waverly has bangs! Jeremy has a moustache!
“I don’t need grace. I need steely, Soviet precision.” Waverly Earp, ladies and gentlefolk.
Dolls gets a cheek kiss from Wynonna in this episode and they share a long look. Wynonna may kiss Doc later in the episode, but I wouldn’t count Dolls out of this love traingle just yet.
“It’s about time we had some vampires around here.” Bless you, Nedley.
Jeremy listens to One Direction, which automatically makes him my favorite character moving forward.
“It’s European. Do you like it? I’m trying to make a good impression.” “On who? Mr. Darcy?”
“Agent Xavier Pamela Dolls?” “Pretty sure his middle name’s not Pamela.” “You know what it is?” Taking bets on Dolls’ middle name.
I’m kind of sad that Petra died?
Doc is having nightmares about hell.
“I really do miss the days when you could just a shoot a man for laughing at you.” OMG, someone talk to Doc.
“You look slightly less dapper than usual.” Jeremy’s description of Doc’s depression is so lovely.
Jeremy makes such a good vampire minion.
“There’s been a murder. Actually a lot of murder. Actually, like a buttload of murder.” — Wynonna
“He put a curse on our family.” “No, he put a curse on the Earps.” Michelle seems to think of herself as a non-Earp, which is both telling and understandable.
The voice tells me things about him. “My daughters are off limits. Do you hear me?” Michelle, talking to the voices in her head. Could they have something to do with Wynonna and Waverly getting run off the road?
“Who are you?” “My boss.” “Her partner.” Guys, Dolls called Wynonna his partner.
“I thought you’d be madder.” “I thought you didn’t do dairy.”
“But we can’t kill Wynonna. We love Wynonna.” “Well…”
Nicole wears the outfit she was saving for their one-year anniversary and it is hot.
“That was more cramped than the canoe I lost my virginity in.”
Wynonna spent a month touring with Nine Inch Nails. I love these glimpses into Wynonna’s past.
“Hey, could I pass for an Earp?” Sorry, Jer.
“I’ll tell you what I can eat. A dick.” One of my favorite Wynonna entrance lines ever.
“That’s my girlfriend, you bloodsucking bitch.” “Damn straight.”
“You don’t have it in you anymore. No wonder Wyatt left you to die.” I need to know if Wyatt and Doc were together romantically, please. But, also, this is sad either way because, if they were not romantic life partners, you know that Doc thought of them as platonic life partners, and that is just as powerful.
“Why is Doc shirtless?” Jeremy, when Doc wears a tank.
Clues about Bulshar: “He will return to save this place, and we are here to watch him do so.” He is going “to finish what he started over a century ago.”
“You really are a stupid girl.” “At leat I’m not over… like vampires.”
“To Alice.” “Always.” So far, this is this season’s “I’m all in” moment and I am not OK.
“You always make the right [choice]… most of the time.” Dolls, giving Wynonna some side eye for continuing to be romantically involved with Doc, if I am not mistaken.
The pink fog is so pretty.
“It really was a nightmare… fighting with you.” — Waverly, to Nicole
The truck’s OK, though, right?