Wynonna Earp Season 4, Episode 4 Review: Holy War Part One

Wynonna hunts for Peacemaker, while Nicole continues to struggle with a major secret.

Nicole and Waverly in Wynonna Earp Season 4 Episode 5
Photo: Syfy

This Wynonna Earp review contains spoilers.

Wynonna Earp Season 4, Episode 4

“Destiny is what we are drawn towards and fate is that which we run into.” Waverly needs to embroider this onto a pillow to have around the homestead because it’s not a half-bad motto for the Earp family, nor for the show itself. We know from the glimpses we’ve had into Waverly and Wynonna’s childhood, as well as from the information we’ve gathered about the history of this town and the Earps’ place in it, that The Family Earp has not always been the bastion of support and togetherness that it is today. Each generations of Earps has responded differently to the curse, some more healthily than others. The Earp heirs have had a heavy destiny placed upon their shoulders, one they do not get to choose. Fate, however, at least in Wyatt Earp’s interpretation of it, has some measure of free will about it.

For Wynonna, destiny, in the form of the curse, has been, until recently, one of the major forces in her life. It has been a burden she’s chafed against, but it has been a choice made for her, and there can be a kind of comfort in that. Without the burden of the curse, Wynonna is only left with fate, something she is far less practiced in maneuvering. Interestingly, Wynonna has been able to quickly clarify if not her purpose then her process: fighting alongside her people, which now includes the recovered Jeremy, and, destiny-willing, with Peacemaker (in whatever form it may take) in her hands. She has taken to her post-curse life like a sweary duck to water, and it’s been a pleasure to see in a season that has seen Nicole in such pain.

For Nicole, who has had the best storyline thus far this season, the long 18 months without Waverly or the rest of her found family was a time of stagnancy and trauma, of doing what she had to do to keep her and Rachel alive, of holding down the fort until her family returned and she could start living again. If that doesn’t sound like running towards something, it’s not. “I knew you could handle yourself,” Jeremy tells Nicole when she not-so-subtly (and understandably) accuses him of abandoning her during her time of need. “That’s not what I did,” Nicole tells him. Later, she admits to Wynonna that she gave up hope on them coming back to her. She gave up on fate and surrendered to destiny. (Wonderfalls reference, anyone?)

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Depressingly, Nicole’s struggles didn’t end when she got her family back. Her life continues to be driven by forces outside of her control. For 18 months, her life was defined by an absence she felt she had lost control over. In this episode, her body is literally controlled by some kind of supernatural force set on her by Margot Clanton—an unjust consequence for the one time in those 18 months when Nicole tried to run towards something. And it totally backfired.

I love how supportive Waverly is when Nicole is literally too sick to tell her the horrible thing she has done. We don’t know what Nicole promised Ma’am, but it is something she doesn’t believe Waverly and the others will ever be able to forgive her for. As of right now, we don’t know what that is, and I love that Wynonna Earp is keeping this a mystery for now. It’s hard to believe that there is anything that Waverly and the audience wouldn’t forgive Nicole for, especially given that it was offered when Nicole was at her lowest, when she was alone and terrified that she would never see the love of her life again. Still, I’m on the edge of my seat.

“Holy War Part One” works to restore some of the pre-time jump status quo. BBD has appointed Jeremy as the captain of the local Purgatory branch, and the crew has moved back into their old offices in the town police station. Nicole might not have her sheriff position back (another role of control and security that was taken from her during those 18 months), but the gang has their BBD hangout, and it feels like coming home. Perhaps more importantly, it is a symbol that the Clantons don’t have complete authority over Purgatory, which initially seemed to be the case. While the logic may be too vague for my tastes, Black Badge has a power that the Clantons can’t touch and, at least for now (until we meet Naomi’s bosses), BBD is more or less on Team Earp’s side.

One element of the status quo that has yet to be restored is the return of Peacemaker. Wynonna and Doc follow the trail that Aimen claims will lead them to the missing weapon. For now, it just leads Wynonna to the home of a bunch of judgy nuns and, eventually, to “Steve’s Gulch,” where Wynonna and Doc find Rosita. Yes, Season 2 Rosita, the ex-revenant who we last saw when she was making plans to trade Baby Alice for safe passage out of Purgatory. How is she still around if the curse is broken? And how might she lead Wynonna to Peacemaker? All questions we don’t yet know the answer to as this episode has not one, but two juicy cliffhangers…

The other cliffhanger is yet another situation that puts poor, tortured Nicole Haught in danger. (These kinds of scenes are so much less stressful for a show that we know will never Bury Their Gays.) In an attempt to get whatever is possessing Nicole and making her all stabby out of her, Jeremy and Nedley are trying to temporarily kill Nicole by drowning her in a tub of water while Nedley dons a wolf head hat and chants from a book of magic. (You know, the uzsh.) This is the scene that Waverly, who Nicole had handcuffed to their bed to keep from witnessing this, walks into. Yeah, it looks pretty traumatizing, and is not dissimilar to what Wynonna did to Nicole and others when she drugged them in the Season 3 finale so that she and Waverly could go face Bulshar alone. Nicole got pretty understandably pissed at Wynonna for this, which is why it’s disappointing to see her take a choice like this away from Waverly. Nicole is not the same person she was 18 months ago.

“Holy War Part One” was a subtly strong episode. Last week, we got the first signs that we would be tapping back into Earpian mythology this season, and this week’s episode continues that trend in both philosophical and logistical ways. It’s been a while since we had an episode that so draws on the Old West history of this family and this town, and I am eager to see what happens next.

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Additional thoughts

OK, where the f is Robin tho?

“It’s not a war, Holliday. It’s just a town.” I kind of… like Sheriff Holt?

Nicole is pissed at Jeremy for abandoning her during those months. I hope they don’t drop this.

“Gold. Frankincense. Tickets to Lizzo.” I want a ticket to Lizzo! And a world where concerts are still a (safe) thing.

I also want to go to the Ghost River Triangle Museums! I miss museums, especially small, eccentric ones like this one.

I continue to have… so many questions about Wyatt and Doc’s relationship.

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Is it too late for Billy? I liked this kid.

“Some people deserve to be shot.”

“Whatever side we fight on, the blood we shed to win the war, will damn us all.” Honestly, Doc is filled with ominous quotes this episode. Another highlight: “I’ve often been left to ponder, Wynonna, whether or not this legacy of bloodshed will be the ruin of everyone we love.”

“How? When the monsters keep coming and coming, how am I supposed to live a normal life? And why the fuck would I want to?” Love this.

“Just because you’re rejecting your legacy doesn’t mean I have to reject mine.” Seriously, in a season that sees so many characters struggling with their fates and/or destinies, it is nice to see Wynonna so sure about hers.

“Well, it would take a lot more than Egyptian plagues to keep me from wanting to marry your sister.” <3

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“It was the Old West. The only difference between them and us were the stars pinned to our chest.” Seriously, Doc is so reflective this episode.

Petition to have a whole episode that shows us what Doc is up to while everyone else is sleeping. Has he picked up any new hobbies? Are there town insomniacs he has befriended? Does he enjoy the sunrise? So many questions.

Also, petition to have a whole episode that flashes back to Nicole during those 18 months.


4 out of 5