Wynonna Earp (S03E02) “When You Call My Name”

Wynonna Earp Season 3 has lit some dynamite and starts off with a huge bang in its first 2 episodes.

Previously on Wynonna Earp…

“Blood Red and Going Down” immediately kicks off with team-building at Pussy Willows where our rag-tag group, in a playful sequence of stunts and quips, take down some revenants. But best of all: Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) on a mechanical bull shouting to the crowd, “That’s how you Earp it girls and boys.” The premiere feels like coming home.

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The gang must fight off hot European vampires, who roll into town on a party bus with kinda sexy pink fog trailing behind them. Obviously, being the premiere, there’s a lot of storylines the writers are trying to set up: Nicole’s (Katherine Barrell) connection to The Cult of Bulshar (she may be the only survivor of these massacres), Mama Earp (Megan Follows) is actually in prison and Wynonna knows, Jeremy (Varun Saranga) trying to figure out the serum for Agent Xavier Pamela Dolls (Shamier Anderson), and Doc (Tim Rozon) and Wynonna dealing with sending Alice away from Purgatory. It’s been 19 weeks and there’s a lot we need to catch up on. The episode ends with Wynonna starting to confess about Mama Earp to Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) before they get into a beautifully shot car accident scene.

Andrea Higgins’ music selection is amazing, especially in that final scene. This entire episode is well-shot. But definitely that Wayhaught morning scene. It’s gorgeous with the framing and lighting of the characters plus starting with Nicole’s feet and sweeping into the room as they did. It’s impressive. But even more impressive is Melanie Scrofano, who deserves major props for directing this scene. Also, hindsight is 20/20 but the scene between Wynonna and Dolls in the truck and their silent communication holds so much heartbreaking context.

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So now, onwards to Episode 2: “When You Call My Name.”

Fair warning, this episode hurts. A lot.

Going into this episode, I knew something drastic was going to happen. The cast and Emily Andras at SDCC had teased that it was a game changer. Scrofano had even said that she loved and hated it.

The episode starts where we left off: Waverly  dragged away and the truck flipped over by the edge of the cliff. It’s a testament to Scrofano’s ability and dedication to this show when we see Wynonna in a dress in the freezing Calgary cold on the side of a cliff with high winds. Honestly, to the entire cast and crew who had to be out there as well.

As Wynonna struggles to stay conscious, Mama Earp shows up above her with some tough love and loads of sass. She’s a figment of Wynonna’s imagination but demonstrates Wynonna’s internal conflict about herself, her relationship with Mama Earp, and her current relationship with her daughter, Alice. Follows and Scrofano shine in their scenes together and I’m excited for more in the upcoming episodes.

On the flip side, Waverly is currently chained and hanging in some creepy meat cabin with another cannibal revenant, who doesn’t appreciate his trees moving and is Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Waverly tries to bargain for her life when her phone goes off due to a worried Nicole and in exchange she won’t tell the inevitable search party where he’s at. Clearly, this doesn’t go over well and in dark Little Mermaid fashion, he steals her voice.

Wynonna Earp with Mama Earp
“It’s not the fall that’s going to kill you. It’s the fear.”
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Wynonna impressively climbs the cliff, unfortunately having to leave Peacemaker behind. She’s about to run headfirst into the woods after Waverly but Mama Earp stops her and reminds her to be smart. This scene is brilliant because Mama Earp isn’t real so this Wynonna telling herself that she just can’t go all Wynonna on this demon. She needs to take inventory a.k.a. grab her jacket and re-weaponize her tire iron. It’s foreboding in a moment like this because typically Dolls would be here and he would be the voice of reason, slowing Wynonna down to act rational and smart.

Speaking of Dolls…

Dolls and Jeremy clearly have a secret, one so big that Jeremy is dropping massive hints to anyone in the vicinity. Meanwhile, Nicole is still worried about Waverly and Dolls vaguely hints at Earp turmoil. Jeremy does have info on The Cult of Bulshar massacre at Pussy Willows. They’re dealing with a scary fast demon—one who’s fast enough to kill everyone within milliseconds of each other but not simultaneously. Nicole decides to head to the Homestead to check on the Earp’s and Jeremy reminds Dolls that he has his back. I haven’t talked about the score yet in this episode but it’s phenomenal. It captures every emotion in the scene, but the ominous music as Jeremy examines Doll’s medication isn’t reassuring.

Back in the woods, not-real Mama Earp and Wynonna have a heart-to-heart that reveals Wynonna’s insecurities. Wynonna is obviously upset that her mother abandoned her but even more so, Wynonna is afraid she’s exactly like her mother and she’s abandoned Alice. While Wynonna understands sending Alice away is for her own protection, Wynonna possibly fears her daughter will grow up with the same abandonment issues. It’s a terrifying cycle and one Wynonna clearly wants to break. And then Mama is gone.

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During the Iron Witch’s curse last season, Doc and Dolls were enemies and while they worked well together last episode, the tension is still there, mainly because they shot and killed each other. But mostly because Doc went to hell and realizes his good deeds won’t make up for his bad ones. Dolls attempts to comfort him, but Doc behaves spooked and desperate. While Doc thinks they are the same—murderers, not real heroes—Dolls does not because he chooses to be on the right side due to his own moral compass and Doc wants to be on the right side due to his fear of going back to hell. It’s heartbreaking to watch these two characters, who started off at odds with other but reached a mutual partnership for their love of Wynonna and found family, end on these terms.

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Officer Haught to the rescue

Thankfully, Nicole finds the damaged truck and her worry increases tenfold as we cut from Nicole staring into the distance to Waverly still hanging. Cabin Ursula demon is using her voice to lure a potential rescuer into a booby-trapped cabin. The demon is pleased with this enough to put Waverly in a cage and keep her alive to lure the Heir.

Doc continues to nearly kill Jeremy, who’s sneaking around in his basement again. Side note: craft nights are on Thursday and I have mass appreciation that Doc knows this. Doc discovers something is wrong with Dolls’ medication, but Jeremy won’t tell and mistakenly chooses to sass Doc. It’s amusing with their matching mustaches but Doc fortunately doesn’t shoot Jeremy because the Earp girls are MIA and Nicole needs all hands on deck, which includes Dolls. Doc requests for Jeremy to contact him, but in true shaky partnership, Doc also requests to not tell Dolls that he asked.

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Wynonna finds Waverly and must now play a game of life-or-death charades. It’s hilarious and Scrofano and Provost-Chalkley’s performance in this scene are brilliant because they play off each other so well. Waverly uses hand signals to guide Wynonna around the booby traps and into a safe space for her to hide while the Cabin Ursula demon returns, creepy talking about the smell of fear.

On the cliffs, Doc investigates the car accident and poor Nicole looks like a lost puppy, hopeless and worried, while she holds Waverly’s shawl and mumbles heartbreaking words like, “Waverly. She’ll be cold.” Her concern intensifies when she remembers the speedy demon out there, but unfortunately Jeremy tells Doc that he has no signal on Wynonna and Waverly’s phone but thankfully did find two structures nearby. In a solid Haught/Doc moment that I hope we get more of this season, Nicole may not trust Wynonna’s instincts but she certainly trusts Wynonna’s instincts about Waverly.

Back to the Meat Murder Cabin
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Wynonna pounds against the cage’s lock with her tire iron but with no success. She apologizes to Waverly and her sister chooses to use this time to ask about Mama Earp. Both actresses are amazing because this scene is devastating. Provost-Chalkley has to rely purely on facial emotion and body language. Wynonna wanted to protect young Waverly. Now Waverly is all grown up and no justifiable reason to continue keeping it a secret. Wynonna, clearly full of regret, decides to ambush the Cabin Ursula demon even though she doesn’t have Peacemaker. Waverly may be hurt but clearly doesn’t want her sister to do anything reckless. It’s the only option Wynonna has to save her baby sister.

Dolls returns to BBD offices to find Jeremy, who apologizes for not telling him about the MIA Earp sisters. He’s upset, but Jeremy’s worried for what might happen. Dolls says that’s not Jeremy’s call, takes his drugs, and heads out. Meanwhile, Wynonna confronts Cabin Ursula demon, who reacts fearfully to Bulshar’s name, and tricks him to his own death. Unfortunately, Wynonna ends up in a trap.

Nicole and Doc find her hanging from a tree, “having some me time.” As Doc cuts her down, Bulshar and his demon servant watch in the background. It’s not a reassuring sight, seeing as the Earp sisters are safe but we’re only 45 minutes in. It’s never a good sign when there’s 15 minutes left in an episode and the A-plot seems to be resolved.

This is finale level craziness
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Dolls arrives to join the team at the car accident scene, happy to see the Earp sisters alive. Wynonna may want whiskey but her and Waverly still need to finish up their Mama Earp discussion. Wynonna reveals she knew where Mama was the whole time. Worse, it was specifically requested by Mama to not tell Waverly where she was. Obviously, Waverly is upset and requests for Dolls to take her to the car. Nicoles watches like a protective girlfriend torn between Waves and her climbing duty. Dolls attempts to justify Wynonna’s actions but it’s definitely coming from his own guilty conscience as well. It’s been one long day for Waverly and it’s not even close to being over yet.

And then everything goes to hell real quick. One minute, Nicole jokes about rock climbing for 9 years and how redheads do it better. Then suddenly, Dolls is in pain and Waverly is confused, unsure what to do. Nicole is over the cliff, in her harness, before she feels the rope give and the team sees Bulshar’s speedy cult demon cut the rope. Wynnona dives for the rope. She’s the only one stopping Nicole from falling to her death. Doc tries to stop the demon but he’s fast and moves around like a death eater.

“It’s hard to tell people the truth if you know it’ll devastate them.”
source: IDW Entertainment distribution/SyFy network

Dolls hears and stuffs Waverly back in the car to help. Speedy cult demon knocks Doc several yards back. Dolls shows up but bullets don’t work so hand-to-hand combat it is. Waverly escapes. Nicole grabs Peacemaker from its ledge. Jeremy warns a emotionally aggravated Waverly about Dolls’ instability. She can barely walk but god forbid she misses out on the action. Dolls and speedy cult demon are brawling — kicks, punches, and takedowns. It’s cutting back and forth to Wynonna holding the rope and Nicole over the cliff shouting at her to let go so they both don’t go over. There’s so many options and choices and the speedy demon cult is right: someone is going to die here.

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With one last smile, Dolls engulfs speedy cult demon in a giant fireball. With Waverly’s help, Wynonna pulls Nicole up to safety with Peacemaker. Bulshar finally reveals himself to the gang with a slow clap. Wynonna has had a day and goes to shoot but Doc shouts for her because Dolls collapsed to the ground. He isn’t breathing and Bulshar’s now gone. This scene is incredibly gut-wrenching. Doc shouts for Dolls to wake up. Nicole calls for paramedics and issues CPR. Wynonna refuses to accept it and requests for his drugs. Waverly brokenly answers with a tearful “He’s gone.”

In the final minutes, Wynonna refuses to leave Dolls alone in the woods. It’s a great callback to Season 1 when he reveals his fear of the woods to her. The imagined Mama Earp shows up to offer up words of comfort. It’s interesting that Waverly’s words of comfort are what Wynonna imagines Mama would say. I’m excited to see the similarities between Waverly and Mama Earp as this season unfolds.

One Final Note

Andras and the cast were right — this episode is a game changer. The stakes feel like they’ve never been higher. We’re only 2 episodes in and we lost Dolls who’s been here since Day 1. Bulshar is no joke. I’m excited to see the characters react in their grieving process, especially Doc and Wynonna whose relationships with him were complicated.