Wynonna Earp (S03E05) “Jolene”

Previously on Wynonna Earp…

WynWayHaught group hug. Nicole (Katherine Barrell) throws Bulshar’s (Jean Marchand) ring in an episode filled with poor decisions. Bobo Del Rey (Michael Eklund) resides at the bottom of a well. Bulshar propositions Doc (Tim Rozon)…well more like demands he do his bidding. Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) meets Mama (Megan Follows), dresses in angel white, and gets called a demon child. Nedley (Greg Lawson) believes Mama isn’t evil while she simultaneously takes out the warden and escapes. But don’t worry, she returns to the original scene of the crime and demon (not Waverly) attacks. And finally, we meet Jolene (Zoie Palmer) with loony sweets for days and the creepiest smile.

This week’s Wynonna Earp episode features standard Earp craziness, harsh insecurities, and a fun, chaotic bar brawl with a crooning Jolene. But for many fans, myself included, it struck a personal chord when Waverly faces down a physical representation of her inner demons. This phenomenal cast continue to impress with brilliant performances and this season gets better and better.

Let’s Dive in to Mama Earp’s Demon Story
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Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano) ties a struggling Mama Earp to the chair in the barn and gives her 1 minute to explain. Basically, a demon has been following Waverly since she was a baby and by the time she was 6 years old, Mama Earp knew the demon wanted to torture and kill Waverly. Mama tried to exorcise it but accidentally burned the barn and bounded the demon to her. So in theory, she’s been trying to save Waverly this whole time and she points this out to a skeptical Wynonna.

But now the demon is unbound from Mama because Waverly visited and touched her. Mama struggles and screams about where has the demon gone because she swore she saw it. Smash cut  to Waverly in the Earp kitchen with Jolene, a friendly ambitious baker of sweets and obviously THE demon. Jolene hugs Waverly too tight and yields a giant knife behind back, all while saying, “Trust me.” Clearly, she’s bad news. I spent majority of this episode screaming, “STOP EATING THE DARN TREATS!”

Jolene’s Kitchen of Horrors

Doc returns from meeting a bossy Mama Earp. Rozon plays this scene so perfectly. The evil cookie magic has worn off so he’s confused who the random woman is in the kitchen but decides not to mention it as Wynonna comfortably washes dishes. As he finally goes to question Jolene’s appearance, she stuffs a snickerdoodle in his mouth and Doc instantly relaxes.

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Jolene offers to put on her boots and keep an eye out for this demon. As she exits, Doc seems to somewhat snap out of it and reveals he heard a 3rd voice on the tape, which means Mama may not be lying. And Waverly is in serious danger.

Bobo wasn’t Waverly’s Only Childhood Imaginary Friend

Of course, Waverly wants to understand Mama’s choices. Waverly’s out in the barn and hears about how every single one of her childhood photos were torn apart because Mama saw a blurry demon monster in them. Waverly remembers in kindergarten she refused to sit by the mirror during story time because she kept seeing sharp rows of teeth/demon monster behind her. Which is legitimately a fear of mine every time I look at a mirror. I close my eyes at every bathroom scene in a horror movie for this very reason. I don’t need no monster reflections in my mirrors.

Mama Earp is tired from fighting this demon. But Waverly, in all her angelic goodness, comforts her by saying that her and Wynonna are here. And of course, Jolene. Obviously, Mama has no idea who that is.

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Speaking of Jolene, she offers up a pie to revenant guard from last week. You know, the one who attempted to kill Wynonna but she took off his head with only her handcuffs? Yeah, he’s back and he’s a slimier scumbag. But Jolene deals with him accordingly by cutting off his tongue and promising to put him to good use.

Mama Earp finally Meets Some of the Family

Mama officially meets Doc. She assumes he’s Wynonna’s boyfriend, Wynonna and Doc hem and haw, and I’m 90% sure Waverly wants to say “Baby Daddy.” Wynonna quickly deflects by saying Waverly is “schtupping a cop.” I love the fact that Wynonna doesn’t out her sister and allows Waverly to reveal her girlfriend’s name. It takes Mama by surprise but she’s on board to talk about her later. First, they need to take care of the demon.

Cue Jolene’s entrance. She’s got impeccable timing. Mama recognizes her smell but unfortunately, these idiots keep accepting treats from a stranger. Jolene reminds everyone that Mama left a.k.a. abandoned her daughters with their alcoholic father.

Jolene Initiates Operation: Isolation

This entire episode is Jolene handing out sweets, manipulating people’s insecurities, and isolating Waverly from her loved ones. Which leads to her next target: Doc Holliday. She reveals Wynonna told her about his trip to Hell and the emotional baggage attached to it. Jolene worries he might not be much use to the Earp women with his moodiness and suggests he sits this one out since he doesn’t have much to offer anyways. She feeds him a snickerdoodle bite and Doc seriously hopes Waverly doesn’t find a way to screw up this mission.

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In the Gibson greenhouse, where Waverly was apparently born, she decides to confront Mama about her real dad. His name is Julian and he was something better, which honestly isn’t difficult when compared to Ward Earp. However, Mama won’t say where he’s been because they need to focus on the demon.

Unfortunately, Jolene’s next target: Nicole Haught. No longer under cupcake mind control, Nicole pulls over Jolene. Atrociously calling her “Nikki,” Jolene offers her lemon scones and against every “Stranger Danger” lesson, Nicole takes one. And then in Jolene’s casual comment-dropping fashion, she reveals the Earps are out on a wild mission with their fugitive Mama and acts surprised that Nicole wasn’t included in their plans.

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But in grand Jolene fashion, she drops a massive hint: she needs Waverly to finish all of this but Jolene can’t physically harm her. This grabs Nicole’s attention but Jolene forces another bite and Nicole lets her and her bleeding trunk continue on their way. Zoie Palmer is truly a gift in this episode.

Waverly’s the Nicest Person in Purgatory. She has a Sash!

Revenant Guard attacks the Earps, but this time Wynonna has Peacemaker. She sends him back to hell and the Earp women preemptively celebrate with a group hug. Like a siren, Jolene whisper calls for only Waverly and she leaves their group huddle to investigate.

Mama set up a trap outside before she lassoed the revenant guard and Jolene’s stuck inside its invisible bounds. She reaches for Waverly, who mistakenly tries to help but ends up being choked. In pure panic defense mode in front of now scary demon face, Waverly smacks Jolene’s face with her rifle butt. With a minor scratch on her forehead, Jolene uses this to make Waverly look like the bad guy even while gaslighting them by excusing it as stress.

source: IDW Entertainment distribution/SyFy network

Back in the Homestead kitchen, Wynonna and Mama Earp cheers to whiskey and Jolene. Because Waverly is the nicest person in Purgatory and still under this stupid spell, she obviously feels guilty. Wynonna/Mama mock her guilt and Jolene finds a way to act like it’s not a big deal but snidely remarks that Waverly’s impulsive, at least according to Nicole.

This scene is rough because Jolene’s plan is in full effect. Waverly had to claw her way onto the team and now she feels ousted by her own sister and mother. She has no seat at the table for their whiskey toasts. More importantly, these are two people who have a history of being absent in her life and demon or no demon, I imagine there’s a lingering fear in Waverly that she might not be worth sticking around for despite Wynonna’s words in 3×03.

No Better Place Than Shorty’s for a Good Ol’ Fashion Bar Fight

In grand Earp fashion, Wynonna kicks open the door to Shorty’s. Mama and Wynonna instantly hit the bar but before they can fully enjoy themselves, Jolene lets slip that Kate is Doc’s secret wife from the Old West. While Wynonna runs off to Shorty’s bathroom, Doc visits Bobo, still stuck at the bottom of a well. Doc wants a way to Bulshar–it’s his ring. Bobo wants a visitor–Waverly Earp. Doc will try but no promises.

source: IDW Entertainment distribution/SyFy network

Jolene and Wynonna have girl talk time in the bathroom. Waverly enters to check on Wynonna but Jolene reveals Waverly knew about the secret wife. Jolene manipulates the Earp sisters into taking opposing sides, which prompts Wynonna to call Waverly her “half-sister.” An emotionally hurt Waverly rushes out and Wynonna snaps back to her senses to realize that was awful. We know Wynonna loves Waverly and considers her part of the Earp family, but when you carry enough self-doubt about your own identity, words can tear you apart.

Doc finally arrives to the party and Mama immediately confronts him about his secret wife before she slaps him. Waverly and Doc talk about Bobo before Wynonna interrupts, clearly upset about Doc “contributing” all over the place. At this point, everybody’s insecurities are out on the table and it’s about to get ugly. Waverly notices Jolene flirting with Nicole by recreating their meet-cute story. I love Zoie Palmer but dammit Jolene, you’ve crossed a ton of lines and now you’ve officially gone too far. Don’t mess with WayHaught’s fairytale porno!

Let’s Welcome the Queen of Chaos
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Waverly storms over there and slaps Jolene. Nicole tries to hold her girlfriend back but Waverly grabs a fistful of pie to throw at Jolene. It’s amazing how quickly this all escalates. Nicole stands between Waverly and Jolene. Some random dude tries to step in and Waverly protects Nicole. Mama steps in and punches random dude, getting major kudos from Wynonna. And suddenly, there’s a bar brawl.

Jolene simply struts through the chaos, to the mic, and starts singing Joey + Rory’s “Cheater, Cheater.” Mama whoops and hollers and leaps on some young guy’s back. Waverly tries to de-escalate the situation but hilariously throws a drink on Wynonna, who screeches, after Wynonna sneers about Waverly not fighting her own battles. Nicole scolds Wynonna about her inability to stay sober. Wynonna calls her a stuck-up suck-up and proceeds to hit her. Kate confronts Wynonna about Doc and Mama defends her daughter with a solid hook to Kate’s face.

I absolutely adore this scene because legitimately all hell breaks loose. I don’t like Jolene targeting Waverly but I do love the chaos she brings.

Belligerent Earps and One Haught Mess

Nicole locks up Wynonna and Mama Earp, both drunkenly belligerent and high-fiving each other over their bar brawl hits. Waverly requests to bail them out. Munching on Jolene’s demon scones, Nicole yells at Waverly about harboring a fugitive and leaving her out of the loop. Waverly stammers out an apology but Nicole could care less and tells her as such when Waverly asks to call her later. First, Wynonna treats her less than family and now Nicole doesn’t seem to love her any more. Waverly’s having a rough night and it’s about to get worse.

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Back at a busted Shorty’s, Kate warns Jolene about her debt and she’ll need to pay up. Jolene brushes her off, flying on her chaotic high. Doc confronts a crying Waverly at the Sheriff’s department about Bulshar’s ring. She reveals Nicole knows about it. Since he’s under Jolene’s spell, Doc acts like he cares about Waverly but his comments say otherwise. At this point, Waverly feels alone and unloved. Everyone and everything around her seems to be falling apart because of her. Because she’s a genuinely good person, she worries she’s the demon causing her friends all this pain.

Back at the Homestead, Jolene tries to seduce Nicole, who’s waiting in Waverly’s room to apologize to her girlfriend. However, no matter the spell or the harsh words unintentionally said, WayHaught love runs strong. Bulshar’s ring reappears somehow and burns Jolene. Pissed, Jolene throws Nicole back in the closet. Oh, the irony.

Put Down That Tart, folks!

Wynonna and Mama Earp hit hangover in their jail cell. They talk about the choices and sacrifices they made as mothers. They talk about Alice Michelle. But finally, they realize the Revenant Guard isn’t the actual demon out to kill Waverly. It’s still out there and currently with her in the Gibson green house, calling sweet Waverly a demon.

Mama Earp and Wynonna scream for Nedley. He meanders in with baked goods but thankfully, has yet to eat any because he has no idea who Jolene is. The Earp women realize Jolene is the demon. Finally! And the baked goods are quite literally no good and shout at Nedley to put them down.

Remember You Are Loved and to Love Yourself
source: IDW Entertainment distribution/SyFy network

Like I said from the start, this episode struck a personal chord. This is my favorite Wynonna Earp episode but it’s very difficult to watch. I’ve been here. I’ve had friends who have been here. Folks, remember to love yourselves and on days when you can’t, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who can. You are loved. You are worthy. You matter and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Watching Waverly crumble to the ground, saying she couldn’t take it anymore, broke my heart. I held my breath when Jolene handed Waverly the knife, trying to coax her to end it. It’s gut-wrenchingly honest because that’s exactly what that little voice does. Jolene tells her that nobody loves her. She calls her a useless piece of skin. She screams “Do it” over and over again to Waverly. But Waverly remembers Wynonna loves her–Waverly is her favorite person in the whole wide world. And so does Nicole and Doc and Jeremy and Mama.

Provost-Chalkley and Palmer are phenomenal in this scene. Honestly, this entire episode but especially in this particular moment. Waverly throws away the knife. Waverly is here and she stays. She loves her sister, her girlfriend, her mama, and her crazy friends. And they love her.

It’s a battle between light and dark. Jolene and Waverly fight but neither of them can kill the other without killing themselves. However, Wynonna can and she loves Waverly more. She shoots Jolene with Peacemaker, who stumbles outside right into Mama’s trap. But Bulshar has other plans and his murder trees wrap her into their vines.

WayHaught Sorry Party and Doc’s Pledge
source: IDW Entertainment distribution/SyFy network

Nicole throws Waverly a sorry party and whispers reaffirming words to her. Their sorry party contains the best gifts: unicorn balloon, flowers, a teddy bear, and even a “Sorry” balloon. Both worry about Bulshar’s ring boomeranging back to them and Waverly apologizes for not letting Nicole in on the super nutty stuff. But Nicole decides Waverly can update her later. Right now, she wants to reaffirm their WayHaught love.

Meanwhile, in the middle of the woods, Doc Holliday calls out to Bulshar. He has Bulshar’s ring, but he’s not here to make a deal. Doc slides it on and basically let’s Bulshar and his murder trees know that if Doc is going to hell, he’s dragging Bulshar with him. Then proceeds to flip them the bird, Wynonna Earp style. I’d like to take this moment to stand corrected. This is some character growth. I expected Doc to take selfish route but he’s ready to fight for the good side even if it still means Hell in the end.

Speaking of Wynonna, she pays Bobo a visit, mainly to inform him he will not ever see Waverly. But don’t worry, he’s got his own big reveal: Waverly’s father Julian was an angel. Of course, Waverly is half-angel. She’s the nicest person in Purgatory. Honestly, major props to the wardrobe department this season but especially these last couple episode. Waverly spent this entire episode in white (and I think all last episode too). I hope we get to learn more about Julian and where he’s been.

I’ll see y’all next week for Christmas in August on SyFy at 9 p.m. Eastern.