Friday, August 17, 2018

REVIEW: 'Wynonna Earp' - Waverly Confronts the Demon Who Has Haunted Her Since She Was Born in 'Jolene'

Syfy's Wynonna Earp - Episode 3.05 "Jolene"

A demon causes havoc in town as Wynonna, Waverly and Jolene must decide who they can trust.

Waverly is not an Earp by blood. That was a revelation that happened much earlier in the series. It's something that has always plagued Waverly. She understands that her parentage has been thrown into question. And yet, there is no one she trusts to tell her the truth about what she actually is. Instead, she has simply had to be content forming her own family with Wynonna, Nicole and the rest of the team. That has always been very rewarding for her. Wynonna is her sister no matter what. Their love is strong. Waverly and Nicole's relationship is so profound and meaningful. They will do anything for each other. They are both plagued with doubts about their pasts. They don't understand the horrors that previously occurred in their lives. There is no easy way for them to get answers either. And so, they've learned to lean on each other for support. It's such a moving relationship that means so much. But all of that is bound to change this season. The earlier episodes already set up the reveal that Nicole previously survived an attack from the cult of Bulshar when she was younger. The location in the Ghost River Triangle is also home to some major mysteries with the trees just moving around as if they have minds of their own. The forrest is a massive key to unlocking the truth about Bulshar and what happened in Nicole's past. Meanwhile, the introduction of Mama Earp has allowed Waverly to finally have the potential to understand who she is. It just came with the trauma of learning that her mother has tried to kill her on multiple occasions. That's why she was locked away in the psychiatric facility for all of these years. Waverly chose never to leave the Ghost River Triangle. She only did so to get Alice to safety. She knows that she isn't a revenant. But she is still searching for answers. By the end of "Jolene," clarity is coming. But it only leads to more questions as well.

Right now, it's all about facing the demon who has been stalking Waverly since she was a baby. Mama Earp is the only person who was able to see this demonic presence haunting her youngest daughter. Ward was probably too focused on Willa to care or didn't want anything to do with Waverly because she wasn't his. Mama Earp cheated on him. They still chose to raise this daughter as their own. But it was tough on their marriage as well. That was especially true with Mama Earp becoming determined to kill this demon. She failed to do so that fateful night in the barn. All she was able to do was bind the creature to herself instead. That meant that Waverly was free of this demon and could live a normal life for all of these years. She wasn't constantly living in fear that something was looking over her shoulder trying to kill her. Only now does she remember being afraid of mirrors when she was a toddler because she saw teeth in the reflection. Mama Earp understands that that was the demon. And so, all of this time Mama Earp has been haunted by this voice. This demon has been plaguing her mind with thoughts about how she will one day kill Waverly. As such, she's not crazy or suffering from some psychological condition at all. She is just hearing a voice from a demon that no one else does. Well, Doc does on the recording of an old therapy session when Mama Earp first checked into this facility. He can because he has been to Hell. He has a connection to the demons of the world. But that doesn't make him any more keen on being able to spot out the demon once she presents in human form. He is lured into her trap just as easily as everyone else.

It was terrifying to think that the team all fell into a state of bliss by falling for Jolene's trick at the conclusion of last week's episode. All they had to do was eat one bite of her baking to immediately treat her as one of the team. Of course, the effects of this spell aren't permanent. She has to keep filling them up with sweets in order to make them oblivious to what's actually going on. Sure, most of them don't think to question who this stranger is that is now suddenly in their lives. They just see her as Jolene, an old friend of Waverly's who has been a part of the town for a long time. They have interacted with her in the past. The baked goods mean they don't think logically. That's clear throughout this episode. It appears that Jolene wants nothing more than to disrupt Waverly's life by forcing everyone around her to push her away. As such, they say things in the heat of the moment based on these extreme revelations that don't ultimately mean anything. Yes, it's a big deal that Doc's wife has shown up as a vampire. She too is an immortal creature. That surely complicates his current relationship with Wynonna. But Jolene's spell means that everyone is willing to cry and throw punches regarding this news. Wynonna and Mama Earp hate Waverly for keeping this a secret and trusting that Doc would ultimately do the right thing and confess. Doc too is under the spell and easily manipulated. It's such a delightful and action-packed sequence to see this epic fight break out in Shorty's. It's all so completely ridiculous. It's Jolene creating chaos because she revels in it. She is doing all of this in order to have fun because she can't hurt Waverly directly. That's an important thing to be aware of as this episode plays out as well.

Waverly believes she is losing her mind because her friends and family are all alienating her. She too isn't thinking rationally because she has been eating Jolene's baking. If Wynonna or Nicole says something mean and destructive to her, then Waverly believes that they now hate her. She feels all alone. That makes her susceptible to Jolene's suggestion of killing herself. That's such a dark and bleak note for this story to pivot around. Jolene is trying to get Waverly to commit suicide. That is the way that she can die and break this curse. She has been bonded to certain individuals for her entire life. And now, there is the potential for her to be set free. Of course, Waverly's rational mind kicks it after awhile. She knows that Wynonna and Nicole love her no matter what. They are her family. Yes, they may fight and disagree. But at the end of the day, they would never hurt one another. As long as she feels that love, she cannot be a demon. That may be how she was born. But that's not how she's choosing to be. However, it's silly to think that she could ever be a demon. She is sweet Waverly! She loves everyone. Even when Jolene is making her arguments against her, she is saying that they are tied together. One is the light and one is the dark. Waverly had everything handed to her. Jolene had to crawl up from the muck and was attached to Waverly for her entire life. She wanted nothing more than to kill her. That's evil and easily defines her as a demon. But as a demon, she is killed in a different way than the revenants. Sure, she is still shot by peacemaker. She just doesn't descend into Hell. Instead, she is able to run away even after getting shot. And then, she is taken by Bulshar who reveals to the team that he can manipulate trees and attack whomever he wants at a moment's notice.

And yet, this does put a resounding end to Waverly and Mama Earp being haunted by a demon. Now, they can simply be a family again. A family who love one another. With Mama Earp returned, she can provide all the answers that Wynonna and Waverly seek in this world. She is already willing to share that Waverly's father is named Julian. Of course, that's all that she teases at the moment. When Waverly asks the question, they are still in the midst of fighting the demon that has plagued them for decades. After that, they are too distracted by Jolene who is trying to alienate Waverly from her loved ones. But once that conflict is resolved, it's important for the show to start providing answers because there is no longer any excuses not to. And yet, it's not Mama Earp who tells the truth to Waverly about what she is. Instead, the answers come from Bobo. He happens to return this week as well with Doc seeking some better understanding of the threat he faces from Bulshar. That also re-introduces the idea that Bulshar's ring is of extreme importance in this story and that Nicole currently has it. Bobo is only willing to share this information in exchange for once again being able to protect Waverly. That has always been his life's mission. But Waverly no longer wants to interact with him. He has caused her so much pain in the past while remaining elusive with answers. But now, he's more than willing to share that her father is an angel when Wynonna visits him in the well. That's a surprise. And yet, it makes perfect sense too. For a show that features demons, it only seemed inevitable that angels would be introduced at some point. And now, Waverly is bound to learn that she is part-angel. That's very exciting.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Jolene" was written by Shelley Scarrow and directed by Paolo Barzman.
  • Nicole threw away Bulshar's ring in the woods only a week ago. She threw it into the area where the trauma occurred during her past. That probably wasn't very smart because the demon is searching for that ring. It may be the final piece in whatever he has planned for the world. But here, it is magically returned to Nicole to protect her once she is no longer fooled by Jolene's spells. As such, it is drawn to Nicole for a reason as well.
  • Of course, Nicole is no longer in possession of Bulshar's ring at the end of the episode either. Instead, Doc has taken it because he wishes to taunt Bulshar with it. He is going to be holding onto it in a show of strength. It proves that he can't be corrupted and willing to turn against his friends. If he is bound for Hell, then he is surely going to be taking the demon down there with him. That's a very rousing moment.
  • Contessa is the only person at Shorty's who isn't fooled by Jolene's spell. It's unclear if she actually eats any of the baked goods and they just don't work on her. But she is able to see her fate very clearly. She sees the chaos and destruction she enjoys making during her freedom. But she also cautions that the end is coming as well. That's a fate that occurs very soon thanks to Waverly and Wynonna.
  • Wynonna tells her mother about her daughter. Mama Earp is talking about the brave sacrifice she needed to make in order to protect her daughter. Wynonna could understand because of the sacrifice she had to make for Alice as well. Mama Earp understands and supports what Wynonna had to do. But she also gets a joke in about how they would be out of place as the two drunks at a school performance.
  • It's going to be very interesting to see just how long Mama Earp will be free in Purgatory. She is still a wanted fugitive after all. Nicole and Nedley make sure to remind everyone of that. They simply can't just let her go especially once she's in the holding cell. And yet, she is free by the end of the hour. She is reunited with her family. She is no longer crazy and her actions can be explained. So will she stay free or be forced back into prison?