Friday, September 14, 2018

REVIEW: 'Wynonna Earp' - Wynonna Finds Herself in a Trap Completely Unable to Escape in 'Undo It'

Syfy's Wynonna Earp - Episode 3.09 "Undo It"

History keeps repeating itself when Wynonna has to make an impossible choice. Waverly and Nicole visit a jeweler and a familiar face returns to Purgatory.

Bulshar has been such a powerful and crafty villain this season. He received so much buildup as a character that the show ultimately had to deliver when he finally arrived. And yes, a lot of his motivation has been kept in secret. "Undo It" is the first time that he articulates wanting to enslave all of humanity. That's absolutely horrifying and gives everyone a strong reason to prevent him from entering the Garden of Eden. But he's also able to sneak up on the team and trap them in a prison of their own minds. At first, it seems like Wynonna is able to break free of this latest curse simply because of the strength of peacemaker. The facade already seemed flimsy as she was questioning the idea of her and Doc sleeping together right after learning what Bulshar's goals in Purgatory were. That didn't make much sense especially considering how tense things have been with them lately. She is able to break free of the illusion at that moment in time. But that only makes Bulshar more forceful in his psychological manipulations. Instead of simply trapping his foes in an illusion to ensure they can't prevent him from finding the Garden, he actually puts them in a version of hell where they keep repeating the same events over and over again. It's so brutal to watch Wynonna's spirit chip away over the course of this hour. The audience always has to be aware to make sure we aren't falling for the same tricks that she is even though we also have to understand the decisions she is making. It always seemed unlikely that she would kill Bulshar. It's still too early in the season for that moment to happen without the show establishing some other threat that will demand the team's attention. As such, it seemed clear that she was going to hand over peacemaker. That's a devastating loss. Even though it was slightly predictable as things went along, it is a still a solid episode that is executed so well. The audience understands the choices made and the desire for the team to fight back even though they may now feel powerless against this latest enemy.

Wynonna starts this entire adventure as her typical strong self as well. She has the strength to know that no matter what comes at her next it will only make her stronger. She has the determination to succeed. She will not be broken by Bulshar and his bag of tricks. She believes she can defeat him. And yet, she falls for the dust trick twice. She just doesn't see it coming. Nor does she see all of the ways in which she can be killed in this new fantasy. She is in familiar environments. But they no longer play with the rules of physics. She walks up stairs from the basement in Shorty's only to be walking down the stairs to the main room of the bar. When she goes to drink, she is shot with an arrow. As such, all of this is depriving her of one of the many things she needs to cope with all of the demonic threats she faces in Purgatory. It's actually surprising to see how many times she continues to fall for this trick. She keeps going up the stairs only to die in some horrible way. The pain is very much real. Bulshar wants her to feel it. This is her torture. He is pushing her to her limits to ensure that she hands over peacemaker. However, Doc is there as well. Sure, he is just a metaphysical projection on some random object on the wall. But he is there and still able to communicate with her. He is completely paralyzed. He has no idea where he is. He's witnessing Wynonna make the same mistakes over and over again. No matter what, she goes up the stairs and dies. Even when she does make it to the next level of this maze, it comes with a whole new set of obstacles and the threat that Doc is about to die.

All of this is happening while Bulshar is in control of Wynonna and Doc's bodies in real life. He has positioned them at the bottom of the stairs in the woods. He proclaims that he wants the Earp heir to witness as he rules the world. It's so absolutely sinister while remaining fairly cryptic as well. The stairs return this week but it's still unclear what purpose they serve. Not everyone is allowed to see them just yet. Wynonna is too distracted by the puzzle that Bulshar has created in her head. Doc is being buried alive. She knows where he is in the house. The only tools that can be used to break him free are locked in the shed. That leads to the discovery that Bobo is also trapped in this twisted reality. He has been here for much longer than Wynonna and Doc have. In fact, it seems like Bulshar is in completely control. Wynonna wants to believe that she's simply playing a video game and slowly figuring out the ways to beat it and move to the next level. But that's not really the case at all. After Wynonna stops moving at Shorty's, the floor starts getting hot to ensure that Wynonna moves to the next setting. That comes with the same exact problem. This time it is more personal because Bobo is the rabid animal standing in her way of getting what she wants. The only reason she is able to retrieve the crowbar is because Waverly, Nicole and Jeremy find Bobo in the woods and are able to snap him back to reality. Of course, that comes with the realization that he no longer knows what's real or not. He has simply died too many times to actually trust what life is currently offering him. Wynonna holds out hope that Bobo can help the team imprison Bulshar once more. But instead, he's defeated because he sees no way to ever defeat this enemy again. It's simply too daunting because he is too powerful now.

That may very well be true because of how broken Wynonna becomes over the course of this hour. As soon as Bobo is removed from this reality, that's when Bulshar appears. He is still inside the illusion. Wynonna hasn't woken by once more. He is still in control. Right now, he is just teasing that their fates are connected. His power and the Earp curse go hand-in-hand with each other. He needs peacemaker in order to unlock the Garden of Eden. He can't just steal it from the Earp heir either. It has to be willingly handed over to him. Wynonna never would have done that though. And yet, the moment where she believes she has killed Bulshar and rescued Doc is so incredible tragic because the illusion starts all over again from the start at Shorty's. Wynonna confidently believes that she is making progress and defeating Bulshar at his own game. She believes she and Doc have awoken from this deception. And then, there is just the crushing reveal that it's all still an illusion. They are still trapped by Bulshar. Even when Waverly, Nicole and Jeremy find them and cut them free from the trees, they don't wake from the trap like Bobo did. Instead, they remain in that hypnotic trance until Bulshar lets them free. That only occurs after Wynonna hands over peacemaker. She believes she has made a deal with this devil to ensure that no harm comes to her or her friends. And yet, Bulshar can't be trusted to keep to his word. He seeks to enslave all of humanity. He is going to destroy the world. And now, he has the tools to do so. It's heartbreaking knowing that Waverly and Doc's pleas for Wynonna to remain strong are ultimately used against her. She sacrifices herself for the team. It's a decision she immediately comes to regret as well. She was just too broken from the torture.

Waverly feels cursed in her own way thanks to Bulshar's ring as well. It refuses to be removed from her finger. It keeps coming back to the team. Whenever one of them tried to get rid of it this season, it suddenly reappeared in their lives once more. It has been drawn to Waverly. And now, it can't be removed. That leads to a subplot where Waverly and Nicole are facing off with a revenant who wants to pledge loyalty to Bulshar by presenting him with this gift. It doesn't work though because it once again becomes clear that the ring makes Waverly powerful. This time it's just much more horrifying to watch because she literally melts his face off. That's brutal and shows that she really has no control over this ring. Everyone has been fighting over it. It's so crucial and may tip the scales of power in this war against Bulshar. But Waverly is forever afraid of how she could possibly hurt her family with it. When she is pleading for Wynonna to come back to her, she doesn't care that the ring is touching her. She just wants to save her sister. Even then, the ring doesn't fill her with the confidence that it is capable of doing miraculous acts. Waverly just views it as a source of magic that corrupts whomever is wearing it. She still wants it off her finger as soon as possible. And yet, the show is also teasing that there is so much more to this ring than anyone has yet to realize. Bobo teases that the ring may actually belong to Waverly's father instead of Bulshar. That may explain why Waverly is able to wear it and not get hurt. Moreover, the power of the ring has seemingly healed Mercedes' face. She removes the bandages and is back to her old self once more. That could be an uplifting detail that could fill the team with hope that they still have a powerful weapon in this fight against Bulshar.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Undo It" was written by Brendon Yorke and directed by April Mullen.
  • The team was upset with Mama Earp after learning that she set Bobo free when she was also leaving town. They worried that he would try to come after them again. That never occurred. And now, they know why. Ever since that moment, he has apparently been held prisoner by Bulshar. As such, he has become even more defeated than he was at the bottom of the well. He may no longer see a way out of breaking this curse.
  • Will Bobo actually be willing and able to help the team moving forward? He has been tortured by Bulshar as well. In fact, it was more extensive for him. He knows the truth about how the demon was imprisoned in the past. That is relevant information. And yet, he also has such a strained history with the family. He has love for so many of them. Waverly is his angel. However, he despises them as well because of the curse they represent.
  • It's surprising to see Mercedes back in action now. She survived the ordeal from the wives of Bulshar last season. But her face was literally ripped off with her barely clinging to life. It doesn't seem like a whole lot of time has gone by since that moment. But now, she is a functioning person again. Of course, it still takes a touch from Waverly for her to fully return as her old self. However, that will be very appreciated too. It will allow the actual Mercedes to be a part of the show and not the possessed version.
  • A week ago Jeremy confessed to be able to feel when his friends are in trouble and terrified. And now, that's a skill that is immediately put into action. After learning that Bulshar has Wynonna and Doc, he is able to point in the direction of where they are being kept. Sure, he didn't have that feeling before learning they were in danger. So, it may not be all that useful. But it is convenient for the situation here.
  • Moreover, Jeremy makes sure that Waverly and Nicole see the stairs in the woods as well. Previously, he and Robin saw them but they didn't show up in any of the pictures. They seemed to completely vanish when they returned to the same spot. But here, Nicole and Waverly see them as well. However, Wynonna doesn't. She suspects it's because only the righteous can see the stairs to the garden. But that may not be a great theory either because Wynonna is absolutely worthy.