Welcome back to Wynonna Wednesday, Earpers! Last week, we discussed the steamy second episode (complete with stair sex) of Wynonna Earp. This week, I want to delve into episode three, “Look at Them Beans.” Our dipsh*t heroes arrived to an immensely different Purgatory. There’s a ton to unpack in this episode. So, hold on to your butts. Grab some whiskey and doughnuts. Let’s get to Earping.
Once again, Kat Barrell knocked it out of the park as Nicole. While she didn’t play three different characters like last week, she certainly brought her A-game this week. I’ve always regarded Barrell as a fine performer, but I’ve been waiting with baited breath for the Powers That Be to give her more meaty scenes in which she can sink her teeth. Really dig in and flesh out what’s between the lines.
Now, this version of Nicole is quite different from the one we last saw 18 months, three weeks, and four days ago. She’s been through hell and back. As Rachel (Martina Ortiz-Luis) aptly put it, Nicole was alone during that interim. Firstly, Nicole lost her love and her best friend to the Garden. She never ceased looking for them. Secondly, Sheriff Clayborn (Ty Olsson) and Cleo the magistrate (Savannah Basley) moved in and relegated Nicole from sheriff to civilian. Thirdly, Nicole lost Nedley (Greg Lawson), her father figure. To make matters worse, Nicole was actually trying to kill Nedley for that year and a half since he was the formidable ogre wreaking havoc in the outskirts of town. Lastly, Nicole spent that time protecting the Homestead from the cadre of new monsters skulking about Purgatory.
Earpers, that’s a forking lot for one human to handle. Of course, Nicole grappled with it all like the badass she is, but naturally it took a mental and emotional toll on her. Barrell evoked these nuances to perfection, ensuring that Nicole’s trauma wasn’t brushed under the rug. Her PTSD is wholly relevant and real. One thing I despise is when shows decide to skip over a character’s emotional/mental state after experiencing a traumatic event. Remember the moment when Nicole subtly moved her shoulder away from Doc’s (Tim Rozon) empathetic hand? Or when Nicole confessed to Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) that she “let everyone down?” When she completely avoided answering Waverly’s (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) simple query regarding what happened to her over that year and a half?
One of Nicole’s most telling PTSD moments was when Ogre Nedley was raging outside the Homestead while Doc pleaded with her to let him in. Nicole froze on the spot. It was as if she was elsewhere amid all the bedlam. Nicole is always one to spring into action, and stripping her of that innate quality is a surefire sign that she’s not okay. Of course, my heart sank when Nicole didn’t respond to Waverly’s profession of love and her excitement regarding their new life together.
So, my Stetson’s off to you, Kat Barrell. What a wonderfully nuanced performance and a graceful depiction of someone grappling with PTSD. Your willingness to be vulnerable just makes Nicole all the more endearing.
The new characters!
“Look at Them Beans” was jam-packed with a new story and a slew of new characters to boot. There’s the coarse Sheriff Clayborn who ousted Nicole from her position in the force. Now, despite his gruff exterior, he doesn’t seem to be that inhumane. He did save Wynonna from death by hanging and vowed she’d receive a fair trial. While his story is shrouded in mystery, I’m sure we’ll learn all about Clayborn sooner rather than later. Next, we have Cleo the magistrate. Basley did an excellent job of making me despise Cleo. Well, not so much despise. Cleo is rather like the annoyance you feel when a pesky fly won’t stop bothering you. Although she did have some memorable dialogue, that’s for sure.
Now, Cleo is also an enigma. She inexplicably hates Wynonna with a burning passion. Why? I’m sure the Powers That Be will pleasantly surprise us as they always do. Then, there’s Casey (Andrew Phung) the half demon. I dig him. Daddy, can we keep him? Casey just emanates the coolest of vibes. I loved his rapport with Wynonna. Here’s hoping we see more of him and he joins our team for good.
Lastly, we have the Glory Hole proprietor (Noam Jenkins). He’s a demon and he seems really into Doc. There’s something alluring about him too. Of course, that could be chalked up to his innate charm and appearance. He’s not above striking shady business deals. As for the almost wholly demonized Purgatory, he doesn’t seem to be on any side, although I’m sure he enjoys the perks of roaming freely as his demonic self. Besides that, he appears too into his own establishment to concern himself with the outside world, beyond ensuring that his product gets to him damage-free.
“Alright, Jon Snow in a B-cup.” That line uttered by Rachel might be my favorite of the episode. “Vacation’s over, assh*les, it’s time for a holiday,” by Doc is another fantastic one-liner. Nedley muttering “f*ck yeah” in true Nedley fashion after Wynonna told him he survived made my heart grow three sizes. No one messes with our Nedley. Cleo referring to herself as a “skank toilet” was also chuckle-inducing. “I’m gonna kick so much ass, I might go up a shoe size,” by our Waves was purely adorable. “This is my mom voice,” from Nicole when she was ushering an injured Rachel inside. Mercedes’ sultrily cooing her stage name “Portia Control” while dancing at the Glory Hole. “Portia Control” is a forking spectacular stage name, by the by.
This episode was so jam-packed that I had to add a fourth section to this article! Sacre bleu! Anyway, the new story is quite the intriguing one. Jeremy (Varun Saranga) potentially back on Black Badge’s payroll is an interesting twist. Black Badge coming back from the dead would mean that new people are at the helm, since so many of the previous big bosses (RIP Lucado) bit the dust. The introduction of Clayborn and Cleo, along with the latter’s unexplained hatred of Wynonna, is also an interesting angle. The state of Purgatory is entirely different from what we’ve seen in the past. Demons are running amok now more than ever and not just Revenants. To make matters worse, Wynonna is still bereft of Peacemaker. Purgatory becoming a “dry” town smacks of the Prohibition Era. Clayborn’s incessantly antiquated method of punishing criminals via hanging. Very Old West.
Clayborn’s grip on Purgatory is tenuous at best. Despite the torch he carries for law and order, the town is more like a bastion of anarchy now. Demons have free range, making mere humans like him fodder for the supernatural beasts. Wynonna has to reclaim her role as Purgatory’s protector, but how can she do that sans the only weapon that can effectively kill demons?
Then, there’s Nicole’s PTSD story arc. Doc’s new business partner a.k.a. the Glory Hole owner. That one confuses me a bit. I’m curious to find out what he’ll eventually get out of their deal. Mercedes pretending to be a vampire so she’ll stay safe. Nedley’s year and a half sojourn in the woods as an ogre who loves small game. Oh, and we were blessed with a chili cook-off to end all chili cook-offs. Does it rival the one from 2005, though? That’s the real question.
Lastly, while it wasn’t addressed in this episode, I can’t help but wonder what happened to Eve. Remember when Doc accidentally kicked her out of the Garden? She was hellbent on getting to Purgatory. I wonder if she’ll wind up as the Big Bad of this season. Or perhaps one of a few. Only time will tell!
What did you think of “Look at Them Beans?” Sound off in the comments below! Be sure to join me next week for more Wynonna Earp shenanigans on Wynonna Wednesday. Until then — tacos are tasty.
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