Warning: If you haven't watched Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 11, "Gone As a Girl Can Get," then I suggest you stop reading and go correct that. This is a TV recap and is therefore full of spoilers. Don't say I didn't warn you.
It's time for the "what if" episode. Every show has one, right? In this case it's what would have happened if Wynonna never existed?
One big distinction to be made here is that there is a huge difference between a world where Wynonna never came back on her 27th birthday and a world where she never existed in the first place. A bunch of these elements might have been the same, especially those surrounding Doc and Dolls, but Waverly would have been a different person than the one we meet this week.
Before we get to Waverly, though, let's talk a bit about Doc and Dolls. As one might expect, if neither of these men had ever met the warm and funny Wynonna Earp, who gives as good as she gets and deals with more struggle and heartache than any other person in Purgatory, they would have become much harder, more assholish versions of themselves. Dolls, for example, is still very by-the-book, very stern, willing to lock Doc up with a Widow, even if he did know she couldn't really kill him too badly. Then again, this Dolls was also willing to work with a revenant -- Rosita -- to infiltrate Doc's gang and try to bring them down. He's still fundamentally a decent guy who is trying to kill demons and who is devoted to his role as a member of Black Badge. What Wynonna brought to him was less goodness and more levity, and even a willingness to bend the rules and to see Black Badge more for what it is than what he wants it to be.
Doc, meanwhile, is a different story. When he first climbed out of the well, he was an opportunistic asshat who sent a shadow demon after Waverly to win favor with Bobo. He fully admitted two weeks ago that Wynonna is the reason he became a better person. Without her, there was very little incentive to turn his life around, and instead, we discover that he became the leader of the revenants, took over the Earp homestead, and became a drug dealer for reasons unknown, but probably related to money and justifying Rosita's role in this whole thought experiment.
That's why it was so interesting to have Doc inserted into this reality free from the spell. We get to see, not only how much has changed as a result of Wynonna's ceased existence, but also how much Doc has changed since the first season, all through his ever-growing appall and disappointment. It was also great to see him and Dolls stand off against each other, even in such a sad and contested way. That relationship has grown so much since the end of last season, and it's refreshing to see what is essentially a love triangle play out in a way that actually allows the two men to respect one another and see each other as friends.
I guess that's what happens when the male characters respect the rights of the woman in the triangle to make her own decisions.
But it was Waverly who was the most interesting to watch in this episode. Unlike Doc and Dolls, Wynonna's presence in her life never softened her. In fact, it made her harder, stronger, more resilient, and in many ways, more hopeful. This Waverly didn't have a strong and powerful older sister to look up to for the last year. She was left alone after the deaths of her father and Willa, and grew up without any anger at Wynonna for leaving, for being the heir, for killing their father. This Waverly didn't spend the last chunk of her life with her mind set firmly on eradicating demons or dealing with all the danger and insanity that comes with being related to Purgatory's biggest gun. She didn't grow up tied to this place, or these people, or that history.
What she did grow up with, though, was still a tragic past, and the way we see her dealing with that past is what really shows you who Waverly is at her core. She might not be hardened into the ass-kicking, quipping, shotgun-wielding baby Earp we've grown to love, but she is still strong. She's still strong enough to walk into an asylum alone and face down the man who killed her family. She's able to look into the eyes of Bobo del Ray and ask him questions that couldn't have been easy to ask. And she does it all without flinching.
She was also strong enough, once again, to admit her true feelings for Nicole (who could deny Sheriff Haught for very long, though?) and to not only realize what needed to be done to bring Wynonna back, but actually be confident enough in those feelings and those instincts to blow herself and two other people up just to get it done.
Sooooo ... Clootie's coming back, huh? And there's a baby on the way ... Looks like next week is gonna be FULL of new arrivals.
Michael Eklund was easily this week's MVP. I could watch that scene of Bobo running around the hospital stealing people's clothing all day long.
Speaking of which, the music in this episode was on point.