Dolls' death has cast a pall over Wynonna Earp that is unlikely to disappear in the near future.
Indeed, Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 3 was a stark reminder that this show will be something new in the aftermath of his demise.
The tone is one of pain mingled with hope but also recognizes the way that grief plays out differently for every character. Waverly spends some time giggling, and some overplanning a wake that only has a handful of attendees.
You're not the only one who lost him.Haught
Doc is much more stoic, and Wynonna is in the middle of a bender that doesn't show any signs of ending.
There is almost no plot. Instead, it's a chance to slow down and remember Dolls, a character that was foundational for this show and its many fans.
Some revenants get juiced up on Dolls' bad drugs, but it amounts to almost nothing after they're quickly beaten back at Shorty's.
The action is fun, and it's remarkable to consider how easily the team dispatches with this bunch of hopped-up revenants considering how unprepared they once were for this kind of threat.
We also learn that the Contessa is Doc's wife, but little comes from their dynamic.
The meat of this hour comes from the gnawing, aching grief that these characters are feeling.
It is filled with moments that feel lived in and wholly original. It makes perfect sense that Haught would find herself at the center of the grieving process, comforting Waverly and reminding Wynonna that she's not the only one who lost Dolls.
Wynonna: I figure he chose his family, and we're it. We're all of it.
Doc: Poor asshole.
Haught and Dolls shared an unspoken bond as officers of the law -- one which went largely unacknowledged while he was alive but looms large after his death.
Haught has been underutilized fairly consistently for the show's entire history, so it's great to see her taking a more prominent role at such a crucial time.
Strangely, the other big emotional arc comes from Jeremy, a character whose role was largely comedic during Wynonna Earp Season 2.
Wynonna blames Jeremy because Jeremy knew that Dolls was dying and didn't tell anyone. She's initially insistent that Jeremy packs up his things and leaves, but she eventually realizes that Jeremy was just trying to do right by Dolls.
Jeremy is also someone who clearly loved and admired Dolls. He's a nerd who wanted so badly to be cool, and Dolls represented his platonic ideal.
Wynonna's anger with him is obviously misplaced, but it makes perfect sense that her first instinct would be to look for someone to blame.
Quinn: What am I supposed to do?
We already know that Wynonna deals with her grief by acting on it, and the opening scene when Wynonna is drunkenly hunting for Bulshar is a perfect example of that.
Melanie Scrofano's performance here is raw and powerful. It's not tempered by any feeling that grieving is supposed to look or feel a certain way. Scrofano clearly understands the anger and hurt that fuel Wynonna, and she uses them to great effect.
The introduction of Quinn, one of Dolls' old BlacDolls' crew, was also a great counterbalance to Wynonna's own grief. Quinn ultimately decides that he wants revenge against Black Badge, and it's Wynonna who has to remind him that nothing can bring Dolls back now.
We were dying, Wynonna, and he saved us.Doc
It seems like Quinn is unlikely to be a frequent visitor in Purgatory, but he's used really well here to give us a sense of how Wynonna is processing Dolls' death. She needs a foil -- someone whose grieving process mirrors her own -- and Quinn is perfect for that.
The episode's final moments are a wonderful summation for what Dolls was always fighting.
The envelope he left for Wynonna could have contained some sort of quest or mission. Instead, it had two pictures inside -- one of the entire team having a good time and the other of Wynonna standing alone, looking fierce.
These images don't hold any plot significance, but they're a reminder that if Wynonna wants to honor Dolls, the best thing she can do is keep on fighting.
Keep going. Keep fighting.Wynonna
Bulshar remained entirely absent from this episode, but that fight is surely coming, and Wynonna seems to be in a place where she's ready for it now.
That's not to say that she and the rest of her team won't feel something missing as they attempt to soldier on without Dolls. They just know now that soldiering on is exactly what Dolls would have wanted them to do.
The fight against evil is never-ending, and Dolls' death doesn't make it any less noble. For Wynonna's team, it just makes things personal.
What did you think of this restrained, mournful episode?
Be sure to watch Wynonna Earp online as we move forward to see how the team takes on Bulshar.