Season 3 Episode 2, ‘When You Call My Name’ Review
If you have not yet seen episode 3×02 DO NOT read this review, do yourself the favor of watching the episode in its glory first and then coming back to read my humble take on it.
Fresh on the heels of a brilliant season opener last week, the protectors of Purgatory geared up for their craziest adventure yet. As a promotion for this week’s episode began, producers and cast alike were hailing it as the most intense episode yet. That means bigger than the hauntings of Bobo Del Ray, scarier than the possession of Waverly, larger stakes than the Widows trying to break the seals, and more intense that Wynonna giving birth. With the anticipation building and my mind whirling with possibilities, I was both eager and terrified at what Team Earp had in store for us. When I finally sat down to watch the episode unfold, I can only say, the promotions and social media posts advertising this as the biggest Wynonna Earp episode yet were not hyperbolic in any sense of the word!
The episode kicks off immediately following the crash that ended the season premiere. Wynonna was thrown from the truck and wound up on a ledge 20 feet down the side of a cliff, while Waverly is dragged off screaming for her sister by the fiendish creature that set the trap in the road to cause the Earp Sisters’ truck to crash. As Wynonna wakes up, she is engaged by a hallucination of her mother, acting as a manifestation of her subconscious, fear, determination, and simply the emotions surrounding her mother bubbling to the surface. The dialogue exchanges between Wynonna and her ‘mother’ is very reminiscent of an early Walking Dead episode where Daryl falls down a ditch landing on an arrow and is encouraged/antagonized by a vision of his brother. Both use the manifestations of their family as both motivation and fight against them, surviving to spite them.
Even more tension building than Wynonna waking up halfway down a cliff, is Waverly waking up in chains inside of a creepy cabin. Her captor, the source of the car accident and the figure we see dragging Waves away at the opening of the episode, is the most fear-inducing Revenant we’ve seen on the show thus far. A mentally unhinged trapper and consumer of human flesh, rigging his cabin with booby traps and possessing the ability to steal and use the voices of his victims. Leaving Waverly in one of the most terrifying scenarios possible, stuck without the ability to utter a sound. To quote Wynonna later in the episode, some horribly twisted Little Mermaid shit.
Melanie Scrofano and Dominique Provost-Chalkley deliver two of the most powerful, emotionally charged, raw and soul-baring performances during this episode that I have ever seen in any Emmy winning show or Oscar-winning film. The relationship the two share is undeniably believable as sisters and their banter together is incredible. Whether they are making jokes, fighting Revenants, screaming at one another, or bawling their eyes out any time the Earp sisters share the screen they steal the scene. With the emotional dialogue surrounding Wynonna keeping the knowledge of their mother away from Waverly, and the jaw-dropping ending of the episode, there is an endless supply of heart-piercing tears throughout the episode. Perhaps the most powerful performance of the night belongs to Dominique, as she has to perform half of the episode in utter silence. Her insanely powerful delivery and exceptional expressive ability allows Waverly to convey fear, anger, heartbreak, and a hilarious game of charades to warn Wynonna about booby traps (along with several other chest joke related guesses by Wynonna) all without making a single sound.
While the Earp Sisters are both experiencing their individual horror movie scenarios, the rest of the team is encountering their own shares of problems. Nicole is the first to discover the overturned Earp truck, terrified at the fate of her girlfriend. Doc, still brooding and distraught over his newly restored mortality and his inevitable return to hell, is left questioning what the point is. Jeremy continues to work on Dolls’ meds, worried about the instability of his genetic alteration at the hands of Black Badge. Despite warnings and concern from Jeremy, Dolls continues to truck on at full speed, even with the constant pain and inadvertent flickering of his Dragon eyes.
After the voice stealing Revenant is killed by Wynonna and Waverly’s voice restored and freed from the cabin, Team Earp is reunited. As Nicole propels down the side of the cliff to retrieve Peacemaker from where Wynonna had to leave it to make her climb, Waves learns that Wynonna has kept the knowledge of their mom a secret at the mom’s request. Waverly, distraught, is escorted back to their vehicles leaving Wynonna a broken mess. Bulshar sends Lord Bondicus to attack them, cutting the propel line, leaving Wynonna desperately holding onto the rope Nicole is hanging from. Bondicus battles Doc, avoiding his attacks and gunfire with his ability to teleport via a flock of birds, ultimately leaving Doc unconscious.
Dolls hears the commotion and returns to the action to help after leaving Waverly with an ominous message that Wynonna is going to need her more than ever. Waverly learns from Jeremy over the phone that Dolls is molecularly unstable and the meds are not working. As Dolls saves Wynonna from Bondicus, battling him to a standstill before giving him the Godzilla Treatment with his flame breath, Waverly returns to help pull Nicole back up. Bulshar sarcastically applauds Team Earp, mocking their efforts as Wynonna aims Peacemaker at him before being interrupted by Doc. The commotion drawing Wynonna back is because after defeating Bondicus, Dolls has collapsed, without a pulse.
We learn that Dolls has apparently knowing overexerted himself in the battle, taxing his system to the brink with his flamethrower breath. His sacrifice in order to stop their enemy, saving Wynonna and Team Earp as a whole left audiences and the characters in shock. Witnessing his passing was devastating, but it is the eulogy-esq conversation Wynonna and Waverly have about Dolls, their words barely discernible through their sobs, that exalt the traumatic experience from a beloved character’s death into a heart-wrenching scene. The character of Xavier Dolls was a true catalyst for the show, inciting events for Team Earp’s forming and evolution. He was the true protector and guardian of the group, set in cement with his final heroic sacrificial act.
This episode hit audiences with writing, villains, performances, and script events that are what other shows would strive for in a finale, and our beloved Earpers pulled this out for episode two! At the time of writing this article, I have seen the episode three times and I am still left stunned by the tragic loss, intensified by the sandwich of award-worthy emotional performances on both sides of the death. I cannot even begin to speculate the downstream ripple impact that Dolls’ death will have on the team. On top of the emotional impact, the physical presence, case knowledge, and tactical expertise that Dolls offered to Team Earp was immensely beneficial, so how our team will rally together to continue the fight against Bulshar is going to be a horrific uphill battle. The incredible writing, out of this world performances, and otherworldly chemistry continues to make this show, but especially this episode, one of the best things I have ever seen on TV.
As our Team attempts to regroup and find a way to continue on after a tremendous loss, the audience will be right there with them thanks to the powerful performances they give us week after week. Wynonna Earp is one of the best-crafted shows on television and regardless of what kind of shows you like, I highly recommend this to everyone. Tune in next week as we begin our emotional journey of healing, knowing Wynonna, it’ll involve a lot of whiskey.