Season 1, Episode 5: “Diggin’Up Bones”
Written by Shelley Scarrow
Directed by Paolo Barzman
There’s something about the editing of this episode that made me actually think “comic book”, and I can’t quite put my finger on to why.
That’s not a criticism; this is, after all, a TV show based on a comic book. It could also be the fact that pretty much all the things happen this episode, because holy crap, all the things happen this episode.
You want Dolls standing up for Wynonna against the civil authorities, and finding that his own superiors are gunning for him? That those civil authorities are both corrupt and actually evil?
Both Wynonna and Waverly facing off against Bobo, and making it sound more and more that even if Wynonna pulled the trigger, Waverly is the one really responsible for the deaths of her father and sister?
The Stone Witch revealed, and exposed as both crazy and… ((shudder)) a lawyer?
Revenants… in Love?
We have all of this and more, in “Diggin’Up Bones”.
Oddly, the majority of all these things happen in the 2nd half of the episode, although I had to watch it again to see that. The pace of the edit – and the performances of this cast – did a great job building things to a dramatic – God help me, I can’t resist – climax, especially since we get Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and Doc (Tim Rozon) giving into their obvious mutual attraction and the reveal of a photo that shows all the Revenants who have made it their death’s work to kill the Earp Heirs.
We open with Wynonna having a dream/nightmare about her dead sister Willa (Anna Quick), which gets us some shared pain of memory with Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), and then jump to the cage-thing (Christian Goutsis) that Bobo (Michael Eklund) had Doc imprison one of his wayward Revenants in a few episodes back. Things there have not gone well, since it’s outside the Triangle, and that’s not at all – is healthy the right word? Sure, why not – healthy for the Damned, so he’s looking both considerably worse for wear, and short a leg, as he basically chews it off to escape.
Meanwhile, Dolls (Shamier Anderson) gives those of us who need to work out more even more of a reason to, and Wynonna a case of the tonguetieds/sexual innuendoes, before springing on her that they are going to pay a visit to the City Manager to bring him up to speed on what it is the Black Badge Division is doing in his town. Of course, this Judge Cryderman (David LeReaney) is an old enemy of Wynonna’s (Considering the frequency of their appearances, think I’m going to make that a thing: Old Enemy®? WynEnemy™? Hmmm), and Wynonna gets to watch Dolls play the political animal, much to her disgust. The Judge is, of course, an old-school ass, complete with an office decorated in early-awful, a truly terrible tie, and a long-nursed disdain for the Earps. Clearly he’s in deep with Bobo, or at least he’s in his camp.
Yes, the critic in me has to wonder just how long Team Earp has been working in this town, and not had the actual people who run it ask them questions, what with the return of the town pariah and the shootings and the rash of new murders and all. I mean, clearly some time has passed since Wynonna came home, and while we’re not talking The Walking Dead level of failure to obey the laws of linear time and distance, one would think that when some shadowy government agency traipses into town and takes over a huge amount of space in your Sheriff’s Dept as people start dying, questions might be raised just a bit before this.
Still, after Dolls plays the game, the Judge gets them the warrant they need to try to figure out what Bobo is up to with a mysterious crate. Dolls wants Wynonna to play by the book to keep the whole Demon thing under wraps, which to no one’s surprise, goes about as well as one might expect. Someone tipped Bobo off, most of the Revenants are out of the trailer park, and there’s no sign of anything illegal to be found. We do get Bobo playing with Dolls and Wynonna, Wynonna losing her temper and causing the kind of mess that gets Bobo and what boys he has there dragged off to jail. Not, however, before Bobo reveals that he’s seen Waverly hiding in the background taking pictures, and a Revenant stows away on the undercarriage of Wynonna’s truck.
Waverly confronts Bobo in the interrogation room, and there we learn that Bobo chose her when she was a child to give him an entry into the Earp household because of the anger inside her. Before we can learn more, Wynonna kicks Waverly out and plans to kill Bobo, only to find that he’s a lot more powerful and scary than she realized. Then his lawyer, Mrs. Constance Clootie (Rayisa Kondracki), shows up and whisks him away, revealing that his real name is Robert, and he’s better at this game than Team Earp is.
Outside, Wynonna brushes off Doc, gets carjacked by the rather polite Revenant who stowed away, as Dolls tries to mend fences with the Judge after the Bobo fiasco. It… doesn’t go well, as the Judge has been talking to Dolls’ superiors and they, well, they are not happy with him.
When Waverly and Doc catch up to Wynonnna, we learn that yes, in fact, not all Revenants are actually full-on evil. Fish (Tyrell Crews) fell into a life of crime because he fell in love with a photographer named Levi, and as a gay man in the Old West, that love was a rare gift he would do anything for. He and his Levi promised to find each other after every resurrection, but the photographer is nowhere to be found, and if Wynonna will help him find him, then he’ll get her a photograph of the seven men who not only came for her father and killed Willa, but who are responsible for killing the Heirs for generations.
Constance, it turns out, is not only Bobo’s lawyer, but also something like an ally and something of a rival, because she’s the Stone Witch we’ve heard about of late, and their relationship is… complicated. Bobo’s map has been his means of gathering the bones of her “boys”, whose cries she can still hear and, based on her erratic behavior, might have driven her a touch mad after what? Over a hundred years? She’s clearly an incredibly powerful witch, and she’s promised Bobo a way out of the Triangle if he gathers all her boys’ bones back together so she can resurrect them, but the power dynamics between them show that there really isn’t any love lost in this relationship, only need and something resembling hatred.
One does have to wonder who was powerful enough to kill her boys and scatter their bones so far and wide that it would take this long for their skeletons to be assembled even this much. This is, after all, the woman who made Doc Holliday functionally immortal and gave the rebel Revenants the means to possess the living, so clearly she’s far from a small threat… is there yet another powerful player out there? Did Wyatt find a way to kill them back when he first discovered that demons and angels were real? Did Doc, and that’s why she trapped him in the well? Why she’s so afraid of him?
Fish’s deal with Wynonna leads her to track down a Revenant with information about Levi’s whereabouts, and when you have a character named Vinnie the Vulture (Josh Bertwistle), you kind of expect… nope, didn’t expect that. Vinnie seems to have some curious tastes and some curious abilities, as he seemingly channels Wynonna’s Father’s voice, if not his spirit. It’s a fairly disturbing picture he paints with that ability too, pushing at Wynonna to embrace her darker urges to inflict pain instead of just executing the Revenants, and planting the seed of doubt about who and what her Father might really have been. Wynonna dances too close to the vengeance “Ward” calls for, but Vinnie is weaker than he claims, and we learn that Levi was, in fact, our imprisoned Revenant, now shy a leg, and in the Hell Gate cage because of Doc Holliday.
Dolls does a terrible job of patching things legal up with Constance, and burns his bridges with the Judge, as alarms go off in city hall and evacuation announcements declare a carbon dioxide leak in the building. Of course this is a ruse by Wynonna & Co. to gain access to the records in the building and the photo Fish promised her. Curiously, considering Wynonna works in the building, she doesn’t loop Dolls in and just go after them with his backing, but perhaps her rebellious nature makes the thought of breaking in more appealing. We get some silliness and some sexual innuendo, but also a curious exchange between a security guard that – with the interaction with Vinnie fresh in mind – could either be a knock on Wynonna’s history in town, or a comment on her Father’s nature.
While Wynonna and Fish find the negatives they were looking for and get a pass from an investigating Dolls, Doc finally gets the confrontation with Constance he’s been yearning for. It goes… poorly. Doc is poking around the Black Badge office and Constance walks in on him and basically freezes him in his tracks with her magic and taunts him before vanishing. Fish demands that they find Levi now, and Wynonna agrees, confronting Doc about his role in Levi’s torture as they go in search of him. Doc quite rightly points out that he was at something of a disadvantage at the time, and had to do what Bobo wanted, because he didn’t have a Black Badge Division to back him up, now did he?
They do find Levi, and he and Fish get their reunion before Wynonna sends them both back to Hell. Again, we see that the lines of what is Good and what is Evil blur a bit, and even as Doc confesses to his part in Levi’s agony, Fish forgives him and accepts his and Levi’s fate, as long as they can be together. To be honest, aside from the Earp Sisters, this is the most loving relationship we’ve seen yet in this show, and criminals or not, one has to ask what they did to deserve Hell in the first place, and what role Wyatt had in sending them there.
Doc and Wynonna argue about that place for compassion for the Damned and Doc’s own questionable humanity in his post-normal life, before giving into their carnal desires and probably acquiring a lot of scratches, leaves and dirt in interesting places. This will, of course, complicate things immensely, not least of which with Dolls, who is developing the negatives they found back at the office. One wonders, by the way, where the negative of the seven killers came from exactly, as it’s the same photo as the one in the Judge’s office… “The Death of Josiah Earp”. Is it a photograph of a photograph? Based on the clothes in the photo, it’s not recent history, so that’s an odd thing, but considering what it says about the Judge and his role, not the most important thing. Is he a Revenant too, or is he just allied with them, and which is worse?
Considering how poorly Wynonna had been treated in her life in Purgatory, and the questions that the last few episodes have raised about the true evil of at least some of the Revenants, is it the human evil that has been just as damaging to Wynonna as the demonic? Has her whole life been a Revenant-manipulated nightmare, or has basic human awfulness been the driver of her time in jail and mental ward? How did Waverly escape even the smallest of the fallout of either, or did she? Bobo thinks she has deeper reservoirs or rage inside her and he seems to have a plan for that rage… is Waverly a long-game he’s playing?
We go much, much darker here than we have before on this show, and the grey areas are far bigger than they first appeared, and that’s good. Wynonna should be asking questions about what she’s doing, and the true cost of vengeance. Doc should be looking at himself and asking if destroying Constance at all costs is worth the price. We should be asking what the actions of Wyatt Earp has resulted in, and the true nature of the Earp Curse. We haven’t lost the humor, and Melanie Scrofano, Shamier Anderson, Tim Rozon, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Micheal Eklund and Rayisa Kondracki all move effortlessly from lines that make us laugh one moment and chill us another, but there is an awareness here – more than any of the episodes before – that this world is a dark and dangerous one, and our heroes are all wondrously flawed.
Wynonna Earp airs Friday nights at 10/9c on Syfy.