It’s pretty unusual for an author to tell their audience not to read their work. What’s the point of writing it then? But the Wynonna Earp series finale is one that everyone should watch for themselves. It is a stunning end that manages to take a show filled with demons and misery and give everyone a happy ending and yet not feel sappy. That being said, if you would prefer to get the nutshell version, I’ll do my best to do the episode justice.
Spoilers for Wynonna Earp Season 4 Episode 12, “Old Souls,” below. You have been warned.
The Monster of the Week Section:
The episode starts in a church in 1968 at Purgatory’s own Red Wedding. A bride stumbles out of the church, soaked in blood, still wielding the axe she used to leave the trail of bodies behind her. A man crawls out of the church asking her why, and she turns around and axes him a final time. She then slits her own throat and falls down dead. The camera zooms in on the turquoise heart on the front of her wedding dress, and then zooms out to reveal, surprise surprise, that Waverly has chosen that exact dress to wear for her wedding. She looks at it lovingly in the mirror as Wynonna comes in. They hug and everything looks perfect.
But not to Wynonna who, despite not actually being one of the two brides, has gone full Bridezilla. The cake isn’t vegan, something’s wrong with the flowers, and despite Waveryly and Nicole assuring everything is perfect, Wynonna can’t seem to calm down. She’s ushered away and goes back to the barn where the wedding dress is menacingly hanging. She holds it up to herself in the mirror, looking at it fondly. And suddenly, the door of the barn blasts open. She runs through the perfectly wedding-ified Homestead and everything she passes either wilts, blows up, or catches fire. Finally she makes it to Doc’s trailer, where she asks for help as the dress will not come off.
Doc searches the dress for a zipper, but it has magically disappeared. He decides he’ll cut the dress along the seam and sew it again so Waverly’s none the wiser, but he can’t even get a knife to go through the thread. Just then amidst the non-flirting flirting, Waverly shows up with Wyatt Earp’s saddle. Wynonna hides in the trailer and Doc is touched by the gift. Waverly asks him to be her best man. It’s clear that whatever love he has for Wynonna extends fully, in a familial way, to Waverly, and vice versa. He happily accepts, and then asks where she got the dress, to which she replies at a vintage bridle shop literally called Cursey’s.
Wynonna and Doc head to the bridal shop, which is all kinds of creepy. The owner surprises them by acting like a mannequin, and then proceeds to sing about how the wearer of the dress will kill everyone at the wedding. She says to take the dress off, she would need a silkworm, so Doc and Wynonna go off in search for one. They find a swampy area and Doc takes off his jacket to jump in and search for worms. He hands the jacket to Wynonna, where she finds a letter addressed to her saying Doc was planning to leave Purgatory. And she is righteously pissed. He says with all the threats gone and his humanity restored, it’s time to leave. She is furious, but more focused on the fact all they can find are common earthworms. She devises a rather silly plan to paint them with nail polish, and can’t even look at Doc.
Back at the homestead, Waverly, Nicole, and Jeremy are flabbergasted. The place is “Earped” and the dress has disappeared. However, now that it’s gone, Waverly can’t even figure out why she picked it in the first place. They realize in unison that it’s a haunted wedding dress. Nicole and Waverly get to work tracking down old newspaper articles to find its origins. Meanwhile, Jeremy is chatting up the bartender, named Damon. Jeremy thinks he’s a demon and makes several comments about it, but Damon thinks he’s making those comments about him being gay, ruining any chance of Jeremy finding a date for the wedding. (Poor Jeremy.)
Waverly and Nicole find an article about the wedding in 1968 shown at the beginning of the episode, and realize the bride was wearing the exact same dress. Waverly says the dress was made by a woman named Brigitte Hogback, and finds another article about the first wedding massacre in Purgatory where a “Miss H” was left at the alter and subsequently killed all of the guests. They realize it must have been painful enough for Brigitte to curse the dress to ruin every future wedding in Purgatory that it can.
After much continued fighting, Wynonna and Doc return to the store, but Brigitte can immediately tell that they have brought painted earthworms. She threatens that their failure has sealed their fate, but before she can do anything Waverly comes running in with the silk banner from the wedding decorations and tackles Brigitte. She’s able to remove the dress with “a simple removal spell” and they tie Brigitte up, but say there will be no killing on Waverly’s wedding day. Brigitte reveals that the dress does not compel people to put it on, and that if Wynonna put it on, it was because she was genuinely in love, which certainly raises some eyebrows. Waverly assures Brigitte that “everyone deserves love,” and with the shenanigans out of the way, the good stuff can begin.
Here Come the Brides
The WayHaught Wedding is everything we could have asked for. Waverly decides to wear her mother’s dress, with a few Waverly twists. Nedley meets a nervous Nicole inside the homestead and gives her a boutonnière to wear, and it perfectly matches her stunning red suit. She asks him to walk her down the aisle, and he says it would be his honor as he pins on the flowers.
Jeremy stands under the archway to officiate. Rachel enters first as the flower girl. Nedley walks Nicole down the aisle, then Doc walks as the Best Man. Finally, as tears stream down my face, Wynonna and Waverly exit the house and walk down the aisle. Everything is perfect. They exchange vows as Jeremy ties twine around their wrists. Nicole calls Waverly her beautiful angel, and promises to stand by her side through all of life’s adventures, but to always pack a safety harness. She promises to hold Waverly’s hand when the firelight grows dim, but that her love never will.
Waverly thanks goodness for that bullet proof vest that saved her those years ago, as without it she would have never known a love so strong. She promises to love Nicole, to stand beside her, as equals, for the rest of their lives. As Jeremy says his closing remarks, the camera pans over the chairs set up in an audience-like arrangement. Each empty one has the name of a friend or family member that couldn’t be with them – Mercedes, Julian, Robin, Chrissy, Dolls, Perry, and Gus.
Jeremy pronounces them Wife and Wife, and the celebration commences. Champagne, dancing, and laughs are set to Rachel performing a beautiful song. Wynonna gives a toast and Rachel convinces Nedley to let her bring Billy on their next camping trip, must to his chagrin. Finally, after much merriment, Doc gives Jeremy and Nicole and Waverly big hugs, and begins to leave, despite Wynonna’s pleading eyes. Jeremy makes things right with Damon, who agrees to some form of a date that weekend. It’s a great moment for his character, seeing that he is able to allow himself to forgive and move on and allow himself to be happy. And if that wasn’t good enough, he gets a call from Black Badge headquarters asking him to run all of the Ghost River Triangle. A potential new boyfriend and a new job are a pretty great way to end things.
Wynonna finds Doc packing up his car, Charlene. She asks if he wants her to beg. He says that’s beneath them both, but admits maybe a little. Then he says to her a quote that really sums up the whole show:
“Life is short, but it is long, and it is lonely. Manage to Find a group of souls who tolerate you and elevate you. And one, and one who will especially love you, that’s all it’s about. That’s what the fight is really for.“
Through tears, Wynonna says she can’t leave Waverly, and Doc replies then she must know of what he speaks. He says she is the best Earp he has ever had the privilege of calling a friend, and kisses her on the cheek as she cries. She grabs his arm and calls out to him and apologizes for all the ways she hurt him. To which he replies, “We only ever hurt ourselves, Wynonna. I wouldn’t have changed a note.” And with that he drives off as Wynonna sobs.
The Cowboy and The Heir
Wynonna sits on the steps of the house with Jeremy, Nicole, Rachel, and Nedley chastising her for letting him leave. She tells them she’s the Earp heir and that she can’t leave, to which Waverly swings open the door and shouts “THE F**K YOU CAN’T!” She grabs Wynonna’s ear and drags her into the barn and starts packing things into a plastic bag. Wynonna insists she can’t go and that she wants to protect Waverly, but Waverly calls her out. She tells Wynonna she needs to stop punishing herself. Nicole is the Angel’s Shield and the Sheriff, Jeremy, is BBD, and that despite everything that’s messy with Doc, she knows Wynonna loves him. To which Wynonna responds, “Oh, f**k. I do.”
Waverly tells Wynonna that her biggest fear used to be that she’d never come back, and never get to know the real Waverly. But now that has happened, and this is her home – it even says so on the mailbox. They hug tenderly. Wynonna tells Waverly she is her whole heart, to which Waverly chuckles and reminds her that cellphones exist.
Everyone is cheering as she gets in the truck to chase after Doc, but the piece of crap backfires. Jeremy says Doc is nearing the border (because he put a tracker on his phones) and Wynonna realizes if she takes the back road on a different mode of transportation, she can catch him. So, she jumps on her motorcycle, and rides through the mountains. Doc passes the “Just leaving Purgatory” sign and as he does, Wynonna pulls out Peacemaker and shoots one of his back tires, causing him to spin out. He gets out of his car and she asks if he thought she could really leave without him. She tells him, “I love you Doc, I love you in that bottom-of-the-deep-dark-well way. I love your face and your butt and your drawl and your heart. And I love the way you love my sister. And I love the way you love me.”
He responds saying that he loves her too, and they kiss. She tells him she’s not going on any adventures in his “piece of sh*t” car, so he hops on the back of her motorcycle, tightly embracing her. They smile and for the first time in a long, long, time, they’re both free. They stop shortly after to fill up on gas, and Wynonna asks if he’d be okay making a pitstop in Miracles, Montana. He’s confused, but then soon realizes – that is where their daughter is. Wynonna wants to go find Alice, and Doc has never been happier.
Waverly and Nicole sit together on the porch of the Homestead, still in their dress and suit. Nicole assures Waverly that Wynonna will be back, and Waverly says she knows. Waverly asks if Nicole wishes it was them going on an adventure, but she replies saying she’s where she’s always wanted to be. “Home, with my wife.”
The camera shows a close-up shot of the mailbox, proudly saying Earp. And then it pans up, to show signs that have been added saying “And Haught,” “Sometimes Holliday,” and “Everyone Welcome.”
Everyone Welcome is the perfect summation of Wynonna Earp. This is a perfect finale for a show filled with heartbreak. There was no need to make it gritty or painful. Emily Andras, the showrunner, chose to Marry Her Gays instead of Burying them, and it paid off so, so much. While it’s sad to say goodbye to these characters, it’s amazing to see the ending that fans fought so hard for come to fruition. It is a testament to the power of fandom and the power of family, and it’s beautiful.