Dolls is dead.
Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 2 was already great, and in its closing moments, it delivered a shock that is unmatched in the show's history.
For the first time, Wynonna Earp has shaken up its core group dynamic. Xavier Dolls, one of the foundational members of Wynonna's team, and one-third of the show's central love triangle is dead.
Death is something about which Wynonna Earp has been judicious. Before this episode, the show's most significant death was Willa, an Earp sister whose arc only extended through the back half of the first season.
He saved us. He saved me. How is this okay? How is he lying here?Wynonna
If Dolls' death sticks -- and my instinct is, given the finality of the episode's last minutes, that it will -- Wynonna Earp will be a different show now.
It'll be a show about sacrifice, one where good people die in the fight against evil. In its first two seasons, Wynonna Earp spent the early episodes table setting, but the last ten minutes of this episode suggest that Wynonna Earp Season 3 will be very different.
Dolls' death suggests that Bulshar isn't like Bobo or the widows. Now, the stakes will be deeply, horribly personal. Wynonna lost one of her own, a man she very clearly loved. If the show is going to honor Dolls, she'll never really be the same.
Jesus we're having a day.Wynonna
It's hard now not to focus on the shocking, glorious final minutes that this episode delivered, but the first 50 minutes were well above average on their own.
Waverly's kidnapping and Wynonna's struggle to save her made for a wonderfully introspective dynamic, one where Wynonna was forced to reckon with her relationship with her mother.
When Wynonna finally gets to Waverly, who has had her voice stolen, the two have to play a game of charades until Wynonna understands that the revenant that has captured Waverly has boobytrapped his lair.
Jesus we're having a day.
Wynonna Earp does little moments like this incredibly well, combining the urgency of Waverly's rescue with the ridiculousness of its circumstances.
Like many great shows before it, Wynonna Earp knows how to juggle comedic and dramatic beats. The best shows understand that people are funny even when they're bruised and take full advantage of their characters' multitudes.
Although Wynonna's attempts to regain her agency and fend for herself are likely to be important moving forward, this hour's defining moment may actually be between Dolls and Doc.
Craft night is Thursdays.Doc
It's in this conversation, one where Doc explains how furious he is that he went to hell in spite of his good deeds with Wynonna, that the show explains what Dolls has always stood for.
From the moment he was introduced, Dolls believed in good and evil. He believed in fighting for what's right not because it was advantageous to him, but because it was his duty to do so.
Doc told him that he and Dolls were both murderers, and to some extent, he was right. The difference was, Dolls was always certain that what he was doing was right.
As brief as it is, the scene is wonderfully acted by Tim Rozon, who plays Doc's hurt and anguish wonderfully, and Shamier Anderson, who's as steadfast as always.
The rest of "When You Call My Name" featured the usual banter that makes this show what it is. The writing is always sharper than it needs to be, which makes Wynonna Earp a consistent pleasure to watch.
The real genius is in its final ten minutes, though, which devolve into chaos as suddenly as any I can remember seeing on television.
The only clue presented that anything is amiss is Bulshar's lingering presence over the affair and the fact that the story seems to be wrapping up too soon.
It all starts with the simple act of a rope being cut. Haught, who has gone down the cliffside to fetch peacemaker, is left dangling with only Wynonna there to hold her.
I swear on my favorite boy band, I'm going to kill him, and them I'm going to mmmbop right back here.Wynonna
At that moment, chaos gets unleashed by one of Bulshar's underlings, and Dolls is the only one who can stop it. In taking on Bulshar's henchman, Dolls seems to understand that this may be his last fight.
When he finally succumbs, breathing fire on the demon so that they are both destroyed, it's a moment of release. He gets one last look at Wynonna, and then he's gone.
The show doesn't leave us there. It gives its viewers a chance to mourn -- a chance to go through the grief of losing Dolls right alongside Wynonna, who refuses to leave him alone.
At first, she experiences some denial, wondering whether there might be some way Dolls could still come back. Eventually, she's convinced by Waverly and a hallucination of her mother that Dolls is happier now, away from the pain that dogged him constantly.
Questions loom large about what's next for the series in the wake of this bombshell. Without Dolls, what kind of show is Wynonna Earp? That's a question that will hang over the show in the weeks ahead.
Be sure to watch Wynonna Earp online to find out what happens next.
For now, though, think of Dolls, and of the impact he had on this show and its wonderful, dedicated fans.
It's hard to tell people the truth if you know it'll devastate them.Dolls
It's rare to see a character so upright and certain, so kind and gentle on television. TV rarely rewards heroes because it's hard to make them dramatic.
Shamier Anderson, an often underrated presence on Earp because his character wasn't the flashiest, played Dolls as reserved and internal, but always made it crystal clear that he was a great man.
No more pain. No more drugs. No more demons.Wynonna
Dolls was the kind of character TV shows don't have enough of -- he was decent and kind, and he didn't deserve any of the cruelty that the world put on him. Both on this great show and outside of it, he will be missed.