If you’ve never seen one of my deep dives before…well it’s a lot. This post is split up into several sections, some highlighting the episode itself and some keeping track of the bigger picture. I hope you gain something from it.
Disclaimer: Nothing included in this post should be taken as absolute fact. Even information that I took directly from the show is stated as I see it.
Brief recap of 4×11: Love wins.
I don’t think there’s a way to briefly recap this episode except to say that it all came down to the love our characters have for one another. Waverly’s love for her sister, Wynonna’s love for Doc, Nicole’s love for Waverly and so on.
I do, however, really want to talk about what this episode had to say about why Waverly let her Dark Angel power out. Last week Jolene played on Waverly’s guilt for “letting” her sister take on so much darkness when Waverly has the power to help. Throughout this episode Dark Waverly confirms that Jolene’s approach worked, Waverly decided to let her true power out so that her sister wouldn’t have to continue to sacrifice. At the beginning of the episode she tells Wynonna, “Because it’s her turn, Wynonna”. I don’t know if it’s on purpose or not but it’s a great callback to 2×01 when Wynonna is facing having to kill Dolls, Doc locks her in a stairwell with the intent of taking it on himself if necessary, saying “It’s my turn, Wynonna”.
Later, when Wynonna is begging Waverly to stay, The Dark Angel tells her “Waverly did this for you. Your sister loved you very much, Wynonna”. And finally at the staircase when Nicole suggests that Waverly doesn’t have to take the throne because the GRT still has Wynonna to protect it she insists “She has served enough”.
It was Waverly’s love for Wynonna that made her decide to take the mantle of Guardian of the Garden, but in the end Nicole’s love for Waverly that saved her. The three of them, The Guardian, The Champion, and The Shield will share responsibility for protecting The Ghost River Triangle.
A Look Closer: The religious lore that inspired the story
“I am a scion of the great guardian, Julian, protector of the fifth realm” – This line alone gives us a lot to look at.
First of all, if you’ve followed all of my over the top research you may have seen me talk about gregori (fallen watchers). According to The Book of the Watchers (The Book of Enoch) these fallen take human wives and produced half-angel, half-human offspring called the nephilim.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the angels we’ve seen are Wynonna Earp’s take on The Watchers. That conclusion is supported by Angel Waves calling the GRT the “fifth realm”. The Second Book of Enoch addresses the watchers who are in fifth realm of heaven where the fall took place (where the watchers mated with humans, producing half-angels).
Honestly, the more I look into this show, the more impressed I am. If you want to end up in the never ending rabbit hole, check out the pages I hyperlinked.
A Look Closer: The Shield
“Let me be the guardian over all of us, supernatural and human.” – “You’d sacrifice your life to become the Shield?”
And of course she does because it means keeping Waverly safe and with her.
She takes her oath: “I swear to be bound to the Ghost River Triangle for all of my days. I swear to be patient and just, for there is no other way. I swear my life to protecting the Ghost River Triangle. I am the Angel’s Shield.” and is hit was some angelic lighting that throws her back a good distance. After true love’s kiss wakes her up we see a mark on the back of her neck: a sword, wings (similar to the wings of Waverly’s throne), and a triangle.
There are countless ways to interpret the symbol, I don’t think any one interpretation is “right”. The most popular thought is that the three items that make it up represent Waverly: The Angel, Wynonna: The Champion, and Nicole: The Shield. It’s also possible that all three parts refer only to Nicole as The Shield. A sword with angel wings is often used to signify a protector or guardian and the triangle could represent the realm Nicole is sworn to protect, the Ghost River Triangle.
Potentially Important Takeaways:
- There are several things that could show up to complicate the Wayhaught wedding, but maybe those threats will just be saved for Season Five.
The reading that Kate did using Nicole as something of Waverly’s in 4×01:
– Past : The Empress (Feminine power, strength from the mind)
– Present : Death (Transition, a doorway)
– Future : The fool (a journey, “not for you”)
*Dark Waverly says at the end of 4×10 that her journey has just began.
Gems You May Have Missed:
- In my 4×10 post I brought up how in 3×10 Kevin said Waverly would turn to stone if takes her place as Julian’s heir and how my take was that Waverly wouldn’t be literal stone, but instead be fairly emotionless and unfeeling similar to how Julian acted after his memories return. Waverly is shown to be much the same as her father when she says “The affairs of man are no longer my concern”, a line very similar to “There’s no time for petty humanity.” said by Julian in 3×11. Also, the make-up in this episode makes Waverly look like stone, which I think is a very cool way to have it all play out.
- When Clanton heir Doc is trying to get Wynonna to pick up Peacemaker to duel he very aggressively calls Wynonna, “you bitch”, when he says it you see his face twitch then a small look of realization from Wynonna. She recognizes it as a sign that the real Doc is still in there, just enough.
- Two of the times Dark Angel Waverly uses her power, turning the Reapers into Magpies, and turning Nicole into the Shield, the power, depicted as sort of a green/blue lightning, is shown coming directly from the book.
- This might be a stretch, but speaking of the way the angel power is depicted, that green-blue color is similar to Nicole’s turquoise ring and Waverly’s POSSIBLY Amazonite engagement ring.
- When Nicole takes her Shield oath the voice we hear is a combination of Nicole and Waverly (seriously, go back an listen carefully), and I’m not 100% sure if there isn’t another voice in there.
Answers to questions you may have:
- How did Doc end up as the Clanton heir? Cleo thinks that she’s passing the heirdom onto Wynonna, saying she’s “passing the torch to our family’s greatest enemy.”, clearly assuming that’s the Earps, but it was Doc all along. “I may be your greatest enemy, but I’m not the Clanton heir” – “You are neither. I am”.
- Latin lesson of the episode: “Malediceres ad hostes “ = To curse my enemies.
- When did Doc load his pistol with the wrong bullets and how did he know to? Right after they escape BBD Doc starts hearing something (I assume as the ritual is starting) that causes him to say “the heir. I need to get ready”. He then goes back into the BBD building and we later see him leave the armory and load bullets he knew would cause his gun to backfire, while rebelliously telling the voices, “No, I will not.”
- Why does Waverly’s book have writing now? She potentially answers that herself at the end of 4×10 when she says that Wynonna’s journey is over, but that hers “has just begun”.
- Does that mean Nicole can’t leave Purgatory? Nope. The Ghost River Triangle is pretty large according to images they’ve shown before and includes lots of area including Purgatory and “The Big City”.
Questions that I don’t know the answer to:
- Why can Wynonna see all the reapers now? It’s not clear (to me at least), but maybe because of Cleo adding Wynonna’s hair when she sent Reaper Billy after Jolene. If so, why can Rachel see them?
- You’re beautiful. And terrible.
- I’m no man.
- Vamp permission granted, now get over here and suck me off already!
- What are you, a 90s modeling agency? I will eat who I want. No more diets.
- Some of these foods are human beings!
- I’m the goddamn Sheriff of Purgatory. You messed with the wrong town.
- What is it, sire? There goes all my feminist street cred.
- You’re like a master baiter.
- You sure as shit ain’t.
- You’re the only one she won’t hurt.
- I got you.
- I want you in this life.
- Please don’t go.
- Your sister loved you very much, Wynonna
- You’re gonna be my wife.
- Where you go, I go, remember?
- Am I in there? Are we?
- Everything I love is already here.
- Don’t oversell it, baby. I only committed to a permanent staycation with my girl.
- Honestly, Haught, you can’t just interrupt intimate moments like that. – Oh. Okay. Ha, ha.
- Are you gonna marry me, or what? – Yes, please.
Under-appreciated (according to me) Lines:
- We have no time to get Memento tattoos.
- Who beefed one? Oh that’s gnarly. (because I use “gnarly” all the time for unpleasant things)
- Nobody cares, I am talking about me!
- You want me to do an O.K., hey maybe even a Great Corral with you? (A+ history pun)
- Corral your emotions, dude. (and again)
- I’ll call ya a Banana Shit. (the ongoing Banana Liqueur gag gets me every time)
- *It’s not a line, but Nedley’s immediate response when Billy asks if he is any good at incantations, is gold.
Fuck count: 14! A new record.
- Let’s fuck it up.
- Fuck a duck.
- Well, fuck that, and fuck this family!
- They don’t even fucking sleep!
- …eager to fuck you up.
- …those fucking things.
- Go fuck yourself, Cleo.
- I am not fucking fighting you.
- …or the child fucking dies.
- You’re a fuck up. You’re a fuck-up like me.
- …whatever the fuck you are now
- I am don’t letting Black Badge fuck it up
The Big Picture
My attempt at the timeline:
- Genesis 3 – A deceptive serpent in the Garden of Eden leads to The Fall of Man and two angels are placed at the entrance with a flaming sword to guard the Garden. (Biblical canon, not Wynonna Earp canon)
- October 26th 1881: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
- Bulshar entombed: 1887
- Wynonna Born: 1988*
- Waverly Born / Julian is “pushed outside of the GRT: Sept 8 1994*
- Mama left: 1999**
- Attack on the homestead: May 2000
- Wynonna comes of age: 2015*
*What we know for sure is that the attack was in 2000 and that Wynonna was 12 and Waverly was 6 when it happened. Keep in mind when doing the math, that Emily wrote the pilot in 2015. It all falls apart if you try to use the air date for the math. Also, because the month someone is born can mess up the math, this is all kind of give or take a year.
**The original line was that Waverly was 4 when Mama Earp left, making me think it was two-ish years before the attack, but in 3×01 Wynonna says that Mama had only been gone six months when the Homestead was attacked.
Season Four Credits Breakdown:
- The first of the new images is an old photo of two figures standing near a couple of trees. What appears to be a man in a hat and a smaller, likely female figure. As lightning flashes we see them in more, terrifying detail. Their eyes glow and they have marks on their faces. Scars? Lighting?
It’s faint, but the man in the photo seems to have the Clanton brand on his forehead.
- The next image is of a female angel walking toward a threshold of light. Again, there is a flash and the image changes. The angel is gone and there are spatters of something (likely blood) on the walls.
- The next change is a little harder to catch. The card for Dom/Waverly has changed. Now on top of a map of the Ghost River Triangle, is an image of the “garden”/ icy Stonehenge.
- The last and most subtle addition is on Kat/Nicole’s card. On the right there is a tree that wasn’t there last season. And you may not have noticed (other than the obvious murder trees), but there is A LOT of tree imaginary throughout this show since the start.
- The most important image of the credits isn’t new, it’s been there since day one, it’s what this show is really all about, the damn birds.
Main players: What we know about what we don’t know
Most of this will be things that were shown or stated in the show, however I am including theories that I feel strongly about, those theories with be in italics. Anything that was added since the last post will be in bold.
– Most of the mystery surrounding Wynonna has to do with the years she was away from Purgatory and doesn’t seem like it’s going to have much of an implication on the show (I’ve heard it’s explored more in the comics).
- Heir of a broken curse.
- Great hair. Yes, End-of-the-World Great.
- Refers to herself as “Dubs”.
- The Champion, chosen by the Angel Waverly to wield Peacemaker
- Fully grown half-angel and adult human lady.
- Happily taken Virgo with hair for days.
- “Destined” to take her place on Julian’s throne as “The Guardian”. “I am trying to protect this place, just like my father did.”
- Nephilim: The offspring of an angel and human. There is much lore surrounding Nephilim, so check out the link if you want to go down that rabbit hole.
Nicole Rayleigh Haught:
- The Angel’s Shield. Sworn to protect the Ghost River Triangle.
- Kicked a Chicken.
- An Earper, @LoveAndDonuts, pointed out on Twitter that a man named Samuel A. Haught owned a cattle ranch in Arizona where the “Cowboys” were known to do business. And here is a great thread by @PurgatoryArcheo that goes into some Haught family history. Coincedence, Easter Egg, or well thought out plot point? Time will tell.
- Is a Capricorn….This fucking show. They think of everything.
John Henry “Doc” Holliday:
- Participant of the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
- Went to hell when he died in the AU. Is super emo about it.
- Was a vampire.
- Has a sort of empathetic connection to people (“now I can sense when my friends are super scared”) every since he was in a car crash with his mother and stuck with her body for three days. My poor child.
- Black Badge “did stuff” to him as well. Not “purely human”. I don’t really take this to mean anything more than what we already know as stated in the bullets above.
Black Badge Division:
- Supposedly a highly classified branch of the U.S. Marshalls, but as we according to Agent Moody BBD “isn’t a government agency, never was.”
- After hearing about “upper management” several times, we finally meet General Graham. (“If you think I’m afraid of demons, just wait until you meet upper management”. / “can Wynonna stop upper management?”)
- Early members include Robert Svane aka Bobo Del Rey.
- All the main characters except for Nicole have signed a contract in blood.
- (Bible) Home to two very important trees, The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge [of Good and Evil].
- There is some sort of living machine that requires blood.
- Has been used as a prison for Eve. It seems that as long as there was a Guardian on the throne or the machine was being fed, Eve was kept from escaping.
- From Juan Carlo’s journal “We guarded the entrance to keep [Bulshar] in, to keep everything in, but we failed, Julian and I”. Maybe the Guardians were to keep Bulshar and apparently Eve IN their prison and to keep them away from the Tree of Life.
- Waverly’s angel blood caused flowers and trees to pop up.
- It’s likely that the doors lead to different times.
*I highly suggest you go back and check out my 4×02 Post as a refresher on all the weird things we still don’t understand about The Garden.
- Buntline Special that used to be a flaming sword that used to be a Buntline Special that used to be a flaming sword.
- Was originally The Flaming Sword meant to protect The Garden. Referred to as “the garden’s security system” by Julian.
- the sword/gun can only be wielded by a Champion chosen by an Angel. As of now that is Wynonna who was chosen by Waverly.
- Disconcertingly referred to by Bulshar as “my sword?”, but that’s one of those things that makes me question if anyone or anything on this show is what we’ve been led to believe they are so I’m not going to think about it.
- As a gun glowed orange when aimed at a demon. As a gun glowed blue for the first time when Wynonna used it to kill Willa. Glowed blue for the second time when Waverly pointed it at Rosita and Wynonna ordered it to fire, grazing Rosita. As Wynonna prepared to shoot the Stone Witch, which was presented more as putting her out of her misery, the barrel started to glow orange, but quickly switched to blue. I’ve asserted and still believe the gun to be sentient.
- When Wynonna pointed the gun at Bulshar it glowed white, both IRL and in her hallucination.
- Ginny the Genie about Wynonna: “With a psychotic gun for a master.”
- Has only been fired by someone other than Wynonna one time, but I still believe it was firing FOR Wynonna since it only worked when she told it to.
- Seems pretty random about when it burns people and when it doesn’t. It didn’t burn Vampire Kate, Doc has touched it without being burned, and with Waverly sometimes she can hold it and sometimes she can’t. If there is a pattern, I haven’t figured it out, but like I said, I think the gun just does what it wants.
- Belonged to Waverly’s father, the angel Julian. Bulshar stole it.
- Kate tells Waverly not to “underestimate the power of this relic. It’s older than most things on earth.”
- When Waverly finally puts it on, not only can she not take it off, Arabic writing appears on the ring. The writing translates to Garden of Paradise.
- So far we’ve seen the ring: give Widow Mercedes a serious Glow-Up and enable Waverly to punch a zombie witch across the barn, melt a demon’s face, control Bulshar’s former arm (connected to a radioactive revenant), heal her friend’s face, raise Julian, it’s rightful owner, from the dead, and put an end to Bobo.
- It burns people with the same seemingly randomness inconsistency as Peacemaker (Doc, Nicole, Jolene), but Bulshar wore it for over 100 years.
- Last seen being abandoned in The Garden.
My original theory was that the flaming sword, the gun, the ring, and the plate from S2 were all made by the same source of metal. Now we know that the gun was the flaming sword, but I still think there is a connection. I also came across some stuff about a very old black stone that is related to biblical story of the Garden of Eden.
It feels worth noting that since day one Waverly has worn a ring with a black stone it it. Just some food for thought.
- (Biblical) One of the first of two (or three depending where you stand on ‘Lilith’) humans created. Lived in relative paradise until she was tempted by The Serpent (our Bulshar) to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
- There has been mention in certain versions of her story that well…”the motif of Eve copulating with the primeval serpent takes priority over her other sexual transgressions.”
- From 3×10: Wynonna – “Don’t forget Eve.” Kevin – “Oh, I wish I could. Don’t even get me started on that girl”.
- Has been imprisoned in “The Garden”, potentially, but not surely since her creation.
- Has a long list of things she is “pissed about”, a list which she hopes to address once she is free.
- Her plan, or part of it includes getting to the Ghost River Triangle to get what she is “owed”
- Self-described “nightmare unto the world”.
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (Real world):
- 30 second shootout between lawmen and a group of outlaws, the Cochise County Cowboys.
- Lawmen involved included Town Marshal Virgil Earp, Special Policemen Morgan and Wyatt Earp, and temporary policeman Doc Holliday.
- There’s no consensus on who shot first.
Cochise County Cowboys present at the O.K. Corral (Historical, not Wynonna Earp canon):
- Billy Claiborne : ran from the fight.
- Ike Clanton: ran from the fight
- Billy Clanton: killed in the shootout
- Tom and Frank McLaury: Killed in the shootout
The Clantons: “We thank our kin for this feast, and for the sin that roots us. The power of vengeance will damn our enemies. In the name of Clanton, we vow to never forsaken. Never forget. And never forgive”
I think it’s safe to assume they weren’t going around using the last name “Clanton” since no one knew they were in Purgatory.
- Poison. Cursed. Wynonna asks Amon what they are, “Demon? Revenant?”. Amon replies “A little less and a little more than all of that.”
- Live on Magpie Ranch. Magpies are notorious hoarders among other things, it’s obvious from the first time we see Magpie Ranch that the Clantons have this in common with the bird, but in 4×11 Cleo flat out says that Mam “was a hoarder”.
Margo Jean “Mam”: Deceased
- The Swamp Witch
Sheriff Holt: Deceased/
Reaper/Magpie Clanton Heir.
- His name-tag says Sheriff Holt, but Nicole, Cleo, and Doc referred to him as “Sheriff Clayborn (Claiborne)”.
Cleo: She gone.
* Confirmed that Holt and Cleo had been going by the name “Clayborn” (alternate spelling of another family that was at the OK Corral shoot-out), probably to hide the fact that they are Clantons.
Reaper/He got better/Clanton Heir
- Performed a ritual to save Rachel. “A soul for a soul. We are rooted together, enemies and kin. But I sever that root and I offer myself.”
- Took on the mantle of Clanton Heir, but now that Dark Angel Waverly released the Reapers he may be free too.
*Reapers are Clanton ancestors, including “Uncle Ike” who is likely the same Ike who was present at the shootout. Billy says he has “the might of a thousand ancestors”. What we don’t know is if being a Reaper can be reversed. *Update: It can.
Dark Angel Waverly sets the Clanton ancestors free from their curse, turning them into what else? Magpies.
Mel and Kat Tweets of the Week:
I feel like Mel and Kat are pretty consistently hilarious when it comes to live-tweeting, so let’s recap some of the best of the best.
Yes, I feel quite vindicated by the appearance of actual birds.
Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to leave theories and feedback in the comments or hit me up on twitter. If you really liked it feel free to head over to my Ko-Fi page and contribute to my Chipotle fund https://ko-fi.com/earpermarine.
2 thoughts on “Keeping Up With the Earps: 4×11”
Hello from an Earper to another. I really love how you dig deep into the mythology, subtle on-screen symbols, and tie each episode’s story into the bigger picture. Super appreciate your analysis and it’s definitely helped me figure out and get closure on some of the smaller details on this awesome show.
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Aw, I’m so glad you enjoyed. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment.
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