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'Wynonna Earp' 4.09 Review: Brain Games

A demonic trivia tournament seeks to find the tastiest brains in Purgatory.

Melanie Scrofano in Wynonna Earp
(Image: © Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./SYFY)

Our Verdict

This delightful episode perfectly balances monster-of-the-week madness with cathartic character development.

For

  • 🤠 Everything about the tastiest brain trivia tournament.
  • 🤠 Compelling monster of the week.
  • 🤠 Melanie Scrofano in that final scene.

Against

  • 🤠 Doug isn't fully fleshed out.
  • 🤠 And his takedown is even less fleshed out.

This post contains spoilers for Wynonna Earp.
Check out our 
last review here.

Now this is what we’ve been waiting for! After a few enjoyable, but largely filler episodes, Wynonna Earp delivers a standout installment in “Crazy.” We’ve got a demonic trivia tournament, lots of Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and Doc (Tim Rozon) tension, Nicole (Katherine Barrell) reclaiming her rightful place in Purgatory, some well-earned closure, and some heartbreaking angst. Let’s get into it.

It turns out that when Nicole put her sheriff’s uniform back on in “Hell Raisin’ Good Time” it was purely for Waverly’s (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) benefit, and that Nicole still has no intentions of becoming Purgatory’s lady of the law again. The Earp sisters try to convince her to reconsider, but Nicole refuses. This is in part because of her guilt over selling Doc out to the Clantons but also because of something ominously referred to as the “Chicken Kicker” incident that occurred while Waves was in the Garden. And so it’s up to Wynonna and Waverly to deal with the line of people at the sheriff’s station with “crimes” to report. Since most of the issues are mundane (no more moisturizer at the pharmacy, a neighbor put “Guy Fieri ass flames” on his car), Wynonna jumps at the first chance to ditch this duty when Jeremy (Varun Saranga) reveals there’s been a potentially supernatural-related murder in town.

Seeing the bite marks on the victim’s neck leads Wynonna to assume Doc is the culprit. But rather than be concerned that the cowboy is a killer again, Wynonna is giddy at the thought that Doc’s lost the moral high ground. She rushes to confront him at the Glory Hole, which he has seemingly taken over after disposing of Amon (Noam Jenkins) last week. Unfortunately for WyDoc shippers, this encounter only widens the gulf between our two favorite gunslingers when Doc and Wynonna’s verbal sparring leads to him saying that even the demons he employs have more honor than to shoot someone in the back. Wynonna does not take this well, even going so far as to pull Peacemaker on her ex, and the fact that they both know she'd never actually follow through on this threat doesn't mean a line isn't getting crossed nonetheless.

Back at the station, Jeremy and Waverly are examining a second murder victim when they notice that both victims are recent winners of an ongoing trivia tournament and — maybe more importantly — both are missing their brains. By the time Wynonna returns, Jeremy and Wynonna have put together an adorable murder board, complete with bubble letters, to share their findings. However, the two can’t agree on whether the murderer is demon or human. As it turns out, the answer is both!

Varun Saranga, Melanie Scrofano, and Dominique Provost-Chalkley in Wynonna Earp

(Image credit: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./SYFY)

When Wynonna and Waverly respond to a seemingly unrelated incident report of domestic abuse, they wind up walking right into the killer’s home. They're able to quickly figure this out because the homeowner Doug (Ennis Esmer) — who insists they call him Kuro — is literally eating a brain sandwich when they arrive. Despite being a bumbling fool, Doug somehow escapes the Earps, who decide to bring his girlfriend Jeannie (Nikki Duval) back to the station with them for her protection. Only Jeannie isn’t Doug’s girlfriend — she’s a genie and he’s her master, though Wynonna begs her to use a different term. Jeannie the Genie tells Wynonna that Doug is obsessed with becoming the smartest person in town, but is too stupid to wish to be the smartest person in town. So instead, he’s been using her magic to make everyone in town obsessed with trivia so that he can identify and consume the brains of Purgatory’s smartest citizens.

With the trivia finals that night, Wynonna decides to send Jeremy, Waverly, and Nicole to Shorty’s, where they plan to face off with Doug. Meanwhile, she’ll stay with Jeannie, who needs to have physical contact with the cannibal in order for him to make a wish. At trivia, Jeremy, Waverly, and Doc wind up being the last three competitors standing to earn the title of “tastiest brain in Purgatory,” leading to a pure delight of a scene. We could watch this trio throw out line deliveries of out of context trivia answers for a full hour — especially the way Doc proudly declares “Kristy Yamaguchi.” Just play that on loop at our funeral.

As the tournament goes on, they realize Doug hasn’t shown up and therefore must have changed his target to Wynonna. However, Jeanie’s magic stops anyone from leaving Shorty’s and forces the competitors to remain obsessively fixated on trivia until the winner is crowned. In the end, it comes down to Jeremy and Waverly, and ultimately the BBD agent is declared to have the tastiest brain. Of course, Jeremy only wins because Waverly gets distracted by her fiancée making the bold decision to choose that exact moment to unburden herself regarding the mysterious Chicken Kicker situation that's been weighing so heavily on her. Because this is Wynonna Earp and subtly doesn’t exist in Purgatory, the incident in question involves a video of Nicole literally kicking a whole cooked chicken during a tirade after her loss in the sheriff’s race, in which she tells the whole town to basically screw themselves and their chicken too. The video is incredible, to say the least.

After publicly owning her new title of Chicken Kicker and confronting the haters, Nicole continues her unburdening tour by finding Doc at the bar, where she apologizes about betraying him to the Clantons. She swears that if she had traded him to them, she never would have stopped fighting to save him from whatever fate they had in store. Doc forgives her, and Nicole is finally able to forgive herself enough to reclaim what’s rightfully hers: being sheriff. 

Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell in Wynonna Earp

(Image credit: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./SYFY)

This is heartwarming as all hell, but don’t forget we’ve still got a brain-eater on the loose. While all of this is going on at Shorty’s, back at the sheriff’s station Wynonna and Jeannie are bonding over their bad taste in men and debating the least icky way of referring to the genie’s master/keeper/ward/wish-getting-guy. However, the two get interrupted by Doug, who just strolls right into Jeannie’s cell (he apparently wished he could walk through walls), grabs the genie's hand, and wishes to have Wynonna’s brain so he can gain her street smarts. 

Incapacitated by Jeannie’s magic, Wynonna has no choice but to lie on a table while Doug grabs a knife and starts working up the courage to cut out her brain. But before he can slice into her, Doug drops dead, succumbing to the cannibal-caused illness he renamed himself after, kuro.

Though it initially seems like we’re about to get a real Wynonna Earp happy ending — Nicole is sheriff, Jeremy has an awesome new “tastiest brain” hat, a woman is freed from the control of a murderous man — “Crazy” ends with a gut punch. As Jeannie is leaving the station, Wynonna accuses the genie of using her magic to drive her masters insane and claims Jeannie enjoys getting to kill for them. Even if this isn't the case, Jeannie's magic means she'll always be a tool in someone else's plan. As Wynonna sees it, Jeannie's just too dangerous to let go. Jeannie tries to appeal to Wynonna by saying they're the same, only Wynonna has "a psychotic gun for a master" instead of a man. But Wynonna clarifies that there's one crucial difference between them: Jeannie at least has a way out, even if that way is death.

We knew Wynonna was struggling this season, but the almost wistful look in her eyes as she declares that Jeannie’s free after killing her makes us realize just how much pain she's really in. Even though Wynonna fought so hard to regain Peacemaker and lost Doc due to her commitment to protecting Purgatory at any cost, it’s clear that this demon-killing life holds no pleasure for her anymore. Yet Wynonna doesn't seem to see a way out for herself. So now more than ever, we're wondering who will help Wynonna face her own demons before it's too late?