Season 1, Episode 6: “Constant Cravings”
Written by Alexandra Zarowny
Directed by Brett Sullivan
Everyone has a hunger for something, whether figurative or literal.
It’s hard to think of a more literal hunger – the Constant Craving of the title – than the one of a cannibal demon, a Revenant whose hunger can never be sated, or a figurative one than that of the junkie, craving the fix that will make the pain go away. We get both, or something like both, in “Constant Cravings” and, of course, more questions.
There’s something about cannibalism that has fascinated readers and viewers for ages now, whether it’s Tantalus in Greek mythology, Sweeney Todd in the penny dreadfuls, or the real life Donner Party, Alfred Packer, or Ed Gein. Here we have the Donner/Packer variety, with a family who turned to cannibalism to survive a harsh winter, and got killed by Wyatt Earp (Ryan Northcott) in the course of his investigation of some missing people, before getting caught up in the whole Earp Curse/Revenant thing.
There’s a bit of the Unreliable Narrator to the story we’re given – considering the “good” Revenant, Heddie (Alex Paxton-Beesley), is one of The Seven – but it almost sounds like another case of the Earp Curse making a bad situation worse. Obviously there’s enough evil in killing people to eat them to get one a Hell-bound ticket, but based on the pattern of killings, it’s the creation of each generation’s Heir that sends Mama Olive (Valerie Planche) into her cannibalistic mode. Between the Heirs, she’s “just” an unpleasant old woman who runs a diner with her family, and apparently has for years. We don’t get any indication that the diner is a Todd-ian meat pie operation, or that her family is particularly evil in action aside from the cannibalism, which in itself is something of the children taking care of their mother in a perverse way.
Even Heddie’s being a part of The Seven appears – and so much of this is what things appear to be, what with her being Damned and all – to be an attempt to end the Curse. It also draws attention to the presence of various factions within the Revenants, with some active allies of Bobo, some just moving in his circle, and some – and one wonders just how many there really are – just trying to build something resembling lives within their imprisonment within the Triangle. Consider Fish from last week’s episode… what exactly did we see that would have made us think he was remotely evil? Mama Olive is certainly a cannibal, but not when there isn’t an active Heir, and Hamilton’s living crimes didn’t involve him at all being The Blade; that came after his death and damnation.
Clearly Wyatt Earp has much to answer for, whatever the reasons the Curse exists.
Dolls (Shamier Anderson), however, seems to be in the grip of that other craving, that of the addict. We’re back to that appears thing again there as well, because while we have the tremors, the sweating, and an explanation for his somewhat odd mood swings of late, there’s more than just the addict jonesing for a fix here. Not too many narcotics that I’m aware of cause one to display reptilian eyes, so one might suspect that there’s more to the story here, especially since it seems to be a condition that his superiors are aware of, and are the source of… whatever the chemical Dolls injects is. Curiously, it’s the withholding of the drug by those superiors that raises the most questions, even greater that what the holy hell Dolls IS.
Greater, because whatever Dolls is taking the drug for – and I’m going to lean towards something nasty he’s keeping at bay, possibly from his time in the Middle-East – what kind of agency punishes its agents by causing them to go into withdrawal at best? Whatever that stuff is, it comes from a Black Badge lab, and they control the supply, so either they are colossal asshats (possible), questionably intelligent (possible), or straight-up-as-monsterous as any Revenant… also possible. Considering that they seem to think that Dolls isn’t providing enough evidence of Revenant activity or… something, I’m thinking a bit of all three, because what the hell is going to convince them if the recent events don’t?
Consider that the Black Badge folks know about the Revenants, they know about the Curse, they know about the existence of magic, witches and much, much more. What about this situation isn’t providing enough evidence or information? What’s their metric for success here? Revenants are being exposed and sent back to Hell, demonic forces are being held at bay, innocent lives are being saved – although seriously, the Triangle’s murder/disappearance rate is still insanely high – and Doll’s bosses are so ticked off at him that whatever is wrong with him, they’re actively making it worse?
I’ve had some bad bosses in my time, but wow.
This episode could also be called “Everybody Wants Some” and be on point, because, well, cravings are all around. Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) wanting to be more than a barmaid, a girlfriend, and Team Earp’s researcher, and she discovers that Uncle Curtis served something of the same role she serves for Wynonna, for their father, Ward. Curtis’ legacy to her is the role of The Keeper of the Bones – obviously connected to the bones of the Stone Witch’s boys, by way of being the skull of one of them – and that gives her the final piece she needs to kick her boyfriend to the curb, toe-curling sex or not. We’ve known for a while now that Waverly wants more – and feels she deserves more – than just being the sister of the Heir, and now she knows she is. Of course, this will put her in even more danger than before, but she’s craving that, too.
Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) wants a few things… revenge on Constance, and Wynonna, primarily. He tries to ally with Dolls to get the former, but with Dolls being, well, Dolls, he’s basically set up for failure in that deal, even if he does come across the bones that Bobo has been reassembling. He also fails in the latter, as Wynonna pushes him away, if only for the time being. That revenge threatens to consume and destroy him, though, and even if his facade of not caring about anyone else is clearly that in Wynonna’s presence, his obsession with the Stone Witch is only going to make his unnatural life worse, and endanger Team Earp.
Incidentally, what is Bethany (Sasha Barry)? Or rather, what was Bethany, since she meets a somewhat bloody end here. I had thought she was a Revenant herself, considering her involvement with Bobo, and perhaps a saloon girl or a prostitute in her previous life. Her casual acceptance of Doc’s identity seemed to support this, but maybe not? Was she just a hanger-on, who somehow just accepted a world of demons and the undead, and all too human? The blood spray on the truck window looks awfully like she’s done for, and we haven’t seen too much Revenant-on-Revenant violence – aside from that directed by Bobo against those he feels have failed him – so maybe she is human after all. I couldn’t see the words on the side of the van, and Bethany’s reaction to the driver would imply it was a man, but not necessarily that she knew them. Another mystery to ponder.
Bobo (Michael Eklund), of course, craves freedom, and will do anything or ally himself with anyone to get it. It’s not going so well for him though, with Wynonna winnowing down his men, Constance being as much an enemy as ally, and Doc telling him to kiss off. Champ (Dylan Koroll) wants Waverly and, perhaps, to get out of Purgatory, but Waverly has had her fill of his shallow needs. The Blacksmith, well… hmmm.
The Blacksmith (Rachael Ancheril) seems to be a powerful witch herself, albeit of the white-ish magic variety. She bound Uncle Curtis to the skull and made him the Keeper of the Bones, but apparently not realizing what she had done entirely until she transferred that role to Waverly. Now she knows she’s got a target on her back, and the Stone Witch is coming for her, so aside from wanting to be left alone, pretty sure she’s craving a way to stop Constance from killing her for her involvement with her boy’s bones.
And then there’s Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), herself. She actually gets something she craves, in her inheritance from Uncle Curtis… one sweet bike, and its promise of a freedom and the open road in a future without Revenants. The revenge thing though, that she craves mightily, even if she is struggling with the question of whether the Revenants are all truly evil. Yes, Haddie wanted Ward dead and helped kill him, but just like Wynonna, she wanted the Curse to end, and even then, Wynonna told her to make her peace. Vengeance isn’t quite as clear-cut a path as she thought it would be.
In her personal life, her cravings are even more complicated, what with two men vying – whether both admit or not, and they both do, more or less – for her attention. Doc obviously holds some attraction and, by her description, the sex was pretty awesome, but she really doesn’t trust him completely enough, does she? She’ll open the door to a friendship, but for now, that’s all she’ll do. And Dolls is… complicated, with his increasingly erratic behavior and secrecy keeping apart two people who are obviously attracted to each other in a powerful way. She trusts him in a way she doesn’t trust Doc, and vulnerable to him in a way that will make the secrets he keeps even more dangerous to them both, it seems.
Of course, everyone is in danger here, on both sides of the fuzzy line of what is Good and what is Evil. Purgatory isn’t a place for that line to be a sharp or hard as it should be, but then, with a name like Purgatory, how could it be?