Team Wynonna isn’t exactly having fun now that they’re officially with Black Badge. Instead, they’re feeling the pressure to perform. Luckily for Wynonna, “Shed Your Skin” features a monster for her to chase - of the eight-legged variety. In addition to spider-monsters, Waverly is also on the outs with Nicole, but she’s continuing to go through some changes since her experience with the black goo last season.

Spiders are always terrifying

With a lot of the episode devoted to Wynonna moping about having to be team leader and Waverly thinking about not the possibility of not being an Earp, the spider creatures mostly take a back seat to the other storylines. Wynonna’s friend from high school, Mercedes, returns to Purgatory, and while she seems like a whole lot of fun, her biggest problem is demonic spiders.

The spiders are in a piece of property that she’s building, and though we only see them run across the screen with questionable CGI a handful of times, they are scary enough to keep you looking over your shoulder and wonder if one’s on the wall behind you. There’s something about the scurrying legs, the popping out of nowhere, and the sound effects of them running across the wall that preys on very human fears, so they don’t have to be a great monster.

They’re already terrifying.

Or maybe that all only applies to people like me who are arachnophobic. Spiders consistently rank in the top 10 fears when surveys poll Americans, so I can’t be the only one.

“It’s okay to miss him.”

The above line might be delivered by Doc to Wynonna right before he decides not to return her advances, but it might as well be said to the audience. There is most definitely a Dolls-sized hole in the episodes now that he’s not in regular rotation with the rest of the team.

The forced Black Badge members of Wynonna’s team certainly add a different dynamic to the show - mainly one that involves an angry Wynonna instead of a snarky Wynonna - but that dynamic isn’t necessarily as good as the one between Wynonna and Dolls was last season. Wynonna and Waverly are still great, but with Doc frequently off doing his own thing and two new members of the team, the dynamic hasn’t shifted for the better.

Shorty’s returns

Part of the reason Doc splits off from the team so much is because he’s decided to reopen Shorty’s. Doc is a fan favorite, so him being away from the team isn’t the best, especially since he’s doing it while keeping secrets from Wynonna.

What’s not clear is just what his plan is for Shorty’s. He’s got one employee and a lab in the basement that looks like he’s trying to become the local drug manufacturer. Does Purgatory have a big drug ring that we haven’t learned about yet? Or is Doc up to something more sinister?

We all like when Wynonna’s scary

Wynonna gives Waverly a speech about the two sisters being their own team, including that the two of them are going to be traveling down “Fury Road” with or without Dolls at their side. It prompts Waverly to tell her big sister that she loves it when “she’s scary,” and fans can agree. A fired up Wynonna who is ready to take on anyone and everyone in her path is exactly what this show needs.

Also scary though? Waverly suddenly having a hankering for one of the dead giant spiders at the end of the episode. She grabs it as a post-coital snack (all the WayHaught fans had a brief moment to cheer) in the final moments of the episode, effectively grossing out the entire audience and bringing up the question yet again: how much did that black goo change Waverly?

The verdict and what’s next

While the spiders and Willa’s possible haunting of Wynonna were the monsters of the week, they masked a larger possible monster as Wynonna and Waverly discovered a broken seal in the basement of the same building that housed the creatures. This tease, as well as Waverly’s search for her true parentage, and Wynonna trying to figure out what it means to be team leader, all led to a stellar “Shed Your Skin.”

4.5 out of 5 stars

In next week’s “Gonna Getcha Good,” Doc tries to come to the aid of a friend while Wynonna has to deal with a creature that’s similar to a genie, but evil.

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