Nicole’s Repressed Memories Will Surface On ‘Wynonna Earp,’ According To Star Katherine Barrell
Spoilers up through Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 10. Heavy is the head that wears the ten-gallon hat. Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell) has always been the brave one — and for good reason, since that's literally her job. The redhead is the newly crowned sheriff at the Purgatory Police Department, but Nicole also survived Bulshar on Wynonna Earp, which is weighing on her. Not only did she just remember a brutal massacre that she survived as a girl, but she's also in charge of making sure it doesn't happen again. "Nicole is so afraid of how repressed all these memories are, she almost doesn't want to talk about it," Barrell says, speaking over the phone in early September. "I think she's a lot more scared than she lets on."
Fans will recall that in Season 3, Episode 1, Nicole found several massacred bodies at Pussy Willows. She explained to Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) that when she heard the name Bulshar (which happened in the Season 2 finale), it triggered something in her brain. The policewoman finally remembered the deeply traumatic Cult of Bulshar massacre, which she survived at the tender age of six.
"I think her memory of what happened is so fragmented because she was so young, and a lot of it is really repressed," Barrell says. "It's like when you see something or smell something or hear something... and it reminds you of something that you've almost forgotten, and then it all comes flooding back." Although it's unclear what exactly happened that night, perhaps her memories will become clear if and when Nicole reunites with Bulshar himself.
And while this sounds — and is — awful, the young sheriff is far from alone in this fight. Not only does she have the love and support of her girlfriend, Waverly, but she's got the Scooby Gang on her side. "Because she trusts her team, I think she knows that they're going to protect her and that they're figuring it out the best they can," Barrell says. "And panicking isn't going to make it any better, so I think she's vacillating between just trying to stay calm and then also getting these quick bursts of terrifying memory."
And if Bulshar's imminent attack weren't scary enough, there's also the fact that Officer Haught is now Sheriff Haught, which is an intimidating career step. "I think she's super nervous," Barrell theorizes of her character's new job. "I don't think she'll ever really feel like she's fully ready, but I think that the only person who really knows is Nedley."
The retired sheriff knows just how strong Nicole is because he was the one who rescued her all of those years ago. "You were so damn scared," Nedley told her in Episode 7. "Still so damn tough. I found you downriver from the massacre — you'd gotten yourself into a canoe." And while her vision from that day is still hazy, Barrell speculates that her character went into law enforcement because of Nedley. "[S]omebody pulled her out, and it was confusing who," she explains of the massacre. "But as these pieces are slowly coming back, I think she realizes that that subconscious desire to serve and to be a police officer probably came from this encounter."
But while they started out as strangers during a horrifically violent event in the Ghost River Triangle, Nedley's become a father figure to Nicole since she joined the force. And because she's never been close with her parents, that final scene between Nicole and Nedley is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. "You're like a daughter to me," he said with tears in his eyes. "Congratulations, Sheriff Haught. You earned it."
And while Nicole might not be comfortable with the weight of her badge just yet, she's got a solid fan base. "Nedley did say he'll always be there to help her out," Barrell points out. "We always need more Nedley."