The fact that Nicole and Waverly actually sorted things out before jumping in bed again. Despite not having too much screen-time dedicated to them like episodes two or three, it was clear that behind-the-scenes, they’re sincerely sorting things out--and growing, together.
Doc and Dolls. The fact that they’re not fighting over Wynonna or anything eye-roll worthy is applaudable.
The handling of Wynonna’s pregnancy. I expected the snark. I want it to never end.
I’d like to see more Tamara Duarte’s Rosita. Up to this point, halfway through the season, I’m still not sure who she really is, why she’s truly here, and what her point is. But I have faith in Duarte’s acting and faith in Andras’ writing that it won’t just be shoved aside.
I really hate Tucker, man. But kudos to the actor.
I’m not fully convinced by the “three seals” storyline yet, but I know with this show not to pre-empt...
‘Wynonna Earp’ levelled its high-octane, romp of a drama by delivering us a big game-changer of an episode enveloped in emotion, strong characterisation and an ever-expanding world.
‘Wynonna Earp’ is a show that smashes you over the head with “feels” with a plank. This week, Emily Andras’ team and writer Caitlin D. Fryers begin stitching their thread of plot-twists and turns in the midst of high emotion.
Firstly Dani Kind’s Mercedes returns, full-on Woman-in-Black mode. With the reveal that the Ghost River Triangle may not be the only ‘seal’ to transport ungodly creatures into Purgatory, Jeremy (Varun Saranga) discovers that one of the seals is under Shorty’s. With the help of Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), he concluded that on the basis that a seal would be on holy/consecrated ground.
Meanwhile, the women in black force Hypnos (Andreas Apergis) to send Purgatory to sleep. There’s a creepy doom to this sleeping spell, though: once someone sleeps ‘over’ time, they don’t awake again.
We haven’t forgotten Wynonna’s (Melanie Scrofano) pregnancy. It’s one of the driving forces of this episode. Not only are Wynonna’s emotions spasming like mad, she is bearing the burden of the Earp curse silently. All the while, Dolls (Shamier Anderson) wants to further their relationship whilst Doc (Tim Rozon) is still in love with her. Yet it’s not the typical tug-of-war over a girl scenario. It’s three complex, conflicted people–in love, in lust, or possibly a heady mix. And Nicole (Katherine Barrell) and Waverly make it up to each other as Nicole notes after kissing her:
Nicole: “You taste like my Waverly again.”
For the whirlwind of chemistry and pairing mix-ups, ‘Wynonna Earp’ returns home. Ending with the Earp sisters as Waverly cradles Wynonna, who finally shatters under the pressure of everything, it’s impossible to not shed one too. And that’s why, despite awesome slow-motion, boisterous music and kickass shenanigans, we’ll love this show. It has heart. It’s written from love, and it shows.
‘Wynonna Earp’ proves yet again its characterisation game may be one of the strongest on television with this emotionally-driven episode.
Even right up to our season review, we had some critical quibbles about special effects, the procedural/serialisation whiplash, and trademark ‘Wynonna Earp’ cheesiness in the season. Nothing’s changed and frankly we’re glad it hasn’t. But it doesn’t make this show perfect in the critical sense. Obviously we have mad respect for Earpers who do think this show is the hot-stuff, and we’d be inclined to not disagree.
What has made ‘Wynonna Earp’ so successful and endeared is that first of all, it’s very self-aware. Considering it’s set in a town called Purgatory with an immortal Doc Holliday and all that slight Frontier twang, with demons, Emily Andras’ show stands as culturally and internationally significant. It has inspired fans all across the world. ‘Wynonna Earp’ is so otherworldly, yet it’s so very human–throw in as many demons and monster as you like–you cannot take away the show’s innate humanity.
Additionally, we must applaud sheer strength of the writing and editorial process, not to mention the acting. All of this contributes to strong characters–male or female. The females have had praises sung of them and rightly so. Admirably, none of Andras’ characters feel flat or tied down to a singular story. Nicole Haught is the prime example. Outside of her relationship with Waverly, she’s utterly independent with an evolving arc of her own. It not only stretches Katherine Barrell’s godly acting range, but we smash through the trope of reliant girlfriend straight away. Nicole Haught is a good damn person, and her sexuality is not the only relevant thing about her.
The story is the same for the boys, too. Dolls and Doc have grown from cheesy rivals to genuine friends. They may not always see eye-to-eye. But pairing this up with the acting ability of the cast, it means Andras can throw whatever combination of characters together–and still strike gold.
You don’t see that kind of wide chemistry in all shows.
There’s a subtle hint of action and plot-furthering as well as very welcome world-building, but it’s never slowed-down by the heavy weight of emotion in this episode.
By the end of season one, Emily Andras had established a grounded, fun, slightly bonkers world. Firstly, the concept of the legendary Wyatt Earp having a demon-fighting descendant is surely the ‘USP’. But what’s exciting is that with the introduction of new characters such as Mercedes, it doesn’t mean we’re getting a new Constance Clootie, or Bobo del Rey. Mercedes is a bacon-chomping other-being, entirely.
Layering the Tuckers in with an emotionally jam-packed episode must’ve been hard to break. How much is too much? But this had just the right amount of everything. Comedy, action, heart, and plot–as well as snippy one-liners. Even as the complexities developed, Wynonna faithfully kept us grounded:
Wynonna: “We hunt supernatural s***.”
We’re still treated to a bucket-load of snark (Wynonna questioning a nun about whether she ever felt horny was probably a top moment). But we’re also slammed into the territory of Dolls’ heart visibly breaking on-screen. And Doc’s. Then we get Wynonna, and the rule is: if you watch ‘Wynonna Earp’ and Melanie Scrofano cries, you full-on sob with her.
(That’s the first rule of…)
Yet as all of that is kept and grown, Andras’ team expand on a fledgling mythos. No longer is Purgatory simply overrun by Bobo’s demons who need to get shot every week. There are three seals (portal-like) that transport to the bad-guys. The mysterious Black Badge Division expand and then hide; we are introduced to a new ‘order’ which Juan Carlos may be a head of. We may ask: who is Juan Carlos? What is Juan Carlos?
Andras steered cleverly away from Demon CSI territory and plummeted straight for ballsy, quirky drama. The show grows thus it has potential for even more. And who wants more?
Yeah, we do too.
‘Wynonna Earp’ kept the pregnancy relatively quiet and respectful, and continue to do so. Furthermore, they’re making one heck of a story out of it too. Long story short: Melanie Scrofano is a trooper.
The final scene between Waverly and Wynonna spoke volumes. And it was even Waverly who took on the big sister role as she comforted Wynonna who cracked. It was not the institutionalisation, or being the town pariah, or the Revenants who killed her father. Bringing the mighty heir to her knees was the unborn “asshole” residing within her.
What was delicately and devastatingly written was about lack of agency Wynonna had in all this. She never chose to become a mother or the Earp heir; she never chose to fall for Dolls and fall in lust with Doc. Wynonna Earp has constantly been saving Purgatory because she has to, pretty much, and nobody knows. Even in the season two premiere, Nedley has to make up a story for the press essentially, regretfully putting Wynonna to blame for the Bobo del Rey Champagne Supernova.
Wynonna: “Am I a screw-up? Yeah. I’ve also been on two types of birth control since I was thirteen years old. But the universe doesn’t give a damn. It’s never given me a choice. It’s never–not whether I wanted to be the heir–or–a…mother.”
There are questions. Ultimately, what’s striking is–well…what was Mama Earp like? Had they ever gotten to know her?
But mostly, as gorgeously as the pregnancy was written in–and we’re glad Scrofano wasn’t just fobbed off with some measly exit storyline–we’re proud and excited that Andras’ team are tackling this with a fantastic story to boot. The loving fanbase have kept respectful and well-wishing. It’s a leap of faith for us, but here’s our chance to show to Wynonna that her universe may not give a damn, no. But ours does. And we care, and we wish Scrofano the best of luck onwards. She’s gonna rock it.
We’ve seen what damage can be done once one seal was briefly opened…what happens if, and let’s hope this never happens, all seals get opened? Yo, Juan Carlo, maybe you’re the answer.
Well, we really don’t want to imagine that scenario. The idea of a hundred of those disgusting tentacle monsters crawling from the underworld is enough to make one dry-heave. So, ah, we hope Jeremy gets his maths right, Peacemaker puts down all the demons and all the seals are shut off.
Easier said than done, right?
Absent for one episode (maybe a sight sorely missed), the firemen and Juan Carlo and this whole “order” business likely are the solution. We’ve seen theories of Juan Carlo being an Angel figure, a Satan figure–something of the other-worlds, anyway.
(So he’s not a lesbian unicorn, then?)
Even in one of our roundtables, one of our contributors made a theory of Juan Carlo’s initials as J.C. (Jesus Christ). The fact that the theories are so widespread for a character we essentially know very little of is interesting, and though we’re pretty confident in the fact that it’ll be the motley crew saving the day, we’re sure Juan Carlo will be an ally rather than a villain.
We’d like to think of the hoard of firemen as the heroes, anyway. But seeing as theories are all around us, firemen generally find the danger and put it out. Could it be that simple an allegory?
Who knows? Maybe they’re just firemen. That works, too.
FINAL VERDICT: ‘Wynonna Earp’ has had faster episodes, and it’s had funnier episodes, but ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ is perhaps one of the deepest episodes it’s had. Another layer of the onion is peeled back on our cast of characters, and as we pummelled through the plot and action this season, this episode was a perfected necessity.
Kudos, Caitlyn D. Fryers, Emily Andras and director April Mullen. These components, as well as Andrea Higgins in the music department, meshed perfectly for this baller of an episode. We needed oversight for the overall pacing of the entire season. And obviously we have no idea what tricks Andras has up her endless sleeve, but we’re excited to see more. What’s always been true to the show, though, is its integrity.
Fryer’s focus on characterisation as well as juggling the intense plot with this episode was carefully and tastefully done. The true meshwork and standing ovation has to go (and yes we’ll rave about it again) to the final scene.
Acting-wise, of now, we’d be stuffed to spot siblings with more chemistry than Provost-Chalkley and Scrofano’s Waverly and Wynonna. They rooted us to season one, and in this season, obstacles are in the way. Not malice obstacles. We’d hardly call the lil’ baby or the dashing Nicole a malice obstacle–but they’re both characters who’d naturally tug at each of their character’s attention. In no way would Nicole likely aim to pull Waverly away from Wynonna–but it’s just how relationships work, and it’s how the nature of ups and downs in sibling relationships also work.
When we often say ‘Wynonna Earp’ is grounded, we don’t mean we know of a secret town in America overrun with demons and gooey stuff. We mean that even in this ridiculous world, Andras and her team can still build believable, ugly, beautiful, harsh and raw humans. We love this show’s bonkers. But as Mullen’s direction goes for the camera to pan out on one of the most intimate, lovely moments of the show–we can’t fault ourselves for loving how much love is put into this project.
QUESTIONS & COMMENTS:
- We didn’t get to mention it much in the discussion, but Varun Saranga’s Jeremy was an absolute winner in this episode. He’s always been the geeky, ‘adorkable’ one and nothing changes–except he truly proves his BBD worth.
- I’m crossing my fingers we see more of Tamara Duarte. She’s talented and I hope she has something juicy in terms of a storyline. I’m sensing a late episode twist?
- Nicole’s old outfit versus her new one? (Am I the only one missing the stiff collar and khakis?)
- Mind you, where did Dolls find Nicole in the house?! Had she just gone for a walk…naked? This show, man. This. Show.
- Melanie Scrofano blew everyone out of the water this episode–there wasn’t any competition. Everyone had raised their game. Provost-Chalkley championed the first four but Scrofano was sensational. I think oddly, Barrell came close to swiping it.
- I’m not going to compare the actresses because they’re hugely different–but only the comment–and that’s between Evelyne Brochu (Delphine, ‘Orphan Black’) and Katherine Barrell. You don’t need to give them much for them to seize it and make something special. And that in itself requires heavy skill.
- That end scene! That end scene! (NB: I literally kept this on from a previous review. The note still stands valid).