This post is by one of my best friends, Alex. I don't normally post about entertainment topics, but since this is a show that promotes badass women and challenges conventional norms on TV, I wanted it to be showcased here on my blog. Plus, it's a bloody good TV show. Enjoy reading, and hopefully, you can check out the show as well!
Let me kick this off by asking you, my dear reader, a couple of questions:
- Do you need a break from the Sex, Blood and Rock & Roll that is Game of Thrones Season 7?
- Do you long for the days of Buffy? Shows with strong, badass female leads?
- Do you want to see a wonderful sister relationship played out?
- How about a positive normal queer relationship?
- Are you after a show with a deep lore that asks questions as often as it answers them?
- How about a cast and crew who love their strange little show?
- Do you like gun-slinging cowboys/cowgirls?
If you answered Yes to any of those questions, then have I got the show for you! Introducing SyFy's newest Genera TV series: Wynonna Earp! *mentally insert cheering and whooping here*
Originally created by Beau Smith (@BeauSmithRanch) and developed/adapted for TV by the incomparable, Queen Emily Andras (@emtothea). This action-packed series with a whole load of heart portrays the story of one Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano, @MelanieScrofano), the great-grand daughter of the famous Wyatt Earp (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyatt_Earp).
She not only inherited the wonderfully devilish good looks, no, those came along with the not-so-wonderful Earp curse, exact origins unknown. This curse involves a big-ass supernatural gun called Peacemaker (a Colt Buntline Special), 77 undead demon outlaws, "affectionately" referred to as revenants, and a rather large triangle of land centered around the small town of Purgatory...Yes, you read that right, Purgatory. With a name like that you know it's going to get fun!
The long and the short of the Curse is that once the "Heir" turns 27, they are tasked with hunting down and killing all 77 revenants, sending them back to Hell. Doing so will break the family of the curse forever. Though not an easy task as the revenants can only be killed dead-dead by Peacemaker. Also, funnily enough, the revenants don't like getting sent back to Hell (who knew?) so they are on a mission to kill the Heir before they get a supernatural bullet to the forehead. Makes things a wee bit trickier, eh?
Wynonna is assisted in her demon hunt by a group of friends and family forming the Purgatory department of the Black Badge Division (read Scooby Gang). Comprising of the straight shooting, secret government/not-so-government agent Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson, @ShamierAnderson). An ex-military man (at least in part), who is slowly learning that there is more to life than his job.
The mortal-immortal (basically a case of extended life, but can still be done in by a bullet, knife or speeding train) gun-slinging John Henry "Doc" Holliday (Tim Rozon, @realtimrozon). Yes, that Doc Holliday (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Holliday). Best friend of Wyatt Earp, who spent the better part of the last 100 years at the bottom of a dried-up well.
The most second important member of the gang (though Wynonna may fight me on that) is the bundle of adorableness that is Waverly Earp (Dominique Provost-Chalkley, @DominiqueP_C), Wynonna's younger sister who we would all protect with our lives!....I'm serious, insult or hurt Waverly and see: a) how quickly you get punched in the face by Wynonna and b) how fast and far you can run with the entire Earper fandom behind you brandishing torches and pitchforks!....you think I am joking? Just try your luck!
Rounding off the gang at an even five is the unofficial member Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell, @KatBarrell). The latest addition to the Purgatory Sheriffs Department, a bulletproof armed walking bumper sticker, and Waverly's girlfriend. Yep, no subtext queer-baiting gal-pal shit going on here! Full-on in a romantic relationship girlfriends.
Together they hunt demons, solve mysteries, keep the town safe and (in Wynonna's case) drink an absurd amount of whiskey. Not always in that order.
Now you have a rundown of the main players in this show, let me begin to convince you why you should give this a chance (that is if you are not already convinced. Though even if you are already, feel free to continue. My ego would be most boosted by your kindness).
At the absolute core of this show are the super-awesome, strong, complex female characters who can kick ass and take no shit. But equally, they are vulnerable, emotional and openly show the scars life has dealt them. Without becoming victimised or turned into a tragedy. For giving us these strong and most importantly, relatable characters we all need to buy show runner Emily Andras a drink (or a dozen).
Constantly throughout this show - particularly in the early episodes of Season 1, it is made explicitly clear that Wynonna has a lot of personal demons she is fighting. She bears a heavy burden of guilt and is described: "As broken as they come." But despite all this, she is not emotionally closed off at all. Wynonna loves with all she has and cares deeply for her family and friends. She is profoundly loyal and takes it upon herself to fix what she can and protect those around her, often to her own personal risk. To top it all off Wynonna is extremely quick witted (that could potentially be interpreted as a defense mechanism, speaking as someone who has never studied Psychology in their life) and will have you giggling away at some of her quips. Including: "I don't do blow jobs without a please first", "Hey, sis. You grew out your...[gestures vaguely at her chest]...hair" and in response to the question what is better than dynamite? "Boobs." To sum up, in the words of Tumblr user Archer (@agentnicolehaught): "Wynonna Earp has never been one to give up easily, even when the world broke her down to nothing. Wynonna Earp is not just some crazy chick with a gun. Wynonna Earp is a survivor, a fighter, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a mother. The universe can try to break her, but she will get back up every time, look at the universe, flip it the bird, and tell it that it hits like a bitch."
Now let's shift our focus to the shotgun-wielding, possibly married to a skull, adorbs that is Waverly Earp. While Wynonna struggles with dealing with her underlying guilt and coming to terms with the "destiny" thrust upon her, Waverly's arc is one of self-discovery. She has been stuck in the same small town since birth and fought so hard to get out from under the shadow and prejudice the Earp name generates. Predominantly by doing the typical or "normal" things in a small town. Fit in with a certain clique of girls, date the town's rodeo champ, work at the local bar and kept her intelligence and passion on the DL. However, as the season progresses you see Waverly comes more into her own, as her self-confidence grows and her relationship with her estranged sister improves. She becomes more unapologetic for who she is and starts to go after what she wants...Cumulating in a make-out session with Officer Haught on Sheriff Nedley's office couch!
Speaking of Officer Haught. Nicole comes strolling onto our screen exuding confidence, sex appeal and swagger in spades, shamelessly flirting with a fairly flustered and damp (because of spilled beer, Get your mind out of the gutter!) Waverly - prompting a flurry on twitter as the Earpers scrambled to come up with a ship name. Nicole is smart, intuitive, driven, funny and is unafraid to show how ambitious she is career-wise. But she does have an adorable sensitive side and is so much more than the "love interest" character. She has her own plot goals and rapport with the other characters that was formed well before her romantic relationship with Waverly began in earnest. Leading to some interesting shifts in character dynamics once Wynonna finds out she is dating her baby sister. Nicole struggles with being left out of the juicy details of the Black Badge Division, particularly when the woman she loves is in the know and often in danger.
Which brings me onto the subject of the show's #1 romantic ship: WayHaught. I am 100% sure that there isn't an Earper out there who doesn't adore these two. Just check out #Wayhaught on Twitter (https://twitter.com/hashtag/wayhaught?lang=en) and Tumblr (https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/wayhaught) to see what I am on about! I mean look at them, adorable:
Not only has WayHaught become such a fanomenon (see what I did there?) because it occurred at a really dark time for the LGBTQ+ community. Where many gay couples were broken up or a gay character was killed off in the media - disdainfully known as the "Bury your gays" trope - *holds up a crucifix and garlic, hissing*. The portrayal of this relationship is absolutely what this community deserves; a gay relationship as a perfectly normal thing. No big who-ha/drama about them being a couple - well, other than the fandom losing their collective minds in excitement when they got together. The wonderful thing about the WayHaught relationship is how normal it is, simply two women who adore one another and will do what they can to protect each other. Sure there is conflict in this relationship, they are both strong and slightly hard-headed characters with differing opinions. But they both will fight for what they have, and will actually talk about the conflict and resolve it through communication before the long-drawn out angst-fest.
For me, the reason I love WayHaught so much is that I see so much of myself in these two characters and they give me hope. While CW's Supergirl (ignoring the events of SDCC 2017) did an amazing job of portraying Alex Danver's self-realisation and coming out, Waverly's self-discovery resonates with me more. When she realised she was attracted to Nicole and wanted to be with her, Waverly did not freak-out over it. Despite having a boyfriend previously, there was no declaration of sexuality it just was, and I find that extremely comforting. I find it so reassuring is that Waverly has not felt pressured to come out or sexually label herself. The long and short of it is she is attracted to and loves Nicole regardless of the fact she is a woman.
That's not to say that Wynonna herself is not without love interests. Welcome to the Bermuda love triangle between Doc, Dolls and Wynonna. Basically, both men like Wynonna and have ambitions of being more with her. But - and here is where the writing is again so respectful to the female leads - despite them "competing" for Wynonna's affections, Doc and Dolls are not trying to one-up or out-do the other. They are not resorting to fighting over a lighter in a forest to win the women's favour (ahem, *glares pointedly at a certain ABC show*). Wynonna is not a prize to be won, she is free to choose without the constant pressure of deciding between them. What is even better is that you know that even if she does choose one of them, the other will still be there for her as a friend without trying to win back her affections. They both will respect Wynonna's decision and will be there for her in whatever capacity she needs them.
While romantic "ships" are all well and good. The true relationship that is the absolute heart of this show is the sister bond between Wynonna and Waverly. Having a younger sister myself, it is so amazing to see such an important relationship I have in my own life being played out on my favourite show.
The bond between the sisters is just so realistic and the development of it from a kinda tentative reunion to a full-blown "I trust you implicitly" is incredible to watch. It's the subtle interactions between the sisters that really speak to the depths of their relationship. So much is achieved between them with a simple look or raised eyebrow. What is wonderful about their bond is that they really are each other's hero and role model. While Wynonna may be the crazy chick with the big-ass magic gun that is destined to kill the 77 revenants, she adores, looks up to and draws strength from Waverly. You see that Waverly's strength, passion, and love for her sister - despite Wynonna abandoning her for years - are so inspirational to Wynonna. Waverly is the reason Wynonna fights so hard and keeps going against greater odds. Wynonna will break the Earp curse to protect Waverly and ensure her happiness.
Kissing and sister bonding aside, there is a deep lore to Wynonna Earp, particularly surrounding the Earp curse and Peacemaker.
All we know about the curse itself is that it was enacted by a demon (we figure an actual hell demon) in revenge for killing his sons, though the details are very hazy. What is interesting about the curse is that the list Revenants predominantly include the outlaws Wyatt Earp killed during his life as a gunslinger, but there are a couple of names on that list that Wyatt did not kill directly. A prime example is the Revenant August Hamilton (I am not throwing away my shot!......No relation we are aware of), who disappeared after Wyatt convinced him to testify in court against some rustlers. So I guess technically Wyatt killed him, but that begs the question, to what degree of involvement does Wyatt need to have in someone's death for them to become a revenant?
Now, Peacemaker, the gun is obviously an important part of the story, being Wynonna's main tool for dealing with the revenants. But again there is a lot of mystery surrounding its powers, and the fact the gun seems almost sentient. Stay with me as I attempt to explain this. Now when Wynonna first handles the gun she cannot hit the broad side of a welcome sign, even with both hands and standing less than five meters away. Yet as soon as she needs to kill some revenants, she has perfect aim. Furthermore, when Wynonna aims to kill a revenant, the gun glow red with some satanic symbols on the barrel. But there have been occasions where the gun glows blue with different (definitely non-satanic) symbols. Which begs the question why the difference in colour, does that indicate a difference in purpose? Red to kill revenants, blue to kill those out of mercy. Additionally, why can only the heir wield it? Earpers are still awaiting answers to these questions.
If you are keen on the lore side of things check out the Purgatory Case Files (http://www.purgatorysd.com/) where we join Officer Nicole Haught as she solves some cases around Purgatory.
Ok, if you have reached the end of this article, super props to you. I know I ramble a bit, particularly when I am talking about something I love as much as this show. One last paragraph I promise you before I sign off and you don't have to read from me again. If nothing written above has convinced you, let me make one last ditch attempt to convince you to give this show a go: The Cast.
I have never seen a show where the cast and creative team love the show and are as invested in it as the fans are. If anything these wonderful dorks (https://twitter.com/emtothea/status/888167173692170242) are even bigger fans of the show than we are. They all implicitly love their own and each other's characters and you can see they have such a good rapport. You can find a majority of them every Friday night on twitter live tweeting as the show airs. The cast as a group is so strong that there isn't a scene pairing or character I dislike. I find with most TV shows, there is at least one character I dislike/don't enjoy watching. But on Wynonna Earp, I love all the main characters and even some recurring villains!
So in conclusion, if you are after a show where badass females grab the reigns and take you along for a ride full of thrills, chills and feels that will have you in a chaotic state of awe, elation, tears and simultaneously praising and cursing the writers at the end of most episodes. Then 100% tune into Wynonna Earp. Go on, give it a go and join the wonderful fanily (see I did it again!) of Earpers worldwide. Embrace the show that is about choosing your family and supporting one another at whatever cost.
Wynonna Earp Season 1 is available on Netflix (USA & Canada) and iTunes. Season 2 is currently showing at 9/10 pm Friday nights on SYFY (USA) and at 10 pm Tuesday nights on Spike (UK). Season 3 has been confirmed for 2018.