Wynonna Earp Review: Modern Western Wrapped In Campy Pop Culture

WYNONNA EARP -- Season:2 -- Pictured: Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp -- (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Season 2, Inc./Syfy)
WYNONNA EARP — Season:2 — Pictured: Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp — (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Season 2, Inc./Syfy)

Wynonna Earp welcomes you to Purgatory

Broken people. A family curse. Demons. Vampires. Infidelity. Infidelity with vampires. Angels. Resurrected legends with secret stories and covert agencies of dubious origin.  SyFy‘s Wynonna Earp rather ironically demonstrates what happens when people build a wall. The things you dislike end up not being able to get out, and the isolation pretty much ensures that the rest of the world doesn’t care. Welcome to Purgatory.

The central premise for the IDW comic-book based dramedy finds Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano) in possession of the legendary family weapon, called Peacemaker, a Colt Buntline Special pistol with a 12-inch barrel. Peacemaker is renowned as the sole weapon capable of desouling demons. Wynonna inherited not only the family weapon but the family curse: whoever Wyatt Earp killed during his lifetime will resurrect and return to haunt the family. Only the Earp heir, Wynonna, can send the resurrected demons, known as revenants, back to hell. Get all 77 and the curse ends. It’s not a spoiler to share that none of the wielders of Peacemaker (Wyatt, Josiah, Edwin, Ward and Wynonna) have yet to hit their 77 targets.

When the sacred family weapon does strike true as it chocks up soul-count, the revenants descend into a flaming hole on their way back to hell. No bodies left to count.

WYNONNA EARP -- "No Cure For Crazy" Episode 304 -- Pictured: (l-r) Tim Rozon as Doc Holliday, Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp -- (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./Syfy)
WYNONNA EARP — “No Cure For Crazy” Episode 304 — Pictured: (l-r) Tim Rozon as Doc Holliday, Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp — (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./Syfy)

But a show like Wynonna Earp can’t subsist on a straightforward narrative. The writers infuse Earp with complicated relationships, clueless locals and their own twisted supernatural innovations. And since the show shoots in Calgary, often during a real Canadian Winter, it also casts a cool pal over the production values. Much of the slogging and slipping isn’t acted or intended, it just happens.

Wynoona Earp skips along in a grit and grime, it delivers a lived-in quality that makes you want to sit on the couch and do shots with the characters until you can’t tell the difference between Bobo and Bulshar.

Earp falls onto my guilty pleasure list. It’s an unconventional soap opera full of beautiful people fighting personal and supernatural demons if they aren’t demons themselves. The well-rounded characters of Wynonna Earp and her sister Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) , represent empowered women in the mold of Joss Weadon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Wynona has a calling, but she doesn’t have to face that calling sober, or alone. Just say Wynonna may have Peacemaker but no one left her a completely functional moral compass. The sexual component of Wynonna Earp is very open. Relationships range from straight, gay, lesbian and supernatural. If sexual situation and innuendo bother you, then Wynonna Earp will bother you plenty. If not, it will bother you plenty anyway.

WYNONNA EARP -- "No Cure For Crazy" Episode 304 -- Pictured: (l-r) Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp, Dominique Provost-Chalkley as Waverly Earp -- (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./Syfy)
WYNONNA EARP — “No Cure For Crazy” Episode 304 — Pictured: (l-r) Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp, Dominique Provost-Chalkley as Waverly Earp — (Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./Syfy)

A dip of dialog

My favorite part of the writing comes from the easily flung out popular culture references. The characters don’t break the fourth wall, but the writers do. The show’s campiness grows episode-by-episode. Here are a few examples from Season 3, Episode 6, ‘If We Make It Through December’:

Nicole Haught and Waverly discussing why she isn’t playing Santa Claus:

Nicole: Where does that leave me? Legolas for life?

Waverly: I know, it’s not fair you are always Elf-cast.


Sheriff Nedley: What would you like under your tree? Kid: Selena Gomez.


Jeremy to Doc Holiday when discussing sex as a way to alleviate tension: We don’t all have a black Friday standing outside of Best Buy amount of people fawning over us.

We don’t all have a black Friday standing outside of Best Buy amount of people fawning over us.


Wynonna giving Jeremy blood to analyze:  

Jeremy: I’ll call up my blood splatter analyst, behavior profiler and Helen Mirren to see what’s up.

Doc Holiday: You’ll have to forgive his Ebenezer-esque demeanor is his still smarting from a romantic disappointment.

Wynonna: Ok, a kid is missing. And we don’t talk about Helen Mirren in that tone.


Sheriff Nedley: Nicole, a couple of weeks ago I saw Vampires bite Lonnie’s head off. And the next night I binge-watched an entire season of ‘Pretty Little Liars ‘ like nothing happened.


Charlie flirting with Wynonna: Just a man standing in front of a Marshall asking her to let him help her save a bunch of people.


The Wrap

I don’t know what compels me to watch shows like this. It’s my own little curse I guess, not taking things so seriously in a world where everybody takes things so seriously. If in the face of demons and death you can still pop out a line like, “What, are you going to tell me about the time you had a three-way with Amelia Earhart and Laura Engles,” then you are probably made of strong stuff, even if its fictional strong stuff. And you know, sometimes a brain just needs a break.

So if your brain ever needs a break and starts to suggest a modern Western, a Western wrapped in camp and streaming in ambivalent tones with funny lines sprinkled around like a pop culture lollipop topping, then Wynonna Earp may be just what, well, somebody ordered. 

 

Official show overview from SyFy:

Wynonna Earp

Based on the IDW Publishing comic book created by Beau Smith, “Wynonna Earp” follows the life of famous lawman Wyatt Earp’s demon-fighting great-great-granddaughter Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), who inherited Wyatt’s mythic abilities and his famous gun. As a special agent in the Black Badge Division (a top secret sector of the U.S. Marshals) and with the help of her younger sister, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), boss, Agent Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson), notorious gunslinger Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) and officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), Wynonna is determined to put an end to the Earp curse once and for all. “Wynonna Earp” is produced in Calgary by SEVEN24 Films and distributed by IDW Entertainment. Emily Andras developed the series for television and continues to serve as showrunner and executive producer. Jordy Randall, Tom Cox, Ted Adams, David Ozer, Rick Jacobs and Todd Berger also serve as executive producers.

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