Wynonna Earp: Review: Season 1

show_art_WynonnaEarpBased on the IDW comic created by Beau Smith, Syfy’s newest series Wynonna Earp plays off the history of Wyatt Earp, with his descendants’ oldest child becoming heir to a deadly curse…

The town of Purgatory falls within the Ghost River Triangle, which keeps all revenants (demons) in and other monsters out. The curse is only broken when the heir kills all 77 revenants. In the show, Wynonna Earp comes back to her home town after turning 27, to try to battle the revenants, along with her own past, coming to terms with a life she didn’t chose for herself. Over 13 episodes the show we see Wynonna come to terms with the role forced onto her.

The show takes history, supernatural demons and badass female characters and combines them into one show. Wynonna Earp has overlapping themes but love and the choices one makes in life are the most important. These two overlap greatly and throughout the show we see what impact these have on the characters.

The first season of Wynonna Earp had a lot of ups and downs, but it managed to take viewers by surprise and passed all expectations people had for it. It ended leaving some questions answered and some for season 2 to tackle.

One thing this show’s producer Emily Andras (Lost Girl, Killjoys) and her team have done well through the season is show the characters in a relatable light – even its villains are relatable to some degree. One thing fans greatly enjoy and love about this show is they can see themselves in these characters, showing that you can struggle with your past but find strength from within and from the people around you to face it. That no matter your broken past or upbringing you can still be the hero if you choose to. That even after everything you thought you knew, you can discover something new about yourself

The characters’ own personal stories are one of the highlights of the show. The sisterly bond between Waverly and Wynonna is the heart of the series, and one of the most beloved relationships (other then Nicole and Waverly’s romance), showing that no matter what’s going on, it’s better with family fighting by your side. Right off the bat, even after years of being apart, these two will defend each other at all costs, which is a testament to the sisterly love these two share. (We later see the oldest Earp sister, Willa, return, but she doesn’t share these strong feelings of love and protectiveness over her sisters.)

Back in Purgatory, Wynonna must come to terms with the life that’s been forced onto her. Instead of running away like she’s done in the past, she chooses to stay and fight with the help of Agent Dolls from the Secret Service’s Black Badge division. The choices she makes from episode one impact her character growth in a large way. We see Wynonna go from someone who doesn’t want to be in the town, to someone willing to risk it all, including her family, to save a town that may still hate her.

Waverly 3Waverly the youngest Earp sister gets pushed aside. Even though she’s the pride and joy of the town, she’s always been seen as Wynonna’s little sister, but throughout the season she goes beyond that title and settles in to become her own person with her own wants. We see her go though a journey of self-discovery: she’s always done what others have wanted of her, but in season one she decides it’s time for her to become her own woman and stop being the younger sister that needs protecting. She dumps her boy-man of a boyfriend, joins Black Badge, and goes after the women she loves – Nicole Haught. She’s one of the show’s most beloved characters with her sweet and charming smile, and her selfless attitude. She always wanted to be the heir but being the youngest she’d never get that chance. We see her come to terms with the fact she’ll never wield Wyatt Earp’s gun, Peacemaker, and that it’s Wynonna’s job to kill revenants… but that doesn’t stop her from helping her sister, and putting herself in harm’s way to do what she believes is right.

Xavier Dolls is the agent in charge of Black Badge. We see him lighten up throughout the season, and fall for Wynonna. He’s a character with his own back-story that season 1 lightly touched on. We don’t know what he is or how he became that way. All we know is why he’s in Purgatory, but we don’t truly understand the organization he works for.

Nicole Haught is the newest police officer in Purgatory, and right off the bat she’s smitten with Waverly Earp. Viewers don’t learn a lot about her character this season or her real reason for being in town. But no one can doubt the love she holds for Earp’s youngest sister as she willingly throws herself into danger to help them and takes knowing about the cures in stride, not stopping to question it. At the end of the season we see Officer Haught promoted to Agent Haught – now part of the Black Badge gang and finally knowing what’s going on in her small town. We see her character get shot in the finale and after the rough year LGBT fans have had, they were worried about investing themselves in another show. Thanks to Emily Andras confirming on Twitter that the gay character didn’t die, ratings and viewers went up. People enjoy representation on TV. After Waverly and Nicole met, the #WayHaught ’ship was born, providing good representation for a community that had been let down multiple times through the year.

Doc Holliday – based on the real man – brings history and the supernatural together in a unique way. Being over 100 years old he’s the only person alive who knew Wyatt back in the day before he was cursed by the stone witch Constance Cootie – who plays a larger role in the season than originally thought.

The season was full of surprising plot twists. The biggest one was Willa, the oldest Earp and the heir, coming back. This set up the second half of the season. We soon learn more about the cures and why Willa had been missing and why she was acting odd.

Earp 2With all three sisters back together, they needed to figure out how to be a family again, which wasn’t easy for the Earps. Their family history had always been rocky in the past. We see Willa and Wynonna click back together after years apart; since they grew up together it was easy for them. Waverly however got pushed aside again, which isn’t new for her since their father always ignored her. Willa, like everyone else, didn’t see Waverly for who she was. Since Waverly and Willa were never close – Waverly was only small when Willa was taken – it took a few episodes for them to click and even then, it was rough for them.  Just because someone is family, does that mean you trust them blindly? The answer in this case was no, as the Earps found out rather quickly.

The show also dealt with Willa’s story in an interesting way. She was taken at a young age and came to rely on Bobo for her every need, and her feelings for him could be confused with feelings of love. She had no problem leaving Bobo to get shot. It’s very likely Willa was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (when hostages express empathy, sympathy and positive feelings toward their kidnappers).

The show is all about love and how far you are going to go to protect that love, and what choices you will make when faced with decisions that don’t always involve you. Wynonna has to choose to stand and fight or run, and think of how those actions will not only affect her but those around her. Once she comes back into town it’s not only her life on the line anymore; everyone she cares for is in danger because of the choices she makes. Those around her, knowing the risks, also choose to stand with her in the fight against evil. It’s costly to everyone: Waverly almost dies from being used as a tool to get to Wynonna; Dolls gets hunted by his organization for choosing to help protect the Earps by leaving information out his report, ending in them almost getting killed.

Time and time again this show demonstrates the importance of owning up to the choices we make and facing what comes next. Even if we didn’t chose something freely, we still must make do with what’s been set in front of us, just like all the characters do. Regardless of what choices they make and what they face, they found ways around, reasons to keep moving forward when everything seems hopeless. They make these choices out of love – like Wynonna handing over Peacemaker to Willa because of Waverly’s love for Nicole and her love for her sister, or Constance taking Willa to get her sons back. Every villain is a hero in their own head, and Constance just wanted her family back. This shows how far people are willing to go for the ones they love and how that love can have a large impact on everyday choices.

The season ends with a cliffhanger and some shocking events, leaving viewers with more unanswered questions. What happened to Waverly, and who is she pointing the gun at, are the biggest two right now. But we also see Wynonna make a large sacrifice in shooting Willa to save the town, with Peacemaker turning blue; does that mean Willa was sent to heaven not hell? This shocked viewers because even though Willa was evil in a sense, she was still family, and somene who had just entered the Earps’ lives again.

Season 2 will hopefully get to explore Wynonna’s reactions to shooting her sister and the effects it has on her personally. We also learn that Waverly isn’t an Earp so that leaves the question as to who she really is; she just started finding herself in season 1 and this new information could send her spiraling… but first she needs to become unpossessed. Dolls has been taken away, leaving Black Badge in the hands of Wynonna and crew so season 2 may bring a rescue mission featuring Dolls, Wynonna and Nicole which would be an interesting dynamic to watch.

Verdict: Wynonna Earp deserves a second season. The writing is both funny and dark, and bring light to different subjects, while giving viewers representation that matters. In 13 episodes it’s touched the hearts of thousands who aren’t ready to let this show go.

Alicia Mills

 

Check out our Wynonna Earp interviews:

Showrunner Emily Andras

Melanie Scrofano

Dominique Provost-Chalkley

Katherine Barrell

Tim Rozon

Shamier Anderson

and comic creator Beau Smith, coming soon

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