Wynonna Earp Postmortem: Emily Andras Talks “Steel Bars and Stone Walls”

*** Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on The TV Junkies and has been republished here with the consent of its author and Emily Andras. ***

*** Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Wynonna Earp Season 2 premiere episode “Steel Bars and Stone Walls” ***

Well, Earpers, Wynonna Earp is finally back! The supernatural thriller roared back with a Season 2 premiere episode that let audiences know it had no intention of slowing down anytime soon. The action-packed premiere episode, “Steel Bars and Stone Walls,” written by showrunner Emily Andras and directed by Brett Sullivan, saw Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and the gang on a mission to rescue Dolls (Shamier Anderson) from Black Badge. Unfortunately for Wynonna and her team, even though they did bust Dolls out, they were forced into an unwilling alliance with Black Badge going forward to hunt down all demons let into the Ghost River Triangle by Willa.

As if rescuing Dolls wasn’t enough to deal with, Wynonna also had to contend with Eliza (Lost Girl and Reign’s Rachel Skarsten), a Black Badge “friend” of Dolls and is still getting over having to shoot her older sister at the end of the Season 1 finale. Elsewhere, thanks to the goo she touched, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) seems to have something evil inside her and girlfriend Nicole (Katherine Barrell) has started to notice everything may not be quite right with her.

In order to get a deeper look at everything that went down in this week’s episode of Wynonna Earp, we discussed the episode with showrunner Andras. Just as we did in Season 1, readers can expect these type of post-episode breakdowns after every Wynonna Earp episode this season. Our interviews with Andras will go live as soon as the show is done with its Friday airing on Syfy and Space Channel (around 11 p.m. ET). As always, we invite fans to join in on the discussion, and add their thoughts and predictions about the show in the comments below.

The TV Junkies: You really hit the ground running in this episode, literally. All the stunts and fights were great and everyone seemed to get a chance to be involved. Why did you want it to be so action-packed?

Emily Andras: I really thought of the premiere as almost the second half of Episode 113. It felt like a two-parter with all those cliffhangers and because we had given ourselves — or cursed ourselves — with all those cliffhangers, we had no choice but to answer those questions. I didn’t want it to be a bunch of talk and exposition. I wanted it to feel really fun and really blistering.

Also, I’m hoping the show has gotten some buzz between first and second season so what I wanted to do was really reward hardcore Earpers from Season 1, but also maybe entice new people to watch the show. I just knew I wanted it to be a really fun thrill ride and you can reset the chessboard in the next couple of episodes, return to Purgatory, and get everybody back to basics a bit. I just wanted it to be fun. I wanted it to capture the spirit of what made Wynonna so great in Season 1, but also a lot of dark stuff happened at the end of Season 1. I wanted to assure the audience that we were still able to have fun, even with all the sister killing and whatnot.

TTVJ: Something that surely made a lot of people happy was having Rachel Skarsten as a guest star. How did you convince her to not only come on the show, but also roll around in her underwear?

EA: Not only that, but it was the week before Christmas in Calgary in subzero temperature! This is how I convinced her: ‘Hi Rachel, it’s Em. Can you please come to Calgary in subzero temperature and fight Melanie Scrofano in your underwear?’ She said ‘I’m already on the plane!’ It was like the day after the Reign wrap party.

But the reason I was able to convince her is because Rachel Skarsten is an incredible person, such a baller, and she’s such a good, loyal friend. I can’t thank her enough. I think she had a ball. Frankly, if I looked like Rachel I would just be rolling around in my underwear all the time.

TTVJ: Right? Just walking down the street.

EA: I would just always be like that. At the post office, basically everywhere.

She just did it because we have a relationship and we’re old friends. She heard good things about the show and that it was a lot of fun and it’s a big departure from Queen Elizabeth on Reign. She honestly did it though as a stone-cold favor to me, so I owe her a monkey’s paw of wishes at the end of the day.

TTVJ: You totally said ‘I hear corsets suck. Why don’t you come over here and wear nothing?’

EA: ‘Why don’t you shed that corset and go full on bra and underpants?’

TTVJ: I did really enjoy the banter between her and Melanie and that their characters weren’t all petty.

EA: She really held her own. As we all know, Melanie Scrofano is a tough act as far as being able to get into a snark fest with her because you’re going to lose, but Rachel was incredible. They had great chemistry both onscreen and off. They got along like gangbusters which really helped.

Also, I think it was nice to have an infusion of new energy because the truth is, as much as we all love this show, everyone has been off for months. So even for the cast, it takes a bit to get back into those roles, back into the rhythm, and back into what makes Wynonna special. Bringing on Rachel allowed us to play around with those relationships, and I also liked that Eliza didn’t turn out to be the bad guy. It’s a good lesson for Wynonna this year that she’s going to have to wrestle with her trust issues. This was a good baby step towards examining that.

TTVJ: Blood signatures being required by Black Badge doesn’t really signal a good thing.

EA: Hey, I don’t know how you guys do things in the States, but that’s what we do on our sub club card. Full on blood signatures and then the sixth sub is free. Generally, that’s not that good and if you take a look at those contracts they are clearly ancient and written in some language that doesn’t look like typical English legalise. It’s interesting to me how far this team is willing to go to protect and save one of their own, but inevitably they seem to keep digging their hole deeper and deeper as far as commitments and destinies. At least they are all in it together, ha ha!

TTVJ: By the end of the episode Wynonna finally takes a minute and lets everything hit her. Damn you for having Melanie Scrofano cry! Then to twist the knife more, Shamier shows up and is crying too. Why do you want to hurt us like that and where is Dolls headed?

EA: Because I love you so much I want to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you, but I want you to feel like you had a cathartic experience when you watch Wynonna Earp. You’re my babies and I want you to feel like the highs were high, the lows were low, and you feel cleansed and ready to take on the world when you’ve watched an episode of Wynonna Earp. I’m not going to go a 5 out of 10, guys. I am here for it and just deliver it all. If it makes you feel any better I cry every time I watch that scene. It’s the same for me and I have to hydrate before I rewatch the episode.

Where do we go from here? It’s super complicated. The truth about rescuing Dolls, and this speaks to something that’s quite important to me, is that obviously it’s a very heightened reality and a show about supernatural creatures where a lot of crazy stuff happens, but there has to be a degree of believability or you’re going to lose the audience. In the same way I think that characters always have to act within character or people aren’t going to buy what you’re selling.

So the truth is that Black Badge is incredibly powerful, they have Dolls on charges of treason and so he can’t just go home to Purgatory. That’s the first place people look. If The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones taught me anything it’s that prisoners, when they escape, try to go home to their families. So there’s just no way that Dolls is going to be able to move back into the Earp Homestead and become a part of Purgatory again. This is obviously a major challenge.

I thought it was so fitting for poor Wynonna that so often she loses the people she loves. Even when she does all the right things she doesn’t get the reward. That’s going to weigh on her so stay tuned.

TTVJ: Just when I think I can’t love Doc any more, he is willing to sacrifice himself to go get Dolls and get out. Any hints on what Dolls told him? More importantly, will Doc get a new hat?

EA: Oh my god, the hat is a huge issue for everybody — network, producers, Tim Rozon! There’s going to be a mutiny if he doesn’t get a new hat. Hatgate 2017!

I cannot give you any hints about what Dolls told Doc, but I think it’s surprising. I love Tim Rozon so much and it was so glorious to see him back in action as Doc. He was so happy when he found out that Doc Holliday would finally get some freakin’ dynamite! It all came together. The other thing about Tim is that he’s so glorious as Doc, that when he’s in scenes with our other actors, you see them up their game because he’s so in it. When people hear him do Doc, it’s so different than what Tim is like in real life, that everyone remembers what they’re supposed to be doing.

TTVJ: Let’s discuss WayHaught, a couple that not many people are interested in AT ALL. You gave us some fun little moments, but overall I’ve got a bit of a pit in my stomach. It seems like Haught may be feeling like something is up with Waverly, and if we know Officer Haught, I’m thinking that’s not something she’s going to let go of.

EA: But that’s good, that’s love. It’s good that Haught maybe knows Waverly well enough to suspect something is wrong with her or different about her. At the same time, it’s a conundrum because they are really just starting their relationship, so how well does Nicole really think she knows Waverly? She doesn’t, right?

Every time those girls are on screen together it’s just so delightful. I love the stuff with Waverly and the British accent and the ‘oh my god Waverly, that’s the worst British accent I’ve ever heard in my life.’ I love that the tension between them at the end of the episode maybe comes from career stuff more than anything else. But we’ll see where that leads…

TTVJ: Dom was so great at doing little subtle hints to let us know this is not our Waverly.

EA: Dude, it is a season of Dom. You have no idea how good she is this year. And what we put her through and what we asked of her. That girl is just a stone cold star!

TTVJ: What can you tell us about who or what was in that box at the end? Most importantly, will they be getting a manicure this week?

EA: Why would they get a manicure? Their hand jewelry is completely on fleek, Bridget. More like we should be getting Victorian finger gloves like that. It’s the new 2017 summer trend, along with Eliza underpants, that we should all rock.

Who or what is in the box? Nothing good! When you have something that is living and is kept in a box that looks like Indiana Jones: Warehouse of Doom I don’t think it’s Santa Claus!

What did you think of the Wynonna Earp Season 2 premiere? Add your thoughts and predictions for what’s to come in the comments below!

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy and Space Channel.


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