*** 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. ***
*** This article contains major spoilers for the Wynonna Earp Season 3 episode “Colder Weather” ***
The mood was heavy on this week’s Wynonna Earp as everyone on the team took turns mourning Dolls’ (Shamier Anderson) death. True to their characters, the grieving process was different and looked different on everyone, but at the end of it all, Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and her team were able to come together and properly say goodbye as a unit. While some questions remain, the group did get some answers when Quinn (Peter Mooney, Burden of Truth) an old Black Badge friend of Dolls, came to Purgatory.
There were also a handful of revelations in “Colder Weather,” written by Emily Andras and directed by Ron Murphy, as Nicole (Katherine Barrell) shared everything that she has remembered about surviving Bulshar’s cult with Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley). Viewers also learned that the mysterious new stranger in town is actually Kate (Chantel Riley), Doc Holliday’s (Tim Rozon) wife. How will these things change things moving forward? In order to break it all down, The TV Junkies once again spoke with showrunner Andras.
The TV Junkies: In our last chat, you mentioned that your approach to this episode was similar to Buffy’s “The Body.” Why was it so important to make sure the team grieved for Dolls under somewhat normal circumstances?
Emily Andras: First of all, I want to be careful about this because Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “The Body” is literally one of the best episodes of television that was ever written. The person that told me he wanted it to feel like that was Josh from SYFY, which I appreciated and his point was ‘you have to write it. The other writers can’t write it because it’s going to be a really tricky episode.’ I was both flattered and terrified by that.
So I watched “The Body” again, and the thing that was interesting about it and part of what makes it work, and part of what makes Buffy work, is that it’s about teenagers. It’s about people who have not necessarily had to deal with the mundane nature of death and the way that it doesn’t always give you the answers you’re looking for because they are young. Everyone on Wynonna is a grown up and Wynonna has faced a shit ton of death! Way more than the average person I would say — from her father to Willa — her job is killing and that is one thing she has in common with Buffy. So I realized it couldn’t be exactly like Buffy’s “The Body,” but what I did take from that episode, and I was going to hold myself to a high standard, was that everybody’s response to Dolls’ death and their own grief had to be entirely in character. That meant that it was going to be entirely different from one another. So that, more than anything, is what I sought to do.
Dolls is an exceptional character and he was a huge part of our show. He was a hero and he gave up everything to save his family. It would’ve been so disrespectful not to do an episode that was about that. Also, I think we needed to answer a few more questions about who the hell he was for the audience. There was a lot of stuff we didn’t get to say because Dolls was just not the most forthcoming type of gentleman.
As far as it not being supernatural, it’s the same reason we decided to make Doc and Wynonna’s baby just a baby. I think that the thing that keeps Wynonna Earp tethered to the ground is the same thing that keeps it tethered to the fandom. These are still real people dealing with real emotions having real relationships and dealing with real tragedy. There was never any question that it wasn’t going to be supernatural. They had to deal with Dolls as if he was their friend who was dead, regardless of the fact that he may have been supernatural and that’s what we strove to do.
TTVJ: A really nice touch that helped lay out the mood of the episode was that you guys used a slowed down version of the theme song. How did that come about?
EA: It came about quite late in the mix, to be honest. When we were at playback, it felt really jarring and unnatural — even disrespectful — to slam from Wynonna’s devastation and “I don’t know how I’m going to put Dolls in the ground” to the cheery, familiar twang of our theme song. Again, it was late in the process so I hesitantly asked our (top notch) composers, Rob Carli and Peter Chapman, if they thought they could quickly cook up an instrumental version of “Tell That Devil”. At the same time our (amazing) music supervisor, Andrea Higgins, reached out the original writer/singer of the song, Jill Andrews, and this was the version Jill sent back! We were all blown away by it. I think we should release the entire haunting version on iTunes etc. because it’s so beautiful. But not yet. For…reasons.
TTVJ: One of the side effects of the team taking the time to grieve this death is that we got some really great conversations between different pairs of characters, from Doc and Waverly to Wynonna and Nedley and then the ongoing friendship that’s building between Wynonna and Nicole. Did you find that you and your writers really used this as a chance to explore those relationships more?
EA: 100 per cent. It was a chance to put people together who maybe necessarily didn’t share screen time because there’s no doubt that no matter their differences, the one thing everyone in the group felt was love and devastation. They loved Dolls and now they are absolutely shattered that he’s gone. They’re also just in natural conflict. It’s very obvious that Waverly and Doc would have very different opinions of what went down. Nicole is a very practical and pragmatic person, and I really liked that Wynonna recognized that Nicole was a good person to ask what we do next. What is the planning like? At the same, I like that Nicole got to be vulnerable and let down her guard with Waverly and come clean about the guilt she felt.
We knew this was going to be a quiet episode and be dependent on rotating our characters with one another. I am pretty pleased with how it went and I just think it’s nice in third season spending time with people you love talking about something so important.
TTVJ: Definitely seeing people like Wynonna and Jeremy, who you don’t see a lot of together, was just really nice.
EA: I really thought that was a good thread for the episode that there was such incredible tension with Jeremy knowing that Dolls had been dying for awhile, and Wynonna feeling so betrayed that Dolls hadn’t told her, but Jeremy was such a good scapegoat for that. I really was very moved when she goes over to him and hugs him at the gravesite just to say ‘you are part of the group. I need you and I am sharing my grief with you.’ It was really powerful and important to solidify, in the face of this loss, that everyone else is back in and that they have each other’s back. I thought Varun did excellent work.
TTVJ: It was really nice too to see Jeremy seeming much more confident than he was last season. Is that something we’ll continue to see from him?
EA: Definitely. I think you see it in Varun as a performer, but also in Jeremy the character. Everybody loves the bumbling nerd character, but in typical fashion I don’t want everything to be trope-y. There’s so much more to Jeremy and he has to grow. It’s nice to see that his choice to stay with these people is actually helping him to become a man in the same way that we are literally seeing Waverly become a woman. They are also becoming people that they never dared to expect which I like very much. It’s kind of the value of finding your people.
I think Jeremy is uncertain about a lot of things but he’s pretty clear on his own moral standing. I think he would’ve already done the work and wrestled with the implications of keeping Dolls’ secret. He’d know that he had to honor Dolls above everyone else, and I think that’s where the confidence came from. He wasn’t even that surprised at Wynonna’s lashing out. If anything, he feels terrible that he couldn’t save Dolls, but there was never going to be a choice for him where he was going to betray Dolls’ trust. Ultimately, Wynonna knows that too.
TTVJ: Peter Mooney guest starred this week as we got some more insight into Dolls’ past and his history with Black Badge. Wynonna warned him to never come back, but might we not have seen the last of him?
EA: Well, Peter Mooney can come and stay whenever he wants. He’s so delightful and he’s so hideously unattractive! I feel like he had 75 wardrobe people around him at all times because they just wanted to bask in his loveliness. He’s a small time guy from the prairie and my joke on set is always to say to new actors ‘thank you so much for coming to tropical Calgary in February,’ but he’s from Winnipeg so he didn’t mind it at all. He really did us a solid though by doing this episode, and I think he had a great time.
It’s nice that we have a connection to Black Badge out there now too, however tenuous. Anything can happen. Wynonna warned him, but maybe if he comes back delivering the goods, sure he can come back.
TTVJ: There was a pretty big revelation in this episode as Nicole told Waverly what she has remembered about her past with Bulshar and being the only survivor. She was working on that with Dolls, but is it safe to say she’s going to keep pursuing that and if so, how might Waverly be involved?
EA: I think it was a huge indication of the WayHaught relationship that she did confide in Waverly. Yes, that is the natural person that she’s going to be with in terms of finding more information on what the hell happened. There’s a long game here because a lot of the people who had additional information are gone. Dolls is gone. The person who seems to be behind the massacres, this guy who killed Dolls, is gone. It’s going to be some work for Nicole for sure.
It’s also nice that it’s Waverly’s time to take care of Nicole, in a way, and support her and support her uncertainty. We certainly haven’t heard the last of that story.
TTVJ: It felt right to once again end an episode with a really great Earp sisters moment.
EA: Oh, did you notice that, Bridget?
TTVJ: You were so mean with that ‘you’re my favorite person in the whole wide world’ line.
EA: Are the Earp sisters important to you? Dot com?
TTVJ: Just a little. Just a little. Not only does Wynonna say Waverly is her favorite person, she then ‘Baby Girl’s’ her too! Thanks a lot.
EA: Listen, I’m not going to not come for your jugular. I want you to feel things!
TTVJ: So does this mean that despite everything with Wynonna keeping Mama a secret that they are good moving forward?
EA: I would say that they still have tons to work through, but in the face of such a huge loss they definitely realize that they need each other more than ever. What I liked about this episode is that it felt confessional across the board. A lot of people were done keeping secrets from one another. I’d say that Mama, and the specter of Mama, really plays a huge part in the next episode.
TTVJ: They’re going to be laying side by side. Oh, but Nicole come too!
EA: I know it’s so cute and finally! But Nicole wants to be pooped out by vultures, which sounds so cool. I just like that Nicole is kind of a dark horse where you’re like ‘huh? You seem so straight and then you’re kind of crazy and I like it.’
TTVJ: She’s also got a secret wife. I guess you could say she contains multitudes.
EA: Secret wives! Anyone else have secret wives?
TTVJ: Yes, we finally learned who Kate was and that she’s Doc’s wife. What is that all about because they were very cozy at the end of the episode?
EA: Oh, were they? Well, Bridget, people work through their grief in a myriad of ways. That’s all I’m going to say, but I guess Chantel Riley is Big Nose Kate. She’s pretty famous in the Wyatt Earp/Doc Holliday mythology in real life. I just think it’s interesting to think how is that possible is all I’m going to say. How can this possibly be possible? We’ll tell you later!
TTVJ: A lot of the fans are already really loving Chantel being added to the cast and she seems to really fit in great.
EA: She was perfect for the role for sure. She really exploded onto the scene for me on a show called Frankie Drake Mysteries, which is a period piece about female detectives. She’s incredible in it so I had my eye on her and then Mel [who guest starred on it] talked about how great she was. I kept thinking I’d love to bring her in and find a role that would entice her because it has to be something really iconic, with a ton of range and shades of grey to give her dimensions to play. Then of course she’d have to be a really strong female character to go against our characters.
Chantel was really thoughtful about it and wanted to hear all about it. I loved all the questions she asked about the character and it’s safe to say she’s having the time of her life. She’s loving the Earper fandom and is so excited to go to EH Con. She’s such a delightful person and in some ways it feels like she’s always been with us.
TTVJ: Speaking of Kate, we saw her turn over the Angel card for Waverly. A lot of fans have speculated that Waverly is really an angel, so what does that card mean in that regard?
EA: I’m aware of all the speculation and definitely not sitting back smoking my pipe and chuckling smugly to myself. The thing about the Tarot is that everything isn’t quite so literal. It’s all interpretation and a special read, but also you just have to trust me that when going down the Tarot cards route that we’ve researched and nothing has been chosen lightly.
TTVJ: Oh, Emily Andras, you’re so sneaky!
EA: That’s on brand. I gotta give the people what they want! They don’t want answers. [laughs]
TTVJ: So what can we expect in next week’s episode?
EA: I want to make it clear that the specter of losing Dolls is going to haunt the team for the rest of the year, but there’s no doubt after these two episodes that it’s time to get back to some laugh out loud kickassness and some juicy storylines. We’re a little back on track as far as what is the actual threat this season, getting some answers on things like where Mama Earp has been and why. Wynonna is in tip top form and the introduction of a new character that I really like. We also have one hell of a prison fight.
It’s fun–laugh out loud fun–which makes me excited because it’s the perfect one to watch live with the EH Con audience. It’s such a fun one.
What did you think of this episode? Share them below in the comments!
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space Channel.