*** 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 spoilers for the Wynonna Earp episode “Look at Them Beans” ***
Who had money on those water guns from the Wynonna Earp trailer being filled with kombucha to save an Ogre Nedley? This week’s Wynonna Earp episode was a joyful romp and fun-filled break for viewers who maybe needed to destress a bit after Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and Co. escaped the Garden. “Look at Them Beans,” written by Shelley Scarrow and directed by Scrofano, also gave viewers a glimpse as to what has become of Purgatory during the 18 months that Wynonna, Doc (Tim Rozon), and Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) were away.
Through all the fun and games, it’s also pretty clear right off the bat that Nicole (Katherine Barrell) may have been the one most affected during that time. She is no longer the sheriff and has been working hard with Rachel (Martina Ortiz-Luis) to keep the Homestead safe. In lieu of Haught’s demotion, this week introduced us to a boatload of new players in Purgatory, including the new sheriff and magistrate that seem to be running the place. Showrunner Emily Andras once again joined us to break down the episode, look ahead to what this new Purgatory may mean, and talk about Scrofano’s stunning directorial debut.
The TV Junkies: We just got everybody back home and cozy at the Homestead and now Wynonna is being kidnapped again! Can’t you just let us breathe for one week, woman?
Emily Andras: I gave you a scene where nobody breathed at the end of last episode, and something is always coming for everybody at the Homestead. I’d also say not everyone is home yet, meaning Jeremy, Robin, and Calamity Jane.
TTVJ: Jeremy sure looked in charge and may be connected. What’s happened to our lovable science nerd?
EA: Hey, man, 18 months! He’s had to deal with Wynonna, Doc, and Waverly the same way that Nicole has. There’s no way of knowing yet how he dealt with that or what he was subject to. So stay tuned!
TTVJ: Let’s of course talk about Melanie Scrofano and her awesome directorial debut.
EA: What a debut, eh? It’s hard to say this because I don’t want to seem patronizing, but I’m just so PROUD of her! It was really never in doubt though. Mel has an incredible eye and she’s so empathetic, which we see in her performance as an actress. She has such awareness of what makes the script or scene work, emotionally, but what I was so impressed with, in terms of directing, is that she has a real aesthetic and sense of geography and space. That’s really hard. A lot of it is math, physics, and just art and making choices, but her knowledge of the nuts and bolts of it all was incredible.
She just didn’t miss a beat and you see it, but the cast and crew were just not going to let her down. It was so important to them to support her and make sure that she absolutely nailed it. In the end, it was easy because she had planned so much ahead of time, thought about it all so hard, but there were a lot of times on set where she had to react, or make different choices, or you get in the weeds and you have to make adjustments. I just think she’s so incredible and it felt really natural. Nobody knows the show more than Wynonna Earp herself. Nobody is more beloved or respected by the crew than Melanie. I am sure it is merely the debut of a long and celebrated career as a director.
TTVJ: And it was the first episode you all had come back to shoot after the two-year hiatus, right?
EA: We did it at the beginning because Mel is so busy the rest of the time, right? She’s on set 18 hours a day and so much of directing is prep. You need three weeks to figure out how you’re going to do the stunts, how to do the gags, cast the new characters, and how this is going to work. We really had to do it first up to give Mel that opportunity to prepare. We hadn’t been together for two years by the time we reconvened, so it was nerve-wracking insofar as we all had to find our step. But it worked! I think it worked beautifully and set the tone for the rest of the season.
TTVJ: She didn’t take off on screen either. It’s not like Wynonna just wasn’t in the rest of the episode.
EA: No! I even remember saying things to her like, ‘Are you sure you want to do this scene hog-tied?’ She’s hog-tied acting as Wynonna, but she also has to yell ‘Action!’ and track the scene, right? She said, ‘No, no problem! I’ve been doing yoga.’ It was just her dedication and there were a lot of times where she could’ve made it easy on herself, but she just didn’t. She wanted the whole experience, she didn’t want any compromises or special treatment. When you try at something that’s really difficult and challenging, the triumph is so much more rewarding.
One thing I think a lot in this business — and I’d never speak for Mel, but this has been my own experience — but women often wait until they are completely ready and have all the tools, whereas men traditionally are more likely to be like, ‘I’ll figure it out as I go.’ Mel spoke what she wanted into existence, was determined to try it no matter what, and then just by virtue of knowing she was in it, just succeeded. I hope that’s what more women are inspired to do by Melanie’s story. Say “Yes!” Say “yes” and figure it out as you go because you can do it.
TTVJ: It’s such an incredibly relatable feeling for any job out there.
EA: I am always terrified! I think when you really care about something you should be a little bit terrified, to be honest. If you really truly care about it you should be like, ‘How the hell am I going to pull this off?’ That’s what makes you obsess about it and try harder to put your best foot forward. Those are the most satisfying things to succeed at.
TTVJ: I absolutely loved what Mel did with the scene in the Homestead where Doc is running around outside and we’re just slowly panning while focused on Nicole. It felt like something we had never seen on Wynonna Earp before.
EA: There’s something psychological about that moment and Hitchcockian, even. It was such an effective way to convey that versus having like 20 shots of Doc outside running around the Homestead. You’re really with Nicole, emotionally and psychologically. Mel’s just so clever and so, so smart.
TTVJ: The world of the show, and Purgatory itself, seems to have opened up to all kinds of demons. Can we expect to keep seeing new monsters each week?
EA: I would say we definitely see a pretty great monster next week. Maybe one of the scariest ones we’ve ever done, if I may humbly put that on the table. You can tell me later if you all agree or not. We are definitely dealing with a world of new monsters and demons and standing ever further from the idea of revenants, and even vampires and whatnot. But as always on Wynonna Earp, sometimes the biggest villains are ultimately those that are human. We met Cleo (Savannah Basley), the magistrate, this week, and she was manipulative, very crafty, seemed to have her own agenda, and there’s obviously a lot of mystery still there. You can’t necessarily judge the worst of the worst by appearances. That’s the issue with Purgatory is that you really don’t know who to trust.
It’s a big deal that Wynonna doesn’t have Peacemaker right now. She doesn’t have the tool that makes her an effective demon hunter, but this episode was about her realizing that she does have her team, as goofy as they are. If they have to show up with kombucha-filled water guns, a t-shirt gun, and a lasso they will still get it done.
TTVJ: What even is your show?
EA: What is my show? The audience has taught me that they are in for it, so my show is the most joyful show to write for. Now we feel such a connection to the audience and fandom that we laugh in the room when Shelley pitches a t-shirt gun. We feel such a kinship with the fandom that we know where we can push things on the comedy spectrum because we’re always going to give you the feels, too. We’re going to keep it genuine, even amongst the moments that are goofier or pure comedy.
TTVJ: Well that one good thing about Cleo is that she brought back the chili cook-off. I know a lot of fans have been waiting for that.
EA: She sure did! Also, that actress, Savannah Basley, is next level! Her face, her timing, and her craft is something that can’t be taught. She reminds me a bit of another Scrofano, and we certainly haven’t seen the last of her and what she can do.
What a hilarious excuse to bring back the chili-cook off, though. A bunch of writers will get mad at you, Bridget, if you refer to it as anything other than the “Chili Cook-off for Freedom”. Everyone really insists on using the full thing. That was definitely one of the most challenging things we’ve ever done on the show, trying to make it plausible, but still kind of fun. Whether we succeeded or not, I don’t know, but at least it was a goddamn hootenanny.
TTVJ: So all the t-shirts that will be made better say “For Freedom” is what I’m hearing.
EA: They better say “for Freedom” and you will like to know that Melanie Scrofano hand-crafted the logo. It was definitely on brand, and I wouldn’t say this was our most subtle episode of television we’ve ever done. After the events of the Garden, we just earned ourselves a big ole’ laugh.
TTVJ: However, on the other end of the spectrum, those 18 months have really haunted Nicole. As a viewer, I’m excited at the prospect of what this will mean and what will be explored with the character, but how worried should we be about Not!Sheriff Haught?
EA: I think we should be pretty worried, but there is some joy and happiness in that she held out as long as she could. She has this beautiful kid to take care of, Rachel, who I hope you’ll all fall in love with in the same way we’ve fallen in love with Martina. She does have her family back, and we still have a lot to learn about the choices that Nicole made in those 18 months and what that looked like. Look, I really want people to think about how long 18 months is to be in despair by yourself and waiting for everyone you love to come home. That’s a long time to keep the faith! I’m not sure the strongest among us would keep the faith the whole time. Certainly, there will be consequences and questions to be answered as to what happened during everyone’s time apart.
TTVJ: Seeing as these five months during the pandemic has felt like 5 years, I can’t even imagine…
EA: That’s what I feel like! Remember pre-COVID? It feels like 1,000 years ago. Think about how much we change in a matter of months. I feel like a year is a really hard marker with Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and you put six months on top of that? I don’t know but I’m not surprised that Nicole is not the same as she was.
TTVJ: She can come organize my closet though if she wants. I’ll take that.
EA: Of course! She’ll just lock it up and hermetically seal it.
TTVJ: We don’t wear any of those clothes anyway. It’s all sweat pants all the time now, right?
EA: That’s what I feel like. My bras are an artifact and I’ll find them like, ‘what even were these for?’ We’re never going back, Bridget!
TTVJ: It may not be Pussy Willows, but The Glory Hole is right up there as a fine Purgatory establishment I’d like to visit.
EA: You are welcome to visit it, and it’s a delightful place. I can’t believe we got away with that name. Subtlety is not really our specialty. We know what you came for.
TTVJ: The name or that curtain…
EA: The vagina curtain? Again, a very specific modification requested from our director, Melanie Scrofano. But also, it all works because the cast is so game. Doc is so in it. Mercedes is so in it. Tim and Dani [Kind] were just so great.
TTVJ: But what’s going on with The Glory Hole’s owner, Amon (Noam Jenkins)? He and Doc together were really hot.
EA: 10 p.m. cable! They were pretty good together…
TTVJ: And obviously, we have to talk about Dani Kind and that dance…
EA: Oh, are you a Dani Kind fan?
TTVJ: I like her a little bit. That dance and the song! The song selections from [music supervisor] Andrea Higgins are just so good this year. She’s always been fantastic, but they feel especially on point and next level.
EA: There’s some stuff that’s coming that just makes me bawl when I think about it. There’s some stuff down the line that is just so good. Our composers, Robert Carli and Peter Chapman, deserve credit too. That hilarious ’80s-cheesy ballad when they’re wrestling Nedley is just so on point. It’s just such a pleasure to work with this cast and crew, everyone understands each other, and so it’s a really safe space. Andrea knows that I’m up for her pitching something kind of wild, or wacky, or to try stuff we wouldn’t have maybe tried in the first season. It’s such a pleasure and I want people to be a part of creating this fun world. She has such an incredible ear. There’s stuff coming that is just next level.
TTVJ: But yes, everything about The Glory Hole was so good.
EA: Even just the shot of Doc walking in with so much swagger.
TTVJ: That moment was in the trailer, but watching it in the context of the actual scene was just so good.
EA: It’s like watching masters at work right now. That’s what I feel like. I’m just so in love with the cast and their dedication. It’s such a pleasure to write for them because it always will be elevated on screen and so much better than what you imagined in your head. I think this is the only show I’ve ever been able to say that about.
Shout out, too, to Shelley Scarrow for writing another banger. That girl’s brain is just a party all the time that I want to visit. She’s so fun, so brave, and so creative. I love the kombucha stuff, and she’s one I’d read any story that she ever delivered.
TTVJ: It was a perfect Shelley episode in so many ways.
EA: Right? She’s the perfect person to know about cooking. Vegan chili? Not a step was missed! Even on set, I was like, ‘This has to be really specific, guys. You don’t want Scarrow coming down on you.’ Honestly, that girl is like walking Wikipedia! She’s amazing.
TTVJ: I definitely paused on the juice bar menu to check out those selections.
EA: Weren’t they amazing? This is the other thing, just to spread the praise, where you give a couple of ideas and the art department just runs with it. The names of those things were unbelievable! If I don’t get a cocktail called a “Cock Holliday” at the next convention where we’re together, then I’m officially lodging a complaint, Earpers.
TTVJ: The only other thing I wanted to touch on was Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience) guest-starring as Casey. He was so much fun. How did that come about?
EA: He’s so great! Andrew Phung is a good Calgary boy who grew up there. He’s one of Canada’s most beloved actors. He knows everybody and is just so genuine. He bought everyone these lovely Vietnamese buns from the best Vietnamese bakery in Calgary. He stayed at his parents’ house. He just has an energy where you feel that you immediately like his character when you meet him. You get that Casey is different, fun, chill, and cool. He brings a bit of a twist on a traditional “stoner” character, but you also understand instinctively why Wynonna thinks he’s OK even though he’s part demon. It’s definitely not the last we see of him.
TTVJ: What can we expect next week?
EA: I would say next week is more of a classic horror episode and actually quite scary. We start to learn more about the threats that are in Purgatory and the Ghost River Triangle. We learn more about our villains this year, both demonic and human. There’s another element of the authority keeping the Ghost River Triangle in quarantine. Things get pretty serious next week, but still maybe with some smooching.
Wynonna Earp airs Sundays at 10/9c on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.