Wynonna Earp Postmortem: Emily Andras Talks “Holy War Part Two”

*** 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 “Holy War Part Two” ***

Wynonna Earp, what did you just do? If you jumped out of your seat while watching the end of this week’s Wynonna Earp episode, we’re betting you aren’t alone. In a very surprising move, Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) shot Holt (Ty Olsson) in the back as he walked away, seemingly to make peace with Doc (Tim Rozon). This came after Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) confronted Margo (Paula Boudreau) about Nicole’s (Katherine Barrell) deal and ended up killing the matriarch of the Clanton family. Yes, it’s safe to say that while not intended as such, “Holy War Part Two,” written by Brendon Yorke and directed by Ron Murphy, served to be quite the midseason finale.

Thankfully, everything wasn’t all bad this week. After a couple of misfires and not quite clear previous attempts, Waverly and Nicole are now officially engaged. In front of their family and friends, WayHaught cemented their feelings for one another once and for all. Rosita (Tamara Duarte) also made a splash with her return as she and Wynonna worked towards reconciliation. Showrunner Emily Andras spoke to The TV Junkies for her weekly postmortem to discuss Wynonna’s shocking decision, what it means for her and Doc, and why now was the right time for a WayHaught engagement to happen. Andras also looks ahead to the final six episodes of Season 4, currently being filmed in Alberta, and what they may hold in store. 

The TV Junkies: I know this wasn’t planned as a midseason finale, but wow! You sure left us with a lot!

Emily Andras: I know! What are the odds? This is the crazy thing about Wynonna Earp: it’s both cursed and blessed. Sometimes things go crazy and sometimes there’s a pandemic, but it turns out Episode 406 was the perfect midseason finale. We got some good stuff, some bad stuff, and a lot to look forward to when we come back. Plus, summer which looks amazing and has been incredible. Ta-da! You’re welcome.

TTVJ: The blood feud between the Earps and Clantons seems over now that Wynonna has killed Holt and Waverly killed Margo. I literally jumped out of my seat when that happened. What was Wynonna thinking in that moment?

EA: She is just done with it. She just has become a little hard at having to kill over and over and over again. Being in that cycle of violence over the last several years has taught her that there’s really only one thing that stops that and it’s death. She made a choice in the moment, and there’s something to be said about her making a big speech to Peacemaker, and Peacemaker seemed eager to go and start fighting evil again. The curse is over and there’s a lot to be said that Peacemaker maybe shouldn’t even work anymore. It’s kind of done its job, but Wynonna seemed to coerce her pet back into action. That relationship between woman and gun is a little codependent, and maybe that’s not so great that Wynonna was so eager to shoot someone in the back just to end what she thought was the feud. Stay tuned!

TTVJ: Well, she had also just learned that it was the Clantons who wanted her baby.

EA: That’s it, right? She had different information than Doc. But I also think that we’ve seen that Mam is not Holt, is not Cleo, is not Billy. In the same way that because of her last name, Wynonna and Waverly have had to suffer for Wyatt Earp’s actions, the Clantons have had to suffer for Margo’s actions. Wynonna doesn’t have the luxury of nuance or discussion. She just lives in a kill-or-be-killed, got-or-get-got world. I definitely think the fact that you jumped is the right sensation. It was a shocking and dare I say, cowardly move from Wynonna.

TTVJ: And she did it right after Doc said in the last episode, “Any man that shoots another man in the back is not one that deserves to be known or remembered.”

EA: Maybe Wynonna doesn’t give a shit about being known or remembered? What does she care? She just wants it to stop happening and the enemy to stop coming. Sure, Holt was upset and devastated listening to Doc in the moment, but what was going to happen the next day? And the day after that when he was recovered and was refueled by rage and vengeance? 

I often think the best fights on television, as highlighted by a show like The Sopranos, is when both parties involved are right to some degree. I think both Wynonna and Doc have a point, and I understand both of their viewpoints on the issue. Doc is tired of the cycle of violence, the fighting, and the blood feud that never gets better. It’s endless and endless until you’re a prisoner to it. Whereas, Wynonna doesn’t feel like she has the luxury of being where Doc is at. In the moment, they came after Nicole and Mam was going to kill Waverly with Billy Reaper. If I’m Wynonna, I don’t have time for these beautiful words or platitudes after 200 years of living. I’m in the moment now, and if I have the chance to end it and have one good night’s sleep, then I will. 

TTVJ: I was really shocked and thinking, ‘How could she do that?’ But they wanted her baby, and I can understand killing for something like that. 

EA: And five seconds ago they literally almost killed Nicole, took advantage of her, and sent a reaper after Waverly. She sees Waverly crying on the ranch and doesn’t know yet what’s happened or who has done what to her. Holt shows up yelling that Waverly has killed his mother. So all Wynonna is driven by in that moment is her love and desire to protect her little sister above everything else. There’s so many emotions driving her decision to eliminate Holt in that moment.

The shooting in the back is the part that was so disgusting, so untoward, and so unlike Wynonna, right? He had lowered his gun. I don’t want to speculate too much, but does Wynonna even, in the moment, realize she’s made a terrible, terrible choice. Maybe? Is there anything worse than Doc being disappointed in her? No, I don’t think so. She’s clearly devastated at the end of the episode for so many reasons. It’s like finding out someone you love is politically and morally on the other side of an issue than you. Sometimes these things can be really, really devastating. 

TTVJ: Where do Wynonna and Doc go then from here in the second half?

EA: Well, we got something so beautiful and a union being cemented in the WayHaught engagement, but at the same time, there’s a definite rift between Doc and Wynonna. We really see Doc pushing towards a chance at redemption, but he’s done so many terrible things too, right? So much of the episode was about redemption. We saw Rosita coming to terms with what she’s done, and Wynonna was able to forgive her which was interesting. She was able to put things aside and forgive this person who literally tried to steal her baby while she was giving birth on a pool table. That’s a super big no-no when it comes to female friendships. 

I definitely don’t think Doc and Wynonna are OK. There’s a real, conscious rift and Doc may have to make some decisions about what it’s going to take to move forward on his own journey of redemption. If I’m Wynonna, maybe I resent that he thinks he is better than me, and can do it without me, when he’s done terrible, terrible things. He is a hypocrite, right? There’s a lot of drama to be milked in the back half. 

You mentioned earlier that the deal with the Clantons is over, but I’d argue there’s still some missing pieces there. 

TTVJ: We found out that Nicole was going to trade over Doc’s life to get Waverly back. Will that have repercussions?

EA: I’d say so. I don’t know who knows that yet, right? The only people who know that on-screen right now are Waverly and Nicole. There’s a mystery to be mined there too. How was she going to hand over Doc? What was their intention for Doc? What was the plan there and what were they going to use Doc for? Why Doc over the Earps? Why is her guilt so huge about it? There’s tons still to explore with that story and why Nicole did what she did. There’s a lot of juiciness, and it has upended a lot of relationships that we will explore in the back six. While maybe planning a wedding!

TTVJ: This is the second time that we’ve seen Waverly use her powers to kill someone. She did it last season with Bobo and now here with Margo. What kind of fallout will she feel from doing that again?

EA: You’re asking all these future questions, but that will definitely have to be dealt with. Waverly doesn’t seem to have a good handle on whatever the hell that is and how she uses it. She’s clearly in shock after it happens when she runs into Wynonna on the Magpie Ranch. She doesn’t even necessarily seem to have a memory of exactly what went down. But also, why would an angel be able to do that? What is that even about? How is she going to wrangle that power or come to terms with it? So much of Waverly’s identity is about being this incredibly kind, moral, open-hearted person. It’s crazy to think that she has the power of death in her hands. 

TTVJ: Earlier in the episode, we saw the return of Rosita, and she and Wynonna really came to a place of peace. Why was now a good time for her to make a reappearance?

EA: It just felt like they had both grown and a little distance helped. So much of Season 3 is Wynonna dealing with the fallout of giving up Alice. It’s so raw and then she’s also dealing with her mother. Distance allows you to look at something through calmer eyes. It felt more likely that now they could have an honest, grownup conversation about what transpired and why it transpired. I just don’t think there was a world in Season 3 where Rosita could’ve returned where Doc and/or Wynonna and/or Waverly wouldn’t have killed her or gotten rid of her and punished her. But through these circumstances, it felt like a good fit because Wynonna really needed her. This forced them to calm down and talk to one another.

We obviously also love Tamara, but it makes me laugh because so many people on the show have done so many bad things. It’s an ongoing theme on Wynonna that everybody makes terrible, terrible decisions and mistakes, but I find that so many fans are so willing, and want, to forgive Rosita for something that, to me, is so unforgivable. She literally was going to steal the baby. She was going to steal the baby! But people are like, ‘Yeah, but she’s so good looking.’ That’s my joke that she’s so hot, and Tamara is so charming, that people are just like, ‘Yeah, she can steal my baby.’ It may be reductive, but it does amuse me very much how much the fans love Rosita and what a delightful blindspot they have for her. 

It’s fair, though, and Rosita had no choice in the moment. Wynonna told her that she’s going to kill her last. She said, ‘It’s you or my family and I’m going to pick my family every time.’ It also just felt like the right episode because those themes came up again where Wynonna is thinking, ‘What is it actually going to take to keep my baby sister and the people I love safe? It’s going to take me being the only one brave enough to shoot people.’ Rosita is the ultimate example of that. Is Wynonna ever going to be able to have peace and move forward if she doesn’t end the curse, including revenants that she loves like Rosita, and we saw that decision play out again with Holt. It felt like a good thematic match.

TTVJ: It was so great to see Rosita again, and her back and forth with Wynonna was just so fun. There were pinky swears!

EA: Oh and Tamara was pregnant during the episode. She was such a trouper and I love her red coat. She still just totally showed up in winter ready to go. Wynonna brings all the pregnant ladies to my yard. We were just so happy that we were able to get her, and it felt good to give her story a real redemptive ending. With sexy nuns! I can’t wait to not read those fan fictions about what happens in the convent. 

TTVJ: We totally need a spinoff of Rosita and the nuns in the convent.

EA: I’d write a spinoff about Rosita and the nuns in a second! Nuns are very in right now and very hot.

TTVJ: I feel like I say this every week, but we need to talk about Melanie’s performance. Just because she’s great at crying doesn’t mean you always have to make her do it. She was crying so hard, and it was devastating.

EA: She just knows when to cry that hard and the emotion is so real. Mel is so real and such an empathetic, hilarious, raw person and that’s what makes her such an extraordinary actress. It’s such a joy to watch these actors inhabit their characters so fully, and understand so entirely, what they would be doing in the moment. For me, such an important moment was right before Waverly proposes to Nicole, she looks to her sister again, and despite her own utter heartbreak, Wynonna smiles at her sister because it’s so important to her. Those decisions that Dom and Mel make are so smart and just elevate the material. When I watch that stuff I get teary because I think it’s what has made the show work over and over again. Their commitment to the character, and that they have fully fleshed them out, makes them feel like people we know and love. 

I also think Tim is underrated. He has his own quiet devastation, and despite the fact that Doc loves Wynonna so much, he’s just not going to let her off the hook this time. It speaks to a maturity and a growth, and it’s about him holding his own actions to account. I’m so happy that after four seasons we can continue to explore these relationships as they turn and grow. It’s funny that even when people grow up and get mature there’s roadkill along the way. Maturity is hard and letting people go is hard. It was good to pair up the ending of one thing and the beginning of something else. 

TTVJ: They are all so fantastic and make scenes like Wynonna calling to Peacemaker with church music in the background just next-level.

EA: We talked a lot about that. Mel’s extremely intuitive, but that one she was like, ‘What am I doing here?’ I told her she’s just calling back the one partner who understands her. Nobody can really know what it is like to be Wynonna, and what it is to make the decisions that she has to make. Even Waverly, who always said she wanted to be the Earp Heir, doesn’t have to look someone in the eye and shoot them. Waverly gets to be with Nicole Haught and be the one everybody loves. That’s OK and what Wynonna wants for her. 

In a weird way, there’s a really interesting kismet between Wynonna and the gun. They just have a sense of what it actually means to put your soul on the line and kill someone so that others may live. I’ve always called Peacemaker her disobedient horse. Peacemaker has a soul and seems to do what it wants and makes its own judgements. But her coercing it back into battle with her? Phenomenal!

TTVJ: We need to get a little happy now so let’s celebrate the fact that WayHaught is officially engaged!

EA: Wasn’t it beautiful? Everyone is so happy for them and they’re doing it in front of their friends. There’s a joy and relief. It just feels like the right time and even better than at the end of Season 3. They’ve been through so much and to recommit while knowing each other’s flaws is so important and proof that it’s not just puppy love. They really understand one another as humans who make mistakes and get up and try again. It was so beautifully filmed by Ron Murphy and the music Andrea [Higgins, music supervisor] picked was astonishingly perfect. I hope people like it and that they don’t turn it off before that. Right when Waverly gets down on one knee, the ratings drop off and people are like, ‘Boring!’ 

TTVJ: Twitter goes completely silent again like what happened with the stairs…

EA: Now I wish I had done it on the stairs. Just kidding! Those are roped off now and an archaeological site. They are protected by UNESCO so don’t worry.

TTVJ: Why did it have to be Waverly who asked?

EA: She felt that she wanted a redo. She felt like she didn’t want Nicole’s guilt to drive her into acting. Waverly felt like she needed Nicole to know that at the end of Season 3, on the porch with the baby carrots, that she meant every word. She needed Nicole to know that it wasn’t just the tragedy and the apocalyptic feeling. She really meant it. For Waverly, she wanted a redo and to show that she meant it then, and she means it now. Also, it was a bit of forgiveness. Nicole feels so terrible about all the stuff with the Clantons and Doc, but Waverly is like, ‘I love you. I forgive you. I understand.’ 

The thing that has held Nicole back in the first six episodes is that she doesn’t think Waverly is still going to want to marry her when she finds out what Nicole had done. So for Waverly to say ‘I enthusiastically do want to marry you again. I adore you and I love you’ is so important. I definitely think Nicole had her own ideas about a proposal, and maybe that’s something we can look forward to in a cute way during the back half. How many proposals do you guys want? 17? I’m game!

TTVJ: I don’t want to bring up the frogs again, but we should discuss the hilarious scenes in the bar between Waverly, Jeremy, Nicole, and Nedley.

EA: I say it all the time, but my favorite part about the show is that the cast is so strong that you put together any combination and you get something that has a whole new incredible energy. Watching Nedley and Jeremy together was so delightful. It’s just so funny, and again, is because the actors understand that these are real people in unreal circumstances. 

I laughed so hard at Nedley trying so hard and being so sincere. He’s come so far from the first season when he refused to even acknowledge the supernatural. Now he’s wearing a wolf hat, chanting, and in the basement fighting an invisible teen monster. It’s just wonderful and I find it delightful. I could’ve watched 14 hours of that. 

TTVJ: It was also hilarious to watch Dom run from the invisible reaper and then the frogs getting knocked over. 

EA: Allison Baker from IDW did a bunch of amazing behind-the-scenes footage for us on this, but whenever you bring animals on set, they are treated like gods. The frogs had special organic oatmeal that they got fed and certain frogs didn’t get along. There’s all these frog feuds among the 20 frogs we had on set — these frogs couldn’t talk to these frogs, and these frogs need bigger dressing rooms. At one point, we had 20 frogs and then lost one when the buckets got knocked over. I have the most adorable video that Ron Murphy shot of everyone looking for the frogs. The whole crew and cast were looking and we had to shut down production for an hour. It turned out that we miscounted the frogs and they were there the whole time. The frogs were fucking with us, Bridget. 

TTVJ: Freaking diva frogs, man.

EA: Diva frogs! They went out to get a pizza and we were like, ‘Dude, we thought you were dead.’ No, they were treated like gods and we really got the Meryl Streeps of frogs. 

TTVJ: I was curious about what it was like filming the scenes where Nicole is submerged in the tub of water. What was that like for Kat?

EA: I actually asked her this the other day on set. She said it was delightful. She said she was loopy at the end of the day because it was like being in a spa. The ice cubes were all fake and the temperature was kept really warm. It’s hard for sure, but you’re basically in a hot tub all day. They take such good care of you. She said it was really fun. I think it’s probably 10 times easier than being naked in the middle of Blizzard Lake pretending to be evil Eve. 

TTVJ: Brendon had the difficult task of writing the two episodes that ended up bookending the first half of the season. I know he doesn’t want to hear it, but I think he deserves a bit of praise here. 

EA: Nobody writes a gay proposal like Brendon Yorke, and that’s the truth. He has a gruff exterior, but on the inside, he’s just a bunch of marshmallows and rainbows. It’s the truth! He really gets the emotion behind it all and why it’s important. We have just an incredible writing team this year. In the fourth season, our writers are so incredibly talented that they realize that a scene needs to do three things at once. It’s such a joy to write those scenes because our cast is so strong and you can challenge them. Lots of times we try things that don’t work, but I’ve been so completely spoiled by this show because there’s so much freedom. 

We talk about that a lot on Wynonna Earp, but there’s something about the fact that we were an underdog for so long, and in the middle of Alberta shooting it, that it just felt like we were making something that was for us. The joy of my life has been that we’ve found this community of other people who get it, and who understand the spirit and heart we put into it. There’s so much freedom in the show and how we depict the women and LGBTQ characters. It’s going to be hard for me to go onto something else, so maybe I’ll just keep writing this. I’m excited about Rosita and the nuns spinoff, though. 

TTVJ: We know you’re currently shooting the last half of the season. Can you give us any idea of what to expect from the back half of episodes?

EA: I’m so excited for you guys to see the last half. There’s a lot of highs, a lot of lows, and some really funny stuff right out of the gate. There’s some extremely emotional stuff and a lot of stuff to look forward to with tons of twists and turns. Alberta in the summer is astonishingly beautiful. I never want to go back to filming in the winter, but will if I have to. Lots of stories about love and lots of new enemies. Maybe some tricks and maybe some treats.


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