For the uninitiated, Syfy’s Wynonna Earp is a combination elements that made its genre forebears so great — it’s a sci-fi Western a la Firefly (though it is terrestrially-based), there’s a kickass female Chosen One who must slay a host of monsters like Buffy, and the show’s family and team dynamic is strongly reminiscent of Grimm. Yet as dedicated Earpers know, the Wynonna Earp that Emily Andras has wonderfully adapted is also unique in its whip-smart dialogue and oodles of charm, as Wynonna herself (the unmatched Melanie Scrofano) continues to battle demons in the town of Purgatory and fulfill her destiny as the Earp Heir.
Season 2 kicks off very soon after Season 1’s confrontation with Willa and the opening of a portal that has brought new demons into town. The latter helps elongate the series, since Wynonna essentially got rid of the core revenants by the Season 1 finale. It also opens the door for a variety of Monsters of the Week, which this show handles with humor and aplomb, especially since early episodes also use that convention to add new allies to the core Earp team. Speaking of that team, the new season starts with a loss, at least temporarily, as Dolls (Shamier Anderson) has been forced to succumb to his werewolf side after being captured by Black Badge. In order to free him, Wynonna, Waverly (the delightful Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon, charming and inscrutable as always) must sign away their souls — nearly — to that shadowy organization.
Dolls’ absence is strongly felt, though the team does pick up a new forensic tech as well as those aforementioned allies. Yet the never loses focus on its sister leads; their dynamic is reminiscent of Supernatural, and it’s a great central relationship (and a unique one, at least gender-wise) to help ground the “wacky stuff,” as the sheriff refers to it. Wynonna and Waverly are constantly talking not only about their personal pasts, but also references to things from Purgatory, their high school years, and more. Wynonna Earp has always had one eye to the past, and it helps enrich the show’s world. As new characters are introduced (if they are locals), they immediately fit into and expand that shared history. Again, it gives a grounded, real-world feel to the show, and provides Wynonna with even more dimension, as she references her wild-child days from the past that help deepen our understanding of her.
Since the mechanics of the Earp Curse, the responsibilities of the heir, and the involvement of Peacemaker (and Wynonna coming to her own peace with it) dominated the first season, the new episodes have more time to relax a little and focus on the group’s dynamics, which is where the series really shines. Doc is Doc, and he has feelings for Wynonna that are reciprocated, but she’s also actively pining for Dolls — while also not being afraid to get involved with other intriguing men who cross her path (“Perry marked you with blood?” She asks a beleaguered soul. “Ugh he’s so hot. Any chance he crawled out of an ancient grave?”) It’s an extension of a joke from the first season regarding Doc and his emotionally unavailability and jobless status attracting Wynonna as her type. But Wynonna isn’t all jokes; she’s deeply feeling the loss of Willa, and has real, emotional resonance over family issues. Scrofano is so charming and natural in this role, and hilarious too; her timing is perfect, and all of her reactions are GIFable. Neither she nor Provost-Chalkley are afraid to be goofy and genuine, and the payoff for viewers is immense.
As for Waverly, the show is starting to explore her relationship with Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell) in a way fans will mostly certainly adore. But it also allows the women to believably figure out how to have this relationship in a way that is universal — Nicole resists Waverley’s PDA at work and doesn’t feel she takes Nicole’s job seriously, while Wynonna worries that Waverly is becoming too co-dependent. However, this show being a sci-fi series, it also teases Waverly’s new demonic side, and postulates whether or not she is even an Earp.
Some of the monsters may be a little hokey and feels like old-school Syfy, and there are more than a few gross-out moments in the first few episodes. But that’s also part of the show’s elemental charm. The bad guys and shadowy organizations and the lore are all secondary to these bright, charming characters, whose whip-smart conversations and asides make rewatching a reward. The new season also leans in even more to adding to its female cast in all roles (friends and foes) in smart and complicated ways. There is no such thing as just one type of woman, and beyond all of the demons and prophesies and Black Badge schemes and more, Wynonna Earp understands and embraces establishing that truth as its sacred mission.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Wynonna Earp Season 2 debuts Friday, June 9th on Syfy