At first glance, Wynonna Earp—based on the comics by Beau Smith—boasts a farfetched premise. Wynonna is the descendant of—you guessed it—the famous real life O.K. Corral gunslinger Wyatt Earp. Heir of the fictional “Earp curse,” Wynonna has to track down all of the resurrected “Revenant” outlaws that Wyatt sent to their graves and deliver them back to Hell. Wynonna has reinforcements in the form of her brilliant and bubbly sister Waverly, the brave and dedicated Officer Nicole Haught, half-dragon Black Badge Division agent Xavier Dolls, immortal cowboy (and historical figure) Doc Holliday, and her magic gun, Peacemaker.
After a touch-and-go struggle for funding for the series, the SyFy network finally confirmed Wynonna Earp season 4 will make its debut in the summer of 2020. Despite its financial issues, the show has a loyal and passionate fanbase, with the cast taking the convention circuit by storm and viewers rallying with a during its hiatus. But why are audiences so crazy about one little underdog modern western fantasy series?
The bizarre nature of the show only gives it more heart. Trust me, where the legendary Buffy the Vampire Slayer walks, Wynonna Earp runs. Here’s why.
The show’s titular character is played by Canadian actress Melanie Scrofano, who brings a lively and nuanced air of chaos to the cantankerous turmoil of Wynonna Earp. Wynonna never claims to be the smartest of the group, nor does she claim to be a strategic wonder, or even the most willing to join the fight. Though she starts her journey as the boozy and reluctant heir to a fortune of demons, Wynonna has proven herself to be brave to the point of recklessness, fierce beyond measure, and full of more love than a human heart should be able to hold. The “boozy” comment stands, however.
Wynonna is a dynamic character who is endearing for all of her flaws. She’s a tough-as-nails spitfire gunslinger with a sharp tongue and a stubborn streak a mile wide. She picks fights, pushes people away, and goes down long, winding self-destructive paths of binge-drinking and ill-advised sexual trysts. Though for all she might be described as having an “attitude problem,” Wynonna is also kind and compassionate.
For better or worse, Wynonna is the only one capable of taking on the supernatural threats of the town of Purgatory. She’s a woman who has lost too much and fought too hard—a woman who is not afraid to feel her weaknesses. She laughs and cries and snarls, brandishing her sharp edges like a badge of honor. She’s exactly the kind of multi-faceted heroine that viewers have been dying to see across their television screens.
From the pilot onwards, Wynonna Earp is a show committed to showcasing characters of diverse backgrounds. Many people of color are integral parts of Wynonna’s story, and present characters with complex, layered, and fascinating histories. Shamier Anderson portrays Xavier Dolls, the strategic, collected, and fiercely loyal marshal who also stands as one of Wynonna’s romantic contenders. Season 2 gifts viewers with Tamara Duarte’s portrayal of the morally flexible biochemist, Rosita, and Varun Saranga’s beloved awkward lab tech, Jeremy, while Chantel Riley makes her debut in season 3, delivering a sexy and mysterious approach to the vampiric tarot slinger, Kate.
Queer stories are also in the spotlight in this progressive supernatural series. The deeply loving and brain-meltingly steamy romance between Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and Nicole (Katherine Barrell) is by far the most solid relationship in the show. While Waverly’s fumbling navigation through her attraction to women is given the attention that it deserves, it’s never presented as the singular or most interesting thing about her. Nicole is secure and confident in her sexuality, but realistically acknowledges the outside pressures putting a strain on her same-sex relationship.
Plus, the aforementioned lab geek Jeremy is a proud gay man, so let’s hear three cheers for intersectionality.
RELATED: How Gay Is Your Geek TV?
To call the Earps’ troubles “family drama” would be vastly underselling it. From Wynonna accidentally shooting and killing her father as a child, to Waverly uncovering the mysterious circumstances of her birth, the sisters never have an easy go of it. However, there’s no limit to what the two women will do for each other, and their incredible bond stands as the foundation of the series.
Unfortunately, things don’t get any easier for the Earps as their family expands. For starters, when Melanie Scrofano was pregnant, the actress’s good news was as an emotionally harrowing unplanned pregnancy. To complicate matters further, Waverly’s girlfriend Nicole has an often contentious relationship with Wynonna, which has been used to divide the group on numerous occasions. But through betrayal, anger, heartbreak, and family members lost and won and lost again, Wynonna and Waverly always find themselves standing together on the other side of it all.
RELATED: 8 Fantasy Families We’d Love to Join
A fantasy series is only ever as good as its villains, and fortunately, Wynonna Earp does villainy right. Whether it’s a one-off baddie like the Jack of Knives, or a recurring thorn in our heroes’ sides like Bulshar, series showrunner Emily Andras knows how to terrify. There are always very real stakes raised by these antagonists, as not only does every battle hold physical dangers for all of our favorite characters, but very real mental and emotional implications. And sometimes humans can be just as dangerous as the supernatural threats of Purgatory.
The best thing about the villains on the show is that it’s very rare for any of them to be cut and dry. Wynonna Earp does a wonderful job of showing us how a character made decisions to put themselves on the path they’re travelling, and it’s all too easy to feel sympathy for the people on the other side of Wynonna’s gun. Whether a character is possessed, or desperate, or even a product of years of manipulation, morality is never assumed to be black or white.
Bobo Del Rey—portrayed by Michael Eklund—is the pinnacle of a dynamic villain. Audiences have seen him be brutal and merciless, but they’ve also seen the way that he loves and protects people who need him. Having witnessed his humble beginnings as the jealous but ultimately good and selfless Robert Svane, viewers’ hearts break to watch him become an unlucky victim of circumstance. Through every awful action Bobo commits, we watch the pieces of the man he could’ve been shine through, and hope against all odds that he can find a way back to goodness.
The Love Story
Wynonna has been known to sleep with anyone from Heaven to Hell and back. Quite literally. More power to her, honestly. But through all the casual dalliances and the will-they-won’t-they tensions between her and Dolls, her relationship with Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) is a steadily burning torch that neither of them can let go of.
From the moment our wild heroine and that roguish cowboy met, they crackled with chemistry. With Doc’s close friendship to Wyatt Earp in the 1800s—which eventually dissolved with the deal for immortality Doc made, and the consequent 130 years he spent at the bottom of a well—it feels like a tragic love story centuries in the making. However, it seems like history is only doomed to repeat itself, as Wynonna and Doc spend most of their time going back and forth disappointing each other.
Whether the fated couple is together or not, there’s always that bit of love mixed with hurt in equal measures. They have a deep, untouchable understanding of one another, which makes them at once each other’s best ally and greatest pain. Through the good and the bad, their lives are inextricably linked, and they can’t pretend they’d have it any other way. No matter what kind of bad blood is between them, they’re always the first to answer the other’s call to arms.
At the end of the world—which they have seen many times—it is always Wynonna and Doc when all else has been lost.
What's to Come?
If you aren’t caught up with the heart shattering finale of season 3, what are you even doing? Run to your nearest television screen and queue that up right now. There are major spoilers ahead.
So, Waverly was taken against her will to the ominous Garden of Eden, and Wynonna’s ever-loyal man, Doc Holliday, went in after her. Not only is Wynonna alone, but the legendary Earp curse has allegedly been broken. Where does that leave things for Wynonna Earp season 4?
Well, after Wynonna drags herself out of the forest, she finds that the two most important people in her life aren’t the only ones who have disappeared from Purgatory. The town has been cleared out, and the only other person left behind is the rundown Sheriff Nedley (Greg Lawson). Wynonna and Nedley haven’t always seen eye to eye, but they’ve always respected each other, so this is a set up for a fantastic duo who do things a little off the books. The team-up bodes well for some peak comedy moments, as well as some really hard-hitting emotional beats.
Back at the homestead one of the walls brandishes the name “Valdez,” and those viewers who are familiar with the comics are likely bursting at the seams in excitement at the prospect of seeing perhaps one of the coolest characters in existence. In the IDW comics, Black Badge Division Agent Valdez is an ancient Mayan warrior princess who, while at first intimidating her, builds a strong friendship with Wynonna. It’s impossible to tell whether season 4 is going to bring us a Valdez who is involved with Black Badge, or give her a new story connected to the Garden of Eden in some way. No matter the outcome, I hope she’s here in the series to stay.
Season 4 will also bring Wynonna a new purpose now that the Earp curse isn’t holding her back. Perhaps Wynonna will be able to reconnect with the daughter she sent away now, or maybe her familial woes will only continually get worse once her mom finds out that the angelic lover she’s spent half her life looking for is dead. Maybe Waverly will find her way back to marry Nicole, and nothing bad will ever happen to any of them ever again. Anything is possible, right?
No matter what happens, Wynonna Earp season 4 is sure to deliver. Filming is set to begin for the series in January 2020, with an unspecified premiere date later that summer.
Featured still of "Wynonna Earp" via Seven24 Films