02nd Apr2016

‘Wynonna Earp: Episodes 1&2′ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Melanie Scrofano, Tim Rozon, Shamier Anderson, Dominique Provost-Chalkley | Created by Emily Andras

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The Wild West has been a long-held fascination in American culture, with hundreds of movies, books and TV shows produced around the subject. There has even been crossover with science-fiction before, with the beloved (yet short-lived) Joss Whedon show Firefly. Well now comes another Wild West fantasy series in the shape of Wynnona Earp – which is based on Beau Smith’s IDW comic of the same name.

The first two episodes of Wynnona Earp set up the story quiet succinctly: After a troubled adolescence spent in and out of juvie, following the death of her father and the disappearance of her older sister Willa, Wynonna Earp reluctantly returns to her hometown of Purgatory for the funeral of her uncle, which sets in motion a series of events that sees Wynonna claim her birthright – inheriting Wyatt Earp’s mythic abilities and his famous gun – a Colt .45 pistol with a 12-inch barrel – along with his legendary old West enemies… 77 revenant demons!

However, as is per the wont of television series, Wynonna is not alone in her quest. Not only is she deputised as a special agent in the Black Badge Division (a top secret sector of the U.S. Marshals), but she also has her own Scooby gang in the shape of her new “boss” Agent Xavier Dolls (Anderson) and her younger sister Waverly (Provost-Chalkley) who, it turns out, is the foremost authority on Earp and the men he killed.

If there’s one thing you can say about shows on Syfy, it’s that the don’t waste any time in telling their stories. Many shows will spend multiple episodes build their world and their core cast of characters – especially now, given American TVs obsession with long-form storytelling (whatever happened to just having a “monster of the week”?). But not Syfy. We’re only 2 episodes in to Wynonna Earp and we know everything we need to… for now. Though I’m sure the showrunner Emily Andras will have a few surprises up her sleeve. After all, Andras previously worked on Lost Girl which, under her watch, turned into a fantastic – if underrated – fantasy series.

Also there are some plot threads alluded to in these first two episodes that I’m sure will be expanded on a the series continues – and there’s at least two that really held my interest: namely what Doc Holliday’s long-term plan is (besides what we’re told at the end of episode two); and just what role Waverly has to play in all this. Yes she’s a “consultant” with the Black Badge Division thanks to her knowledge but that’s not the only connection she has to the revenant demons, the death of her father and the disappearance of Willa Earp – as we discover in the closing moments of episode 2; an episode, it seems, which is crucial to the momentum of the show going forward.

With a cast that are unifomally fantastic across the board – with particular props to Dominique Provost-Chalkley, whose comic-relief is some of the goofiest and most charming I’ve seen in a LONG time – Wynonna Earp is definitely a Syfy show I’ll be tuning into each and every week. Here’s hoping it becomes the breakout hit it deserves to be.

Wynonna Earp – Episode One: *** 3/5
Wynonna Earp – Episode Two: **** 4/5

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