Friday, 8 July 2016

CONTROLEntertainmentOnline Reviews: Wynonna Earp Season 1






Whenever a new TV show begins I wait to hear it’s status before deciding whether it’s worth a watch.
There’s no point binging and falling in love with characters, if they’re going to be dragged off our screens by the grim reaper. A show has to really sell me with the trailer to get me to make an exception, and Wynonna Earp did just that.
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The show starts off rather familiarly with a woman getting off a bus in the middle of nowhere - like that ever ends well. It’s then we’re first introduced to the demons that will plague this beautiful show. We then go on to learn Wynonna’s returning to town for a funeral, she’s a reluctant heir to a family of demon killers, everyone in the town hates her & she has an adorable sister with a non-adorable boyfriend. All in all, not bad for a pilot episode.
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From then on things did improve. We got ourselves a lovely little team made up of Wynonna, her sister Waverly, Agent Dolls who works for the black badge division and reluctant hero Doc Holliday.

The eps fluctuate from being about demons of the week to potential long running plots and family drama, so again, not given the opportunity to get too comfortable. Our lovely friend Bobo Del Ray is a capable villain; never swallows up more screen time than needed, owns being bad, has some great one-liners and wisely, there’s no soppy story ordering us to feel sorry for the bad guy. Along the way we meet Nicole Haught, a Police Officer with the hots for Waverly, lose the dumb boyfriend and gain the supposedly dead sister Willa.
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Like every other show that exists though, Wynonna Earp is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It is great to have the plot constantly moving, never resting on anything for too long. We go from in the beginning hunting the 7 and demon of the week in between, to stopping the witch lady who wants to put her children back together and wreak havoc. After all that we’re given a little bit of breathing space as Wynonna is kidnapped. But then we’re back at it with a cult run by Bobo’s enemy, where Willa is discovered, and the remaining episodes is the built up to Willa going bad. That’s a lot of storylines to get through in 13 episodes. I can’t help thinking it would’ve been better to just focus on one or two of those storylines, and save the rest for later potentially.
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Then we have the fact that whilst the show may be kicking ass on the lady front and have a POC as a prominent cast member, another POC was still tortured and killed to make a white character feel pain. You introduce a blacksmith who knows enough about the supernatural to keep off the grid, let her be a friend to your characters. Don’t bring her in for a few conversations that no-one ever remembers, fall prey to the big scary witch, and then no-one remember she existed to care she’s dead. It’s not smart. It’s not clever. Just like LGBT people, POC are not disposable and only here to serve your needs.
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Which brings me to my next point; Nicole goes from being openly flirtatious with Waverly who has a boyfriend, to disappearing for a few episodes. During this time Waverly dumps said boyfriend and when Nicole is back on screen, things are reaching boiling point with them. They both like each other, Waverly doesn’t really know how to come to terms with it, until of course she does and then hey presto! They’re together. So, being together means an increase in screen time right? Nope. Still 2 minutes in an episode devoted to them making out, odd (and very brief) general conversation, then it’s back to the making out, sister drama and Waverly admitting her love to make Wynonna hand over the gun. If that sounds like a heck of a lot of information to process in such a short amount of time, it’s because it is.

More LGBT characters and couples do need to be at the forefront of our screens, not in the background. As much as Waverly’s admittance of love was undoubtedly cute, it also doesn’t feel earnt to me because I haven’t seen anything on screen to suggest their relationship is that deep. Is it possible she only said it so Wynonna would hand over the gun? Possibly, but I doubt it.
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Of course where there is critique for Waverly & Nicole’s underdevelopment I must also give the show credit. Why? Because both characters made it to the end of the season and into a potential season 2 alive. Yes, you read that correctly. A lesbian and bisexual woman ended the season of a show alive. That’s in a season where they were both shot, because you know how guns just love to hunt down LGBT characters. But the guns lost this time, as Waverly’s injury ended up being minor whilst Nicole was wearing a bullet proof vest. Yes, again you read that right. Bullet proof vests do exist in TV land, it’s just most showrunners are unfortunately allergic to them.


Again there’s no spoilers here but the finale and season altogether was a cracker. I really hope the show is renewed, because it is the second best show I’ve watched this year (Sorry but Supergirl takes the first place crown). The show has its negatives, but enough in it to turn them into positives. The finale laid down the foundations for some great storylines in the finale, I’m just hoping that a certain cliff-hanger isn’t resolved straight away, because that would feel like a cop out. On the whole Wynonna Earp season 1 gets an A Grade.