Wynonna Earp: Emily Andras Talks “Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers”

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Syfy
Syfy

*** This article contains major spoilers for the Wynonna Earp Season 2 episode “Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers”***

That resounding thud you heard everywhere on Friday night was the jaw of every single Wynonna Earp fan hitting the floor. Not only did viewers get to experience what Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) would be like with the demon goo inside her, but we learned some shocking and completely unexpected news as well. In the episode’s final moments, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) told her sister that the goo had let her in on a secret. Cut to a confirmed pregnancy test later, and we’ve got a full on pregnant demon hunter on our hands y’all!

What is in Wynonna, demon or human, and how this pregnancy happened still remains a mystery to be dealt with, but for now, we’re still getting over the shock. Not only is Wynonna now mysteriously pregnant, but Jeremy (Varun Saranga) broke the news that Black Badge has left town leaving no trace behind. One person they didn’t take with them when they left was poor Agent Lucado (Kate Drummond), who succumbed to the power of the goo and met an untimely end. Wynonna and the gang also were introduced to Ewan (Brendan Fehr), who along with his mysterious order keeps the peace in the Ghost River Triangle, and we saw Juan Carlo (Shaun Johnston) reappear.

One of the biggest surprises for fans about the end of “Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers,” written by John Callaghan and directed by April Mullen, is that Scrofano, showrunner Emily Andras and everyone associated with the show was able to keep the pregnancy under wraps. Scrofano became pregnant in real life, shortly before the start of Season 2, and it caused Andras to change direction and in the end, completely lean into the idea of a pregnant superhero. The show will not shy away from showing a pregnant Wynonna Earp and everything that goes along with that.

As we do every week, The TV Junkies spoke to Andras for our episode breakdown. This week was a little different, given the huge reveal, and she details for us what her reaction and that of the network was when they first heard the news from Scrofano. She also discusses why she wanted to incorporate the pregnancy, instead of hide it, and how in awe of Scrofano she was throughout filming of Season 2.

Waverly: He said your body wasn’t an ideal fit, it was too crowded. Wynonna, you’re not alone.
Wynonna: You can say that again.

The TV Junkies: So if we thought the end of last episode was a shock, this week’s proved you guys always have bigger and even more shocking tricks up your sleeve.

Emily Andras: We do. We like a good cliffhanger and we have more coming this year, but I’d say this one is a doozy. It’s pretty big, and can I just say I’m so SHOCKED that nobody guessed! I’m so delighted. I have to say, it’s so gratifying in this day and age with the internet and television spoilers, how many things have been kept a surprise.

TTVJ: This story direction obviously was chosen based on Melanie’s real life pregnancy. What was your reaction when she first told you?

EA: Well, pretty typical because in TV the joke is always that you’re never going to be prepared enough and something is always going to come out of left field. The truth is, I’m so gratified that we had a second season, we had done a lot of prep work on it and was feeling pretty smug, which is why the universe decided to kick me in the uterus. Look, nobody loves Mel more than me, both as Wynonna Earp, but also as a friend.

She took me out to coffee and I was telling her what the plans were for second season, and she got very emotional and said ‘something’s up.’ I knew the second she got emotional what it was. As a showrunner, you immediately go into problem solving mode, but first of all I didn’t want Melanie to be upset. I love Melanie and obviously, I’m a huge feminist and I’ve been a woman and had children in this business. It’s always a test about putting your money where your mouth is, so I knew we were going to deal with it. Nobody was going to get fired.

At first, I thought ‘do we do the sitcom thing where we just disguise it?’ Then I did the math and it was crazy how far along Mel was going to be when we were shooting. Basically her due date was a week after we were finished shooting, so we didn’t really have any options. One option was that we could’ve pushed the show, but given the fact we’re such an underdog show we couldn’t be off the air for two years. It was not going to work and Syfy was not going to go for it. I assured Mel I was going to make it work and I meant it.

The hardest thing was I went to New York Comic Con and had a meeting with Syfy, and really went in with this mission. I pitched Syfy that ‘our lead is pregnant and I want to play the whole thing. I want to do pregnant superhero. I want to do Marge Gunderson from Fargo. I think our show has done so many things that are progressive, and this is just one more example of it, and something that’ll put us on the map.’ It was a room full of dudes from Syfy and they could not have been more gracious. They were so happy Mel was OK and trusted me to figure it out. So it was honestly one of the more positive experiences of my career, just saying ‘I want to do this!’

I always remember that Mel and I were walking on the NYCC floor, Tim was there and some other people, but she was still early enough along that she wasn’t telling people. We were walking along and I turned to her and said ‘Mel, they are going to let us do this.’ She got so emotional and I felt so terrible because we were like seconds away from meeting fans. It really felt like we were going to ban together and make this work and we did.

I don’t want to say too much about it because obviously, it’s just the beginning of a big storyline for us, and it’s not the only storyline this year. That was also important to me because she’s pregnant, but she’s still Wynonna Earp, the Earp heir. I think that’s critical. But really, I cannot speak highly enough of this cast and crew and how they rallied around Mel and the situation, in the middle of winter, in the middle of Alberta. It was amazing.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: This wasn’t your first time dealing with your lead actress getting pregnant, Anna Silk did during Lost Girl.

EA: I guess I just write really sexy shows and everyone wants sexy times reading my scripts. With Anna, she was barely pregnant at the end of the season, so we didn’t have to really play it. She had a bit more time off at the beginning of the following season, where she was absent and we made the character disappear. Guys, I want you to know how extraordinary Melanie is because I don’t want to put a number to it, but I think Mel, as of this episode, is already six months pregnant. It’s also, ‘what is genetically wrong with that girl?’ Do you see what she looks like? She did ballet the whole time she was pregnant and I was like, ‘can you just eat a danish?’ She’s a magical princess.

TTVJ: Even for me, as someone who isn’t the lead of a TV show, and I know you know because you got pregnant during Lost Girl as well, it’s very scary for women to have to go in and tell work that they are pregnant. I’m sure it was great to have you as an ally, someone who understood some of what she was going through.

EA: I did. I hope Mel found me an ally, and I hope she felt having me as a showrunner would be the best scenario. I really did mean what I said, which was ‘we’re going to figure it out.’ It was important to me too that Mel was OK. I would’ve never been able to forgive myself if, by doing the stunts or working her too hard, something had happened. I really thought, at the end of the day, it’s just a TV show and Mel is my friend, and she’s done so much for me.

We just have to put our money where our mouth is, and this is what I said to the network. The fanbase has such a flavor and they are built on respect, kindness and female friendly circumstances. It kind of makes me tear up, but we have to put our money where our mouth is, as far as we have to live by those principles we have put out in the universe. We really did strive to take care of her, and just cross our fingers because if something would’ve gone south, we just would’ve had to shut down, or made different choices.

I’ve been pregnant in this industry, and the first time I got pregnant was right when I was due to take over Lost Girl, which is terrible timing. I even had a director say to me ‘What are you doing? This is so stupid.’ I thought that was pretty sexist and unsupportive, but whatever. So I knew what that was going to be like, but I also feel like the reality is that women have babies. If having children is important to you, everyone is going to have to make these decisions, and there’s no perfect time to get pregnant. The truth is when I got pregnant it was very hard, but I didn’t have to be on camera. I didn’t have to be as physical as Mel was, right?

TTVJ: Right, because seeing as Wynonna is the Earp heir and the only one capable of wielding Peacemaker, I’m guessing she’s not going to be sitting back and just eating ice cream. Can we expect full on pregnant demon hunter?

EA: Yes, she has to because things are only going to get worse from here on out! We haven’t even really started to see what these Widows can do, what the villains can do, what the plan is. Even starting next episode, we start to realize just what we’re dealing with and she cannot sit down. At the same time, we really need her to take care of herself. There’s so many questions with this pregnancy too: How the hell? Who the hell? What the hell? What is this baby? How did this happen? Who is the father, or what is this father? There’s a ton of questions that have now been raised and a lot of intriguing stuff about the storyline left to come.

Mel and I both talked about the fact that we’re not going to be shopping for breast pumps for the next seven episodes. It’s really important to us that that’s not what the show turns into. I feel really strongly, and it’s why Marge Gunderson and Frances McDormand was my model for what we were going to do with this storyline. In Fargo she got pregnant, and her husband [Joel Cohen] was the director and said ‘I think we should just play the character pregnant,’ but the story is not about her being pregnant. She is pregnant, but she’s an exceptional, exceptional cop. That’s what we’re going to do with Wynonna, she is pregnant and has some choices to make. Wynonna is a modern woman, right? But she still has to do her job, and is literally the only person who can do her job.

The other thing that appeals to me about doing a story about Wynonna Earp pregnant, is that I think you see a lot of storylines on television where the character is delighted to be pregnant — a sitcom wife or an unexpected pregnancy where the child is welcomed into a traditional home. I think there are a ton of women like Wynonna, who maybe drink too much at the beginning of their pregnancy, don’t know they are pregnant for a long time, or maybe made choices and it’s unexpected. I feel like in the grand tradition of Wynonna Earp that is also an interesting story to tell. It was important to me that, while it’s Wynonna that’s pregnant, she is still Wynonna Earp and has all those flaws and characteristics that Wynonna had before she was pregnant.

TTVJ: You know Frances McDormand won the Oscar for Fargo, so maybe we can get Mel an Emmy…

EA: You have no idea how hard I’m going to rally for Melanie to get an Emmy because I actually think her work is on par with anything I’ve ever seen on television. It’s honestly exceptional, she’s so good this year. She’s incredible! Don’t even tease me!

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: How different is what you guys chose to do story wise from what you had originally planned for Season 2?

EA: That’s a really good question, and it’s funny because one of my writers asked me that recently and said ‘What did we throw overboard?’ When you’re a showrunner you’re always moving forward like a shark, you just can’t afford to move backwards. It’s almost like putting out a newspaper everyday, you just have to deal with the problems ahead of you and once the problems are dealt with, you just have to move forward.

I think we salvaged quite a bit of the story once we decided, with Mel’s permission, that we were going to play Wynonna as pregnant, but as “Wynonna Earp: kickass demon hunter,” a lot of the story stayed the same. One of my biggest joys though was connecting with Steve McMichael, our stunt coordinator, who with his wife, Leslie McMichael, is also one of our stunt coordinators. Leslie herself has had five kids, so Steve was so excited about figuring out how a pregnant woman would fight, in a way that was interesting. He was so excited about the opportunity to work with Mel and her stunt double to really try this new way of fighting, and have a pregnant superhero do stuff that hadn’t maybe been done on television before. So I think there’s some really delightful stuff coming down the line that show she still is a superhero. His work with her was so wonderful and it’s going to be really cool. I think you’re going to like it.

TTVJ: I really loved that Waverly knew about the pregnancy before Wynonna. That felt right given that the Earp sisters are at the center of the show. Is that why you wanted to do it that way?

EA: I have to be careful about tooting my own horn, but I absolutely loved the way we did the reveal. I was so proud of it. I thought it was so interesting that we used the tentacle as the catalyst for Waverly to figure out that Wynonna had secrets. I love the look on Wynonna’s face, by the way, when she says ‘Now you know all my secrets.’ I don’t think that’s the secret Wynonna thought Waverly was about to reveal, but we’ll just park that for later, Bridge.

Of course it comes down to the sister, and who is going to be Wynonna’s biggest coach and supporter through this, but Waverly. It always comes down to the Earp sisters for me. That is the heart of the show, that is the romance of the show, I’ve made no bones about it. I just thought Waverly was the kindest person to let Wynonna know this is happening too, so I was really thrilled with the way that reveal happened. I really think you don’t see it coming, but it still felt organic and earned, if I dare say so.

TTVJ: What can you share about the pregnancy? Waverly said the demon said it was too crowded, which would mean the pregnancy existed before she became Goononna. Is this a demon inside Wynonna or is she actually pregnant?

EA: We have to find out, emphasis on the “we,” Bridget. We all just have to wait and find out. All we know at the end of Episode 205 is that Wynonna has a positive pregnancy test. We don’t know how far along she is, we don’t know if it’s genuine, we don’t know what the hell this means or what this is.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: I thought it was interesting that you had April Mullen directing this episode and next week’s, the first time you’ve had a female director on the show. Was that done on purpose, to reveal the pregnancy, or was it just how the schedule worked out?

EA: You know, it’s so funny I wish I could say it was deliberate, but the truth is directors are highly in demand, especially good female directors, thank god! It was complete coincidence, and we had booked all the directors almost a year in advance, and before we knew Mel was pregnant. It was complete serendipity and worked out amazingly. I think April does an exceptional job. Obviously, there’s lots of pregnancy to come and I really think all the directors have their own fresh take on it that’s really interesting.

TTVJ: So let’s jump into the episode, which was absolutely amazing and super compelling to watch, but why, oh why did you have to make it so gross and disgusting? That rat tail smoothie alone made me want to hurl.

EA: I know, and then so much more happened — fingers got cut off and Lucado’s head exploded! Last year there was a real mandate from Syfy where they wanted a high gore factor, and then this year they kind of backed off a bit. They were like ‘it’s still important that as a horror show we have those elements, but we don’t need to have quite as much gore.’ I still think we went for it all the time. When I showed the composers this episode they were like ‘this is the most disgusting episode.’ I almost didn’t realize how gross it was until I saw the whole thing together. I will tell you, I think it’s our grossest episode this whole year. Prove me wrong and you can debate me on that when you watch the whole season. This is definitely our horror episode, so if you made it through this one, congratulations! 25 Earper points!

It’s so interesting though what pushes other people’s buttons. I never thought the rat smoothie was that gross because I knew the rat was fake, but so many other people were like ‘I can’t even watch that.’

TTVJ: Well, it really was the tail hanging over the side of the glass. That was even more gross.

EA: I love it. I love it! Way to go Props department! That stuff is so hilarious and the details are so delicious. They really go for it. I love it.

TTVJ: ‘I even salted the rim!’ You guys, no!

EA: I think Mel improved that line ‘you’re not Vegan, are you?’ Because of course, Dom is Vegan. So shout out to Mel.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: Speaking of Melanie, outside of the whole reveal, we got to sit back and really enjoy Melanie Scrofano put on a master class as Goononna. I know it wasn’t good to have the goo in her, but as an audience member I LOVED it hard core.

EA: It was such a tour de force! She’s so incredible! I want to write a whole femme fatale movie starring Melanie Scrofano, specifically for her, because she is so fun evil. Also, just her physicality, even when the demon is inside her, her sensuality, sexiness, flirtiness and that’s the other reason I don’t think you see the pregnancy coming because she’s so sexy in this episode. It’s like ‘what is happening?’ Her bra doesn’t fit, that’s one of the clues, but you know?

I say this a lot, and I have a lot to say about all my cast, but don’t tell them, it’s just incredible that we got this cast. It turned out to be the most incredible, good luck I’ve ever had. Thank you, universe! Melanie, I want you guys to know, is a once in a generation performer for me. I think she is exceptional. She always surprises me when I’m watching a take or watching an edit. It feels so natural and organic, but at the same time it’s always so surprising and fresh. It’s unexpected and she makes choices that are different all the time. She doesn’t have the same bag of tricks which we inevitably all have, even writers, she always gives me something new, but it always feels earned.

TTVJ: I agree because I watch the episodes and I know she’s good, but then I watch this episode and I’m like ‘No, she’s GOOD!’ You forget and it’s like I take it for granted sometimes.

EA: You take it for granted with all the fun happening with the goo, the dragons, the sexy Doc and the WayHaught, and you forget sometimes how incredible Melanie is. You know what else I think is such a testament to Melanie, other people, their game is elevated when they are in a scene with her. All the best scenes of the other characters are when they are in a scene with Mel because she is just so in the moment, and everyone else just raises their game. I’m honestly not kidding, and I know this is an underdog genre show, but I honestly think Melanie is the best actress on television right now.

TTVJ: This is going to be Teenage Bridget getting so upset that Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t nominated and stops watching the Emmys every year all over again.

EA: I know, but everybody knows that about Sarah Michelle Gellar. If Melanie has any legacy, I will be happy because I just want people to know, I’ve worked with a lot of actors, how amazing she is. Now you know she was doing it pregnant and wasn’t feeling well all the time. She’s just so good, and to be so vulnerable and so tough and such a badass and so funny. She doesn’t have a weakness! She’s lucky she’s so likable too or we would hate her. She’s also so fun, nice and real! She has made that character come to life beyond my wildest dreams! She always wants to get better too.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: One casualty I’m pretty sad about is that we won’t be getting any more of Kate Drummond and Agent Lucado. Why was it time she met that gooey fate and is it hard to say goodbye when you have someone like Kate playing the character?

EA: It is and god damn Kate for being such an exceptional person, which doesn’t help as Lucado is a good person we love to hate. It’s about midseason and it’s time we start seeing casualties. We needed to show the goo actually was malignant and evil. We needed to show that it was actually dangerous. The truth is Gooverly hadn’t done anything truly evil, we really needed to demonstrate the danger and we needed to up the stakes, so we needed it to kill someone.

I feel quite happy about the exit we gave Lucado/Kate because she had the most incredible kickass fight scene with Dolls. It was amazing, and she worked so hard at it, and did so much work for it. She wrote me the night it was done and said ‘I’m so sore, but I have so much adrenaline pumping through my veins. I had such an amazing time!’ I also kind of like that Lucado, in her last moments, does try to save Dolls, so she does have a moment of grace where she tells him to get out of the way.

I do think Lucado was weak, ambitious and selfish and that kind of weakness in this situation is just going to get you killed. That’s the truth. We have a lot of goofy times in Purgatory, but also, it’s a dangerous world and she wasn’t keeping her eye on the prize. She was susceptible to the seduction of the goo. I also think we have to just keep upping the villains. I really liked the idea, at the beginning of the season, of a workplace boss who was horrible. We’ve all had that boss who was completely immune to Wynonna’s charms, and whose own selfish gains were going to compromise the rest of the team. I feel like that storyline had been told for Lucado, so it’s time for her to go. It’s nice that that’s the connection to Black Badge, at the same time we get the news that maybe Black Badge is just done.

I wrote Kate a huge email thanking her for her work on Wynonna. She was so gracious about it and I think she had so much fun. It’s been so nice to see the fanbase embrace her for what she truly is, which is an inspirational woman who reinvented her life and lives with so much joy and spirit. Look, I would use Kate again in a second on another show, but I think Lucado’s story is over.

TTVJ: Yeah, because you had to go and blow up her head. I don’t think you can really come back from that one!

EA: I know! No, that one is pretty hard to come back from. We can regrow a hand on our show, but I think it’s time to start racking up the stakes, start racking up the casualties.

TTVJ: Jeremy reported to Dolls that Black Badge has completely left town and there’s no trace of them. What is that about, and should we still be worried they’ll come after Dolls?

EA: We should be worried about everything, all of the time. The writers, we try very hard to remember all the hanging threads of storylines we have out there, but we don’t even know what this means yet. And we only have Jeremy’s word for it, so stay tuned!

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: There was an episode last season where we got that really great Dolls/Waverly moment at the Earp Homestead, and we got another great one here. Shamier and Dominique were really great in that moment.

EA: That was one of my favorite moments last year, when they were having coffee in Episode 110 right before the assault. They are so good and I say it all the time, but I really love that we can take any two characters and put them together, and we get an unexpected chemistry or take on the situation. I really tried to do that with every single pairing this year, in one form or another, because I’m intrigued by that stuff. I like sticking different characters together and establishing what their relationship is, regardless of where the rest of the group is at any time. I thought that was quite a lovely scene because he has a fondness for Waverly, she really likes him, and they know each other quite well now. He knew instinctively when she told him the truth that she was telling him the truth.

TTVJ: Will we see any fallout for WayHaught from some of the stuff Goononna said to Haught in the police station? Did any of that have some truth to it?

EA: Well, at the end Wynonna says it wasn’t all true. I think some of it was true, but I think it was incredibly harsh, and even Wynonna herself knew that when she said to the goo ‘you didn’t have to do that.’ I think, more importantly, WayHaught now has to take a breath and discuss what happened when Waverly was gooed, and they are going to talk about it. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: Poor Haught really got tossed aside hard!

EA: Poor Kat has been tossed aside so many times! Her stunt double is all black and blue too! Don’t discount Haught, she has some moments coming down the line where maybe she’s sick of getting her butt kicked and is going to kick a little butt herself. I also want to say she’s not out of danger. Oh, it’s so horrible, Bridget! It’s so wonderfully delicious and there’s so many possibilities, really.

TTVJ: I assume this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the order and Ewan, especially since he has the plate. I know you won’t go into specifics, but will we see those guys and Juan Carlo more in the future?

EA: Maybe. [laughs] They obviously have something important — Juan Carlo has information and the order has the plate. So I would be surprised if that was the last we’ll see of those dudes.

TTVJ: I’m almost scared to ask, but we’ve gotten rid of the goo, so what’s ahead now in Episode 206?

EA: Let’s just say we still haven’t dealt with the broken seal and what that was all about, the new Gardner sisters, who we’re calling the Widows, and Tucker Gardner. We’re starting to get to what they want and what they are willing to do to get it. Also, we have only left Wynonna finding out that she’s pregnant, so what does that mean and how is she going to tell everybody?

 

What did you think of that Wynonna Earp reveal? Add your thoughts about the surprise and the new direction the show is taking below!

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy and Space.

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