Wynonna Earp Writer Brendon Yorke On Writing Room Dynamics and Shifting the Tone

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

We may only be a few episodes into Season 3 of Wynonna Earp, but it’s already taken viewers through a roller coaster of emotions. The past two episodes in particular have been quite gut-wrenching and emotional as the team said goodbye to one of their own, Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson). Thankfully, showrunner Emily Andras has promised a change of tone to something much more upbeat in this week’s “No Cure for Crazy,” airing Friday, August 10 at 9 p.m. on SYFY and Space Channel. It’s an episode that will also see more clues about Nicole’s (Katherine Barrell) past revealed and an unexpected visit between Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and her mother (Megan Follows).

In order to get a closer look at what to expect from the episode, The TV Junkies caught up with writer and co-executive producer Brendon Yorke. Yorke wrote the episode, which is directed by Ron Murphy, and touched on what new details may be revealed about this season’s villain, Bulshar. Yorke, who has been in the Wynonna Earp writers’ room since the beginning, also spoke about some changes in the room for Season 3, as writers Shelley Scarrow, Noelle Carbone and Matt Doyle all joined the team.

 

The TV Junkies: This is now the third season of Wynonna Earp and you guys had some new faces join you in the room. How did those additions change the dynamics and what was nice about getting new voices into the mix for these stories?

Brendon Yorke: While we brought in some new writers for Season 3, I wouldn’t say the dynamics changed all that much. Alex [Zarowny] and John [Callaghan] were wonderful people to work with and Noelle and Matt filled in fantastically for Season 3. It’s tough to come into a show that’s already established, but they surfed that learning curve like a couple of rad boardheads.

Matt has a sharp wit and a great sense of humour which obviously works for Wynonna Earp. Noelle has a ton of experience in story rooms which helped bring perspective as far as how other shows develop stories and she also has a great sense of humour. The greatest change Noelle brought was to allow for the establishment of “Sports Corner” from where she and I tried to make the Musical Theatre nerds across from us appreciate international soccer, the NFL and various other higher athletic callings.

It was also great to have Shelly on board as a full-time writer after she pitched in from the bench during Season 1. Emily and I have worked with Shelley for years on other shows and she’s basically a story lumberjack – if there’s an idea log-jam, she has the ability to come at things from an unexpected angle that can get the ideas flowing again, often taking a story in a completely unexpected direction.

TTVJ: As a viewer watching these characters for a third season, it feels like we really know them and have a sense of who they are. Is that how you guys felt in writing them, that you really have a firm grasp on them?

BY: Definitely. By now there’s no excuse not to have a firm grasp on the characters. The challenge now is figuring out how they evolve in interesting and unexpected ways. Whatever they do still has to be something that character would do, but now it’s a matter of throwing new situations at them to test what we know about them.

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

TTVJ: As we enter this week’s episode, the show is coming off of two very serious weeks dealing with the loss of Dolls, but Emily has said this one will be “laugh out loud fun.” What was your approach then to making and taking viewers along for that emotional shift in this episode?

BY: Oh man I hope it is “laugh out loud fun”! No pressure! I don’t think we were necessarily as concerned with changing the tone as much as we were looking forward to getting back to some of the storylines that were introduced in the Season 3 premiere. Don’t forget — there were some pretty funny moments even in 303 despite the heavier subject matter. And in 304 there’s also a ton of intensity intermingled with the fun. We strive to nail the emotional highs and lows in every episode!

TTVJ: Speaking of the fun, you seem to have a history of writing episodes that have really great one-liners and hilarious moments in them. Have you kind of earned that reputation in the room and are you just that hilarious in real life too?

BY: To be honest whenever we’re breaking one of my episodes I’m generally anything but hilarious. My “process” is to stare blankly at the whiteboard while wishing I was smarter. When we’re NOT breaking my episode I may manage to be a little funnier, but in a Wynonna Earp room there’s a lot of strong competition when it comes to bringing the laffs. The jokes come a little easier when I’m actually writing the script as long as I can convince myself that it’s no big deal if I get fired.

TTVJ: Another person we don’t know much about that’s been introduced this season is Mama Earp. What was it like getting to now have that piece to Wynonna’s puzzle for you all as writers?

BY: Having Michelle Earp around really allowed us to get a lot of insight into what makes both Wynonna and Waverly tick. You can go pretty deep into a character’s psyche by putting their mom up as a foil and it allows us to see how she shaped the person they came to be. Also having Megan Follows play the role was incredibly inspiring, and we were blown away by how committed she was to bringing Mama Earp to life in all her contradiction and complexity.

TTVJ: Is there anything else you wanted to preview about this week’s episode?

BY: The ending might be one of the most off the wall moments of Wynonna Earp so far. Enjoy!

 

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Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space Channel.