Wynonna Earp: The cure for TV’s female problem

Syfy
Syfy

Is TV letting you down? Have you found yourself feeling disillusioned as of late? If so, you aren’t alone. Let’s be honest, it’s been a tough couple months for television, especially this spring when women became downright disposable at times. From LGBTQ characters falling victim to the tired “Bury Your Gays” trope to female leads being let go from long-running series–even a female morning show host not receiving warning about her male counterpart’s departure. It seems like everywhere you turn, something negative is happening with women across the television landscape.

It’d be easy to focus on all the negativity surrounding females–both on and off screen–at the moment, but sometimes it’s more helpful to focus on the positive. Wynonna Earp is all about female power. Not only that, it’s about females that lift each other up, instead of tearing one another down. It features several different types of female characters–each a unique and realistic portrayal of a complex woman.

At the center of it all is the badass, sarcastic, sharp-tongued heroine of the story: Wynonna Earp herself. She has a tough exterior, but thanks to a past littered with tragedy (which we’re still learning about), she’s also got a pretty gooey center. Wynonna has a vulnerability to her that, upon first glance, one may classify as a weakness. It’s refreshing though that Wynonna in turn uses that so-called “weakness” as a strength to kill both the physical and metaphorical demons she encounters in her hometown of Purgatory.

Actress Melanie Scrofano has been perfectly cast as Wynonna. She infuses her with a toughness and fortitude needed to stand her ground against the demons, but in a moment’s notice can rip off a one-liner. That’s not to say Wynonna isn’t a bit broken. Scrofano possesses the dramatic ability to pack an emotional gut punch from Wynonna’s feelings of guilt over what’s happened to her family.

Wynonna: “Wanna know how batshit I am? Nobody shoots my family, but me.”

With the spring season television is having, getting a leading female character like Wynonna is certainly a win, but Wynonna Earp takes things one step further. Wynonna’s got a younger sister Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) who can’t be written off as the typical “kid sister” character. She’s much more than that. Waverly is the brains of the entire Black Badge Division–thanks to her extensive knowledge of the revenants gained from years spent studying Wyatt’s enemies–and she just may be the most courageous one of all.

Syfy
Syfy

She’s been encountering demons since she was a child–even having one as her “imaginary” friend–but she’s through being scared. Wynonna may have her superpowered gun, Agent Dolls has his military training and Doc Holliday–well we’re still not quite sure what’s going on there–but it’s clear Waverly is the most human of the bunch. She’s the most relatable character for the audience, especially in those moments where she’s not sure of herself, but she never backs down. Her courage and smarts, combined with the skillset of her sister, make the Earp sisters an unstoppable team.

That sisterly bond is unbreakable and the Earp women realize they are far stronger together than they ever could be apart. Navigating relationships with family is always difficult–especially when your family is cursed to fight demons–but Wynonna and Waverly are a true team and the heart of the show. Wynonna Earp is just as much a love story between two sisters as it is about a girl fighting demons.

Wynonna: “You have a million reasons to hate me, and you still love me. It’s what I love about you dude.”

There have also been hints that Waverly may soon find herself involved in a romantic relationship with another woman, Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), a Purgatory police officer. Officer Haught walked into Shorty’s bar with a swagger and confidence that was downright refreshing in Episode 2. She has her sights set on Waverly, who’s starting to realize some truths about herself as well, but Officer Haught was not solely introduced by Wynonna to be just another lesbian side character. The show has already hinted that Dolls recognizes how capable she is at her job and it’s easy to assume that she’ll be taking a bigger role in the Black Badge Division in the coming weeks. She clearly has a place and purpose on this show, and it’s not to solely serve as Waverly’s love interest.

Syfy
Syfy

Wynonna Earp has managed to put not only one, but three multi-dimensional, intelligent and realistic women at its forefront in just a handful of episodes, and that’s because of showrunner Emily Andras. If anyone knows how to write “strong female characters,” it’s the former Lost Girl showrunner. Andras has infused these characters with a sharp-tongued sass that immediately draws you in, but enough depth and heart to make us truly invested in the stories and outcomes. Andras has also assembled a writers room on Wynonna’s first season that will see nine out of 13 episodes written or co-written by women–meaning the show’s pro-female stance is taking place behind the scenes as well.

Summer is just around the corner. Get out of the current television slump and head on over to spend Friday nights with Wynonna Earp. The luxury of a show like Wynonna lies in its multiple complex female characters. I’ve got no doubt you’ll find yourself relating to one of them and cheering for all of them. This show is just getting started, so hurry and get on board the bus to Purgatory!

 

Have you been enjoying Wynonna Earp‘s complex female characters? Who is your favorite so far? Sound off in the comments below!

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m ET on Syfy in the US. In Canada, episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CHCH. All episodes will also stream live on CHCH.com in conjunction with the SyFy and CHCH broadcast airings.

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