*** Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Wynonna Earp episode “Crazy” ***
Purgatory’s biggest and brightest brains were on display this week on Wynonna Earp. As Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) tracked down a genie (Nikki Duval) that was helping her current master (Ennis Esmer) become the smartest man around by consuming brains, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and Jeremy (Varun Saranga) were consumed testing out their own brains during Shorty’s Trivia Night. In the end, Wynonna realized the genie’s manipulative ways and took her down once and for all.
Elsewhere in “Crazy,” written by Matt Doyle and directed by Jem Garrard (Vagrant Queen), Nicole (Katherine Barrell) struggled with whether or not she should answer the town’s call and be sheriff once again. After an embarrassing moment came to light once more, Nicole realized that she is the only one for the job and that Purgatory needed her. She also had an open and honest conversation with Doc (Tim Rozon) about her deal with the Clantons to get everyone out of the Garden. Just as she does every week, Wynonna showrunner Emily Andras joined us to discuss everything that went down on Trivia Night, as well as what may be in store for the season’s final three episodes.
The TV Junkies: The genie had some pretty big things to say to Wynonna at the end of the episode about Wynonna also being bound to a master (Peacemaker). We know Wynonna doesn’t think she has a way out from the curse, so what’s she thinking in that exchange?
Emily Andras: I think that we should be worried about Wynonna. I don’t know how much Wynonna wanted to hear what the genie had to say. The genie is inherently manipulative in what she says, and her interpretation of what Wynonna is going through was self-serving and an attempt at self-preservation, but the curse is over, too. So how much of this is Wynonna convincing herself that she has to keep killing, keep hurting people, and keep hunting demons because it’s the job she’s best at versus something she has to do. I don’t know, were you shocked that she killed the genie?
TTVJ: I was, but I wasn’t. What Wynonna said was true, and I especially saw it when I watched the episode a second time. The genie was very manipulative and tried to have Kuru kill Wynonna.
EA: She was and had a blood lust. I think it’s interesting that she interprets Wynonna’s killing streak as similar blood lust versus Wynonna thinking it’s something she has to do to stay neutral and emotionally distant from those choices because otherwise these demons will kill her family. I do think it’s interesting that Wynonna recognized that the genie was a dangerous weapon and Wynonna considers herself a dangerous weapon, too. There’s definitely some self-recognition there. We’ve left Wynonna in a very interesting, intriguing, powerful, yet troubling space.
TTVJ: It was somewhat interesting, given we have only three episodes to go and so much still to take care of regarding the Garden and the Clantons…
EA: Challenge accepted, Bridget! Challenge accepted. Don’t think we can do it? I’ll show you!
TTVJ: No, I’m just a little scared about what it means for the final three episodes.
EA: Good. I like you a little scared. Scared and titillated! That’s what I always want you to be on Saturday mornings.
TTVJ: This week did feel like classic Season 1 Wynonna where she’s hunting a demon of the week. It was somewhat surprising given how many balls still seem to be in the air.
EA: I feel like there’s a lot of notes here on structure. I’m hearing a lot of notes on format. You’re like, ‘Get going!’ This feels like a network note. Are you Josh from SYFY? Am I being pranked? I feel a little bit like I am.
TTVJ: I’m just very worried. I was having so much fun with the genie, but then the episode ended, and I remembered all the other stuff we still have to deal with.
EA: The good times can’t last forever. It can’t be all trivia nights and chicken-kicking 24/7. Maybe I want to lull you into a state of happy euphoria and probably next episode will be just as fun and nothing angsty at all.
TTVJ: So knowing big things are coming, where did the idea for the genie this week come from? It was a lot of fun and both guest stars this week, Ennis Esmer and Nikki Duval, were great.
EA: They were incredible and what a great energy. I have to give credit to Matt Francis Doyle, the writer of this episode. This was at a really busy time when we were filming so it was mostly he and Brendon Yorke who came up with this case of the week. The idea of something that could fulfill wishes was really fun and the trivia contest was something we could do that was also fun. They just really made themselves laugh with the stupid Kuru-ness of it all and the ‘I ate shit. I don’t even like shit.’ Sometimes you’d be amazed how you have one thing that makes you laugh and you can build an entire episode around it.
Ultimately, we needed a demon that was a little bit less black and white. It’s interesting to have a demon that seems like a victim but is ultimately a manipulator. It’s been a long time since Wynonna has faced something down that she actually kind of liked. I think she enjoyed her time with the genie, and the genie wasn’t an idiot and had a lot to say. In a different world they could have been friends. It certainly felt like a time to highlight Wynonna’s moral quandary right now and the likeable genie seemed like the best path to that.
TTVJ: Wynonna was in a bit of an altered state the last two episodes. This felt like Classic Wynonna to me.
EA: We needed a good case of the week and some classic hunting. We have to set the chess board a little bit, to be honest, and really set up where all the characters are. Now we’re in the last three episodes and I’m not saying shit tickets are going to hit the fan, but that’s definitely on the table.
TTVJ: Like Wynonna, Nicole went through a pretty emotional journey this episode. Thankfully, by the end of it she had agreed to retake her position as Purgatory Sheriff. Why was that ultimately the right decision for her?
EA: It’s such an interesting time given the year we’ve had and summer of 2020. There’s definitely a lot of new feelings and discussions happening about law enforcement and policing. So we actually struggled a little bit with this decision given who Nicole is, how open-minded she is, and what she’d stand for, even in this small town. One of my favorite characteristics of Nicole is that she has never apologized for her ambition as a woman. She’s extremely proud of her job, really enjoys her job, and has worked hard to get where she’s going. I think a lot of women are punished for that in television or movies and we never wanted to do that. The reason that Nicole lost her job wasn’t because she was too ambitious or how she did her job. It was just circumstances outside of her control.
I also thought it was important to show Waverly as the supportive spouse saying, ‘I’ll love you no matter what you are or what you want to do with your life, but you do love your job. You love being sheriff, man! You worked your ass off for it. Go and fight for it a little bit. I don’t want you to get resentful, bitter, or be sad at home. Failure is part of life and you have to pick yourself back up and go for it.’
I thought there was also something nice in the fourth season at seeing the town come around and appreciate Nicole. They realize they don’t have to love her, but they need her. I think it’s time for Nicole to feel needed and I thought that was important.
TTVJ: I absolutely loved Waverly saying that her ambition was one of the things she loved most about Nicole.
EA: I think it’s important to celebrate hard-working women. I want to be able to show my daughter that work is hard but it’s worth it. You shouldn’t have to stop pursuing your goals and the career you want just because it’s difficult or because you may have to find balance in other areas of your life. I think that’s really important messaging if you claim to be a feminist show.
TTVJ: Given all that…
EA: Why aren’t we getting to the story faster?
TTVJ: No no no. [laughs] I just want to know which writer is responsible for the chicken kicker? Who has done that before and pitched it as an idea?
EA: It is a group effort, but it is a tribute to a show we really love called Broad City, courtesy of Noelle Carbone. We try to give each other gifts because we adore each other so much. Sometimes when you’re writing something at 4 a.m. you might put in a joke that makes Shelley Scarrow laugh or Brendon Yorke chuckle, but this was definitely a bit of a nod and cap tip to a hilarious moment in Broad City that involves a very different type of chicken kicking. It is an homage to Broad City and Noelle Carbone.
TTVJ: Do you think we should have chicken kicking contests at cons from here on out?
EA: I think it’d be incredible and we’d all be willing to judge it. Considering that a lot of our fans and cast members are vegan, they should be rubber chickens. We do not endorse animal cruelty, but I’d 100 percent be up for that. When we have physical cons, guys, I’m all in and up for chicken kicking, trivia contents, escape rooms, you name it. Potato licking contests and tampon angel making, yes! I’ll do it. Put it on my resume. I can’t wait. We can just have like Earp Olympics.
TTVJ: There you go! Excellent. Wow, chicken kicking really takes us to a different level.
EA: One other thing I’ll say about it is that it’s fun, given the angst Nicole went through in the first half of the season, to have this thing that humanizes her. It feels good to get drunk and kick a chicken. Nicole is usually so polished and together that she doesn’t really Wynonna-out. For her to have a vaguely Wynonna moment that she’s not particularly proud of, it’s just one more thing that gives her character so many layers and makes Waverly fall in love with her. It also capitalizes on Kat Barrell’s comedy chops and is just so fun.
TTVJ: Along those same lines, it wasn’t a huge plot focal point, but the Wynonna and Nicole training session at the beginning of the episode was so much fun.
EA: Their friendship is so fun on and off screen and it felt like a good progression for Season 4. The first time we saw her training was with Dolls, then when she was pregnant with Waverly, and then with Doc in Season 3. Now to know that Nicole is a training buddy is quite sweet. It speaks to the fact that Wynonna is bringing people into her life and now she has more people she trusts. She really has a team and they’re training one another. It feels like a safe space and trash talk is always fun. I just love what it means for the feeling of family on the show.
TTVJ: Season 5: Jeremy vs. Wynonna.
EA: Season 5 he kicks everyone’s ass and we’re like, ‘Holy shit! He’s like Baby Yoda!’
TTVJ: Nicole also had a big moment with Doc. They actually had a real, adult conversation about what went down and it was refreshing to see. Why was Doc so understanding about what she did and where does that relationship go from here?
EA: It speaks to where they are both at. Doc has made some TERRIBLE choices in the past, right? Sometimes you are really given a Sophie’s Choice on this show and you just make the decision in front of you to keep going another day, right? That’s ultimately what Nicole did. She made a choice to get Waverly, Doc, and Wynonna out of the Garden after 18 months, hoping that once they had to face down the Clantons and deliver Doc that they could find a way to conquer that problem. She was trying to put out the fire in front of her, and as a showrunner I feel sympathetic. You just deal with the most immediate thing that’s a problem and hope you have the strength to deal with the next problem when it comes up a week from now.
I also think Nicole meant what she said. Doc can handle his shit. It never occurred to her that she’d actually have to follow through with the delivery of Doc to the Clantons. She really did intend to fight for him, and he’s mature enough to know that she meant it. She did what she had to do in a moment of weakness. Doc is trying to be a better person, but he’s done some freakin’ AWFUL things, especially as a vampire. I also think it’s nice if you’re always the person that’s a fuck up to have your good, chicken-kicking sherrif friend fuck up a little bit. You can then be the one to say ‘You’ve stood by me so much of the time that of course I’m going to give you this one get out of jail free card.’
Doc does understand it. Doc and Nicole love each other but they’re not necessarily each other’s favorite people. Nicole would do anything to save Waverly and Doc would do anything to, hopefully, save Wynonna. They understand that about one another. If anything, Doc would’ve been more hurt if Nicole hadn’t told him that she had done this. If she didn’t trust him enough to understand that he could deal with it and together they could come up with a plan. That’s about Nicole’s trust issues, too. It all speaks to the fact that Nicole feels guilty that she is vulnerable and had a moment of weakness. Doc is like ‘Actually dude, that’s what makes you human. It also makes you a good sheriff that you can admit when you’re wrong.’
TTVJ: There was a pretty eventful Trivia Night happening at Shorty’s while all this action was going on. How would you do at Trivia Night?
EA: I feel like I’d do good on a lot of obscure subjects, but I am not sure that I’d do great on Wynonna Earp trivia versus hard-core Earpers. Now the fans have watched the show so much more than I have and I don’t remember what color the sweater was. Who is Waverly? Just kidding, I know that. I’m willing to try, though, and go up against anyone. As long as I don’t have to eat shit for losing.
TTVJ: Are you like Doc and can name all of the *NSYNC members?
EA: Of course! Of course, I can. I’m not an animal, Bridget. I wasn’t raised on a desert island. The Canadian education system is still THAT good at least. My god!
TTVJ: Backstreet Boys, too, I assume.
EA: Of course!
TTVJ: Just checking, just checking…
EA: Ma’am, I have several university degrees.
TTVJ: Okay, okay, back to the episode. Episodes 409 and 410 are directed by Jem Garrard. While they worked with Tim on Vagrant Queen, this was their first time directing on Wynonna Earp. What were they like to work with?
EA: They fit in so easily and it was like they had always been a part of the Earp family. They showed up, had a plan, had so much energy, and wasn’t intimidated by the COVID-ness of it all. They really knew what they wanted. They had such great questions and the crew loved them. So much positivity and ingenuity. They weren’t intimated at all by the fact that we have to do it cheap and cheerfully. Just delightful and made my life so easy. I would love to work with Jem again on anything.
It’s also great to work with someone who has that story sense. Jem has been a showrunner, and you always worry if you’re going to get into it because they’ve also ran their own ship, but not at all. They instinctively understood story, where we needed to make cuts, and fought for things that we didn’t necessarily need but that made the episode so rich. They’re just delightful and a total pro. A great person who just felt like part of the Earp family.
TTVJ: As we’ve stated several times here, we only have three episodes left. What can you preview about next week’s episode?
EA: Probably just lots of quiet, adult conversations where they sit around. Nobody is in extreme fatal danger for their life. Nobody will have to make terrible Sophie’s Choice choices about which characters to save and which characters to sacrifice. Things probably won’t come to a head about Wynonna’s insane killing streak. And probably not the return of horrible, blood-thirsty enemies. So knitting! Probably just a lot of knitting. No, buckle up! This is your last chance, Earpers, to take a deep breath and maybe have some laughs. The chickens are coming home to roost. Get ready to kick ‘em!
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.