Wynonna Earp: Emily Andras Talks “Friends in Low Places”

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*** Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Wynonna Earp episode “Friends in Low Places” ***

Well Earpers, our friends have made it out of the Garden! That’s the good news, right? However, we know that this is Wynonna Earp we’re talking about and that the concern and worries over what happens next for these characters has only just begun. To begin with, Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), Doc (Tim Rozon), and Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) returned to Nicole (Katherine Barrell) and Purgatory only to find things aren’t quite as they left them. To begin with, it’s been over 18 months since they all entered the Garden and the quick glance we got of town doesn’t make it looks like things changed for the better during that time.

In “Friends in Low Places,” written by showrunner Emily Andras and directed by Paolo Barzman, Wynonna entered the Garden to find that a savvy new villain, Eve, was attempting to wreak havoc. Eve was quite the formidable foe as she switched back and forth between the shape of those like Nicole, Jeremy, and Wynonna herself. Thankfully, they were able to find the door that led out of the Garden and land safely back in Purgatory where some long-awaited reunions finally took place.

As she does every week, Andras joined The TV Junkies to discuss everything that went down in the episode and what it was like shooting all those scenes on that frozen lake. She also discusses WayHaught’s reunion and all of the care that went into crafting that special moment. 

 

The TV Junkies: First things first, everyone is out of the Garden, we think, and it’s been 18 months? What is up with that, and is there a significance to the 18 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days?

Emily Andras: I’d say if there was a significance that COVID blew that right out of the water. I don’t even know what month, day, or year it is in Purgatory anymore. Poor Christin Hanley [script coordinator/associate producer] that does the timeline…good luck! 

However, the real answer is, ‘Of course there is, Bridget!’

TTVJ: I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t a bad Earper and was missing some major significance.

EA: You’re not a bad Earper. Whenever there is math involved, that is my totems shmotems. Did you see the time jump coming?

TTVJ: No, not at all!

EA: Nice!

TTVJ: I guess I should have realized something was off with Nicole’s hair…

EA: Well, there was some other stuff going on in that scene. Maybe you weren’t looking at her hair. I don’t know your life and don’t want to judge your choices. 

TTVJ: You’re right, before we worry about the time jump we should talk about some of the long-awaited reunions we got. Do you think Earpers will notice that WayHaught one?

EA: I think that by the time this article comes out, the bottom will have dropped out of Earp twitter. All the hashtags will have gone completely silent for six minutes. We will see! Maybe people will go get a snack? I don’t know!

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TTVJ: Many fans have wanted to see more intimacy out of WayHaught’s relationship. Can you discuss what all went into their reunion scene?

EA: I feel like all good things come to those who wait. It was very earned, but the number-one thing that went into crafting that scene was just trust. Trust between those incredible performers, between Kat, Dom, myself, and Paolo Barzman, who filmed it so beautifully. The fact that we’ve all been working together for so many years meant we could talk so frankly and honestly about it. It was so important to myself, but even more so to Kat and Dom, that it was done in a way that was really genuine, beautiful, and sensual. That was really important for them. 

When dealing with female actresses especially, I hope people get a sense of me now enough to know that I’m just never, ever, ever going to put an actor or performer in a position that makes them uncomfortable. It was obviously on our wishlist that we got this kind of hungry, raw, organic, karmically charged reunion between these lovers who have been separated by time and space, literally. There’s that kind of hunger when you’ve seen your soulmate, and we really wanted to showcase it in a way that was really sensual and beautiful.

I feel like I’ve been fighting the fight for a long time and it’s really important to me, so I was really excited about putting a sex scene on television that’s more commonly seen with heterosexual couples. Through my work on Michelle Lovretta’s Lost Girl, I had a chance to really push the boundaries, but the fact that SYFY and CTV were so open meant a lot. Nobody even blinked. The most important thing was safety and care.

At this stage, Dom and Kat have so much trust, love, and a language together that they really talked about it, and — not to use an unsexy word, but they discussed the choreography. It was also important to Paolo and I to have assurances like a closed set where we don’t let any crew members on, you turn off the monitors, and know who is going to be there. It really speaks again to the relationship we have with our crew. Paolo is also such a master and the girls knew that he’d make them look beautiful. They had final scene approval, which was really important to me. I sent it to them before I sent it to anyone just to make sure they were happy with it. I don’t want to speak for them, but I think they are really proud of it. 

It really is another stage for WayHaught and their relationship. It does feel like it’s been a long time coming, but what a journey! It feels so earned, I think. It’s so beautiful and it speaks volumes. It’s just a beautiful moment in time that I hope people will remember.

TTVJ: It’s going to mean a lot to people. We’re still just not used to seeing or getting scenes like that between queer couples on mainstream cable. Wynonna Earp also has a relationship between Wynonna and Doc that has had some steamy moments but nothing like that. The fact that the first major sex scene on the show happened between two women says a lot. 

EA: Doc and Wynonna look like monks now compared to them. They’ve got to get going! It’ll be like a sexy competition and I’m excited.

But again, it was all such a testament to all the parties involved. For example, Andrea Higgins [music supervisor] was so dedicated to finding the perfect song (“Ghost” by Adaline), and it was just really important to her. People knew what it meant. Everyone wanted it to feel real and natural and celebrate these beautiful women’s bodies and their connection to one another. I’m very proud of it. I think Dom and Kat should be proud of it. Paolo should be proud of it, too. 

I’m sure when the fans watch it, they’ll just be thinking about how proud the director and I are. That’s probably what they’ll be focused on, which is important.  

TTVJ: * very “professional” fits of laughter *

EA: They’ll think, ‘Wow! The people who lit this are really good at their jobs.’

TTVJ: It was an incredibly well-done scene.

EA: I will say one thing, and I tweeted something similar about “Daddy Haught” from Episode 401. It took off, and I totally get that it was a great joke, and it was very much a celebration of Daddy culture and queer culture. I just want to very gently remind everybody that Kat and Dom are not technically Nicole and Waverly, right? If you see Kat Barrell in the streets, try not to yell ‘Daddy’ at her because that’s weird. I love you, but let’s keep the pervs in Gentle. You’re celebrated, gorgeous, and always have a safe haven with me to gentle perv, but let’s just keep it on the up-and-up, everybody.

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TTVJ: You joke that Doc and Wynonna look like monks, but they had a pretty epic and romantic kiss as well. Despite having so many issues between them, and things that they still need to work out, what were they feeling in those moments?

EA: All of these people have issues to work out, but there’s just something so primal and connected between these characters. Doc and Wynonna are both their own garden-variety messes. Their relationship is not always healthy, it’s definitely been toxic, and it’s definitely dysfunctional. But in that moment, it’s a connection between two people who are essentially warriors and fighting for people they love and just recognizing the sacrifice one another has made. 

Love, connection, and relationships are messy. When we all look back at our own relationships that didn’t work out, sometimes you still have fond memories of that one night or that one kiss or that one connection. I’m not saying it’s not going to work out. Don’t hang up, Bridget! I’m just saying that kiss was really, really beautiful, but as always with Earp, every beautiful moment is often interrupted by things like an 18-month time jump. 

TTVJ: Next I want to talk about our new villain, Eve, and especially Kat’s performance as Eve. She was so good!

EA: Wasn’t she so good? Honestly, everybody was magnificent in these first two episodes. The first time I saw Mel fighting so hard in her leather jacket literally made me tear up, but I thought Kat was so great, and so game. Her Eve was so diabolically ambiguous. At the beginning, you’re really with Waverly and then like, ‘Wait! What?’ The way she manipulated Doc and Waverly by plugging into their hearts. It was such a good move. 

Kat was just so game for everything. Guys, she was running around a Greyhound station with a gun, jumped off a train, was in a flower bikini, and then is running in the freezing cold in that flower bikini on one of the coldest days we’ve ever shot. Then, to show Nicole’s pain that maybe she’s been alone for 18 months, the anguish when she sees Waverly, and then the celebration. What a journey for her and I hope she gets all the accolades in the world for it. She deserves it.

So many of the actors on this show, just watching them grow has been so joyful. Their commitment and enthusiasm to the material, the content, and the fandom is a marvelous thing to watch. As good as they are, they have so much pride and dedication to working hard and getting better. Kat, you were wonderful and so great. I would say stay tuned because Nicole has an amazing, amazing journey this year as a character.

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TTVJ: She was truly amazing in this episode. There was a point that happened so fast, but Eve just gives this look to the camera and you know all is not well.

EA: Even in the moment right at the beginning, before Waverly comes into the silo for the first time, where she’s just biding her time and then turns on the charm. Those are the kinds of skills and subtleties you only really have if you’re a master thespian and able to trust the camera to catch up to what you’re putting out. She’s wonderful. I just thought she was amazing. Bad Bitch Kat Barrell? Give me that with a giant spoon, right? So good!

TTVJ: Another Eve moment I loved came when she was disguised as Jeremy and Doc defended his pop-culture knowledge. It was wonderful!

EA: I think that might have been a Twitter-less Matt Doyle line when he says, ‘It shows he has passion!’ That’s one of my favorite things about these characters — they love each other so much that they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Doc has so much redemption left to perform with all these characters, but for him to have so much grace about Jeremy and what makes him special, especially given Jeremy’s sort of crush on Doc, and to hear him return that was just lovely. 

TTVJ: It made me feel alright about myself and my vast amounts of random Canadian TV knowledge. I felt very seen.

EA: I think that’s true and how I feel about the Earpers. It’s easy to be a cynical teenager who hates everything because if you don’t like anything then you can never be called out for being a loser, nerd, geek, or all these words we use to shame people for loving things. I think that’s just bullshit! It’s why nerd culture and genre is exploding because we’re just so sick of cynicism.

Don’t dare apologize for your love of Canadian TV! Have you ever heard of an actress called Charlotte Sullivan? She’s really good. If not, maybe you should look her up! 

TTVJ: Well that brings me to how it’s pretty exciting that we have Eve, who I’m guessing we haven’t seen the last of, and she can show up as anyone. It could be Charlotte Sullivan!

EA: It could be you. You don’t know!

TTVJ: Is this the last we’ve seen of Eve? You won’t answer that…

EA: No, I will not answer that. Is this your first day? You tried to trick me by saying nice things about my beautiful cast and jokes, but guess what? I’m not saying!

TTVJ: Is Wynonna just going to run around Purgatory kissing everyone to see if they taste like sulfur?

EA: No comment, Bridget. No comment!

TTVJ: One more question, is there any significance to her being Eve and Willa being known as Eve in Season 1?

EA: I mean there’s only so many names in the English language. How many Daves have we had on the show? A hundred? How many Waverlys? Seven? I don’t know!

We just got back to Purgatory! What is even happening in Purgatory?

TTVJ: We have our people back there at least, and Doc has the book Waverly chose in the Garden.

EA: Doc has the book! And he threw her hippie satchel down the well!

TTVJ: What did he have against that?

EA: I think he’s always throwing shit down the well just in case he gets back there. He’s like, ‘I might need this hippie satchel. I’ll just take it down there.’ There’s probably a fridge down there now, all those New Yorker magazines you never read, a PlayStation…

TTVJ: Speaking of the Doc and good performances, the moment where Doc woke up and Tim felt for his mustache, it was just the best.

EA: With his trembling hand, right? I knew exactly the moment you were going to say! The subtlety of that is just phenomenal! They are all getting so good and they are all getting better looking and I’m exhausted, don’t remember how to write, and I hate them. But I’m so proud of them and love them.

Tim is extraordinary and is often underrated insofar as to what he brings to the team, how good he is with everyone, and how much emotion he puts into Doc’s performance. I’m so glad you picked up on that subtle gesture because it was so smart. The pain and the uncertainty, but also the comedy of ‘is my mustache still OK?’ Then picking yourself up and knowing you have a job to do anyway, it was so good. I don’t even know how you make your hand tremble like that!

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TTVJ: I do think we need to discuss what it was like filming out on that frozen lake and the challenges involved there. It was incredibly beautiful, but I could literally see snow whipping past their faces at one point.

EA: There was a genuine blizzard! What was crazy is that when we were shooting the whole sequence and ironically, at the very moment when shit was hitting the fan and the machine was freaking out, the blizzard started. It worked out perfectly. It was so cold that day. Melanie was wearing half a goddamn shirt. Tim had to give up his overcoat because we realized Nicole had to have something to put over her flower bikini or Kat was going to die. Dom was in boots that were basically made of tissue paper. The wardrobe department does an amazing job padding everybody, but that was a particularly cold day. They were so full of adrenaline and excited to be back, but it was still really, really challenging. 

It makes my heart hurt when it gets to that type of cold that’s actually a bit dangerous for people to be working in. But they all just go and do it because they know Earpers are going to love it. 

TTVJ: It was so great to get some backstory on Rachel and learn about her ancestor called “The Valdez”.

EA: That’s a little tribute to Beau Smith’s comic. 

TTVJ: I know you don’t drop that information for no reason…

EA: How did they know what door to take out of the Garden, Bridget? Bye! I love you. Gotta go!

TTVJ: There were some really fun references to Legends of Tomorrow and Orphan Black in this episode. Can you talk about why you wanted to specifically call those out?

EA: The show now is so meta that I feel like all the Earpers are my friends and I know what they dig. So any time we can put in a reference that feels right we’ll do it. I also love those shows. Orphan Black is probably the greatest Canadian genre show that ever lived. Legends is bananas and I love the Legends of Tomorrow writers’ room so much. I want to be best friends with them and feel that they share a lot of the joie de vivre that Wynonna has. I really admire what Legends does. I think they do something that we try to do, which is to go for it and realize that people want to fall in love with characters having a joyful adventure. It’s definitely one of our favorite shows on television. Also, have you ever seen Caity Lotz’s arms?

TTVJ: Any hints about what we can expect next week?

EA: A whole new Purgatory. We have to find out what happened to the people we left behind, and Bridget, not good things happened to the people we left behind. But there is a silver lining! This episode was directed by Canada’s hottest up-and-coming female director Melanie Scrofano. It is, without doubt, completely friggin’ batshit! 

TTVJ: I’m scared but I can’t wait!

EA: It’s also written by Shelley Scarrow. It is what we call in the business a “spicy romp”. But there are some emotions, so I want everybody to just hang on. Oh and there’s some really good new characters played by actors that were not previously announced. Get ready! 

 

Wynonna Earp airs Sundays at 10/9c on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.