Wynonna Earp’s Katherine Barrell on Nicole’s Frustration and Ambitions in Season 2

Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Season 2, Inc./Syfy
Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Season 2, Inc./Syfy

Make no mistake, things are still WayHaught in the town of Purgatory. Season 2 of Wynonna Earp has continued to deliver on the fan-favorite relationship between Waverly Earp (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell). The couple have embarked on the first steps of their relationship, but it’s not been without a little tension and drama added to the mix. After Waverly had to sign a blood oath to work for Black Badge along with sister Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and Doc (Tim Rozon), she protected her girlfriend Nicole by leaving her out. However, Officer Haught couldn’t help but be somewhat disappointed by the situation.

That tension, along with Nicole’s overall dissatisfaction with her career, led to the couple’s first disagreement in last week’s episode. However, by the end the pair had worked things out and in the process, finally took the next step in their relationship. Nicole has also vowed to help Waverly discover the truth about whether or not she is truly an Earp.

In order to get a closer look at what’s going on with Nicole this season The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with Barrell. She explains why Nicole is feeling unhappy with her career and how she was able to relate to the struggles her character is going through. Barrell also provided some insight on that WayHaught scene at the end of last week’s episode that had the internet exploding. Barrell will soon begin work on Season 2 of CBC’s Workin’ Moms, where she’ll reprise her role of Alicia, and discussed the strange connection the show has with Wynonna Earp.

Remember to tune into this week’s episode “Gonna Getcha Good,” airing Friday, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy and Space, where Nicole’s issues at work will stir up some more trouble. Also keep an eye out for more with Barrell in part two of our interview.

 

The TV Junkies: Emily [Andras, showrunner] promised that things wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows for WayHaught this season, and we’ve already seen some of that tension. Were you guys worried at all knowing how invested fans are in this relationship that there was going to be drama this year?

Katherine Barrell: I don’t think I was worried because we’ve given everyone fair warning. I also feel like for the sake of joy we couldn’t just stay in that happy place because that’s going to be a pretty boring thing to watch after three or four episodes. I wasn’t worried because I think the fans are smart enough to see that it’s good storytelling.

TTVJ: One of the aspects I really love about that tension is that part of it centers around career issues for Nicole. She has once again been left out of Black Badge, left out of “the fun” and kept on the outside. How does that leave her feeling and what kind of dissatisfaction is she having with her work?

KB: I really loved that this was the first time we really get to see her really upset. She’s pretty good at holding it together in the first season, so this is the first time we ever get to see any tension or her in a bad mood. As the actor, I totally felt the same way Nicole did because I didn’t know I wasn’t going to be in Black Badge. For me, in a weird way, it was really great as an actor because I was feeling many of the same emotions — the disappointment of not being tied into the demons, the fun storylines, the special effects and being with the gang. I was still staying in the police station.

I think that’s the way Nicole feels, especially because she’s been working so hard and is always aware that Purgatory is under the level of what she can do. She came thinking she would advance faster than she has and she’s starting to wonder why she came to this armpit of a town to just push paper around at the office. She’s starting to think this is not why she got into doing this, was so excited to finally level up on what she does and can use her skills for because she knows she’s a really good cop and not being used to her potential.

I think that’s really frustrating and can relate to that as an actor in doing parts where you feel like you’re not being pushed or want more of a challenge, but having to take the job. I really identified with that part of Nicole’s journey because it’s really tough when your hands are tied. I think it’s a very real frustration that a lot of people face and a very common feeling.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: You’re right, I think that’s something a lot of people have felt and I like that that’s part of the drama seeping into her relationship with Waverly.

KB: Definitely, because it becomes doubly hard when you see your partner getting to do all that stuff. So then you’re like ‘Well this sucks because I get to hear about all the fun stuff, but I don’t actually get to do anything.’ The most frustrating part for Nicole too is that she knows. She knows that all these things are happening, but she has to pretend it’s not and that’s almost harder than not knowing at all. Waverly is obviously so involved so it hurts that much more for Nicole because she knows everything that’s going on, but she has to step back and stay out of it.

TTVJ: We’ve seen Nicole have some suspicions about Waverly and her weird behavior. Will she act on those suspicions at any point?

KB: We see Nicole’s amazing instinct and she knows something is up with Waverly. At the beginning of the season Dominique and I sat down and had to remind ourselves that we’re starting just moments after the first season. So Nicole and Waverly are really at the very beginning of their relationship. There’s also the sense of ‘maybe she’s just being weird because it’s a commitment thing,’ or there’s lots of reasons people get weird at the beginning of a relationship. Some of the things that cross Nicole’s mind when she feels that Waverly is being off is ‘maybe she’s changed her mind. Maybe she doesn’t like me anymore. Maybe this is moving too fast for her and maybe she’s getting overwhelmed.’

So there’s this debate going on with Nicole right now of ‘are these early jitters of being around me or is something wrong with her?’ There’s that trepidation when you’re newly with someone and you’re not at that place where you can really sit them down and go ‘What’s up with you?’ When it’s new you still have to tip-toe around things and you’re not at a place where you can be as direct yet. That’s what Nicole struggles with.

TTVJ: A scene that most people probably didn’t notice was when Nicole and Waverly made up at the end of Episode 202. That scene came off beautifully, but I’m sure it’s something that’s a little awkward to film for you and Dominique. Also, do you know that you’re probably breaking the internet in those moments?

KB: That’s the thing about Season 2, now we do. Now the challenge becomes ‘how do we forget about that when we’re shooting it? How do we just shoot the scene and not think about this is what the fans want and what the fans will like and won’t like?’ That scene we shot at the end of the day, we were running super behind on time and only shot it in a couple of takes. Unfortunately, it was quite rushed when we shot that scene, but we still knew how important the moment needed to be because it’s such a huge step in their relationship.

I think that scene will probably be on par with the couch scene of Season 1. There’s more to come, don’t worry, but I think we knew it was such a huge moment for their relationship and we talked about it a little before. It was similar to the couch scene in just talking it through, talking about the moment and what we wanted to get because sometimes when you get on set you get so rushed. We knew that it had to be done right. It was a nice balance of feeling really genuine and very sexy at the same time.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: When I spoke to Alexandra Zarowny, who wrote the episode, she mentioned that what you, Dominque and the director [Brett Sullivan] came up with — things like Nicole picking up Waverly — made the scene come off beautifully.  

KB: I know at one point I said to Dom, ‘I just feel like I want to pick you up,’ so we just rolled with it. If you think about all your great fantasies and a great love scene it’s got to involve some picking up. [laughs]

TTVJ: Prior to that scene, Nicole told Waverly she’d help her out with this mystery over whether or not she’s an Earp. Will we see that continue to play out and why’s it important for Nicole to be a part of that?

KB: Yes, we will see the continuation of that and it’s important for Nicole to be a part of it because she feels kept at arm’s length from so much of Waverly’s life because of the Black Badge stuff. This is her literally holding onto the last scrap of what she’s allowed to help with because she’s not allowed to help with Black Badge, she can’t do anything with the Earp curse and just feels like her feet are cemented to the ground. She can’t do anything, is just there to hear about it, but can’t actually have any action and Nicole is definitely a person that wants to do something instead of talking about it.

Her wanting to help Waverly is her reaching out and saying ‘let me be a part of your life in some way. I know you have to not involve me in so many ways so can I at least help with this?’ It’s sweet, but also kind of sad because I feel the frustration that Nicole is feeling since her hands are so tied when it comes to so many things with Waverly. They aren’t a normal couple where you just go to your different jobs every day, come home and discuss the day. It’s so in Nicole’s face all the time but she can’t really do anything about which makes their relationship really unique.

TTVJ: Given how much I loved Workin’ Moms, I was beyond thrilled to see not only Varun [Saranga] join the show, but Dani Kind! What’s happening with this Wynonna Earp/Workin’ Moms connection that you guys have got going on?

KB: Isn’t it so great? That’s the amazing thing about Canada is that you run into the same people over and over again because it is a much smaller industry. The people who are doing good work, work begets work and it’s a beautiful coincidence.

TTVJ: Did you guys have a hard time keeping it quiet because I’d see tweets when Workin’ Moms was airing saying Dani needed to come play your sister or something on Wynonna?

KB: It’s so funny because we did some live tweeting for Workin’ Moms together while in Calgary, but couldn’t say we were together or post pictures. I’m really excited because Dani Kind does some amazing work in Wynonna Earp and I’m so excited for her to be a part of it. I love Dani, she’s such a fantastic actress and she’s really fun to work with.

 

What do you think lies ahead for WayHaught this season? Are you enjoying learning more about Nicole? Sound off below!

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

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