The gang on Wynonna Earp finally made it out of the Garden last week, but now what? We know there’s been an 18+ month time jump, and last we saw Purgatory didn’t look like the same town Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and her gang left behind, so what’s next? Fans of the SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi drama will surely get some answers in this week’s episode, “Look at them Beans” written by Shelley Scarrow. The episode is also the directorial debut of Scrofano.
In the episode, Wynonna finds herself on the wrong side of the law and Doc (Tim Rozon) partners with a new demon. To get a little more in depth look at what fans can expect, The TV Junkies went right to Scarrow. The Wynonna writer, who penned one of the series’ most beloved episodes, “Jolene,” talked about writing for new Season 4 characters like Rachel (Martina Ortiz-Luis), working with Scrofano in a new capacity, and most importantly, how the Wynonna writers wanted to be sure to send lots of love back to the fans this season.
The TV Junkies: What did it feel like when you all were finally able to get back into the writing room to begin (again) writing Season 4?
Shelley Scarrow: SO GOOD. Like going back to a school that you love and you’re all revved up for the year and all your best friends are still there and they still like you and the caf still makes those perfect oatmeal cookies. Maybe that’s a gratuitously poignant example in the time of Covid — with a lot of us not able to go to schools or workplaces we love — but that’s really what it felt like. And like school, we knew there was going to be hard work ahead and we would learn and grow and cry and have a few food fights. I don’t think I’m alone in that room when I yell ‘this is my favourite thing to write ever’ so we all tracked that energy in behind us, even if we pretended to be cooler (hi, Brendon [Yorke], you’re still the cool one.) I just felt EXTRA grateful to be there and wanted to remember to cherish it.
TTVJ: Emily spoke a little about this, but we know you all really tried to take things you knew Earpers would love and incorporate them into the show, as a bit of a “thank you”. What did it feel like having fans fight so hard for its survival like they did during the Fight for Wynonna? Why was it important for you all to incorporate those Easter Eggs?
SS: We kept saying ‘boop!’ every time we came up with something that was a little kiss for the fans. There was a lot of ‘boopity-boop-boop, you-get-a-boop, you-get-a-boop’! And I gotta say, ‘Look At Them Beans’ is pretty high on the boop scale.
I think a lot of shows say they write for their viewers, and it’s true, but trust me that it’s not like this. On other shows, I’ve written for imaginary people on imaginary couches. For an idea of who the fans were. But the Fight for Wynonna spot-lit these beautiful fans as individuals (and, in some cases, I could even pick their actual couches out of a lineup). And then it made me so grateful to them for literally giving me my dream job back. I hear Earpers in my mind all the time (in a healthy way, I hope?) Noelle [Carbone] and I got to go to Earp Square once and it was honestly an incomparable experience, all hugs and disbelieving laughs and Broadway smells and our stupid faces in lights. It produced so much gratitude that the whole Big Apple couldn’t hold it. There is no way to truly pay people back for the passion, love and energy they expended. But we are gonna keep trying. With all the boops we can manage.
TTVJ: “Look at them Beans” is quite the unique episode title. We know all the Wynonna Earp always uses country songs as episode titles, but how did you settle on this one?
SS: Bridget, I love you but I can NOT answer this one without spoilers! Once we knew what this episode was going to center around, there was literally no other title. The fact that the mere name of it always made Emily laugh helped, that’s never a bad place to start. (Plus I’m a sucker for Johnny Cash. Reminds me of being a little girl and riding around berry farms in my Papa’s pickup.)
TTVJ: What does it feel like getting the responsibility of writing the episode that is Melanie’s directorial debut?
SS: What’s good is that I did not know while I was writing it, so there was no pressure to crumble under (aside from the usual Earp pressure, see above re: Earpers owning me.) We broke the story in the fall of 2018, if you can believe it, before Season 4 went into jeopardy. So I already had a version of it and some vivid images in my mind before the, uh, unplanned ‘bonus’ hiatus.
When we came back in fall of 2019 and had to rewrite a bunch, I still got a first draft in before knowing that it would be handed to the one and only Mme. Scrofano. By second draft I was aware it was probably hers due to the production schedule and practicalities, and so I sweated every joke extra-hard, but I knew she’d make it her own — and thereby better. So it was a terrifying combination of wanting it to be perfect and leaving space for her brilliance. But I like to be terrified when I write so there we are.
TTVJ: Did you get to work closely with Mel on the episode? If so, what was that experience like?
SS: Not super-closely, because prep was in Calgary and I was in Toronto. But we shot some questions back and forth over email and did some of the meetings over the phone.
I do not take for granted having a strong female director’s voice giving breath to the episode. I still have to say that it’s a rare and wonderful experience to get that particular lens on one of my scripts, even though they are always female-centered. And obviously nobody except maybe Emily knows Wynonna as well as THE Wynonna does, so I had zero worries and all I could say at any stage was that I loved what Melanie was doing.
Also, that woman is even hilarious in a production meeting. Which is not known for comic opportunities. So I bow down eternally.
TTVJ: It’s been so fun meeting some of the new characters for Season 4, including Martina Ortiz Luis’ Rachel. She brings such a fun energy to the group we know and love. What was it like getting to write for her and some of the other new characters this year?
SS: I cut my TV writer teeth working on Degrassi so I’m really at home scripting teenagers, but I had to learn to write them in a way that was never saccharin and as real as possible because of that show’s tone. I think that suited Emily’s vision of Rachel, luckily – nothing precious, nothing too sweet. Rachel is sharp, but the fact that she’s still a damaged kid beneath makes her vulnerable and lovely to think about. I feel very glad when I see Martina doing her thing.
This episode had to do a LOT of things because of the time jump (I made SO MANY CHARTS.) The very hardest to do, though, was introducing a bunch of new people to Purgatory – I don’t think I’ve ever written anything but a pilot with so many new voices in it! But I know and love and trust all the other writers so much that I knew they’d shape them with me as we moved forward in the draft process. And there are some really great performers heading your way.
TTVJ: I know you can’t spoil anything, but is there anything else you’d like us to know about this episode?
SS: It’s about resilience and finding the family you deserve — so I hope it speaks to Earpers, who are all about those themes.
And I think we are ALL Wynonna in that scene where she’s zip-tied in the snow, seeing what she’s seeing and feeling what she’s feeling when the music drops. So remember that. But I’ll have to leave it there cause I don’t want to potentially lose my place in this dream writer school — not again!
Wynonna Earp airs Sundays at 10/9c on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.