Wynonna Earp Writer Noelle Carbone Previews “Life Turned Her That Way”

Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./SYFY

Ready or not, the end of Season 4 is almost upon us, Earpers. It’s hard to believe that Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and her team only have three episodes to go to figure out what’s happening with the deadly fog that seems to be surrounding the Ghost River Triangle, stop whatever Cleo Clanton (Savannah Basley) may have planned, and get Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and Nicole (Katherine Barrell) to the altar! Luckily, this week’s episode of Wynonna Earp wastes no time getting right to it.

In “Life Turned Her That Way,” written by Noelle Carbone and directed by Jem Garrard, a deadly foe re-emerges in the Ghost River Triangle, intent on finishing what they started. To get a better idea of what that may mean, what to expect, and how to emotionally prepare for what’s sure to be three jam-packed episodes of Earp action, The TV Junkies recently chatted up co-executive producer Carbone. She discusses how COVID provided unique challenges for Wynonna and her other show, Coroner, as well as why the Wynonna writers love giving nods back to the fandom.

The TV Junkies: You’ve been hard at work on Wynonna Earp and Coroner, two of the first shows back in production after the industry-wide pandemic shutdown. What has been the hardest part, from a writing standpoint, of adjusting to life making TV shows during COVID?

Noelle Carbone: I wasn’t on set for Wynonna, but the most difficult part of Coroner was that you plan for everything and then some fun and exciting new problem pops ups. Like you need an under-construction house for an episode, and the main floor is perfect, but the COVID nurse says the basement is only big enough to hold five people safely. Now you have two actors in the scene, plus the camera op, dolly grip, and boom op HAVE to be in there. So whoever else has to get in to do their job – the director, the DOP, the camera assistants, the hair and makeup crew, the wardrobe person, props, set dec, gaffers, grips – they all have to take turns swapping in and out. Suddenly there’s a locations assistant standing at the top of the stairs with a little tally-counter like a bouncer at a nightclub making sure you’re not going over and a scene that should take an hour to shoot takes three, but you’re also trying to shoot shorter days so the cast and crew can go home at a reasonable hour, and get good sleep, and not get rundown so they don’t get COVID and blarg… it’s stressful. But I think every single writer who worked on a show through COVID has become a much better, much faster, problem solver and rewriter. So that’s a huge plus.

TTVJ: It’s hard to believe we only have three episodes to go this season. There still feels like there’s so much left to do and stories to wrap up. How do you approach that as a writer?

NC: Emily always had a really good sense of what those last few episodes were going to be on a macro level. And when you get to the end of any season, you have a grab bag of things each episode has to accomplish. Which can be daunting, but is also somehow freeing because your job isn’t creating an episode out of endless story possibilities. It’s finding the most surprising and dramatic way to accomplish the things Emily needs you to, so the season drives to a satisfying conclusion for the audience. It’s so much easier to do that when your lead character is in a very heightened emotional state at the beginning of the episode. And when you have Melanie Scrofano playing that character.  

So the job with 410 was to give Wynonna a really primal dilemma, and then a slew of impossible decisions to make along the way to resolving her dilemma. Then you just turn Melanie Scrofano loose and watch the magic. Dominique blew me away in this one too, although the Waverly story was a lot more challenging to write for reasons that will become apparent fairly quickly and oh sorry, you’re breaking up, I’m going through a tunnel…

Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./SYFY

TTVJ: Wynonna got some pretty sobering words from the genie at the end of last week’s episode. How is what the genie said, about her being bound to Peacemaker, affecting her mindset heading into this episode?

NC: I bet fans could have a roiling podcast debate about whether Peacemaker is Wynonna’s master, or whether the gun is more of a prison – like a genie lamp?? – for Wynonna at this point. Or whether the genie was just trying to save herself by getting in Wynonna’s head. I think as she and Doc grow more and more distant, as Waverly and Nicole become more and more focused on each other and their wedding, as Jeremy is absent dealing with big BBD problems, Wynonna’s job becomes her all consuming identity because it’s the thing she’s best at. 

In a lot of ways it’s the least complicated part of her life. If you’re say, Supergirl or Batwoman – shout out to those badass heroines – the world you live in allows you to save people without always having to kill. But Wynonna’s job, because of what she’s up against – and because of Peacemaker – means she always ends up with blood on her hands. That’s an awful legacy. I think Wynonna feels like her options right now are either a) go through life feeling bad about herself, or b) go through life feeling powerful and like she’s doing a great job of keeping her family safe. If given the choice, I think we’d all pick the latter.

TTVJ: The first three episodes back from the midseason hiatus have been pretty fun and light-hearted, but any experienced Earper knows that you all will soon come for our FEELINGS — big time! How much do we need to emotionally prepare for these last three episodes? Or is it just a lost cause because there’s no possible way to prepare?

NC: I’m not even prepared! I hope I don’t have to go into hiding after my episode. But I urge everyone to trust the journey and enjoy the ride. Think of Season 4b as like a log flume ride. You get in and it’s all fun, and a little wet, and you’re all “weeeeeeeeeee!” going along with some really fun twists and turns. Then you go through a tunnel and you’re like “That was dark and a little scary but we’re still having a blast!” And then you start to go up the big hill and you’re all “I don’t like this. This was a big mistake. Why did I let lesbian Twitter convince me to go on this ride?!” And then down you go and it’s all “AHHHHHH!!! NOOOOOOO!!! I HATE IT HERE!!!!” And then right before you throw up everywhere, SPLASH! The ride is over and you’re so very happy but you have water all over your face. Are they tears? Who can say? This is just a poorly thought out metaphor.

Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./SYFY

TTVJ: You, along with all of the writers, have had a lot of fun giving back to the fans for their loyalty and hard work keeping the show alive by including fun moments they will love in this fourth season. What’s been some of your favorite “boops” back to the fans that you all were able to include?

NC: What a great question! I think the most iconic Season 4 BOOP was Nedley saying, “Nobody f*cks with my family.” I hope ever Earper felt that BOOP from their nose down to their toes because I sure did. Also Nedley saying, “I feel like I’ve been standing here for two years.” So good! Wynonna in the Shorty’s shirt, Nicole in the Stetson, the Wayhaught wedding hashtag. 

I hope people realize how much fun the writers have putting these things in the show. Honestly what a gift it is to get to work on a show that has such affection for its fans – and such a sense of humour about itself – that we can even make these kinds of jokes. But buckle up, Bridget, because it’s all Andras after this episode. And she who boops last, boops best.

TTVJ: I know it’s hard to avoid spoiling something, but is there anything else you want to preview about this week’s episode?

NC: I think it’s safe to say that the heart and soul of this episode is Wynonna and Waverly’s relationship. But honestly the whole cast did such great work. Kat, Martina, Varun, Tim, our guest stars. Everyone has something to do and they knocked it out of the park. Oh and one more thing real quick: whatever happens this week, remember… at least I didn’t eat Calamity Jane.

Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./SYFY

TTVJ: I asked this the last time we previewed an episode as well, but I would be remiss to not ask again while I have you. What characters most need to “KISS! KISS! KISS!” right now?

NC: If Doc and Wynonna don’t KISS KISS KISS soon my heart is going to shatter into a million pieces. Like could Tim and Melanie be any better at the smoldery yearning? Good news is, there are still a few episodes left this season so fingers crossed love finds a way… For freedom.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.