Saturday, June 15, 2024

Why You Shouldn’t Touch The Goo

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Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 5, “Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers”

I expected a wild ride with Goononna (goo possessed Wynonna) in the driver’s seat, but I wasn’t ready for this! Granted, there are some things no one can ever be ready for, so I’ll just get started. No need for preamble when you have this much (excellent, well-written, fast-paced, emotionally weighty, character driven) show to tackle.

The OT3 of WynDolliday back together at last!

OMG, what?

Nothing good can come of a man being dragged down the hallway by people in red robes and plague masks. Unless it’s Wynonna Earp and said man is actually a demon who needs to die. At the homestead, Goononna makes a bacon and rat smoothie and threatens Waverly. Wynonna fights it off long enough to prevent it from killing Waves. Doc shows up to take Wynonna down to the police station, unaware of her possession and trusting her lies about Waverly being hungover. At the station, Jeremy gets kind of flirty with Doc while discussing the Earp plate, which it’s not as old as it seems because the paint doesn’t have lead. He finds an etching underneath the paint that Goononna mentions is on the firehouse. Doc drags her away from eating (several) donuts to check it out.

“You’re not vegan are you?”—Goononna

Dolls finds the tied up Waverly and interrogates her to see if she’s still possessed. He determines she’s clean because she apologizes more than any demon would. At the station, Nicole checks up on Waverly, who hasn’t returned her calls. Goononna tells her Waverly needs space and might not be that into her any more. Mean Goononna: 1; Nicole Haught: Pain. Wynonna breaks free to stab herself in the hand, but Goononna only threatens her and heals the wound. Waves tells Doc about the demon inside her feeling like a legion. Enter Lucado with a gun to Dolls’s head.

“You know Wynonna, you’re really mean when you drink before noon. You drink before noon too often.”—Nicole

Wynonna and Doc, meanwhile, get an awkwardly flirtatious breakfast before heading down to the station. Lucado and Dolls duke it out until Waverly breaks free in time to redirect them to the task at hand: saving Wynonna. At the fire station, Goononna senses the death of demons and the consecrated ground underneath, and gets a bit faint. Ewan (played by Brenden Fehr) seems to sense the demon inside her. Doc takes her away and shoves her in the trunk. The lack of Peacemaker, and Goononna’s coffee drinking habits, gave the Goo away.

She’s put in jail while Doc, Dolls, Lucado, and Waves decide what to do. BBD isn’t answering Lucado’s calls. She sends Waves and Doc to find trace goo while she and Dolls discuss the demon, Mixion (Miction?). Juan Carlo tries (unsuccessfully) to convince Ewan and the Order not to kill Wynonna.

“Quit it you *ssholes. Wynonna is possessed and we don’t have time for you two to go all UFC on each other.”—Waverly

Goononna taunts Dolls in every way possible, including trying to seduce him. He resists. Wynonna breaks free long enough to tell him to do what he’s planning. He does, cutting off her pinky as a tissue sample for Lucado. She grows it back once he’s gone. Juan Carlos warns Doc and Waves about the Order, encouraging them to make a trade for Wynonna’s life. Dolls finds a way to potentially save Wynonna, but he can’t save Lucado. Despite all the times she said not to touch the goo, she touched the goo. And the demon blows her mind. (No literally, her head explodes.)

Dolls has an elixir that will get the demon out of Wynonna. Before he can use it on her, Waverly sneaks down to the prison to take Mixion back, trusting in Wynonna to save her.

“Just like that time I put a can of pasta in the microwave.”—Doc (referring to Lucado’s headsplosion)

Despite Gooverly, I’m here for this.

At the homestead, Ewan sees Gooverly arrive, and can tell Mixion is inside her (does he have superpowers?). He and the Order plan to kill her ‘for the good of the many.’ Gooverly finds Nicole in the barn and tells her Wynonna is possessed and hurt her. Wynonna convinces Ewan she’s not possessed anymore by drinking holy water. Doc hands over the plate in exchange for letting Wynonna through to stop Mixion. Nicole goes all mama bear on Wynonna to protect Waverly. But when Gooverly tells Nicole to shoot Wynonna, Nicole knows Waverly is not ‘her Waverly.’

Waverly tells Wynonna to force her to drink the elixir, and when she does, she vomits up black goo and Mixion Alien style. Wynonna makes short work of the demon, the Order walks away with the plate, and WayHaught kiss and make up.

“I don’t have time for your weekend survivalist militia.”—Wynonna

Dolls drops the bomb of Lucado’s death on Jeremy, who counters with his own truth bomb: Black Badge is gone. Wynonna and Ewan share some charged banter and leave with a not quite partnership…more like a ceasefire. Wynonna finds Waverly on the steps looking somber. Waves hands her a paper bag. The episode ends with Waverly telling Wynonna she’s always going to be there for her through a closed bathroom door. She confesses that Mixion said Wynonna’s body was ‘too crowded’ to be a good fit. But no matter what, Wynonna isn’t going to be alone. “You can say that again,” Wynonna counters, as she holds up a positive pregnancy test.

Favorite One Liner: “Don’t ever say collateral damage when you’re talking about my sister.”—Wynonna

I Gotta Say…

Written by John Callahan and directed by April Mullen, last night’s episode packed in multiple surprises and narrative turns for our team of demon hunters. I’ll get to them in a bit, but I first have to complement the crew. Those were some mighty fine special effects, if I do say so! The hand trick with Goononna was a neat reversal of expectation. Lucado’s head blowing up on screen was pretty impressive as well, as was Waverly vomiting up the demon. I didn’t mind the kind of hokey sfx of season one (I was raised on Buffy, after all), but I appreciate how much work the crew is putting into it this season. It shows.

The camera work this week blew me away. The jail scene between Dolls and Wynonna opens on that gorgeous shot of her laying on the floor, splayed out, the slow spiral an eerie echo of Wynonna’s descent into Goononna and the internal spinning of her mind as she thinks of a way to outwit Dolls. The music accompanying the scene could not have been more perfect either. The soft, creepy music building to the crescendo of Wynonna’s screams turned into demonic laughter. Gave me the shivers.

The capstone was the final shot of Wynonna and Waverly, back to back, with a door separating them. The visual metaphor was both gorgeous and heartbreaking in its symbolism. All in all, for the end of the first arc of the season, this episode felt like a visual feast worthy of a first arc capstone.

That sound you hears is me sobbing.

The writing continues it’s special brand of wacky, clever, and one-of-a-kind. There’s a reason I include so much dialogue. It’s too good to leave unmentioned, and it speaks for itself.

Wynonna: You’ve made an enemy this Friday.

Ewan: It’s Tuesday.

Wynonna: Good to know.

Now to the meat of the episode: Goononna and Melanie Scrofano’s pants-droppingly impressive acting abilities. Mel mentioned in an interview that Wynonna would have a lightness and flirtiness to her, and she wasn’t wrong. She’s more playful and fun than we’ve ever seen her, and it’s tragic in that it stems from demon possession.

“[Y]ou get to see what she’d be like if she were completely free. This whole time up until now she’s been dealing with a lot, but when she’s completely free she’d be so fun, she’d smile and laugh, flirt and just have this lightness about her.”—Interview with the TV Junkies

From what we’ve seen with her and Gooverly, the demon seems to lower her inhibitions, freeing her to act as she wants to but can’t given the weight of responsibility and grief bearing her down. It hurts to see what Wynonna could be if she weren’t so burdened. We see this light inside of her, and we wish for her to be able to be that free-wheeling, flirty and fun Wynonna. Not Mean Wynonna of course, she’s horribly manipulative and destructive. But free Wynonna, the Wynonna who can flirt with Doc openly without the angst and stuff her face full of pancakes (or donuts) with real zest. We want to see her happy this way all the time.

Speaking of Mean Wynonna, the emotional pain inflicted on Nicole hurts me to my core. She has suffered so much this season, and here come the Earp sisters to drive the knives in deeper. I’m glad she and Waverly got to make up, but her face this episode, my god. Someone give her a hug and a blanket. And the scene where Waverly recovers her memories to realize she almost let Dolls die? Messed me up. While we’re talking about Dolls and my feelings, his line about the demon just being who he is rather than a ‘passenger’ broke my heart. I want to hug every single character on this show until their pain goes away.

As far as reveals go, I’m intrigued by Black Badge’s absence. It’s not surprising since they’d been ghosting Lucado for a couple of episodes. But when you think about how much work they put into getting the Earps on board to do their demon hunting, you’d think they’d stick around to keep them in line. And the Order, who are those guys? I’m sure we’ll find out, but until then I’m on the edge of my seat. God, I love this show so much.

Lucado’s death was shocking without being Shocking™. Looking back, you can see the signs of it coming. Her frustration and loneliness, her feeling of abandonment and desire to reconnect. BBD was everything to her, and without it, she was lost. In fact, her death gave us insight into how Mixion operates. It preys upon people who do not want to be alone, which makes sense of why the ‘perfect pool of goo’ called to Waverly at the end of S1. And now my heart hurts again.

The pièce de résistance for this week is the bombshell of Wynonna’s pregnancy. I’m not generally a fan of pregnancy storylines, honestly, and not just because they’re so rarely done well. I have too much personal baggage (I wanted but cannot have children of my own). The angst surrounding unexpected pregnancy just hits a bit too close to home for me to find it entertaining. But that’s not Wynonna Earp’s fault, nor the fault of bad or cheap writing. It’s just too raw of a story for me.

I’m a bit disappointed that it’s now a part of one of my favorite shows, but I get it. Melanie Scrofano was pregnant during the filming of the 2nd season. (She gave birth not long after wrapping production and still did all her own stunts, what a bamf.) Despite my personal qualms, I’m grateful they were willing to incorporate it into the storytelling. Too often actors get punished for being pregnant with sidelining or being written out of a show.

I’m proud of this cast, crew, and the network for how they’ve handled it. According to interviews, everyone has been super supportive. Emily made it her goal to incorporate it into the story and viewed it as a challenge, an opportunity to explore a new feminist angle for the show. Showcasing the struggles of women who don’ choose to get pregnant and bear a weight for life’s curveball is something that needs to be done, and done well. I have every faith that it will be a story women in this situation deserve.

There are fun little hints to her pregnancy when you rewatch this episode, too. The bra not fitting, the food cravings, Ewan’s comments that “people usually bring their kids” to the fire station. It’s quite clever upon rewatch.

And given who Wynonna is as a character, it will be a fascinating internal journey for her to take. Someone with such a raw, tumultuous emotional life that can barely take care of herself being a parent? She’ll have some growing up to do and some facing of herself that will no doubt make for quality television in the coming weeks. Melanie herself has hinted that Wynonna will become more of a mama bear and have even more to fight for in the second half of the season. That will be a interesting growth pattern for Wynonna, especially after how heavy her life has been.

So, all in all, I do look forward to seeing how that takes shape even if I know already that it won’t be entirely easy for me to watch. I’m just grateful they don’t seem to be going the X-Files route and making it a possession or alien of some kind. No thanks.

I’m also pretty excited to see Brenden Fehr in another supernatural show. That’s right, I watched Roswell. Feel free to judge me, but I don’t care. I enjoyed the heck out of it.

I see you, Andras Callahan

  • “you’re not vegan are you?” was a pretty sweet Melanie improv that’s both funny because Dom is Vegan and also a very Goononna thing to say.
  • Maybe I’m missing something, but why don’t people ever spit out stuffed, makeshift gags that aren’t being held/strapped in? Wouldn’t your tongue be able to push it out?
  • Demons must have a thing for furry collars because Goononna is looking decidedly Bobo-like in that coat.
  • How sad is it that Nicole knows Wynonna’s habits enough to know she’s awful when she drinks before noon?
  • Awesome fight choreography for Lucado and Dolls + one liners from Waves = amazing.
  • “Well frankly Lucado, the situation is balls,” was my second favorite one liner.
  • Digging Nicole’s new uniform, she must have really hated the khakis for it to come that quickly.
  • Not sure how far we can trust Ewan and his gang, or Juan Carlo for that matter.
  • We know Dolls can’t be the daddy of Wynonna’s baby (he hasn’t ‘seen these curves’ up close, after all, nice reminder, Andras). So who is? Doc? Is it supernatural? Immortal?
  • The “I trust you”, “Always” echo between Wynonna and Doc at the beginning/end of the episode was masterful.

Tune in next week for Mercedes sisters Ladies in Black wreaking havoc and what looks like a demonic sleeping spell!

R.I.P. Lucado.

Images Courtesy of SyFy

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