Previously on Wynonna Earp, ‘Purgatory’
Starring: Melanie Scrofano, Tim Rozon, Shamier Anderson, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Michael Eklund, Katherine Barrell, Greg Lawson, David Haysom | Writer: Emily Andras | Director: Ron Murphy
Now that Wynonna has been deputized into the Black Badge Division, she’ll start buckling down and being more discreet in her endeavors to pursue her uncle’s killer and end the revenants once and for all, right? Right? How about nope! “Keep the Home Fires Burning” picks up the pace of Wynonna Earp’s energetic premiere with oodles of humor, greater insight into the motivations and secrets that haunt the leads, and formally introduces the series’ chief antagonist, a brusque madman who is rarin’ to make Wynonna’s life a living hell. Well… more hellish.
“I never blow jobs without a please first.”
Aside from the intriguing drama that simmers just below its surface, what Earp excels in is the cheeky banter between Wynonna and Dolls (Shamier Anderson). It’s pretty dang obvious the two are still getting a feel for one another. Xavier barely tolerates Wynonna’s antics (and she knows it), and Earp can’t stand being told what to do. Perhaps it isn’t professional to make bets before a mission or talk smack to your boss, but boy is it fun to watch. While many viewers may have the impression the two may eventually be ‘shipped, Dolls and Earp’s burgeoning relationship is more akin to a brother and sister who antagonize each other to no end. That doesn’t sound sexy to me.
Rushed into the field, Earp does what she does best: raise holy hell. It’s not entirely her fault she cleared out a club. How else is Wynonna supposed to react when she witnesses a biker demon bite a woman’s pinky finger clean off? You take him down with three to the chest! Unfortunately, Dolls’ penchant for rules and regulations won’t cut it in eliminating this peculiar supernatural threat. Both agents have to become more open to change: Earp must learn a thing or twelve from Xavier about the responsibilities of sporting a Black Badge, and how to shoot straight (give that woman her flamethrower already!). In turn, Dolls will also have to be receptive to what knowledge Wynonna can impart to him about putting the revenants down for good. In any case, neither one of them wants Purgatory to become another hole in the ground courtesy of the United States government.
“Home Fires” also introduces another rather saucy development in the Earp women’s lives in the form of Officer Nicole Haught. There are first impressions… and then there are first impressions. Officer Haught wastes no time in letting her desires known to a sheepish Waverly, exuding a robust confidence that puts the littlest Earper in a tizzy. Boy-man who? No doubt Katherine Barrell will have a substantial presence in future episodes not only as a potential romantic interest, but a capable backup in case Xavier somehow can’t handle a trailer park full of demon rednecks.
“Darlin’, I’m everybody’s type.”
In the meantime, Holliday (Tim Rozon) is having a bit of difficulty adjusting to life in Purgatory. By ‘a bit’ we mean A LOT. Having no other option but to shack up on the outskirts of town with revenants – who absolutely despise the man – Doc bides his time with some poker and tales of his exploits until he’s summoned by their head honcho Bobo Del Ray (Michael Eklund). Del Ray’s patience for Holliday is shorter than the hair on his head. Nonetheless, both men could be a benefit to one another. The king of the hellspawn couldn’t care any less for Holliday yet his enmity for the Earp clan is enough to warrant an uneasy truce to kill two birds with one stone (see what I did there?).
Enter ‘Killer’ Jim Miller (Stephen R. Hart), a shadow assassin that tracks his prey through an object of their possession. Thanks to Bobo’s promise of revenge, Doc agreed to raise Miller from the depths, however the spirit is tasked to seek and destroy poor Waverly rather than big sister. Even hapless sycophant Levi who’s babysitting Holliday believes Lil’ Earp got a raw deal. Way to go, Doc. Way to go.
Nearly everything in the episode is spot-on but what truly carries “Home Fires” together were the scenes between Scrofano and Provost-Chalkley. In returning to the homestead, Wynonna and Waverly walk through each room and recall what few good times they had as a nuclear family. It’d be difficult for anyone to heartily reminisce inside a house where your mother abandoned her children, then your father and sister were abducted not long after. In spite of the sisters’ dark history – and the secrets both of them still hold – the girls attempt to make the best out of their situation. While some folks would believe their unique humor is used as a defensive mechanism, it could be posited the barbs and zingers they throw about in perilous situations isn’t to deflect from their vulnerabilities but to embolden themselves.
Look at what they have to contend with: Wynonna just had her 27th birthday and is suddenly entrusted with the life-altering task of sending the demons back to Hell that her great-great-grandpappy couldn’t do himself. Concurrently, Waverly is suddenly recalling her imaginary friend that may have been very real and tricked her into making it all the easier for the revs to kill her family. These are extremely difficult traumas to accept, and they do it with a toughness and lively temperament few could muster.
In the end, the homestead is cleared of its dark spell, the shadow assassin has been dispatched and Doc’s cover is still golden. Still, there’s no rest for the wicked so the Earps remain on the clock to take names and kick some ass next Friday in “Leavin’ on Your Mind” at 10/9c on Syfy!
Wynonna Earp S1E2 = 8.8/10