“Whiskey From Dad, Crazy From Mom” — Let’s Talk About Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 2

by Erik Amaya


After all the claims from the cast of Wynonna Earp that lasts night’s episode would be a game changer was a lot more than hot air. In fact, the episode’s conclusion led to one of the biggest changes in the show to date. And when you consider things like Wynonna’s (Melanie Scrofano) pregnancy, Doc (Tim Rozon) becoming mortal and the revelation that Wynonna’s mother Michelle (Megan Follows) is still alive, a true game change would have to require some sort of sacrifice on the part of the main characters.
And boy, was there ever a sacrifice.
But before we get there, let’s ask some questions. For one: what is the nature of Wynonna’s vision of her mother? Is it a real projection, part of the “crazy” she claims she picked up from Michelle, or just a very convenient emotional coping mechanism? Maybe there is a very specific strain of schizophrenia in the Gibson line leading to this ability, which seems to have some beneficial elements to it even if Michelle has “episodes” because of it. But if it is a projection, it would explain why Wynonna went to the woods and not the prison to speak with Mama in the Season 2 finale.
While this week’s Revenant was, in many ways, perfunctory to get us to the point where Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) confronts Wynonna about keeping Mama a secret, he did offer a few tantalizing ideas for the future, including the notion that the trees are uprooting themselves and rebuilding the forest. I may read too much Tolkien, but I’m inclined to believe anyone on a fantasy show who says the trees can move of their own accord. But why are they moving? Is it part of Bulshar’s design or is the forest itself trying to get out of his way. The trapper Rev also seemed to be afraid of Bulshar, so perhaps their allegiance to him is not a given.
Also, did y’all catch the Michelle projection’s line about Willa belonging to Ward and Waverly belonging to “everyone?” Hmmmm …
These questions fall by the wayside, of course, when faced with the startling finality of Xavier Dolls’ (Shamier Anderson) final moments. In fact, the show went out of its way to suggest there are no take backs with Dolls facing death in order to stop Bulshar’s military demon from killing Wynonna and Nicole (Katherine Barrell). The fact characters swiftly declare that “he’s gone” and the Michelle projection’s pronouncement that “he’s at peace” definitely suggests this is the end for the character. But this is a fantasy show with people returning from Hell all the time, so there is always the possibility we’ll see him again.
Nonetheless, it was an emotionally devastating moment. So much so, I was reminded of when I first met Anderson on the set of the show before it debuted. At the time, no one knew what Wynonna Earp would become or how much people would love Dolls. As an invention of the show, Anderson felt particularly honored to help mold the character and see him move into the comics of Wynonna’s creator Beau Smith. Back then he called Dolls, “A very principled guy. He gets A-pluses in everything,” adding “There’s a lot of layers to him … That’s the trick of being so stoic [at first]. But you’ll see things that will hopefully surprise the viewers later on.”
Those layers were surprising indeed. On that set visit, I happened to see the case containing the vials and injection system for Dolls’ drug — the prop master went out of her way to show it to Smith, who was also along for the visit. At that moment, the prop had no significance to me, but it would become a key feature of the Dolls mystery. As it turned out, the straight-arrow Black Badge Division agent was altered by the agency with Dragon DNA. It gave him enhanced abilities, but made him completely dependent on BBD for a drug to keep his dragon side in check. Jeremy (Varun Saranga) and Rosita (Tamara Duarte) were eventually able to counterfeit the drug, but as mentioned in passing during last night’s episode, it was failing; leaving Dolls incredibly vulnerable to lethal side effects. All of which he was aware of when he decided to use his dragon powers one last time to save his friends.
Man, that is a bummer.
Back at the Calgary studio in 2015, Anderson told me, “Going into the sci-fi world is exciting. Everyday I come to work and play with cars, guns, demons, [and] fight stuff all in the paranormal world. It’s a treat.”
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays on Syfy.

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