Wynonna Earp Image from Blastr.com

Wynonna Earp Review, Episode 1: Welcome to Purgatory

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In this premiere episode of Wynonna Earp, Wynonna returns home to ‘Purgatory’, for her Uncle’s funeral. It is the night before her 27th birthday, a day of special significance for Wynonna and the demons of Purgatory.

If you haven’t seen the episode yet, beware: this post is full of spoilers! The official site for the show is: www.syfy.com/WynonnaEarp

This is the first episode of 13 this season. A list of episodes is at the bottom of this post.

Some background to the story: Wynonna’s family is descended from Wyatt Earp, a man made legend by a partly fictionalised biography published in 1931, and by the subsequent movies. In this version of the Earp legend, lawman Wyatt killed 77 men. His family have been cursed ever since. The 77 rise as demons in human form, and each Earp heir must kill them, sending them back to hell. The heir inherits supernatural demon-fighting abilities on their 27th birthday. Wyatt’s gun, ‘Peacemaker’ is the only weapon that actually kills them. The demons seem to recover from injuries caused by other weapons, athough, they seem to retain the wounds: Malcolm’s eye, and Carl’s tongue, for example.

Back to Wynonna, the night before her birthday: Being the only person brave enough to get off the bus to protect another girl, she shows us her incredible courage, and willingness to do what she feels is right, regardless of the people around her. Getting off the bus with a tyre-iron, knowing that she’s probably about to face demons is really quite crazy-brave. Doing battle with the demon, in the dark, after seeing the decapitated head of the other girl, continues the crazy-brave, although by that time, she really didn’t have much alternative.

During the fight, when Wynonna’s phone announces the arrival of a Happy Birthday message from her sister Waverly because it’s just passed midnight, the demon seems to temporarily back off. Wynonna’s eyes flash in the dark, and she says “head rush”, which seems to be the moment that her ‘superpowers’ kick in. Besides the ‘head rush’ comment, Wynonna doesn’t seem to be aware that she has just gained new abilities, but she does attack the demon with renewed vigour, and some impressive moves!

Also during her fight with the demon, Wynonna loses her ‘Athena’ necklace, which Dolls later returns to her. Wynonna wearing a reminder of the goddess of wisdom and military victory is apt!

The flashbacks to Wynonna’s childhood help us to understand what’s going on now. Wynonna has withstood incredible terror and pain, and had to develop numerous survival strategies: mental, social and physical. (Not all of them are healthy and constructive.) It also helps us understand Wynonna’s relationship with Waverly.

Waverly Earp,Wynonna's little sister. Image from Syfy

Waverly Earp,Wynonna’s little sister. Image from Syfy

There are few women in Wynonna’s circle in Purgatory. So far:

  • Waverly: sweet, loving and innocent a lot of the time. Shoots first, & finds out who she’s shooting at later. Obsessively meticulous in compiling and memorising details about the 77. Wonders why she can’t break the curse, instead of Wynonna;
  • Aunt Gus: Thought Wynonna was a crazy trouble-maker until she was attacked by demons herself. Now she knows Wynonna can “fix this”;
  • Wynonna herself: Scarred but undefeated, determined, crazy brave, strategic, risk-taker, biker, drunk, hero.

 

Waverly and Wynonna make a pretty good team. In terms of temperament, Waverly and Wynonna are opposites. Waverly is much loved by everyone in town. Wynonna is hated by many of the people she encounters, and she responds in kind. No doubt the events of their childhoods set this pattern. They’ve been separated by life events, but now Waverly and Wynonna can look after each other.

Considering the amount of whiskey that Wynonna consumes during the episode, it’s remarkable that she is so lucid. About the only questionable decision she makes is to buy “the best” motorcycle, then blow it up! She could have bought the cheapest, instead! Perhaps, though, it was because she needed the remote ignition function.

The many men in Wynonna’s life are of varied character. So far:

  • Uncle Curtis: dead, but previously close with Wynonna;
  • Shorty: bar owner, long term confidant and trustworthy friend;
  • Champ: simple country boy who tries to cheat on Wynonna’s sister with Wynonna;
  • Carl, Malcolm & John (& 74 others): demons in human form;
  • Mystery man who climbed out of the well: seems to know a lot about Wyatt Earp. Lives near the demons, but they don’t trust him. I think he’s going to be interesting!
  • Deputy Marshall Dolls: cool, handsome and determined. Demon hunter. Somewhere between Men in Black & Captain America. (But without the enhanced technology.)

 

There is plenty of understated humour to lighten the tension of a town full of hidden demons. Wynonna’s facial expressions are priceless! Just a few of those moments: When Wynonna gets off the bus, she calls out: “We’re armed”, and quietly to herself: “really”. When Champ takes Wynonna up to his room above the bar, and he brags “I’ve got a key.” She replies: “That’s impressive.” When leaving her family home: “…and I’m talking to my truck.” When she rescues Waverly: “You came back for me.” “Duh. I’m nuts, remember?”

On the other hand, the most heartbreaking moment for me was when Aunt Gus gave her the money to buy a one-way ticket to Athens. It’s almost ironic that just as Wynonna was about to leave, the demon attack on Waverly and Gus made her stay, to kill all the demons.

Luckily for Wynonna, Agent Dolls is determined to recruit her to the Black Badge division. His help and equipment make a difference, not to mention the legitimacy of being a Deputy Government demon-killer.

Wynonna meets her new boss, Deputy Marshall Dolls. Image from Syfy

Wynonna meets her new boss, Deputy Marshall Dolls. Image from Syfy

 

There are things that have more significance when watched the second time (or reflected upon): Wynonna receiving the birthday text from Waverly which marks midnight for us, and the “headrush” makes more sense when we know that her 27th birthday is significant, and that demon-killing powers are activated. Carl in the bar saying: “If I could leave Purgatory, I’d never come back,” means much more once we know that he’s actually a demon!

This is just the beginning! I’m looking forward to more details unfolding in Episode 2: ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’! Friday 10pm/9c on Syfy.

Episode Guide/List:

  1. Purgatory
  2. Keep the Home Fires Burning
  3. Leavin’ on your mind
  4. The Blade
  5. Digging up Bones
  6. Constant Cravings
  7. Walkin’ After Midnight
  8. Two-Faced Jack
  9. Bury me with my Guns on
  10. She Wouldn’t be Gone
  11. Landslide
  12. House of Memories
  13. I walk the Line

 

Featured image from Blastr.com

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