Wynonna Earp, PLEASE Keep On Feministing

Season two of Wynonna Earp wrapped last Friday, and we are all recovering from a series hangover that’s lasted since June. As the dust clears and there is time to process, the sadness is beginning to set in. This summer, we saw incredible plot twists and turns in the Earp series as Wynonna began to unravel more about the Earp curse, “de-gooed” Waverly and Nicole’s relationship matured, and the penultimate demon Clootie was released from his resting place. Oh! And Bobo Del Rey is back in action, creepily prancing his way into trouble again. The cast and writing remained as excellent as ever, maybe even surpassing the previous season. Emily Andras did not disappoint with the classic WE red herrings, cliff hangers, and plot twists. However, one of the most important achievements this season yet again was the show’s focus on women—and Wynonna’s journey in particular.

Wynonna Earp S1/SYFY

From the beginning, Wynonna (played by Melanie Scrofano) has represented the ultimate well-rounded woman. Wynonna is strong, smart, powerful, boisterous, courageous, caring, and a through-and-through badass. She is also vulnerable, highly flawed, and known to self-medicate with whiskey. Our heroine has dealt with the trauma of shooting and killing her own father, watching her sister be dragged away by demons, and (lest we forget) her subsequent commitment. These experiences scarred Wynonna deeply, but her past fuels her motivation to strive for goodness, justice, and redemption. Wynonna is the perfect balance of toughness and vulnerability, of hardness and warmth. Her flaws make her who she is, our perfect heroine.

In season two, writer and producer Emily Andras and Wynonna actress Melanie Scrofano took this notion of heroine to a new level, this time celebrating and representing motherhood. Before filming the current season, Scrofano told Andras she was pregnant and Andras broke the mold and wrote accordingly. Midway through season two, we find out that Wynonna is pregnant, and we watch the story unfold amidst her pregnancy. This season was unreal in large part because of the pregnancy plot twist. Writing Scrofano’s pregnancy into the storyline was an ingenious way to keep the audience interested, and it created a lot of baby daddy drama. However, the road to the next Earp heir meant so much more than that. Wynonna Earp was one of the most important shows on television this summer because it dared to be different. Instead of trying to hide Scrofano’s pregnancy, the show runners and cast openly supported and embraced her motherhood both on and off the screen. Scrofano’s performance showed that a woman is powerful and strong even, or especially, when she is carrying a baby. She was not a weak damsel in distress yelling out for help. When Wynonna became pregnant, she did not become any less of a loud, crazy chick with a gun.

Throughout the season, we see Wynonna beating on high school jocks to get a demon-laced trophy, hunting the widows, kicking down LOTS of doors, time traveling, and then eventually mowing those same widows over with a truck. She refuses to let Doc, Dolls, or even Waverly limit her participation in the “fun” just because she is growing a human inside her. Wynonna’s situation made her that much more of a hero because she was able to take on her pregnancy and the Earp curse without missing a beat. Her unrelenting refusal to let others define her limits reminds us that women are capable, independent beings. In episode 9, Wynonna says it best when she reminds Doc, “I’m pregnant, not helpless.” And while Wynonna is set in a chaotic demon-ridden world, the show also beautifully highlights the mundane, sometimes annoying (but all too real) aspects of pregnancy. Like most real-life mothers, Wynonna experiences food cravings, doctor’s visits, and always having to pee in the middle of a revenant-filled shit storm.

We see some of the more comical, empowering aspects of pregnancy play out on screen during WE, but we also see Wynonna experience degradation and anxiety. What has been even more amazing than watching a pregnant woman kick ass on screen is the way the show handled the discourse surrounding single motherhood. Single mothers have one of the toughest jobs there are. Not only do they have to deal with the stress of figuring out how this accident could have happened, but they also have to bare the evidence under their shirts. A man can walk away from a careless mistake, or faulty birth control, but the sad and obvious truth is that women just cannot. It is women who have to make tough, impactful choices about their new predicament. It is women who are flooded with a barrage of sexist slut shaming and judgement if they have an unwanted pregnancy. Wynonna Earp delves into the dark corners of this misogynistic drudgery as well. 

In episode 7, we find out that Doc might not be the father of Wynonna’s child. During most of the episode, we follow Wynonna on a wild goose chase trying to figure out if revenant-douche one-night stand man (yeah, that guy) could be the father. At the very end of the episode, Wynonna confronts Anus—I mean Jonas—about the possibility of a human-demon hybrid. In a monologue that makes your skin crawl, he provokes and degrades her. Jonas recalls how that night when they had sex, her legs “popped right open” and she was an easy target. He then explains, “Lucky for the revenants, the Earp heir is a whore.” The camera pans to Wynonna, who stands with a stoic expression. After taking in his disgusting drivel, she fires off Peacemaker and sends him into the fiery pit of hell. Waverly then comes over to comfort her and Wynonna says, “Here’s to single motherhood.” Waverly assures her, “You’re a superhero,”  and Wynonna responds, “Same damn thing.” And so we have it—two women acknowledging the mental strength and heroism it takes to raise a child on one’s own. It also takes strength to face judgement head-on, knowing that you have done nothing wrong and that you are not defined by other people’s unfair criticism. Wynonna put down another demon and in doing so, put down sexist judgment and paternal abandonment in one fell swoop.

Every episode of Wynonna Earp has representations of strong, smart, incredible women. All shows should be striving to attain this level of realness. Women need to see themselves in the media. They need to see representations of women who are sarcastic, funny, who fight even when they have cute babies inside them, and who refuse to let others tell them what they should do. Wynonna Earp has made me and scores of other women feel like they can take on the world, and this is an achievement in and of itself. The show runners and cast of WE have done many other amazing things this season. They continue to be the champions of the LGBTQ+ community, to give us well-rounded, supportive female and male characters, and to deliver thrilling, poignant, and thought-provoking plot lines. To all of these achievements, I have to say this: Please, Wynonna Earp, do us all a very large favor and continue to be our champions. Continue to break the mold and portray real characters who give birth on a pool table, find antidotes for their poisoned loves, and turn into beautiful man-lizards because we have yet to find another show that can do all this. Keep on feministing, and keep on ousting those misogynistic shit-tickets because, with shows like yours, we may just be able to put down our own demons.