If you were to mention to the average person that you couldn’t wait to get back to Purgatory, they might respond with a strange look. The word itself tends to evoke any number of images, many of them affiliated with a place most would rather not find themselves. However, to the corner of the Internet devoted to the show Wynonna Earp, Purgatory isn’t just a place to get trapped in–it’s a town, one that plays host to a wacky and wonderful cast of characters led by the gunslinging heir for which the series is named: Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano).
The show, which returns for its second season on Friday June 9, has been the recipient of some well-deserved praise and fan accolades for its thoughtful portrayal of LGBTQ-related storylines, its complex, multi-layered fictional females, and its whip-smart dialogue. And there’s even more good news for self-proclaimed “Earpers”: season two doesn’t lose any of that solid momentum. Our favorites might have to deal with a whole new set of problems, but at the heart they’re still the characters we fell in love with in season one. It’s what makes falling back into Wynonna Earp feel just like curling up on the front porch with a hot drink… especially if that drink has a nip of something stronger mixed in.
While the first season was primarily devoted to Wynonna establishing the boundaries of the newly formed relationships in her life, season two revolves around building and growing those dynamics within the team she’s unexpectedly found herself spearheading. Things are noticeably tense between Wynonna and her sister Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley); the aftermath of their sister Willa’s death plays out in slow, buildable increments between them, creating small cracks in the foundation. Adding to the already-strained situation is the outcome of Waverly touching that mysterious black goo in the finale. It’s an act that leads to some serious repercussions for herself as well as the ones closest to her, including Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), who continues to try to juggle working both as a part of the Purgatory sheriff’s department and liaising her services to the mysterious Black Badge Division.
Season one also saw Wynonna’s longtime boss Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson) facing retaliation from BBD for withholding information and being hauled away to a secret location on charges of treason, and the show doesn’t waste time in picking up right where it left off there either, as Wynonna and Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) try to make good on their plan to rescue him. Of course, things don’t always go swimmingly in the world of Wynonna Earp and one of the lessons quickly learned is that it’s better to make a deal with the devil you know in the pursuit of saving a friend.
As for romance, the show doesn’t skimp on that either, but all of the pairings feel a little more lived-in. Now, characters like Waverly and Nicole face not only the ramifications of that nasty black goo but also the logical next step in any long-term relationship: the balance of work life and love life. And while Wynonna herself didn’t finish out the first season with any serious beau, there’s an exciting undercurrent to her attempts to navigate (or ignore, depending on the day) that equally confusing and delicious tension between her and Doc, not to mention her shifting awareness of her connection with Dolls.
The monsters of season two are creepier than ever, yet the forces that create the most genuine scares over the first four episodes are the ones coming from inside the house. Purgatory plays host to more than the demon revenants that Wyatt Earp’s heirs are responsible for taking down, and these new monsters-of-the-week help to expand the mythology of Wynonna Earp in a way that feels natural while still hinting at a more ominous and conspiratorial Big Bad. There’s all kinds of other things that go bump in the night, and, true to form, Wynonna and her team leap into action with remarkable adaptability and wisecracking aplomb… even if most of the time they don’t really know what the hell they’re dealing with. Hold on tight, Earpers.
Season two of Wynonna Earp premieres Friday, June 9th at 10 p.m. on Syfy and Space.
RATING: 5 OUT OF 5 DONUT-WINKING BURRITOS.