Wynonna Earp: Season 1 Episode 1 – Purgatory (Review)

What is worse than having spent a good portion of your teen years on Juvenile Corrections and a mental hospital? Being the heir apparent to the Earp legacy where demons all attempt to retrieve a Buntline peacemaker and kill off the bloodline. Wynonna Earp returns home to Purgatory for a family funeral and discovers that the Wyatt Earp curse is alive and well.

Wynonna Earp - Season 1

What is worse than having spent a good portion of your teen years in Juvenile Corrections and a mental hospital? Being the heir apparent to the Earp legacy where demons all attempt to retrieve a Buntline peacemaker and kill off the bloodline. Wynonna Earp returns home to Purgatory for a family funeral and discovers that the Wyatt Earp curse is alive and well.

And waiting for her.

Wynonna  learns that things are still bad in Purgatory and that demons are aggressively looking for the “magic” gun.  She reunites with her sister Waverly (played with enormous pluck and energy by Brit actress Dominique Provost-Chalkley) and meets up with a new “badge” in town, Deputy Marshall  Dolls (Shamier Anderson).

Earp (Melanie Scrofano) has flashbacks to the family homestead where revenants attacked and were responsible for  her father’s death  and murdered her older sister Willa.  She also learns that things are bad before entering the town when she gets off the bus. 

Dolls questions Wynonna who really does not want to play and leaves things open. Earp goes to the homestead and realizes she needs the gun. As the oldest she will inherit her great-great grandfather’s ability and will need it to kill the 77 revenants out for revenge.

She gets the Buntline special from an old well and she is met by Deputy  Dolls who tries to recruit her to his team.  After the two leave someone comes climbing out of the dry well; Doc Holiday (Tim Rozon).

Wynonna is part smart-arse and part angry anti-hero.  She is also a lousy shot, at least the first time she tries the gun, and must learn to get better. Earp learns that her little sister has been keeping track of the legend and wants to help.

A lot of Wynonna’s anger comes from the homestead attack and the Buntline special.  She meets Doc in Shorty’s Bar and the two talk philosophy and about Wyatt. Wynonna bitterly tells Holiday:

“He was good at killing, so they called him a hero.”

Waverly is taken by demons and Dolls reveals that he knows about the revenants.  Wynonna goes to rescue her sister. Once she arrives, the demons reveal that they know about the Earp legacy;  when the eldest reaches 27 all the previously killed revenants arise to kill out the family.

This is a modern western where horses have been replaced by motorcycles and country music mixes easily with hard rock.  High flying martial arts is combined with gunplay and the mystery of just why  Doc Holiday has returned. He is not on the Earp’s side nor is he a revenant.

Scrofano is believable as the reluctant hero and she pulls off the mixed feelings and attitude  effortlessly .  Rozon also makes Holiday his own and kudos to Provost-Chalkley for her impeccable “country” American accent.  The English performer has what can best be describe as a boarding school accent  and there is no sign of it in her portrayal of Waverly.

The series is shot in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (where The Revenant was also filmed as well as Interstellar) and it works well as a stand-in for the western US.

Thus far, Wynonna Earp is good entertainment. It has interesting dialogue and a excellent premise.  It could be called Supernatural meets Tombstone  but with an earthy and strong female heroine with an equally strong female sidekick.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays on SyFy.