Spoilers follow for Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11, “Daddy Lessons,” and Season 3 Episode 12, “War Paint.”
Wynonna Earp‘s third season has come to a mighty end and I truly need the strongest damn taco Taco Bell has to offer to calm my feelings.
The two-parter finale, entitled “Daddy Lessons” and “War Paint” (both appropriate titles), begins with Wayhaught inspecting a dead Charlie Fire Services. After Doc murdered him with love during last week’s episode, everyone remained hush-hush on letting Wynonna know about her handsome fireman’s demise. Bulshar’s threat over Purgatory looms, so when Haught gets called away to assist in the town’s evacuation, Waverly is left alone hovering around a naked dead man. She does what many of us would do in this situation, which is to gently caress the carcass’s chest. Unfortunately for you and me, we’re not Waverly Earp and we do not possess the healing powers of this angelic force of wonder. Her touch brings him back to life and Evanescence subconsciously plays in the background.
An evacuation alarm blares over both of the town’s speakers, so of course this means two dumb-dumbs wander into Shorty’s under the ruse of looking for their dog in order to drink all the booze while everyone rightly runs for their lives. Angry Vamp Doc spots them and I honestly condone any form of punishment for dumb-dumbs like these that don’t take loud alarms seriously. Glamouring them in order to be a nice dinner for Doc and Kate? Should’ve taken that truck down to Austin for their tacos! I will say that both of them feeding on one person is not a great idea. Taking a cue from my True Blood knowledge, she would drain way too fast without enough ample time for her body to regenerate that lost blood. Duh.
Wynonna finds Waverly near the mysterious danger steps in the woods and kinda-sorta kidnaps her because Waverly needs to be protected at all costs, damn it! Wynonna tasks a barefoot Charlie to drive her prophetic sister out of the Ghost River Triangle, while Haught can barely get a word out (because she saw this dead naked man about 15 minutes prior). While Waves and Charlie bond over their love of strange greenhouses and Haught’s talents, Wynonna encounters a merry band of revenants that are now aware she’s Peacemaker-less. They offer an insanely-sculpted Melanie Scrofano as fealty to Bulshar, who sits on an Iron Throne whenever he eats dinner. This is probably one of the only things I like about him.
Wynonna encounters Mercedes, who utters my favourite comeback of the entire season: “I won’t do that, I keep fighting.” / “Yeah we know, sweetie. Your eyebags have ‘fighter’ written all over them.” Hot damn. Wynonna offers herself to be Bulshar’s lieutenant, but he rejects the idea by yelling in her face because we all know he’s super jealous of her stellar eyeliner skills. Bulshar’s guyliner does not make the cut. Not even the honourable mentions. It is truly heartbreaking seeing Wynonna’s sheer desperation to protect Waverly and her family, so much so that she’s willing to set aside any pride or disdain she has for Bulshar by begging on her knees to the man wearing an oversized fedora. She ultimately deduces that if she manages to touch Bulshar, she can harm him, because he hates having to dry clean his suede suits. She also kicks a revenant’s ass while wearing a corset because she is Wynonna. Freaking. Earp.
We ultimately learn that Charlie is Waverly’s father after a series of flashbacks that occur whenever she touches him wearing the impenetrable ring. Vamp Doc storms the greenhouse they are hiding in, craving the sweet taste of Charlie’s (well, Julian’s) angelic blood. He has been angrily perturbed throughout this episode, what with the glamouring rule-breakers and shooting Fire Chiefs. To be fair, I can only imagine the taste of an angel’s blood is reminiscent of a cold glass of Dr. Pepper on a sweltering summer’s day, so I understand his desperation. Threatening Waverly Earp, however? That’s a no-no. Julian Falcon pushes Doc unconscious and sprouts wings, because I suppose a bell was rung near the vicinity of the greenhouse.
As Bulshar enlists Bobo to assist him in his fight against acceptable fashion choices, Wynonna manages to rile up the merry band of revenants to fight against him. Waverly returns to the Homestead where Wynonna learns her vampire baby daddy murdered her ex-boyfriend, was then resurrected by her angelic sister and is also said sister’s father – but thankfully her hair is looking end-of-this-world fantastic!
There is one pairing we haven’t seen much of this season, and that is Haught and Kate. As she nurses Kate’s gunshot wound, Haught expresses her fear for Waverly’s safety. It’s quite compelling seeing how much these two genuinely adore their romantic counterparts although both relationships differ immensely. Bulshar’s minions interrupt their bonding session and stab Haught, causing her vanilla-dipped donut blood to permeate Kate’s nostrils. She attempts to walk it off, but as it turns out, an open wound can do wonders for your health – so she passes out while reciting Casablanca quotes. What a woman. Julian saves her life but warns a “price must be paid” – to which I ask, why can’t it ever just be free?
Waverly encounters Bobo in his best Rhythm Nation getup, because we clearly need more reason to question Bulshar’s affinity for outdated trends. He asks Waverly to set him free when the time comes. Julian lets Waverly know he used up everything he had to heal Haught, so it’s basically up to Waverly to save everybody… yeah, thanks dad.
The Bulshar showdown officially begins. Minions with riot shields arrive in Roman formation, revenants sacrifice themselves, it’s fun for the whole family! Charlie/Julian experiences death a second time when he’s stabbed through the back by the forces of Bobo and Bulshar. Waverly utilizes her powers by frying Bobo’s brain because she is Waverly. Freaking. Earp. The celebration is superbly short-lived as Wynonna realizes Bulshar has broken the Earp curse by hijacking her blood, making it possible for him to enter the Garden.
With all the chaos and impending doom sprinkled throughout the episode, we take a moment to watch Wayhaught share a touching moment on the balcony that made me lose my marbles. For the first time in Wynonna Earp history, Waverly explicitly states that she loves Nicole Haught and the couple essentially becomes engaged using the ugliest ring on Earth. Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Kat Barrell’s subtle mannerisms are so damn phenomenal; their chemistry together is simply immeasurable.
Jeremy conjures up a crypsis that possesses the ability to go undetected when hanging around Bulshar’s fashionista minions. Wynonna and Waverly head off to stop the apocalypse, because this is how the sisters are forced to spend their weekends. They manage to embody Agent 47 by sneaking past the guards utilizing the beautifully-smelling crypsis and come face-to-face with Bulshar.
Wynonna retrieves Peacemaker in the form of a big sword thanks to Waverly’s ingenuity, and she stabs the ever-loving snake out of Bulshar. Of course he wouldn’t be Mr. Ballsack if he didn’t do something shitty, so he takes a bite into Wynonna’s neck, leaving me to think she becomes Bulshar 2.0… WynShar? Thankfully Vamp Doc saves the day by sucking the venom out of our super heroine. Our other super heroine, my beloved Waverly Earp, is another story…
The concluding moments of the episode make me furiously envious of all future Wynonna Earp viewers who are able to immediately click “watch next episode” rather than wait for however long we need to wait for more.
Waverly becomes trapped in a barrier Wynonna can’t get through and is ultimately tree-napped to the beyond. Doc follows her into the Garden and we’re all left wiping the ugly cry off our faces. Wynonna returns to the Homestead, where the word “VALDEZ” is mysteriously etched into the hallway, before heading over to Shorty’s. Nedley reveals everyone in town has disappeared except for them, which can only mean one thing: the pair cock their guns like they’ve never cocked before and prepare for a battle to get them back. I conclude my recap using the delicately brainstormed phrase used by our beloved former sheriff: fuck yeah.
This season of Wynonna Earp has left me in a glass case of emotion. From saying goodbye to our fierce Sgt. Dolls to bonding with Mama Gibson, cooking with Jolene, experiencing Christmas in August, drinking with WynHaught, witnessing potato licking, learning about Waverly’s parentage and Haught’s upbringing and finally placing charges against Bulshar for his egregious style violations, we’ve witnessed some majorly crucial developments. I cannot wait to see what is in store for next season. Though I leave all my faith to the showrunners, I have a plea for the television gods: please, oh glorious entities, let Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught come out of this in one piece so we can all swoon over the Wayhaught wedding we’ve been craving since the second ever episode.
My 3 Favourite W’s of the Episode
I would now like to turn your attention to my 3 Favourite W’s for this final pair of episodes of Wynonna Earp season three. These consist of favourite Wynonna Insult, Wayhaught Moment and Waverly Expression: the three pillars of any Wynonna Earp episode.
Wynonna Insult: “I bested your mom.”
Wayhaught Moment: Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught make me melt regardless of what they’re doing, but declaring their adoration for each other right before going into an apocalyptic battle to save humanity? Be still, my already-in-a-depleted-state heart!
What did you think of the finale? Let us know in the comments below.
Follow Ghezal Amiri on Twitter.
Honey Bee is a revealing look at human trafficking in Canada
Honey Bee director Rama Rau may be known to Canadian audiences mostly due to her acclaimed work in documentary, including League of Exotique Dancers (2015) and No Place to Hide (2015) – the former profiling aging burlesque dancers and the latter taking a focus on the world of cyberbullying.
But though Honey Bee marks Rau’s narrative feature debut, her instincts honed in documentary filmmaking remain essential, as much of the film is shot as though it were a documentary feature.
“I think that was key in telling the story, for me,” Rau said. “The actors were never acting – they were always in that state.”
Much of the film’s dramatic power is supplied by lead actress Julia Sarah Stone, who plays Natalie, an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival.
“She was literally the crux of the film. She was everything,” Rau said. “When I saw her audition, and I looked at a lot of auditions, I really wanted her to be in my film.”
Rau spoke with The Mutt about Stone, transitioning from documentary filmmaking and the too-infrequently discussed prevalence of human trafficking in Canada. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.
THE MUTT: So tell me about Honey Bee.
RAMA RAU: It’s about a girl groomed from the foster home system and put into a human trafficking ring. She thinks the person grooming her is her boyfriend. That’s how they get young girls from the foster care system in Canada. Then, she’s caught in a police raid and sent to a farm and the movie really begins there, her coming to terms with what has happened. A lot of it is her finding herself.
TM: What were your first thoughts when you initially read the script?
RR: I was a bit shocked, to be honest. I was stunned that these things happen in Canada. I wondered if I wanted this to be my debut feature. But it’s never frightened me to go into the underbelly of society. But films have the power to open up areas that we don’t normally talk about. I also said as a woman director I can bring a certain perspective to it. And I found my way into the story, and said, “This is how I’m going to do it, and if you’re OK with it, I’m happy to work on this film.”
TM: What were those specific elements you wanted to bring to the film?
RR: I knew I wanted it to be totally told from the perspective of Natalie, from her POV. I knew I wanted it to be a very personal film. In documentary, we use handheld cameras a lot. We literally run behind our characters. I wanted that sense of urgency in this film. We kind of blurred the lines between fiction and fact. I wanted to go so deep into the story, so the audience never knows, “Is this a real story, or is this a person acting? Does this really happen in Canada?” [There was a scene where] and we ran behind [Natalie] like we were a camera crew.
TM: This film is obviously so based on character and Natalie’s experience. Do you think approaching things with that documentary mentality, did that help you capture small character moments?
RR: Yes, absolutely. I think that was key in telling the story. For me, the actors were never acting, they were always in that state. I encouraged them to be that way for as long as we were filming. I think they really took that to heart. They really lived their characters, and that was so rewarding for the camera because the camera picked up every little twitch of the cheek and movement of the eyebrow. I think that really lent to the authenticity. I even told Ryan (Steven Love), I want you to not talk too much to the women and I want them to hate you by the end of the film. So it’s really beyond method acting, it’s really living and being that character for that period of time.
TM: Having someone capable in the lead is obviously very important, because you need someone who is able to deliver that authenticity. How important was it having Stone in that role?
RR: Oh my god, she was literally the crux of the film. She was everything. I know she did so much research. I think she really carries the film on her shoulders. That’s why I had to choose such a strong actor like Martha to offset Julia’s stunning performance. I got so lucky in getting such great actors. God knows what I would have done if Julia wouldn’t have been able to deliver, because the film is totally based on every nuance of her face.
TM: Why would you recommend people check out the film?
RR: I think human trafficking in Ontario is not talked about enough. I think people watching this film will find a way into thinking about it. It’s not a news item. It’s more of a story of a girl who has been through the sex trade and has been bartered like a piece of furniture. I think we need to give these girls a voice. Since documentaries on these subjects can’t be made because it brings a lot of danger to their lives, these sort of films based on social issues is what opens up peoples’ minds to these sorts of issues. That’s why I think this film is crucial for people to watch if we have to tackle things like human trafficking in Ontario.
Honey Bee opened in select theatres on Sept. 20 and will be available on Video on Demand on Dec. 10.
Director Rob Grant on the tension (and dark comedy) of HARPOON
Adrift on the seas on a luxury yacht, three friends find themselves stranded without food or supplies and quickly realize their survival is less than assured. An official selection at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019, Harpoon made its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) April 28. The film will release on VOD in Canada on October 15.
The Mutt spoke with director Rob Grant prior to the film’s screening at CUFF 2019. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.
THE MUTT: Can you tell me a bit about the genesis of Harpoon?
ROB GRANT: I had a great relationship with my producers (Knuckleball director Michael Peterson and Kurtis Harder) from a film called Fake Blood. I pitched Mr. Peterson on this idea that was a mix between Polanski’s Knife on the Water but by way of Seinfeld characters on the boat. I grew up in Vancouver, and the original idea was, “Well, I spent a lot of time on a boat, we could go take a boat out to the ocean and try to isolate ourselves out there.” Once a budget came into play and the idea grew, suddenly we were shooting the interiors of the boat in a set in the middle of freezing winter in Calgary, and shooting the exteriors on a boat in tropical Belize down south.
TM: Was it difficult for you to balance those comedic elements and still find a way to ratchet up the tension?
RG: It was very difficult, and there were a lot of discussions about that. When you have to give the elevator pitch, you have to say: “This is the genre and this is what it means.” But I subscribe to the logic that in life you can feel in one moment that you’re in a love story and the next minute in a horror movie, and that’s the way real life actually works. But it seems a little more rigid in movies. We were aware of potentially disrupting viewers’ experiences of watching the movie. (We thought) a movie could, or should, be multiple things at once. We’re willing to accept that there’s going to be some audience members that are going to reject that as a movie experience, but we wanted to try it.
TM: Can you tell me more about those influences you mentioned? I’m curious about how you mixed something like Seinfeld with more traditional thriller elements.
RG: Hitchcock’s Lifeboat was definitely in there, as well as Polanski’s Knife in the Water. But I had to still find the dark humour in it, and Seinfeld came up specifically because as much as we all find the Seinfeld characters enduring, they’re very much in it for themselves. They’re worried about their own outcomes. So I tried to use a lot of that. As much as these people like to say they’re looking out for each other, the second it becomes a survival story they’re all kind of in it for themselves. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia was another one, not only for mixing drama and humour, but definitely because the narration was less focused. It sets up what’s going to happen without speaking to much on the nose about what you’re about to see.
TM: I understand there’s some great gore and effects in Harpoon. What was your approach to that, and what effect do you think that has?
RG: I’ve explored the effects of violence in cinema with Fake Blood, and this was an extension of that. The entire movie, these people speak very casually and aloof about the things that potentially will need to be done without actually considering what that entails until suddenly when it happens. I felt like it would be a good idea to make sure that was extremely violent and horrible, not only because we’ve been teasing up to this moment, but I do believe there’s a certain element that people do not consider the actual realities of having to do something like that. So it’s very shocking, very brutal, it’s like, “ha ha ha this was all funny to discuss” and now that it’s happened it sucks the wind out of you. That was a very intentional decision.
TM: What do you think Harpoon does in a unique way when compared to other similar films? What do you hope the audience walks away with?
RG: I hope when people leave the cinema that it wasn’t the movie they were expecting, that it was a little bit of a different take. I do think it’ll challenge them depending what their expectations are. I just hope they’re expecting something interesting in the genre, and that they’re along for the ride.
Harpoon will be released on VOD in Canada on October 15.
There Are No Fakes is a shocking journey into the world of art fraud
Some of the best documentaries of the past two decades involve hard left turns – films that begin in one direction but end in another due to events that unfolded during production. There Are No Fakes, directed by Jamie Kastner, joins that select company of documentary as its comedic opening slowly morphs into something much darker.
There Are No Fakes centers on the work of Norval Morrisseau, the Indigenous Canadian artist of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation, sometimes referred to as the “Picasso of the North”. Morrisseau, who died in 2007, sought to remove forgeries of his art from the marketplace, establishing the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society in 2005.
After Kevin Hearn (of Barenaked Ladies fame) buys one of Morrisseau’s paintings, he starts to doubt its authenticity and discovers a bizarre feud consolidated around Morrisseau. It’s this conflict, and the dark secrets hidden beneath it, that form the backdrop of There Are No Fakes.
Kastner (The Secret Disco Revolution, Free Trade Is Killing My Mother), who was friends with Hearn in high school, learned through conversation about Hearn’s ongoing lawsuit surrounding the Morrisseau paintings. It became clear to Kastner that such a story would be perfect for his next project.
“It was almost unbelievable. There was so much crazy stuff in this story, I couldn’t quite believe it,” Kastner said. “I told him if I was going to proceed with it, though we were friends he would have no editorial control. As a journalist, I would be talking to both sides, and he agreed.
“I went off on my own doing my own kind of digging and research. Lo and behold, everything he told me and then some turned out to be the case.”
As the story unfolded and as Kastner continued to meet a succession of larger-than-life characters, he found himself shocked at what he uncovered. Bringing footage back to his editor provoked a similar reaction.
“He’d say, ‘Holy f***!’ Then I’d do another one, and he’s quite an even-keeled guy, and he’d say ‘holy f***,’” Kastner said. “So it was a series of ‘holy f***’ moments. I tried to recreate that experience for the audience.”
Documentaries can often unfold much as expected, with a known story dictating the outcome of the production. But given the fluid situation surrounding the events of There Are No Fakes, Kastner followed the story as it led him, knowing he had been handed an incredible gift.
“It’s definitely a privilege and a responsibility (to tell this story). You’re dealing with the legacy of one of our most important artists,” he said. “You wind up dealing with very serious issues of abuse of different kinds, so I felt a real responsibility.
“You have to handle it very carefully as a documentary filmmaker. It really is so unique and unusual and special and horrific and inspiring and a whole range of things that you don’t usually get in one film.”
There Are No Fakes made its world premiere at Hot Docs 2019, receiving highly positive reviews. Kastner said the film provided fascinating insight into the legacy of Morrisseau, touching on multiple problems still at play in Canada.
“It’s a very dramatic story. People can’t believe that they’re real people. They seem like characters out of some HBO series or something,” Kastner said. “I think it’s a very entertaining, edge of your seat, jaw-dropping type of story that happens to be a documentary.”
There Are No Fakes will screen at multiple locations throughout Canada in July 2019. For more information, click here.
Next to read on The Mutt: Tantoo Cardinal propels Falls Around Her in first leading role