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Wynonna Earp delivers a wildly emotional conclusion

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Wynonna Earp S3 Episode 311/312
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. E.T. on Space. Photo courtesy Bell Media

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!

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11/12 - "Daddy Lessons/War Paint". Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11/12 – “Daddy Lessons/War Paint”. Photo courtesy Bell Media

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!

Waverly Expression:

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11/12 - "Daddy Lessons/War Paint". Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11/12 – “Daddy Lessons/War Paint”. Photo courtesy Bell Media

What did you think of the finale? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Ghezal Amiri on Twitter.

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There Are No Fakes is a shocking journey into the world of art fraud

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Directed by Jamie Kastner, There Are No Fakes is a shocking feature-length documentary that centres on the work of Norval Morrisseau. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions
Directed by Jamie Kastner, There Are No Fakes is a shocking feature-length documentary that centres on the work of Norval Morrisseau. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

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.”

Norval Morrisseau of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation was sometimes referred to as the "Picasso of the North". Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

Norval Morrisseau of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation was sometimes referred to as the “Picasso of the North”. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

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

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Isabelle brings psychological terror to an idyllic neighbourhood

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Starring Adam Brody, Amanda Crew, Zoë Belkin and others, Isabelle returns to Canada for a theatrical run starting June 28. Photo courtesy GAT PR.
Starring Adam Brody, Amanda Crew, Zoë Belkin and others, Isabelle returns to Canada for a theatrical run starting June 28. Photo courtesy GAT PR.

In a quaint New England neighbourhood, a charming young couple (Adam Brody and Amanda Crew) find the perfect home to move into. But what they find in that home complicates their dream to start a family, as darkness and paranoia emerges in director Rob Heydon’s Isabelle.

Following in the footsteps of other psychological horrors such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, Isabelle comes from a screenplay written by Donald Martin (Milton’s Secret). Having grown up watching genre films like The Omen and The Shining, Heydon approached the project looking to put his own stamp on psychological terror.

“Reading the script, I just got into it cold. Then once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down,” Heydon said. “I thought a lot about what other references it could be like and how I could help bring something to the story and the storytelling.”

Much like other films in the genre, Heydon’s intention for Isabelle was to emphasize the psychology of the terror as a priority. That meant slowly building up the characters and introducing new elements throughout the runtime of the film.

“In a sense, it’s trying to tell a story in three arcs and build the audience’s expectations up to the third act,” Heydon said. “We used the combination of cinematography and editing and music to bring the audience into the mind of the main character and have the audience experience what our main characters are going through.”

Isabelle made its world premiere in South Korea in October 2018, and has since played at 33 film festivals around the world. Photo courtesy GAT PR

Isabelle made its world premiere in South Korea in October 2018, and has since played at 33 film festivals around the world. Photo courtesy GAT PR

The strength of the cast – which includes Brody, Crew and Zoë Belkin as Isabelle – was essential given the nature of the material. Brody was the first to sign on, but other cast members took longer to materialize.

“Amanda Crew wasn’t available at the same time. So it took almost two years to put together the cast,” Heydon said. “But when their calendars lined up, we also got some amazing talent to surround them. Belkin, Sheila McCarthy, who played Isabelle’s mom… we were really lucky.”

Isabelle shot in Hamilton, Ont., with old Victorian homes posing as New England. Beyond the locale, Heydon said the cost savings attained shooting in Hamilton were significant.

“In Toronto, to rent a house for a day might be 10 or 15 thousand per day. In Hamilton, we were lucky to get three houses right next to each other for 20 days for $20,000,” he said. “You just can’t find that anywhere in Toronto.”

Having initially premiered in South Korea as part of the Busan Film Festival (along with fellow Canadian horror Lifechanger), Isabelle will now open to a larger release in Canada. Heydon said genre aficionados should find much to enjoy in Isabelle.

“I’d say read what the film’s about and check out the trailer – I think the trailer says it all. And if you’re interested, come check it out,” he said.

Isabelle begins its theatrical run in Toronto June 28 at the Carlton Cinema. For more information, click here.

Next up on The Mutt: Horror materializes in unconventional ways in Things Fall Apart

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Horror materializes in unconventional ways in Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart, the first feature from director/writer Hussein Juma, plays June 2 at the Globe Cinema in Calgary. Photo courtesy Hussein Juma
Things Fall Apart, the first feature from director/writer Hussein Juma, plays June 2 at the Globe Cinema in Calgary. Photo courtesy Hussein Juma

Those familiar with Hussein Juma, director and writer of Things Fall Apart, know that it’s somewhat fruitless to attempt to fully summarize his work. That’s largely by design – Juma himself says he enjoys injecting ambiguity into his projects.

But more than that, what’s exciting about Juma as a director is his ability to create a sense of atmospheric dread based heavily on context and character and not cliché. So horror fans on the hunt for films that are likely to surprise should take note of what Juma says about his first feature, Things Fall Apart.

“If you like arthouse cinema, things that are going to challenge you and even scare you a little too, I think this film would be for you,” Juma says. “If you’re interested in new ways to tell stories, in indie cinema and the way it can reframe things and put them in different contexts, I think there’s a lot to think about with this film.”

That unique approach to story was evident throughout Juma’s 12-episode web series Horse Mask, a surreal horror that centres around a missing daughter, a forest and many mysterious masks. Though Things Fall Apart is Juma’s first feature, he says working on Horse Mask helped prepare him, given the fact that the runtime of that web series evens out to be around the length of a feature.

Set during a dinner party, Things Fall Apart lets audiences act as a sort of fly on the wall as tensions and emotions emerge.

“Things progressively get more tense between the characters. I think there’s a good balance — there are those moments where you’re going to feel uncomfortable, there are moments where you’re going to be scared, there are moments where you’re going to feel like, ‘What the hell is going on right now?’” Juma says.

Furthering his desire to tell a story in a fresh way, Juma says he employed improvised dialogue throughout Things Fall Apart, making up 80 per cent of the dialogue. Though actors were provided with full scripts, dialogue was written in beats that guided where conversations would go.

“When we finally selected our actors, we extensively rehearsed it multiple times. That was a really cool process,” Juma says. “I had a bare-bones, skeleton idea of where I wanted each conversation to go, but these actors got so into it and took it to interesting places. (Many times) I was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s great. We have to keep that.’”

Through using improvised dialogue, Juma says he was able to capture the essence of a dinner party, complete with moments of levity, tension and awkwardness. Photo courtesy Hussein Juma

Through using improvised dialogue, Juma says he was able to capture the essence of a dinner party, complete with moments of levity, tension and awkwardness. Photo courtesy Hussein Juma

The cast, which includes Chengis Javeri (one of the leads in Horse Mask), Bobbi Goddard, Gina Lorene and more, was already familiar to Juma, giving him confidence that they would be able to pull off the improvised dialogue. Juma says surrounding himself with smart, funny people led to a number of happy accidents that made their way into the finished product.

Other times, Juma says he would play off what he knew about the actors themselves.

“If I could see even a sliver of tension between them in the real world or a sliver of something in a look that I see, I can kind of harness that in the film,” he says. “I think that worked really well in terms of when I wanted to play someone against another person. Because I worked with them before, I knew things I could whisper in their ear before a take to throw them off.”

Ultimately, Juma says he wanted to make a film that he would want to see himself. Based on his track record, it’s likely that horror fans looking for a surprising, experimental feature with strong character work will find it in Things Fall Apart.

Things Fall Apart plays June 2 at 2 p.m. at the Globe Cinema in Calgary. For more information, click here.

Next up on The Mutt: The story behind Uwe Boll, the so-called “worst filmmaker” ever

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