Spoilers for Wynonna Earp Season 3, Episode 4 follow.
If there was anything we needed after Sgt. Dolls’ heartbreaking farewell, it was some light-hearted Wynonna Earp fare where we see the Earp Crew hanging around, quipping and drinking the day away – in an alternate reality, this could very well be how episode four plays out. In our universe, our favourites encounter everyday hurdles involving potential filicide and the evil trees from The Wizard Of Oz.
The aptly titled name of the episode, “No Cure For Crazy,” begins with Wynonna and Doc tracking down the final Revhead who stole a vial of Dolls’ dragon drugs. While I certainly didn’t expect to see a tree transport itself into the middle of a snowy road, the shocker of this opening sequence has to be when Revhead prepares to make his peace staring at the end of Peacemaker… and no peace is made. Maybe it was Shark Week in the world of the mythical weapon?
As Wynonna and Doc continue their flirtatious streak while babysitting an incapacitated Revenant off-screen, we’re introduced to a brightly coloured jacket-wearing Robin who believes it’s perfectly fine to lick the blood-like contents from a tree. For those of you with a sharp eye and IMDb access, you’d recognize the actor portraying this fashionable weirdo as Justin Kelly, a veteran of the official TV show of Canada, Degrassi. As he finally decides to bolt, we’re left with the wandering eyes of a person seemingly stuffed into the tree’s trunk to usher in the title credits.
Side note: the opening theme reverts to its original version following last week’s touching acapella version and I will forever squeal in delight seeing Katharine Barrell’s name appear alongside the crew.
After two seasons of Earpers striving to learn anything about Nicole Haught, this season so far has done a phenomenal job in sprinkling newfound tidbits about her throughout, gradually connecting the dots between her childhood and an apparent burned down forest that somehow contains fully-grown trees. Haught’s professional growth is an aspect of her character I am incredibly invested in. Later on Wynonna implies, using the subtlety of a jackhammer on a New York City block, if Nedley isn’t feeling the fight anymore he must step aside and let Haught assume the role of Purgatory Sheriff, a prospect I am vocally rooting for.
The episode contains a delightfully awkward “boob-smush” hug between our beloved trio and is something that really should happen more often, as I truly savour moments where everyone is in a single room together. As Waverly attempts to work her way through Mamagate, Wynonna assures her that Mama is “doing better” – the scene that promptly follows warrants a Ron Howard voiceover stating, “She wasn’t.” If you’re one to classify a woman pleading to get out of an enclosed space because an inmate is painting the walls with her blood as “doing better,” well then congratulations on being you, Mr. Lecter.
Doc and Wynonna steam up the basement at Shorty’s with talk of old-timey dick pics and pistol innuendos. The only thing that could possibly ruin this moment would be her uncovering a bassinet causing the couple’s feelings to resurface regarding the life-altering decision made about baby Alice last season… and would you look at that! The steam is gone and all that’s left is a cold wind of adoption. Just as the heat levels begin to rise again, Haught pulls a Wynonna and interrupts the doting lovebirds.
Another key revelation made in the episode involves Waverly attempting to set Jeremy up with a unicorn of his own in the form of Jazz Lover Robin. The two lads bond over tree-cherous puns and the Glorious Gay Gods are smiling down upon Queen Emily Andras. They travel down to where Robin spotted the Murder Tree and honestly, the forests of Purgatory are easily the second danger residents must steer clear of if Revenants aren’t in view because NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS WHEN WANDERING AROUND THESE WOODS. When they encounter a stairway to nowhere, Jeremy calls on “sexy human bloodhound” Holliday and, as if we need more reason to fear the trees, Doc suddenly hears the cries of a baby while attempting to find them. We’re then treated to a surprise Bulshar appearance, blubbering nonsense about Doc’s destiny and damn it, can’t he & his moustache just live a demon-free existence for a few days?!
Waverly visits Mama after receiving a call that she is set to be transferred to another facility because yet another “incident” has occurred. It goes just as well as anyone would think, as Mama declares she must “kill the demon” while looking directly at a distraught Waverly. It’s no secret that the Wynonna Earp cast is a stupidly talented bunch and Dominique Provost-Chalkley further proves this notion with her nuanced portrayal of Waverly’s internal struggles. Her chemistry with Melanie Scrofano is continually amplified whenever Wynonna learns of any imminent threat to the Earpiest Earp of them all. Mama morphs into Michael Scofield and breaks out of police custody, Peacemaker in hand, leaving Wynonna in the capable hands of the men who let her mother escape.
Wynonna manages to obliterate a guard twice her size while back at the prison and, I mean, what else is new? She nonchalantly brings his decapitated head into the Warden’s office as effortlessly as I bring in Timbits for my co-workers and politely asks to be freed in order to save her beloved sister from their murderous mother.
We’re finally treated with some domesticated Wayhaught sipping tea by the fire as Waverly listens in on her mother’s interrogation tapes. Haught is also wearing a unicorn t-shirt. #RelationshipGoals. When Doc stumbles upon the Homestead looking for the good whiskey, Waverly heads to the barn to find the cure to sooth Doc’s woes and, of course, we see Mama preparing for an attack by a Waverly-hating demon.
The episode concludes with Robin being kidnapped by a tree and a mysterious woman in an apron named Jolene showing up, pouring out some cups of ambition in the form of terror and pastries. The core four seem to be in some kind of food trance and everything seems to be going wrong. Yet another day in Purgatory!
My 3 Favourite W’s of the Episode
I would now like to turn your attention to my 3 Favourite W’s for this episode of Wynonna Earp. These consist of favourite Wynonna Insult, Wayhaught Moment and Waverly Expression – the three pillars of any Wynonna Earp episode.
Wynonna Insult: “I would’ve kicked you in the neck, but you don’t have one.”
Wayhaught Moment: While I adore domesticated Wayhaught as much as the next conscious person, my favourite moment this episode involves Waverly breaking down when discussing what occurred between her and Mama at the prison to Haught. Wayhaught’s consistent support of each other is a vital component of the series and seeing Nicole whip out any pertinent files needed to help out her partner will never cease to give me joy (~26:15).
Waverly Expression: When Wayhaught run into Robin and he compliments Waverly’s bangs (~5:08).
What did you think of “No Cure For Crazy”? Let us know in the comments below.
Follow Ghezal Amiri on Twitter.
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
Isabelle brings psychological terror to an idyllic neighbourhood
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.”
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
Horror materializes in unconventional ways in Things Fall Apart
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.’”
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