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Wynonna Earp’s penultimate episode packs a devastatingly forceful punch

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Wynonna Earp S3 Episode 310
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. E.T. on Space. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Spoilers follow for Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 10, “The Other Woman.”

Bulshar found what he needed to destroy humanity at the end of last week. This week’s episode, titled “The Other Woman,” showcases the crew’s desperate attempts to not allow it to happen.

We open the penultimate episode of Wynonna Earp’s third season (before next week’s two-part finale) with a flashback to Purgatory’s days of yore. The days when candles assisted with one’s sight while they wrote on flammable pages and when mustache upkeep was non-existent. Here’s where we see a pre-Bobo Robert Svane and Padre Juan Carlo anticipating the hand-off of a 1880s-era Peacemaker in the form of a wicked big tiny sword (as Wynonna affectionately calls them). When we flash forward to the present, Wynonna downs a coffee that should effectively give her coffee cancer, but since her body has survived worse, a quintuple-shot latte is a walk in the park.

Waverly and Jeremy brainstorm any possible way to defeat Bulshar (who holds the key to opening up the actual Garden Of Eden by the way – no biggie) as Bobo works his best America’s Next Top Model pose in the background. He grows agitated at JerWave’s various modern-day analogies for the demonic spirit and reveals that “he took her book.” The “her” in this situation lead Haught and Doc on a mission to retrieve a journal once held by a woman named Maeve who was burnt at the stake, because people are the worst. When the duo encounters her spirit, she does what any of us would probably do in that situation – try everything in our power to get close to Officer Nicole Haught. Where you and I might buy her a fruit basket, Maeve instead possesses her and Haught experiences life as a teenage girl AGAIN – for some, myself included, this is a fate worse than death. Doc is tasked with killing either Haught or another human vessel in order to allow Maeve to move right into their fresh body in exchange for the journal needed to defeat Bulshar. Ah, remember the joyous times when Doc’s biggest worry was what name he was going to call his usurped pink hot rod?

In the meantime, Wynonna and Charlie Fire Services share a heart-to-heart after she finds him rooting around the Earp barn in order to make repairs to an object she didn’t realized she owned. While I tend to constantly poke fun at the handsomely dull firefighter, I have enjoyed the relationship between him and Wynonna this season. The WynDoc dynamic has been quite strained recently, so it’s been nice seeing how Wynonna adjusts to a semi-normal-yet-not-at-all-serious/somewhat-serious dating life. Surely their argument towards the beginning of this episode will not have any major lasting repercussions as the episode goes on…

As the growing fight against Bulshar’s erroneous fashion crimes continues, a new member of the team rises up in the form of Kevin. TV fans, particularly my fellow Canadians, will squeal with delight when they see former Lost Girl star Anna Silk take up the mantle as the woman with the trusty hazmat suit. Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras worked on the sci-fi/fantasy series for the duration of its run and it is no surprise when familiar faces pop up here and there on her own series. I think the world would’ve briefly stopped spinning on its axis if there was a sequence between Kevin and Jolene (portrayed by fellow Lost Girl alum Zoie Palmer) this episode. We can all dream.

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 10 - The Other Woman. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 10 – The Other Woman. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Kevin’s official title is “representative of a long line of ambassadors tasked with looking after the balance in the world.” She seemingly manages to do the impossible in this universe (where the impossible occurs quite frequently) and out-quips the Quip Master herself, Wynonna Earp. She solidified her position in my list of all-time favourite Wynonna Earp characters when she asks my beloved Waverly if her bangs are the reason why she doesn’t have a boyfriend. That’s just silly – we all know every human being on Earth would give their right arm for Waverly’s love, regardless what style of hair she had on her head. Kevin also eats pickles straight from the jar. Now THAT is what I call charm.

She tasks the Earp sisters with retrieving Bulshar’s severed arm from a “totally unstable” and collapsible uranium mine in order to synthesize a weapon against him. Waverly and Wynonna are obviously both completely in. They encounter a previously one-armed (now two-armed) radioactive demon Wyatt Earp once trapped in said mine. His reattached arm happens to be the Bulshar arm they’re looking for. When Wynonna becomes disarmed (I’ll be here all week, folks) after touching his neck, Waverly takes the figurative and literal gloves off. They lure him into the Gardner house, where they all spend a few minutes congratulating Mercedes on her beautiful face. Waverly learns Bulshar’s ring controls his severed arm, so she gets Clint to force choke himself. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed a Darth Vader reference wasn’t made.

Back with DocHaught, Jeremy joins in the fun as we learn Maeve’s spirit can hop from body to body, molesting those she comes in contact with. I’d like to take this moment to say that Kat Barrell shines as the possessed spirit. We’ve all seen how Barrell handles the hysterics involved with being drunk Haught (“you’re going too fast and I’m too drunk!”) – but possessed Haught? She embodies teenaged ghost witch. When Doc ultimately finds the journal they’re looking for, the hot-tempered spirit of Maeve sets the house ablaze. This means the only firefighter we’ve seen all season will probably show up – and would you look at that! Charlie Fire Services arrives to save the day, and in this instance, that means being bit to death by Vamp Doc and having a distraught Haught threaten to shoot him with wooden bullets.

As the episode concludes, we learn that not only is Waverly the champion of all our hearts, but she is the key to defeating Bulshar. She must sacrifice her own life by sealing the gate to the Garden and, ultimately, turning into stone in order to save the rest of humanity. Wynonna breaks down at the prospect of losing her sister and, honestly, I feel you, girl. Now I realize the well-being of the many may possibly outweigh the lives of a few… however, in the words of Skeeter Davis: don’t they know it’s the end of the world? It ends when Waverly Earp ceases to exist!

As the clock winds down on season three of Wynonna Earp, I have to give the most major of props to showrunner Andras and the writing crew for their treatment of these characters. Throughout my recaps, I’ve consistently praised the direction this season has taken in terms of how we see the development of each respective character from the first season to now. Wayhaught have grown immensely both as a couple and as individuals, while Doc Holliday is a freaking vampire. We’ve seen Wynonna make impressive personal strides, whether it be seeing how Dolls’ death ultimately affected her or opening up to Haught, yet one factor has remained consistent throughout her character – Waverly Earp is the most important person in her entire life. Though she would give up her life in a heartbeat to save others, she refuses for her sister to have the same fate.

I have no idea how next week’s two-part finale will pan out, however Andras tweeted “don’t breathe” when describing it, so… it should be completely fine.

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: “And I’m fairly certain that if you weren’t such a douchebag, we could hang.”

Wayhaught Moment: There was an unfortunate lack of Wayhaught being in the same room this episode. To be fair, Waverly had to track down a severed demonic arm while Haught was busy being possessed so we’ll just forgive this one.

Waverly Expression: 

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 10 - The Other Woman. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 10 – The Other Woman. Photo courtesy Bell Media

What did you think of “The Other Woman”? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Ghezal Amiri on Twitter.

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Honey Bee is a revealing look at human trafficking in Canada

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Honey Bee, directed by Rama Rau, stars Julia Sarah Stone as an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival.
Honey Bee, directed by Rama Rau, stars Julia Sarah Stone as an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival. Photo courtesy A71 Entertainment

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.

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Director Rob Grant on the tension (and dark comedy) of HARPOON

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From director Rob Grant (Mon Ami, Fake Blood), Harpoon will make its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival. Photo courtesy CUFF
From director Rob Grant (Mon Ami, Fake Blood), Harpoon will make its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival April 28. Photo courtesy CUFF

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.

Harpoon director Rob Grant said premiering the film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 was a very validating experience. Photo courtesy CUFF

Harpoon director Rob Grant said premiering the film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 was a very validating experience. Photo courtesy CUFF

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.

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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.

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