Name: Wynonna Earp
Location: Purgatory, USA
Show: Wynonna Earp
Actor: Melanie Scrofano
Wynonna Earp is significantly different from all the heroines of television this series has previously looked at. Not only because I haven’t finished watching all of her show, but because her heroism comes from a very different place. As I haven’t been able to watch the second series of the show (it isn’t on Australian Netflix) this post will focus on Wynonna throughout the first season.
Interestingly enough, when I was coming up with the idea for the Kickass TV Heroines series, Wynonna was one of the first that came to mind, even before others that I’d loved for longer and was more invested in. I think that’s because, to me at least, she seems to stand alone as an average woman in the heavier supernatural genre. To quote Doc Holliday, “There ain’t any like Wynonna Earp.”
The interesting thing about Wynonna is just how normal she is. She doesn’t have any superpowers, she’s not adored by her town and she’s not completely hated. She likes dancing and drinking too much and men, and loves her family fiercely. She’s traumatized by her past but not without hope for the future. She’s the type of person I could imagine bumping into on the street or becoming friends with over a couple of drinks. Other than the fact she carries a magical gun called Peacemaker and is surrounded by undead criminals called revenants most of the time.
There have been many attempts to write normal characters into supernatural fiction over the years, but often they have some sort of training to make up for their lack of supernatural powers. While Wynonna is aware of revenants from them attacking her family when she was young, and her family’s history of putting them down, she hasn’t had any sort of special training. In fact, she doesn’t even initially realise that she has the power to return revenants to hell, and as fled Purgatory just in case she has to helplessly face them again. She’s only fired a gun once, with disastrous consequences, and hasn’t done it again since. She’s not uniquely qualified in any way to be a heroine, other than genetically being the only person who can kill revenants by firing Peacemaker.
That lack of special training or superpowers makes for one of the most compelling heroines of the last few years. It’s very rare to see a female character on television take on something so much bigger than her and win, and rarer for it to be a woman is quite so grounded in reality. In recent years, as shows like Supernatural have become popular, we’re seeing less and less of the female hero in the supernatural/paranormal genre. It’s more likely to see women in supporting roles, as cannon fodder or love interests, if they appear at all. Wynonna Earp is not only a grounded female hero but doesn’t fit into any of the classic female roles of her genre. She’s not overtly sexualized like the romance interests and she’s not phenomenally stupid like the cannon fodder (because seriously, who walks out from a nice safe house into the woods at night). She has these things in some measure, as do we all but none of them define her.
Wynonna Earp is defined only by herself, and that makes her an incredibly powerful hero. It means that she’s much closer to being real than many of the kickass TV heroines as she doesn’t have any special abilities or skills that define her. She’s a hero because the situation called for it, and she was the only one who could answer. Wynonna Earp: The every day kickass heroine.