Wynonna Earp: Alexandra Zarowny on “Shed Your Skin” and previews future cheerleading

Gulp! Clearly, there is something very wrong with Waverly Earp. That final scene of her chomping down on a dead spider—the crunch took the shot to all-new levels of barf—put the capper on one heck of a ride.

“Shed Your Skin” had everything we love in an episode of Wynonna Earp: sexiness, snarkiness, action and character development thanks to Jeremy and his inverted nipple confession. Oh, and we were given the gift of a wonderful guest star in Workin’ Moms‘ Dani Kind in the role of real estate agent Mercedes.

We spoke to Friday’s episode writer—and Writers Guild of Canada award winner—Alexandra Zarowny about everything that happened.

First of all, congratulations on your Writers Guild of Canada Award for the Season 1 episode “Bury Me With My Guns On.”
Alexandra Zarowny: Thank you very much. It was very exciting for the show to be recognized.

You did make a point of mentioning the show, the team and the fans during your acceptance speech. Is it important for you as a writer, to be recognized like that?
I’ll never say no to an award. It was very, very exciting to be recognized but you always feel like a little bit of an imposter going up there alone. A lot of my words do end up on the screen, which is great because I’m not super story edited and that’s a function of being able to get to Emily’s brain. But when we’re breaking the story, that’s all of us. It’s not like I walked away going, ‘I’m writing this entire episode on my own and I’ve come up with this story that’s a part of this arc.’ We all do that and that’s the heavy, heavy lifting. Once you’re writing the outline and the script, that’s kind of the gravy. It’s great and wonderful, but I’m not arrogant enough to say I did it alone! [Laughs.]

You mentioned getting into Emily’s head. Was it fairly easy to get in there … and what the heck is going on in there?!
It’s a pretty amazing, colourful carnival. Her and I have some very similar sensibilities when it comes to creating interesting characters that you then put through the wringer. I think that we have a very similar sense of humour in a lot of ways. I don’t think it was that difficult to get into her head for me, although it’s always a fast and furious ride. If you are a fan of genre, as a writer you get where she’s coming from.

Lucado is now in charge of our team after Dolls went into hiding. Can you discuss, from a writing standpoint, the fun of having conflict in the room via Lucado?
It’s really great because I think, in the first season, there was definitely a struggle to find a kind of balance in the team and just when they find it, we as writers blow that up. [Laughs.] And then we pull in the one person to hate, who is Lucado. Despite the struggles that the team had with Dolls, they knew that his intentions were the same intentions as theirs to a large degree. Lucado’s intentions are incredibly murky and questionable and suspicious and I think the team is very wary of her. And to be wary of your leader does not make for a very loyal team. That means they’re going to come up against a lot of bumps along the way.

Last week, we got our first peek at the lab and the monsters in it. Coupling the monster eating Doc’s hat and Eliza’s mention of what ‘they’ did to she and Dolls, I wonder if the monsters were once humans that were experimented on. Am I on the right track?
You’re on the right track by half. [Laughs.] There has definitely been experimentation on humans, I would say. How far that goes and what the end result is is to be answered.

I really like the Revenants, but I’m enjoying the different monsters we’re seeing, like the spiders this week.
It’s really great because there are so many crazy demons and mythological creatures to pull from. It’s actually very exciting for us to work on a genre show where the creature of the week doesn’t look like a human because that’s a Revenant. We get to come up with things that are truly monstrous looking and that’s always exciting. This season we’re going to see a bit more tension and a bit more horror because we’re able to show monsters in their true, grotesque form. The Revenants are still there, but when the wall came down it let some shit in that is scary as hell. Emily created a world and we’re all able to put our own spin on that world to a certain degree and I think that makes you, as a writer, even more invested in the series itself.

I loved how you put Doc and Wynonna in the shower together, but it was anything but a romantic encounter.
In the room, we go back and forth between what coupling we prefer at any given moment because we love both actors in Shamier and Tim. But I think, like everything else in this world of Wynonna Earp, it’s always going to be complicated and the second a character gets what they want … as writers we kind of want to tear it from their hands. There are going to be some ups and downs in both relationships, but I think both sets of fans are going to be pleased.

Jeremy’s offhand remark about having an inverted nipple was funny, but I wondered if that’s a way a writer instantly connects a character with an audience?
Oh yeah, definitely. When Jeremy says something like that yeah, it’s a funny line but it’s never a throwaway line. We always try to do a character building line with something like that. It tells us that, A) especially when Wynonna is talking to him he is so nervous that he just blurts stuff out; and B), for him to blurt out something so personal also shows just how innocent and vulnerable he is. That vulnerability makes us want, as an audience and as writers, to protect him in some ways. There are a lot of characters on the show who are going to want to protect Jeremy in some way. Of course, we’re going to learn that maybe he doesn’t always need protection. Maybe he has his own thing going on as well.

It was wonderful to see Dani Kind of Workin’ Moms guest-starring as Mercedes. Will she be around for more than one episode?
I have full confidence that we will see her again. She’s absolutely delicious.

And she gets Wynonna. There is no judgment.
Absolutely and I think Wynonna is so relieved to find somebody that can appreciate who she was back then. Mercedes was also cast out and now she’s back to kick butt in her own way.

What can you say about Rosita and Doc’s plan with regard to Shorty’s? Will that be a season-long arc or more short-term?
Every episode will reveal what Doc is doing there and the thing about Doc is that he’s not just a cute, funny guy in a moustache there to support the gang. He has his own stuff going on. He is a man who holds his cards close to the chest and while doing his best for the team is always very much thinking about what he can do for Doc as well.

What was going in with Waverly and that spider?
All I can say is, she is hungry. [Laughs.] There is something in her that is very hungry.

Can you give me a preview of next week’s episode, written by Brendan Yorke?
Yes, one word: cheerleading. We thought it would be really fun for Waverly to do a little cheerleading. I had no idea Dominque was once a dancer and boy oh boy, can you tell! It’s also a trope we’ve seen before of the sexy cheerleader but we’ve turned it on its head a little bit and a bit of a tip of the cheerleading skirt to the WayHaught fans.

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below.

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
Greg David
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