If this week’s episode of Wynonna Earp “Jolene” had been on NBC instead of SYFY, the trailers would have included the words “Tonight, on a very special episode of…” followed by a number of content warnings and end-capped by a suicide prevention hotline number.
It was that impactful. It was that insightful. And it was that bang-on target.
Instead, “Jolene” aired like any other episode which, if I’m being honest, is a shame. This episode deserved to be highlighted and, based on the events in the episode alone, deserved both the content warning and the endcap for viewers who may have been affected by the very real themes surrounding both depression and suicide.
Thankfully, creator and showrunner Emily Andras was there to help.
"I am here and I stay and I love them back and I never, never, never give up on them." And you can never give up on yourself. If this episode caused you distress regarding depression and/or self-harm, call 1-800-273-8255 to speak to a professional. We need you. ⭐️ #WynonnaEarp
— Emily Andras (@emtothea) August 18, 2018
I’ll admit, at first I didn’t really, truly catch the significance of this episode. I understood what Jolene was doing every time she said something that would cause a rift or a fight or some lack of trust between these characters. I understood that she wanted Waverly dead because she hated her and I understood that she wanted Waverly to die because it meant Jolene could finally be free of the bond they shared. I even understood that Jolene was the representation of the demons we all have inside us; the ones who tell us we’re not enough or unloveable or useless.
I tracked all of that just fine.
But it wasn’t until this morning when I saw this tweet by Andras that I realized what I had actually watched when I watched Waverly there, listening to her literal demon telling her to just kill herself. That the world would be better off without her.
Remember: Depression is a liar.
— Emily Andras (@emtothea) August 18, 2018
Waverly Earp almost killed herself as she sat there alone in the Earp family greenhouse listening to Jolene the demon give her all kinds of reasons why she should do it and how the world would be better off without her.
There she was fighting for reasons to live and that demon unloaded years worth of vitriol all over her. Jolene had so many reasons for hating Waverly. Just like so many people all over the world have so many inner demons whispering all sorts of lies. Lies that can strike in vulnerable moments. Lies that leave scars. Lies that have pushed others to take their own lives because they couldn’t see any other way to silence the demons.
And like many people all over the world who struggle with demons like depression and anxiety and self-hate on a daily basis, Wavery Earp took an inventory and fought back against the lies.
“Wynonna loves me. Yes. Yes. Always. And despite what happened today, I know, I know that Nicole does too, and Doc and Jeremy. Mama… I’m here and I stay and I love them back and I never, never give up on them.”
We discovered that Jolene came into the world at the same time as Waverly because, well, Waverly’s father Julian was an angel. Like, an actual angel. Nature is a stickler for balance hence if you birth an angel, you birth a demon right alongside her. It makes sense.
But Waverly proves soon enough that, as sweet and loving as she is, she’s also fierce and full of fire. Waverly went full-on battle angel and fought back against Jolene for the things she’d done, not just to her, but the people she loves.
Did she need help to kill Jolene? Yes. Yes, she did. But that’s one of the reasons we have things like suicide prevention hotlines or therapists or people we can call at 3 am when the voices are loudest.
Whether it was intentional or not, Emily Andras also provided something last night that many people may have needed but didn’t know how to ask for–humor.
Andras themed her live tweet last night and hashtagged it #WynonnaBird. She then proceeded to tweet people and moments in the episode with pictures of all manner of birds.
This one is my personal favorite.
Another great photo of Waverly 'Angel' Earp ready to throw some hands pic.twitter.com/OnxcCQ10yr
— Emily Andras (@emtothea) August 19, 2018
In the end, people may not consider Wynonna Earp to be “prestige TV” or be worthy of the “very special” or “dramatic new episode of” monikers TV promotions managers may give shows on NBC, ABC, or CBS, but “Jolene” deserves praise for being an incredibly impactful, insightful, and important of television just the same.
This is just my way of being part of making that happen.