Why that "Wynonna Earp" love scene just hits differently
Wynonna Earp didn't exactly reinvent the wheel, but they did up the ante on how queerness, in all its passionate expressions, could be shown on non-premium cable.
It's been two years since we've had our Wayhaught fix, and Wynonna Earp decided to bring them back together in a way that fans have been clamoring for. In episode 402, after Wavery reunited with Faux Nicole aka Eve, she gets welcomed back by the real thing in the last ten minutes of the episode, and we get to see one of the most passionate love scenes ever filmed for television, straight or queer.
Clocking in at 1:19, and expertly directed by Paolo Barzman and scored by Adaline's haunting song, "Ghost", the scene is tender as it is raw. All too often when we see love scenes between two women, they follow a certain formula: some obligatory kissing, a little writhing, a head that disappears between legs, and finally a pan up to an orgasmic receiver. The love scene in 402 is an expression of sex between two women written, choreographed, and explicitly intended for the queer gaze. The audience, who have been ride or die for Wynonna Earp, gets a scene crafted to reflect the many ways we as queer people make love. Having two queer actors share the scene, while scored by a queer musical artist, adds another layer that we seldom, if ever, see outside of networks like Showtime and Netflix. There's nudity (well, delicately obscured nudity that can still fit under cable's rules), stairs scissoring (!?), and declarations of love and devotion. It's fanservice, yes, but for a show so deeply tied to its fanbase, it makes perfect sense. In previous seasons, the tension between Wayhaught was more sweetly simmering makeout sessions and longing, interrupted by Wynonna, but that all changed last night.
There have been many lovely sex scenes between women on premium cable (The L Word Generation Q's threesome and Emma's love scenes on VIDA come to mind) but those networks don't have to deal with the same issues (like pleasing advertisers) that regular prime time cable does. Graphic sex is expected on those networks. To see a love scene as amorous on a network like Syfy sets a bar for other networks and shows to aspire to. Queer women don't just delicately graze each other and disappear under the covers. We reach out, we hold on, we pulse against each other with the rhythm of our heartbeats. We fuck, we make love, we cry and say I love you or sometimes nothing at all. Having this acknowledged by a show with such a large LGBTQ fanbase is important, and shows why fans have invested so much in a show that just a year ago was in danger of falling through the cracks through no fault of its own. To her credit, showrunner Emily Andras has pushed the envelope with Wynonna Earp from the get-go. Director of 402, Paolo Barzman, has long been a fixture on women-centric Canadian shows like Bomb Girls, Lost Girl and of course Wynonna Earp. He has a knack for delivering on scenes like this one, and one can imagine that Andras and her team worked closely with him on this to make sure it came across as authentically and beautifully as possible.
So, with each step, we get a little bit closer to seeing ourselves fully actualized in all our sexy, messy, glory on television. Hopefully, 402 will be a masterclass for cable in how to show two women in love, with all the trappings that come with it.