Every clutch of characters moves their part of the story forward this week. The least amount of actual screen time goes to the QS in Westerley, but a very important component of the final plan snaps into place when our biotech nerd extraordinaire, Zeph works out a way to create a water-based solution to counteract the effects of the Lady’s brainwash. The unwitting guinea pig for her experiment is Fancy. He’s been living his life as a town guard, which seems like such a slap in the face to the elegantly mobile, and impeccably dressed gadget guru with hair more luxurious than even Turin’s.
Fancy was the rival killjoy who began the series hunting Dutch’s target and then hunting Dutch when she didn’t make good on killing D’avin. He’s the “designated asshole” who killed Dutch’s mentor, Joe, when she couldn’t bring herself to make good on that warrant. Fancy was nearly untouchable when we first met him, made even more so when he was turned hullen and became Khlyen’s lieutenant. After that arc, when he was struggling to find his way in a world that had seemed to turn against him, he got sucked into the big dysfunctional family of Team Awesome Force and the Quad Squad. Sean Baek brought a great deal of pathos to episodes like “The Wolf You Feed” and “Reckoning Night” as a man who has lost his sense of self but who is determined to get it back. Like Turin, Fancy is a mystery. We know virtually nothing about his past, but I am looking forward to seeing where his story will be when the credits roll on the episode 5×10.
It’s nice to see Khlyen smiling at Fancy and Co’s antics over the radio, enjoying the simple human pleasures of humor. He doesn’t seem particularly inclined to cause them any harm, but he’s doing this to save Dutch. This makes them vulnerable to his machinations especially now that he thinks Dutch is dead. It’s good that Khlyen feels that loss as a human father would, not as a hullen, and Rob Stewart nails it.
While the Quad Squad is making things happen in Old Town, Team Awesome Force are in dire straits aboard the Supermax ship because of Sparlow, an inmate and character I didn’t care about at all and didn’t exude the amount of cunning and or charisma that would justify his vaunted position in the prison hierarchy. When Korin turned on him, all I thought was ‘good riddance’ and strongly disagreed with Mace when he said he didn’t deserve it. Sparlow went out being betrayed in much the same way he betrayed TAF. Bye, boy!
Likewise, I was happy to be done with Korin Jeers. He served well in these past few episodes especially since his undoing was reminiscent of how we met him. His overconfidence doesn’t match his skill. From the moment he came out of his secure room, to smarm at Johnny and hurl rape threats at Dutch in “Bangarang,” he showed himself to be extremely playable if one were to appeal to his ego and his greed. Dutch played on both and Mace–a man Korin fully underestimated—sealed the deal. Now the first loose end of the series is tied up in a neat little bullet to the head.
Killjoys did an even better job than last week of balancing all the plot threads especially when you consider how TAF’s part of the story further broke down into three branches as we follow Dutch, D’avin, and Johnny separately. Johnny has great chemistry with Warden Rennika. Their situation is dangerous but not quite as harrowing as Dutch’s or D’avin’s. Her background is curious. She doesn’t go into detail about how exactly she went from being a psychologist to the warden of a private prison filled with hardened criminals from all over the J, but it makes her all the more intriguing.
If I’m honest, I do have one niggling logistical problem with the episode. Even if I tilt my head sideways and squint, the timeline of Aneela winding up in Khyen’s cube doesn’t quite work for me. The Green was steadily imploding so memory-Khlyen had to rouse her and convinced her to go back to the memory of her cube? Either she or the Lady pulled Khlyen out of the Green. If Aneela did it, how did the Lady find and capture Khlyen and not her? If the Lady did it, how did Aneela escape to her cube? Thematically, it works; Aneela’s centuries-long prison became her refuge. But I will probably always side-eye the logistics of this. … Unless of course Dark Horse or somebody gives me the graphic novel tie-in I asked for. Hell, I’ll write it. Let me just get my pitch together.
The continued family angst of Jaq, Kendry, and now Aneela is a delight. I’ve watched shows with people who are wicked monsters whose redemptions I don’t buy even when the narrative is tapdancing wildly to make it so. Full disclosure: I tend to carry my resentment about real-world monsters into my viewing of fiction. It’s my lens and I don’t apologize for it. Characters who prey on innocents aren’t often my favorites, but Kendry and Aneela, two of the worst behaving characters I’ve ever loved don’t trigger a repulsion response in me. Maybe it’s because Kiljoys never tries to feed me a line about them. Kendry knows that she is a terrible human being, but she also knows that it’s her time to help save the galaxy with the woman she loves. Aneela doesn’t exactly want to be a monster but she’s been twisted by the Lady’s mind games and Khlyen’s brand of protection so she’s settled into it.
We can’t close this review out without giving an ovation for Hannah and Aaron in the scene where Johnny and Dutch finally put all of their cards on the table. Again, we dig back into the rich lore of this series and the past of these characters for ultimate impact. Johnny is not in love with Dutch in the romantic sense. He just wants to be in a partnership that is less about daring-do and more about domestic bliss. This was such an inventive way for the writers to explore a pairing that people enjoy without marring the integrity of the real Johnny/Dutch friendship dynamic they’ve done so much to cultivate. And shoutouts to the foreshadowing when Johnny speaks about wanting to be a killjoy for a long time in the past tense.
This was an action packed way to walk us into the second half of the season and the endgame of the show. All of the ongoing stories have a definitive end and then we get several vignettes as a denouement so we can operate under the new paradigm this episode set up. TAF has time to turn these cell bock maniacs into an army… or at least competent mercs under the cloak of a new vessel. The QS is on the run. The Lady doesn’t know they’re alive, but she’s still shook because she’s seen in the memories how tricksy Dutch is. Khlyen is in mourning. We’ll see what it means in the last three episodes of Killjoys.
- “I know how to play Qreshis and play them and win,” was Dutch’s not-subtle-at-all way of saying she was paying them but they were too stupid to pick up on it.
- Shout outs to Aaron, Hannah, and Luke for spending large swaths of this episode working apart with guest stars as support.
- Since everything is Dragon Age and Dragon Age is everything, Rennika’s response to Dutch and Johnny arguing when they meet up reminds me of The Iron Bull responding to Cole and Sola’s fade talk gobbly goop in Inquisition
- Nucy introducing herself to Warden Rennika
- D’av is such a good unit leader/school teacher. He has demonstrated this throughout the series and here he does it with the Qreshi siblings.
- Mace is Qreshi!
- “Did you throw forest filth at me?”
- “Ok Go away I’m going to be sexual with your mother now.” “Gross”
- Yay Fancy is back! Sorta… oh yes now he’s fully back! Aaaand he got captured. 😦
- Plot … indentations (not full-fledged holes) drove me to distraction.