Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Killjoys Gets Back to Shenanigans—And Goes Back to Utopia

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This week on Killjoys: The Lady is looking for D’av’s kid and almost gets him, thanks to Pip; the team kidnaps a mad scientist who specializes in bioweapons to save said kid’s life (what could possibly go wrong?), and Fancy and Gared are the cutest and also worst-matched team.

After the last four weeks of emotionally-heavy episodes, this week’s ep was light, fun, had a ton of callbacks to past seasons, and was surprisingly economical for all of that.

We open with the kidnapping of a kid we’ve never met before, somewhere in Old Town. We’re not given an explanation until later; instead, we cut to Dutch waking from a nightmare and getting the fright of her life when she realizes D’av has crawled into her room (he gave Kendry his bed) and fallen asleep. It’s a major callback to the pilot episode, but with the roles reversed: “You shouldn’t sneak up on people” / “You shouldn’t scream in your sleep.” There’s a lot of shyness and tropes and just short of bed-sharing—but then there’s kissing, and hey all, D’av and Dutch are back together again.

The scene with Zeph and Johnny that immediately follows serves three purposes. First, hinting that there may be something weird with the baby’s biology. Second, Zeph’s conspicuously flat affect in response to Johnny’s “cute baby” commentary hints that the topic is a loaded one for her. And third, (three and a half): Everyone knows Johnny is back, but the distress he caused while Hullen still lingers, so Johnny has to let Zeph prod him a little bit, and endure some discomfort, before Zeph is satisfied. This is also potentially foreshadowing for Kendry herself, now that she’s been “adopted” and made human again and expresses discomfort with her own emotions.

The crew figures out that the child is aging extremely rapidly due to the interaction of his Hullen DNA (constantly regenerating) and human DNA (gets worse and worse at replicating itself as it ages). D’av wants to take the kid back to the Armada posthaste. A quick call to Turin lets them know that the Armada is dead in the water, and also, kids are being kidnapped in Old Town, and he’s sent Fancy to investigate. Dutch surmises that the kidnappings are the Lady looking for D’av’s kid, and puts her foot down on returning to the Quad.

Thankfully, Pip knows a guy who could help: A bioweapons maker on (wait for it)… Utopia. Yes, that Utopia, the nonstop cyberpunk rave floating in space that we saw way back in 1×07, “Kiss Kiss, Bye Bye.”

Instead of trying to mirror the episodes, though, or somehow “go back,” the Powers That Be roll with the new circumstances. The original trio is training the next generation of Killjoys now, so the Powers That Be lean into the humorous play between the seriousness of the situation, the absolute terror of newbies like Pip, and the newbies’ hyperbolic, wildly inaccurate imagination of what the elder Killjoys do and how smoothly they expect things to go.

Hint: They’re trying to make you feel less terrified, Pip.

When bribing doesn’t get them an audience with Kravn (the bioengineer), they opt for a kidnapping, and Pip nopes out hard. This turns out to be just as well, because Zeph needs help with the kid, and Pip is actually pretty good with kids. Zeph comments on this, and winds up confessing that, where she came from, babies were the only thing women were supposed to care about, prompting Pip to say, “Well, they didn’t know you at all.” That gets Zeph’s attention.

The kidnapping hits a snag: Kravn has uploaded his consciousness and turned himself into an AI. How do you kidnap that?

By ejecting the disks the AI is stored on, that’s how.

Back on Lucy, Johnny plugs in Kravn, threatens him a little bit, and an antidote is synthesized for D’av’s child (who as of yet still has no name—that’s next week, apparently). Before it can be administered, though, Pip has a spider episode (he gets a little dissociative and you hear some ominous whispering), and attempts to kidnap the kid and take him to the Lady. He does this just as we watch the previously-inanimate Hullen dolls on the Armada come to life, steal the remaining fighters in the docking bay, and just… take off, going who knows where.

With the Kravn AI’s assistance, they locate Pip and the kid. Pip is captured and sedated, leaving Zeph looking torn, because even if she isn’t in love with the guy, she knows he wouldn’t do that, not of his own free will. The antidote is administered to the kid, stabilizing him.

On Westerley, Gared and Fancy investigate the kidnappings—Fancy prefers to work alone, but his way with people (or rather, lack thereof) leaves Gared feeling like he needs to help smooth things over with the locals. The locals claim that “Howlers”—a kind of folk tale creature that kidnaps children—are behind the disappearances, but Fancy finds a very human handprint on the door of the latest victim. They stake out and observe an apparently drunk man leaving handprints on doors, and later that night, they see the “Howlers” attempting to break into those houses. Gared decides that he can’t just stand by, and he breaks cover to attack the Howlers.

Even Fancy and Gared are no match for five well-armed Hullen soldiers, though. Dutch’s earlier assumption was correct, the Lady’s Hullen are behind this. The Hullen decide to take Gared with them, and Gared wakes up on a Hullen ship full of children. Fancy is not so lucky, and wakes up to Pree demanding to know where his husband is.


There were a lot of pieces laid out this week, and with how light and fast the episode moves, it’s easy to miss all the hints and character details that are dropped almost nonchalantly into every conversation:

  • It’s not a perfect parallel, but Johnny’s conversation with Kendry about her conflicted, overwhelming feelings now that she’s human again hints that she will have to make some kind of sacrifice or “amends,” even though she’s been tentatively adopted into the family. Just like you see Johnny have to endure discomfort and apologize to Zeph for his actions before she relaxes around him, Kendry might have to do something similar in order to move from “tentative murder family” to “family.” (And even then, that relationship might never be completely comfortable.)
  • I’d informally started thinking of Zeph as “space Catholic” (or space fundamentalist) when she pulled out that pendant on the Necropolis. This week’s admission of her own discomfort with babies based on her religious background seems to agree with that. I’m glad that, in a show that hasn’t shied away from dealing with more complex portrayals of motherhood and parent/child dynamics, someone like this was included without being villainized. It is absolutely true (especially in spaces populated by LGBT+ people) that one form misogyny takes is derision aimed at “traditional” or “normative” families, particularly women who want to have children. It’s also important to understand the source of that discomfort instead of blanket-labeling it as “misogyny” or some kind of immaturity on the part of people who might be able to have children (in and of itself a kind of misogynistic condescension). Whether or not someone has children is an intimate, extremely personal decision, and it’s also the site of incredible pressure placed on women. For people who’ve had significant social pressure placed on them in one direction or another, who don’t fit neatly into one of the easier narratives around parenthood, it can be downright raw.
  • I really am enjoying how D’av, the embodiment of stoic soldier masculinity, is playing the part typically reserved for “the girl” in a M/F TV relationship. He’s the one providing emotional support for Dutch when she’s facing frankly astronomical pressures, saying things like, “The last time we did this… you left,” and being uncertain and then dopey and sweet when she was holding his hand. Adorbs.
  • For all that, though, we know that Dutch is planning to go into the Green to save Aneela, and we know that D’av probably can’t go with her. In other words, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that D’av’s hesitation specifically mentioned Dutch going into the Green, when by now, he knows that she was doing what she felt she had to in order to keep everyone safe. So, there’s already some foreshadowing there

Next week on Killjoys: Dutch is the cool aunt, and I really want to know what my second favorite ex-warlord Pree (favorite is still Xena) is going to do to the unfortunate Hullen soldiers who’ve captured his husband.

Images Courtesy of SyFy

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