Killjoys: A Glitch in the System Review

Killjoys serves up its best episode yet by crossing space horror with some great character moments.

This week, Killjoys took a break from the world-building to focus on our three main characters to stellar results. Season 1, Episode 5 (“A Glitch in the System”) saw Dutch, John, and D’avin boarding a seemingly abandoned cargo ship afloat in a meteoroid field, only to discover the hard way that it wasn’t abandoned at all. One part Firefly’s “Bushwhacked,” one part Doctor Who’s “The Doctor Dances,” and one part Killjoys’ own unique brand of badass charm, “A Glitch in the System” was easily this show’s best episode yet.

This episode had some seriously creepy moments as the respective crew members wandered solo around the ship, unaware that they were falling into a trap. The non-diegetic soundtrack on this show isn’t the best, but the in-world swing-esque music that John filtered through the ship’s system to entertain was the perfect choice. Tonally, it was jovial and nostalgic, but it quickly turned unsettling as it echoed off of the haunted walls of the ship, and served as a slow signal to the crew that something was amiss. Well played, Killjoys.

By keeping John, Dutch, and D’avin away from the worlds of The Quad, we were able to focus on and learn more about these three central characters — and develop their relationships to one another. We finally discovered D’avin’s secret: he killed his squad members, but cannot remember how or why. Dutch and John also discovered this partial truth, but D’avin is part of their team (and, in John’s case, literal family). They’re not going to abandon him. We further learned from Pawter that someone put neural blocks in D’avin’s brain to make sure he doesn’t remember what happened to his squad. Is this connected to The Nine? Why did D’avin survive at all? This mystery is unraveled at just the right rate, with breadcrumbs that presumably won’t reveal the whole truth until the season’s end.

Elsewhere, in Dutch’s mystery, her ex-mentor Khylen breaks onto the ship again and leaves the hand of the dude Dutch was meant to have killed. (Apparently, Lucy’s extra security is not working.) Khylen insists that Dutch come with him, threatening John’s life if she doesn’t. For now, Dutch seems willing to obey. She has already demonstrated how far she will go to protect her crew, and that was the Jaqobi brother she isn’t best friends with. Khylen argues that this makes Dutch weak, but that’s hard to believe given that we saw Dutch jump out of an airlock and fly fifty meters through deep space with only nanites to protect her. That scene made my life.

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John continues to serve as the heart of this family, something that even Lucy the Ship seems to recognize. The ship-as-character thing is a frequent trope in science fiction and one I was initially hesitant to see Killjoys explore, but the show did some fun things with it in this episode. “A Glitch in the System” not only developed Lucy’s “personality” as sassy, strict, and sweet-on-John, but, by setting up Lucy in contrast to the killer nanite-torturing military ship, she comes out looking like a dream. Now if only she could keep Khylen from breaking and entering.


3.5 out of 5