This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
There aren’t a lot of fun space adventure shows on TV right now, but — even if there were — Killjoys would be one of the best. Though the Syfy show got off to a slow start, this tale of space bounty hunters trying to make their way in a corrupt system has only gotten better. Most of that has to do with solid characterization and nuanced worldbuilding. (The genuinely hilarious quips help, too.) I’m starting to feel like a bit of a broken record here, but, guys, Killjoys knows what it’s doing.
This week’s episode — Season 1, Episode 9 (“Enemy Khlyen”) — was no different as Dutch, John, and D’avin journey to the very heart of the RAC to find answers about Dutch’s mysterious past and what exactly Khlyen is up to. Did we get them? Kind of. It turns out that Khlyen has been part of the RAC this entire time, which means Dutch becoming a killjoy wasn’t as much an act of youthful rebellion so much as everything going according to Khlyen’s plan. Khlyen has Dutch marked for Red 17 — aka the super secret, super elite killjoys training program rumored to go down on Arkyn, the seemingly abandoned moon of The Quad. So, nothing creepy about that.
We also get another glimpse into Dutch and Khlyen’s complicated past, seeing in a flashback dream their first meeting when Dutch was just a hungry, lonely child who was picked on by the other girls. Khlyen gives her something to eat, tells her a story, and tucks her into bed. (So, he didn’t lead with the murder-training, then?)
In this episode, Killjoys worked to paint a more nuanced depiction of the relationship between Khlyen and Dutch. It wasn’t all bad (OK, but it was mostly bad). Even if Khlyen was teaching Yala how to kill, he was seemingly also the only person she had to call family (until John). Of course, in the grand tradition of dysfunctional families everywhere: “The only lesson you ever taught me was how to hate myself.”
The big question Khlyen didn’t have a chance to answer is: why Dutch? When Khlyen first met Yala (aka Dutch), he told her he was sent by her father. Is this true? And what is the deal with Dutch’s family, anyway? Why is their family name met with such harassment? Are any of them besides Dutch left? Questions for the season finale, perhaps…
Whatever the answers, Khlyen is intent on keeping Dutch alive. Though he hints that Dutch’s survival is linked to his own, it also seems likely that Khlyen has grown attached to our Dutch in his own way over the years. And how could he not? Dutch is highly lovable and thoroughly badass. Or, as John puts it: “You’re more your own person than anyone I know.” In one of the episode’s best scenes, the two recount the first time they met six years ago as John gives Dutch a much-needed pep talk.
The Dutch/John scene is another demonstration of Killjoys’ impressive aptitude for using its off-screen narrative space in impressive ways. The show does this not only by organically hinting at the the rich scope of its character histories with one another, but by implying that — while our heroes are wrapped up in their own personal drama — the people of Westerley are planning a revolution. Just in time, too.
There are rumors that The Company is planning on reneging on its promise that seventh-generation Westerlians would be granted land on Leith. Could this be why The Company’s security force is storing caches of weapons all across Old Town? And why they are cracking down on the resistance’s own weapon stockpiles across the city. Guys, this is probably going to get bloody. More bloody than Dutch being shot in the thigh, a random being shot in the face, and Turin being stabbed through the stomach by Khlyen. All things that happened in this episode. Because why choose between character development and action when you can have both? Keep on keeping on, Killjoys.