This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 3 Episode 1
It’s probably unfair to label the season three premiere of Killjoys a paradigm shift, but after a season finale that partially resolves one of the series’ principal story arcs and then sends Johnny on a reflective journey away from the team, no one could blame showrunner Michelle Lovretta if she opted to turn her her little piece of The Quad inside out. So while we leave behind, at least for the time being, Level Sixes and the enigmatic Khylen, “Boondoggie” wastes little time reorienting viewers to a new world order in which the Hullen pose the major threat, and Hackmods move front and center in the narrative.
Through its first two seasons, Killjoys wisely steers clear of romantic entanglements at the expense of the overall narrative, and while the end of Johnny’s cross-class relationship with Pawter Simms provides the catalyst for what appears to be an engaging storyline in the world of the Hackmods, the audience never feels manipulated. That said, Lovretta, who penned “Boondoggie,” makes a good choice revealing Johnny’s fate early in the episode, and then just as quickly, deftly throws out another plot twist with the revelation that Clara (Stephanie Leonidas/Defiance) has disappeared leaving behind her biomechanical arm.
However, any time a show separates its core group, it runs a risk that fans may feel conflicted or grow impatient waiting for the eventual reunion that may never occur. I’m talking to you Dark Matter. But again, that separation really works as Dutch, D’Avin, Alvis, Pree, and Fancy work together to steal a priceless chemical beacon as part of their quest to bring down, once and for all, the Hullen and their plan to turn humans “into some sort of parasite puppet race.” As usual, D’Avin (Luke Macfarlane) provides most of the witty banter, but it’s his self-imposed competition with Fancy that’s most endearing.
Killjoys has generally been a serious show punctuated with clever verbal humor, so it’s easy to forget when we’re with this group that Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) has declared war on the Hullen. “War is coming. Humanity may be weak but we sure as shit don’t like to lose,” she tells the Hullen woman questioning her after Dutch’s group gets arrested. It’s a monumental task, but we know Dutch is up to the challenge. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of Alvis, Fancy and Pree, each of whom brings a unique skill set to the party, and let’s be honest, a ton of personality.
Fortunately, for viewers as well as the team, John hasn’t entirely severed his connection and has been sending Dutch the location of plasma pools located throughout the J, but it’s the first scene when Dutch remotely communicates with Johnny that drives home how close these two really are and how emotionally wrenching the separation must be for Dutch. She undoubtedly feels somewhat abandoned even though she intellectualizes why John has taken this path.
And it’s here we become immersed in the world of The Factory and its progeny. While it’s certainly true that at its core Killjoys is a complex, intricate tale set in the world of The Quad, it’s the show’s ability to explore the plight of the weak and vulnerable barely hanging on that continues to be a strength. Before we have a chance to lament Clara’s absence, Ollie (Tommie-Amber Pirie/Bitten) surfaces “wearing” Clara’s arm and her chemistry with Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) is immediate and delightful. In fact, her introduction steals the show.
Once we’re thrust into the Gibsonesque cyberpunk world of The Factory and its Hackmods, the show takes on a different sensibility, and we quickly learn that Rat City is not all that different from Old Town. Ollie appears every bit as emotionally lost as Johnny except that we know he has a family, and though separated, they’re not estranged. She immediately latches onto him, and it’s clear there’s more of a connection than simply the fact that she’s has Clara’s arm. John senses it as well, and a certain coziness crops up as the two engage in “dark talk” before falling asleep in their hammocks. She doesn’t know what she’s getting into with John Jaqobis, but Ollie seems willing to risk everything just to be part of something or someone.
The bulk of this chapter revolves as much around what we don’t know as what we do. John suspects Clara went to Rat City to take on the Hackmod factory and bring it down, but that may not turn out to be true. Did something happen to her, or did she have an alternate plan from the start? And how did she lose her arm? Since Johnny’s unmodified, it’s up to Ollie to help her new friend learn what he can about Clara, and when Yuki tells them she hasn’t seen her, another mystery unfolds. I have to admit though I can’t wait to see Johnny explain to his brother that he gets to “live out his cyborg dreams” with his newly acquired laser-linked neural finger.
In much the same way that 437 RAC agents have seemingly walked away from the job, so too have Hackmods turned up missing. Is there a connection? Speaking of connections – what was Ollie’s mod before she obtained Clara’s arm which we learn is a special order? So even though Johnny is off doing his thing while D’Avin and Dutch do theirs, the tightly plotted arcs continue to intersect, and we suspect that sooner rather than later, Johnny and Ollie will join the others. Of course, there is the question of what to do with Khylen’s ship.
If there’s one disappointing aspect to the episode it’s the absence of Khylen’s daughter Aneela, Dutch’s lookalike, particularly since her presence has been heavily promoted during the show’s hiatus. Dutch knows she’s out there; we know she’s out there, but that inevitable confrontation will have to wait. In the end, what are the possible outcomes anyway? Will it be Dutch that kills Aneela or someone else?
Pippin Foster aka “The Mouth,” specialist in finding things smuggled in and out of the Quad, joins the team after D’Avin and Dutch kidnap him to facilitate their plan to obtain the chemical beacon. Atticus Mitchell plays this snarky, distinctly unlikable character with just enough charm that when Dutch offers him a spot on the team, we’re somewhat taken aback because it seems unlikely he’ll prove worthy of the others’ respect and loyalty. Will he sell them out, die a hero’s death, or perhaps manage to integrate into the crew despite a series of bumps along the road?
Nevertheless, as we reach the end of the episode, it’s probably a good time to reflect on some of the more salient details. Though Dutch and Khylen poisoned Arkyn’s plasma well, we learn there’s much more goo out there. And since they’ve used all the poison, an alternative must be discovered, which is where “plasma killer” squeezed from dead Hullens becomes kind of important. After Turin shows the others the 36 cloaked Hullen ships, it doesn’t take long for D’Avin to investigate, but the fact that he does it alone and perhaps even secretly, brings up another set of issues.
I know there are those Killjoys fans that ship Johnny and Dutch, but I’ve always respected Lovretta for not going there. However, it is interesting that he doesn’t tell Dutch about Clara and his new connection with Ollie. Well, I suppose it’s one thing at a time.
All told “Boondoggie” delivers a stellar beginning to a season that looks to pick up the pieces after both Dutch and Johnny are forced to unexpectedly come to terms with death. While losing Pawter tore at our heartstrings, Khylen’s partially redemptive demise proves more complicated knowing there’s still a piece of him out there waiting to go toe to toe with Dutch. But as all great shows do, it soldiers on, and the additions of Ollie and Pippin, though they may not make us forget Pawter and Khylen anytime soon, do give us hope that things are looking up for our trio.