This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 3 Episode 9
“That’s not just a baby; it’s our extinction.”
If tonight’s episode of Killjoys makes one thing unmistakably clear, it’s that Dutch and D’avin have yet to watch season four of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Otherwise, Prince Oberyn’s fatal mistake of celebrating just a bit too soon, would have resonated more decisively with the pair. That said, despite a few flaws, season three’s penultimate episode “Reckoning Ball” does a splendid job laying the groundwork as the war for humanity’s survival begins in earnest, and warriors make their peace before heading into battle.
Centered around the Scarback tradition of Reckoning Night, this chapter of Killjoys provides some moving backstory that leads to several emotionally charged scenes as individuals come to terms with the grim fact that they may not return from this war. Whether Gared (Gavin Fox) pouring out his heart to Pree (Thom Allison) or Fancy Lee (Sean Baek) giving Turin (Patrick Garrow) the second chance that he was not afforded, these exchanges set the stage for the tumult that most certainly awaits. And while these gripping performances punch us in the gut, how fitting that the devil of legend ultimately shows her face as she murders a humble man of faith.
Perhaps the most interesting and somewhat maddening aspect of tonight’s chapter revolves around the fact that both sides make subtle, yet potentially devastating initial moves. I am, however, going to reserve judgement on the decision to employ what essentially amounts to the overused trope of having Aneela pose as Dutch to ostensibly infiltrate D’avin’s force. Coming on the heels of Dutch and D’avin’s earlier celebratory mental lapse, tonight’s narrative seems to be relying on a few quick fixes to set up next week’s season finale. But as I said, let’s see how Aneela’s masquerade plays out.
Both sides make bold moves as the prelude to war unfolds, but it’s the human side and potential cost of armed conflict that strikes at the heart of the story. While it’s touching to watch men and women who know they may not survive the coming battle open up to their loved ones, it’s D’avin’s attempt to let Dutch know how he feels about her that carries the most weight. They both know she’s headed toward certain death, and while it would have been nice to hear D’avin verbally articulate exactly how he feels about her, in a way, this is a more authentic representation of the man he is. Why she doesn’t reciprocate is a bit more complex, but the kiss represents more than just a heart wrenching good-bye. Is this a couple with a future?
Nevertheless, let’s examine the two plans, because at first glance, the humans’ approach appears to be pretty solid, and if it weren’t for the monumental lapse in judgement by D’avin and Dutch, Aneela likely would have been lured to the cube in search of her enemy. However, here’s where things start to go a little askew. Albeit brief, the return of Pippin Foster (Atticus Mitchell) to assist in the plan to entrap Aneela reminds us how engaging this character can be even though we’re never really sure how far to trust him. The scene in which D’avin takes him to an underground virtual reality cafe to obtain the “false memory stuff” is delightfully funny as the two trade barbs about secret sexual predilections. But once again, despite the moral gray areas surrounding his code of behavior, Pip delivers what the team needs, and unlike D’avin and Dutch, stays on point even improvising a bit when their neglected Hullen prisoner Kitaan (Tara Spencer-Nairn) frees herself. Okay, he does reveal the plan in its entirety to Kitaan, but Pip’s really out of his depth at this point which is not his fault.
And speaking of delightful, the unexpected arrival of Delle Sayeh Kendry (Mayko Nguyen) establishes that not only do we have no idea what Aneela is planning, neither do Dutch, Johnny, and D’avin. Can we believe her when she later claims to have escaped from Aneela even though she begins by demanding a parley which in turn leads her to present an offer for D’avin to surrender his forces? There’s a lot to unpack here. It’s difficult to imagine the Commander entering into any kind of negotiation even one which leads to the unconditional surrender of her enemy. No. This is The Commander vs Yalena “Dutch” Yardeen. Two women enter; one woman leaves.
Now the possibility certainly exists that this is a multi-layered attack, and Kendry’s assertion that she only wants to know what is really inside her forms part of the larger ruse. Last week Aneela tells Kendry that she needs her to do something that she’s not going to like; is this it? But when Zeph performs an ultrasound and the DNA results confirm that Kendry is actually carrying D’avin and Aneela’s child, the possibilities suddenly take on new meaning. Of course, on the one hand, the maternal and paternal instincts might actually kick in for both, but Zeph recognizes the implications run so much deeper. “That’s not just a baby; it’s our extinction.”
When we begin to connect the dots, it certainly seems plausible that Aneela sent Kendry to Johnny so that the two Hullen women could find out the truth about the pregnancy. Even with all the advanced technology on her Hullen battlecruiser, Aneela apparently can’t get to the bottom of Gander’s plan. But more to the point, how will Aneela react when she learns the truth about Kendry’s pregnancy? Will it influence her to spare D’avin and perhaps even Johnny? And who will raise this baby whatever it is?
But we get ahead of ourselves because Johnny decides to ignore parley rules and confine Kendry against her will under the assumption that he’s holding the Hullen heir giving him some leverage with Aneela. Again, a solid plan unless of course this is exactly what she anticipates taking place.
What is clear, though, is that while Dutch, D’avin, and Johnny may have fired the first salvo in this fight, Aneela registers the first kill taking down Alvis (Morgan Kelly) while impersonating Dutch. Does Aneela plan to take out the group leaders hoping to leave the troops in disarray before swooping in for the kill? There’s a lot we don’t know about the Commander’s approach here, but there’s also a lot that she doesn’t know as well. Are she and Kendry working in tandem to create a distraction, and will the Hullen heir become nothing more than a bargaining chip once Aneela learns the truth about the scheme Gander has concocted? But how the writers handle Aneela’s impersonation of Dutch remains an important issue. The obvious play would have it appear that Dutch has gone rogue causing the troops to not only lose faith in her, but lead to her incarceration and removal from the fight. We’ve seen this before, and hopefully that won’t be the case here.
To this point we’ve kind of danced around some of the more puzzling aspects of the episode. The most exasperating facet of “Reckoning Ball” rests entirely with Dutch and her plan to bring down Aneela since it appears she’s temporarily lost her ability to reason and commits the kinds of mistakes she probably didn’t make as a first year killjoy. Why on earth she would explain to Kitaan the details of the plan and the fact that the Latimer 6 System houses the underground plasma pool that turned her? It’s a simple plan. Upload a false memory into the collective Hullen consciousness and then wait for Aneela to go after Dutch. Now it’s possible Kitaan learning about the plan wouldn’t have made any difference, but why take that chance? And don’t get me started about the premature celebratory drinkathon she and D’avin engage in.
Another problematic plot point involves Kitaan’s “escape” from Dutch’s restraint when the knife wedged in her spinal column eventually slips out enabling her to foil an otherwise sound plan. Leaving her unattended is one thing, but why does Lucy (Tamsen McDonough) listen to Pip and hold off alerting Dutch that Kitaan is not only awake but has also physically freed herself? And to make matters worse, the Hullen then forces Pip to attempt to fly Lucy, eventually crashing the ship. Pip claims this is all part of his plan to deceive Kitaan, and maybe it is, but the fight between the two women for the last jar of plasma just seems rather senseless. Why does Dutch take this risk? At least D’avin has the good sense to space the Hullen warrior, but now we’re back to the original strategy in which assassin Dutch infiltrates Aneela’s ship, getting close enough to kill her creator.
Penultimate episodes by their very nature carry a heavy burden since they lead the way for what may end up being the series’ swan song . Perhaps the expectations for Killjoys have risen to unrealistic heights, and watching “Reckoning Ball” reminds me what a difficult job showrunner Michelle Lovretta has in putting together a season finale that, for all she knows, could be the series finale. Hopefully not, but it’s a pressure that forces the creative team to cover as many angles as possible. Nevertheless, one angle that will undoubtedly be addressed is the long anticipated meeting of Dutch and Aneela.
That said, tonight’s episode contains a lot to like, even though a few narrative choices bring it down to earth just a bit. But for every flaw, something wonderful rises up and reminds us why we love this show so much. In a series like this, we go into the finale with the understanding and expectation that not everyone will make it out alive. With the long awaited face off looming tantalizingly ahead, Killjoys stands at the ready for what will undoubtedly be an explosive battle for self-preservation. Will Dutch continue hell bent on her suicide mission, or will the nerds dial up a last minute alternative? Either way, Friday night can’t get here soon enough.