This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 4 Episode 1
“Every battle has a crisis that seems unwinnable.”
Last season’s Killjoys finale finds Dutch and Aneela submerging themselves in the green plasma after agreeing to work together to destroy The Lady, but season four’s premiere, “The Warrior Princess Bride,” takes a circuitous route, delving into the past to help address the problems of the present. Some might argue that show creator Michelle Loveretta’s script spends too much time exploring the genesis of Johnny and Dutch’s relationship instead of confronting the campaign to bring down The Lady. They would be wrong. Really wrong.
Lovretta and new showrunner Adam Barken stand in the enviable position of knowing exactly how much time they have to tell their stories after receiving a two season, 20 episode renewal at the end of season three. So it is with that knowledge and freedom that the journey into Johnny and Dutch’s past works beautifully in tandem with the Green Space’s Khylen to urge The Warrior (Dutch) to fight for her life after suffering a grievous injury presumably at the hand of The Lady. The focus in Killjoys has generally been on space science and technology, but now that we’re presented the enigmatic Lady and the influence of the green plasma, this journey into the supranormal simply adds another tantalizing layer to an increasingly intricate tale. For a long time this has been Dutch’s story of self-discovery and transformation, and though the appearance of Aneela seemingly complicates her search, in some ways, it might just make it easier.
During the course of raising both Aneela and Dutch, Khylen, as he often has, employs allegory, and though his tale of The Thief and The Warrior ostensibly recounts the early days of Johnny and Dutch’s relationship, its meaning transcends the mere capture of an assassin. Much of the episode centers on relationships and the impact they ultimately have moving forward in the fight against the Hullen and beyond. That we still know so little about the green plasma adds to the mystical qualities that now surround Khylen as his memory and wisdom live on to provide his daughters with direction in their struggle to escape or embrace what they perceive to be their destinies. We’ll require some clarity soon, but for now, what we don’t know is just as fascinating. That said, the question of whether injuries sustained in the green translate to the real world becomes increasingly important.
Even though Killjoys previously explored Yalena’s ill fated wedding and Johnny’s attempted theft of Lucy, both of which provide a glimpse of the people they were at their initial meeting, tonight we see the event that sends them on the path that changes their futures and ultimately that of The Quad. It’s a wonderful story in and of itself, and most of it is probably true; remember, this is Khylen talking. But it’s fascinating to watch the two reinvent themselves as RAC agents, all because of a chance encounter with someone who possessed the vision to see beyond the surface. And having witnessed their turbulent past, to see that it is, in fact, Turin who brings these two on board adds to their rich history.
Lovretta throws a lot of details our way, and though some lack the importance of others, for the most part, they’re all a lot of fun. While I’m not a big fan of Johnny’s eyeliner, it does reflect who he was at the time, and what better setting to push these two down the road than Pree’s bar The Royale. Come to think of it, the eyeliner does accentuate John’s baby blue eyes. And no sooner do we remember how much we enjoy the gregarious barkeep’s sexually tinged observations than a killjoy enters to serve and lock John and Dutch. Of course, at this point she hasn’t yet adopted that name, but more on that later. Still, it’s a watershed moment whose significance cannot be overlooked.
In a sense, Khylen’s observation that “every battle has a crisis that seems unwinnable” provides a concise overview of the life that John, Dutch, and D’avin have led the past seven years. And while being detained by the RAC is not the first crisis they’ve faced, that it evolves into a procedural gives both a chance to prove their mettle not only to each other but to Turin observing in the background. At the point Dutch agrees to help find the assassin in town, Johnny still sees her as a spoiled rich girl, and it’s fascinating to watch her take the lead while he follows. Not only does their relationship continue to develop, but the skill sets each brings to the table also begin to come into view. Of course, we’ve come to appreciate John’s superior technical expertise and Dutch’s physical and analytic prowess, but watching them unfold under these circumstances adds another level of appreciation.
Tracking the assassin to a 10 year retreat on Qresh comes after learning that Dutch cut a deal for Johnny’s release should they succeed in preventing the hit, and while this selfless behavior doesn’t show us anything we haven’t seen countless times before, it nonetheless speaks to her confidence and familiarity in the milieu of the ultra wealthy. Posing as a married couple, the combative exchanges these two go through makes the end result that much more satisfying. “You are the worst wife ever,” he tells her, and he means it. Like the apprehensive couples attending the retreat, they too must decide whether to remain together.
I’m sure there are others, but when considering Lucy’s role in Killjoys, I always hearken back to Andromeda and Lexa Doig’s interpretation of Rommie, Andromeda Ascendant’s AI. Granted, even though we don’t have a visual avatar to attach to Lucy, she impacts the characters’ actions and personal development in ways even they don’t realize. Her quip, “John, are you dead yet,” provides not only the light touch that serves as one of the series’ touchstones, but starts the trust process required if they are to survive what’s to come.
Because the procedural search for the assassin is so entertaining, it’s easy to forget that Dutch and Aneela are in the green communicating with their dead father while Johnny, D’avin, and Delle Sayeh remain in the dark about what these two are doing. Through three seasons we’ve watched Dutch struggle with her past, but her confession to Johnny opens our eyes to how she sees herself. “I don’t know how to be a good person.” Now, this may be a bit of an overreaction on her part, but given what we’ve seen of the training she received as a child, it is understandable. And with such an emotional situation staring him in the face, Johnny reacts perfectly, offering a two year killjoys marriage to see if they’re compatible with each other and the RAC.
Nevertheless, the emphasis here is on Yalena and the crisis of conscience she faces now that she’s murdered her husband, fled her kingdom, and begun to consider the horrific things she’s done in the name of pleasing her father. Can Khylen’s story truly save her life as he contends, or is she destined to follow the same path as the assassin she meets and brings down? We know the answer to that question, but now, facing off against The Lady, Dutch encounters her most menacing foe yet.
So why is this peek into the past relevant to the present day? It’s no surprise that the daughters of a Level 6 RAC agent with House Yardeen and Hullen ties play an important role in political machinations of The Quad. Dutch has been running from her murderous past and the man who taught her to kill, but now, in the green, Khylen reminds her that she and Johnny always save each other. What is the real lesson here? His assertion goes much deeper than the swashbuckling heroics we’ve witnessed to this point. There’s an emotional connection, and whether they ever take their relationship to a romantic level has become irrelevant. Their love for each other transcends the chaos swirling around them. Okay, telling her to “find John Jaqobis; he is your true north, your only way home” comes across as a bit hackneyed, nonetheless, finding strength among her memories may be the key to preventing The Lady from breaking Dutch. As Khylen reminds her, John Jaqobis never gives up. He’s relentless, particularly when the safety of someone he cares about is at stake.
We’re now left wondering what happened in the green, and particularly troubling is Khylen’s comment that The Lady was always going to break Dutch. With him seemingly resigned to this fate, the extent to which Aneela exhibits concern for Dutch’s situation becomes much more relevant. In the end though, his recognition of the deep connection she’s formed with the Jaqobis recognizes the power that love and devotion bring to a fight. “It can save us all.” Dutch must now call on the memory of the man who gave her the chance to become a new person if she is to survive her confrontation with The Lady.
“The Warrior Princess Bride” elegantly delves into the past to deliver a powerful tale of loyalty and the first steps of the emotionally redemptive journeys we’ve witnessed these past two seasons. Yes, along the way, we learn the origin of Yalena’s current moniker, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Dutch now fights for her physical and spiritual lives. With the knowledge that Killjoys need not rush its storytelling, a reliance on the small details of the intimate relationships makes a lot of sense. Now, let’s figure out what the heck is going on in the green and take that bitch out.