This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 4 Episode 10
“I think I prefer regular, bitchy Dutch to creepy, nice Dutch.”
Killjoys showrunner Adam Barken takes a bold step with the spellbinding season four finale “Sporemaggedon,” leaving viewers simultaneously thrilled and a bit confused heading into the show’s final run. Nevertheless, in this case, the startling final sequence sets up an intriguing paradigm shift that not only shuffles the relationship deck but establishes an impending good vs evil showdown within the context of a strikingly changed set of circumstances. With The Lady now free to roam The Quad, the world needs a hero. Can Team Awesome Force successfully follow the breadcrumbs and return the universe to its natural order? Well, now that’s going to be half the fun, isn’t it?
At first glance the virus infecting Westerly figures to provide Zeph, Pree, and Turin something to do while Johnny, D’avin, and Aneela rescue Dutch and put an end to The Lady’s threats. However, once we learn that the children rescued from the RAC are, in fact, the viral carriers, this tightly plotted sequence reminds us that the The Lady’s insidious scheme for ultimate control leaves no one safe. Having firmly regained control of the RAC and his acerbic wit, Turin correctly assesses the situation, calling the virus an act of war, which gives The Nine an opportunity to re-enter the picture under the guise of providing assistance against the infection spreading through Old Town.
While it’s always refreshing to watch characters stand up to Qreshy royalty, the decision to nuke Old Town and its contagion doesn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about The Nine. It does, though, put Turin in the unenviable position of making the call he’d hoped to avoid. “I know how to stop the one who started this,” he tells The Nine representative while wrestling with the repercussions of dropping the cylinder into the green pool. After her tour de force performance last week, Kelly McCormack’s Zeph buries herself in her work, and though her reaction to Pree’s kindness reveals a deep emotional wound, her muted temperament makes clear that this is an individual still in a state of shock.
There’s rarely a shortage of heroic volunteers whenever Team Awesome Force does battle, and after losing Pip in the RAC explosion, it’s understandable that Zeph insists on testing the antidotal serum on herself. For a number of reasons it makes a lot of sense to have Pree step in and gently explain to her why she should allow him to receive the first injection instead. In many ways, his relationship with Gared mirrors that of Pip and Zeph, and while he’s in no hurry to die and leave Gared behind, our favorite bartender knows that his partner would do the same if the situation were reversed. Thom Allison continues to breathe life and breadth into a character whose journey has taken a decisive direction and will undoubtedly play a key role towards re-assembling the pieces in season five.
Obviously, memories play an integral role in understanding The Lady and the impact and power of the green, and when we learn that Zeph’s cure comes with a price, Turin’s initial reaction becomes even more prescient. Of course, it’s not Zeph’s fault that even though the infected recover physically, they lose the memory of those with whom they’d had the most powerful bonds, but we understand this is precisely the outcome The Lady planned. As we learn at episode’s end, she traffics in memories and seemingly sits in the driver’s seat as a strange new tale unfolds and sets the table for next season.
The action sequences are kept to a minimum, and while the call back to D’avin’s physical attack on Dutch is somewhat painful to watch, the scenes are so deftly executed that we momentarily forget that they’re byproducts of The Lady’s power. That said, the best line of the night occurs as Aneela and D’avin hold off the Ferran warriors The Lady conjures from their memories. “Enough magic bullshit. Let’s shoot stuff.” We can’t forget D’avin’s power over the green, a result of the experimental procedure on his brain conducted by army doctors and later Khlyen to some extent. This power continues to pay dividends, and after he’s had enough of the shooting, D’avin quakes the Ferran to put an end to the skirmish. He’s clearly learned to harness this ability which leaves open the possibility he’ll call on it more in the future as a key towards defeating the escaped Lady. Of course, that does beg the question as to whether he’ll even remember that he possesses this ability?
Still, “Sporemaggedon” primarily focuses on the mission to save Dutch and eliminate The Lady once and for all, or at least leave her forever trapped in the green. Hannah John-Kamen moves seamlessly between between Dutch, who confidently challenges The Lady, and Aneela who now finds herself in a position in which she has to convince the Jaqobis that she’s on their side. Look, we all love Dutch, but Aneela has really grown on me, and after Johnny reminds her that she tried and almost succeeded in killing him, her response reminds us that this is a woman who’s missed out on the value of deep personal connections. Driving that final stake through his heart (pun intended) she’s clear about her intentions. “I told you Johnny Favorite; we don’t need you.” At first, it’s a bit surprising that she doesn’t show more interest after learning that she has a son, but realizing the knowledge can only be used against her, opts to know as little as possible. There’s time for meeting the kid after the operation. Also interesting is that the boys now acknowledge Aneela as Jaq’s mother rather than Delle Seyah.
“What if everyone could get what they wanted, and no one had to win or lose anything?” Coming from anyone other than The Lady, this compromise offer seems perfectly reasonable and worth pursuing. I’ll be honest; I loved seeing Miyako Nguyen (Delle Seyah Kendry) and Sarah Power (Pawter Simms) return in this episode, and who better to tug at Johnny’s emotions than Pawter. However, once we get past The Lady’s shapeshifting abilities or ability to cause others to see what she wants them to see, her origin story doesn’t ring completely true.
If she truly is the last of her race, then The Lady’s megalomaniacal quest for control of real world memories must be viewed within its context. Like Aneela, she’s been alone with limited memories for a long time, and lacking basic human contact, appears unable or unwilling to properly assimilate into a new situation. That said, her claim that her race is “driven by instinct to dominate and rule,” puts into focus what she plans to do now that her restraints have been removed. Interestingly, the more time passes, the more redemptive Aneela has become, while The Lady, on the other hand, has been set up to take her place as the Big Bad, primed to be taken down hard.
So what exactly takes place in the episode’s final act? For starters, we still don’t know whether The Lady exists in corporeal form or is simply a metaphysical entity with the power to take over and control an individual body. We do know, however, that she’s made her way out of the green and into the real world leaving Aneela behind. Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of voice-overs, but given the circumstances, The Lady’s pronouncement lays out clearly where we’re headed in Killjoys final season. “Memories aren’t just where you’ve been, they’re who you are, and if I own that, I own you. And now that I’m out, I’ll run everything.” The Lady views love as a weakness and apparently plans to exploit that most basic human quality.
We’ve worked through issues related to the lookalike nature of Dutch and Aneela, but this new situation may take that complication to a new level. While it immediately becomes clear that The Lady bests Aneela and leaves her behind, for a moment, it appears the team is successful in killing the green and The Lady. The jump scare works beautifully leaving us with a clear view of impending conflicts to come. Thinking this is Aneela, will Dutch work to convince her to stay and become part of the family, or will The Lady take the first opportunity to leave and begin her quest for universal domination?
Okay, that’s the easy part. Now what about the final scene? We first need to go back to The Lady’s comment to Aneela after Dutch inserts the spores into the pool. “If the walls come down, it opens the passageways in and out.” This seems to imply that though The Lady escapes through the green pool, Aneela may not be restricted and able to eventually make her way back to the real world. Given the benefit of centuries to hatch a workable plan, that seems like something for which The Lady should have accounted. Unless of course Aneela’s dead though that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Let’s assume for a moment that The Lady controls the memories of everyone in her purview. That would certainly explain the upside down world that features Johnny and Yala as a married couple working to make ends meet in their frighteningly humdrum world. There is no “Dutch” because that’s been wiped from their memories, but are we to accept that this is the relationship that both secretly desire or has The Lady simply misread the signals? It’s one thing to possess “universal memory,” but it’s quite another to understand its nuances out of the proper context. Has The Lady severed the personal connections she thinks are critical towards maintaining control, and if so, has she focused her efforts on Team Awesome Force and its sphere of influence? Or, is she omnipotent and able to execute this across the board?
While we don’t have to worry that this is all a dream, the Oz-like stroll through the street, featuring Turin as a vendor and Gared as one of Johnny’s drinking buddies, provides more context to support this new world order. We know that the key to getting things back to normal will be the ability to remember, to re-establish the severed connections, and it seems The Lady may have made several critical mistakes. Why keep Johnny and Dutch together in the first place? Granted, The Lady sees their love as weakness waiting to be exploited instead of a strength that often arises out of a noble, selfless attempt to do the right thing and put someone else’s interests ahead of his or her own. And why keep D’avin as a RAC agent? We see he has a Level 2 Escort Warrant for Jaq Kin Rit and have to assume this is part of The Lady’s plan to find the young man, but isn’t there a danger that in his search, he’ll stumble across enough bread crumbs and begin putting the pieces of his past together?
And what of Aneela? What role will she play in this new narrative since it’s reasonable to think she not only has her memories intact but also possesses freedom of movement. Now that The Lady has made it safely to the real world, there’s no real incentive to continue with Aneela’s visage, but it will present an interesting conundrum if and when the real Aneela finds her way back. Still, someone has tasked D’avin to find Jaq, and since Delle Seyah may be hiding herself and her memories, perhaps she’s one of the bread crumbs to which Khlyen refers in his story about the family that gets lost in the woods.
“Sporemaggedon” does everything a season finale should do, and while it’s a bit of a risk to break up the team this late in the game, Killjoys has, at its heart, always been a show about family finding its way home to each other. Now that the core group has expanded to include Aneela, Jaq, and maybe even Delle Seyah, the complexities that will undoubtedly present themselves open a wealth of narrative possibilities. On the one hand, it’s sad knowing that the forthcoming season will be Killjoys last, but if the final scene is any indication, we’re going out with a mindbender.
Dave Vitagliano has been writing and podcasting about science fiction television since 2012. You can read more of his work here. He presently hosts Sci Fi Fidelity Podcast and The Den of Geek Podcast.