This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 4 Episode 7
“If you can’t do the impossible, do the honorable.”
For the briefest of moments, it appears the woman Dutch and Johnny seek as they head toward the pulsar might reveal herself to be The Lady, but in true Killjoys fashion, the reality of her identity turns out to be even more intriguing. “O Mother, Where Art Thou?” helps explain many of Khlyen’s past actions as he attempted to safeguard Dutch and Aneela, and while these glimpses don’t necessarily justify his treatment of both young women, our view of him and his intentions can’t help but change.
The focus tonight centers on the long game Khlyen has been playing for the last 250 years, and after we’re presented a disturbing view of Aneela’s physical reaction to a “neuro-parasitic infection,” the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together. From the start of the Arkyn flashback, it becomes clear that Khlyen may not have been the man we thought he was, and he’s become as complex in death as he was in life. However, now that we have a more complete picture of his activities related to Dutch and Aneela, a number of questions bear addressing. We know that Khlyen rose to an elevated position within the RAC, but what did he do before that to try to save his daughter, and more to the point, how did Aneela emotionally survive all of that time in the cube?
Killing off Khlyen during season three and then bringing him back through the plasma pool visions and flashbacks we see here tonight could be interpreted as a narrative cop out, but it’s handled so skillfully and provides so much relevant detail that the decision to keep Rob Stewart in the mix makes a great deal of sense. When Yalena tells Khlyen that he’s “kept his charm but lost his heart,” we completely empathize with her assessment of her husband. And even with Khlyen’s explanation to Yalena about the voices in Aneela’s head, we’re still not any closer to understanding the true nature of The Lady.
Given everything we’ve experienced with Khlyen, it’s natural to wonder whether everything he’s done has really been about curing Aneela’s infection. We learn the origin of his connection to what seems to be the original source of the green plasma and finally hear him lay out the problem and his plan to fix things. “Plasma pools exist within a temporal web,” he tells his wife and fills her in on the communicative properties that we’ve come to know. While we’ve pieced much of this together already, it’s still nice to hear him articulate it.
He wants to inject a “targeted prion” that will infect the linked pools presumably killing, or at least eliminating The Lady’s far reaching influence. But Yalena refuses to give Khlyen the compound since she realizes his plan amounts to a suicide mission for him and the death of their daughter. Though he’s willing to sacrifice himself and Aneela for the greater good, Yalena is not. Not for a second do we doubt the veracity of her argument, and we see a much different side of Khlyen here. The trust he places in his wife after she begs him to take a different approach reveals a side of him that has previously remained hidden. They have faith in each other, and these new details paint a vastly different picture of an ill fated family we thought to be relatively dysfunctional.
Systematically set against the flashback sequences, Dutch and Johnny head to the pulsar, a trip that allows Lucy’s terse humor more time to shine. After telling them that she’s lost control and is being pulled into a black hole, Dutch and Johnny question her about the outlook. “Theoretically, it does not get worse than dying in a black hole,” she tells them, reinforcing an air of superiority with a deadpan reality check that can’t help but lighten the dire mood. However, we get a quick shift when John sends his brother a farewell message recognizing that it’s likely he and Dutch are about to die. The subtle brilliance of these exchanges reminds us of the dangers the team faces virtually every second of every day.
After averting the black hole crisis, the narrative moves quickly with a sense of wonder and familiarity, and though we still don’t have a clear explanation of the faux RAC patches that seem to appear around every corner, when Dutch identifies herself as Khlyen’s daughter, the spear wielding guards’ deference to her is touching. But touching isn’t enough, and after Dutch comes face to face with Aneela’s mother, answers begin falling into place. Once we get past the “you look just like her” reaction, Dutch’s continued confusion about her purpose here takes control of the scene. Having always assumed Khlyen means for her to kill Yalena, Dutch realizes that there’s something else going on here, a situation crystallized by Aneela’s mother’s reticence to trust her daughter’s lookalike. “He would have told me,” she tells Dutch just before disabling her. “If Khlyen is dead, it’s time to destroy it all.” An apocalyptic pronouncement for sure.
On the one hand, these revelations should provide more insight into why Khlyen raised Dutch as he did. Assuming Dutch is in her mid to late twenties, are we to assume he searched fruitlessly for over two hundred years and turning Dutch into an assassin turned out to be the best bet to save his daughter?
I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised at how Gared’s rescue is handled, and even though we get an amusing look as Turin and Fancy watch the operation on monitors and bet on the result, accepting that Pree and Gared choose to leave the abducted children behind is difficult to accept. Though they agonize over the decision, in the end, they leave and promise to return. That said, Turin’s Hullen buddy Weej (Ish Morris) and his inherent naivete continue to yield positive results particularly with Zeph, Pip, and Jaq temporarily out of the picture. When Weej knocks out Turin because the RAC leader admittedly has no concrete plan, Turin’s admonition that “we’ll come back to human school later,” leaves plenty of room for interpretation and plot development.
Nevertheless, in the end, it all comes down to Dutch, and while family has been a recurring theme throughout Killjoys run, the poignancy of her plaintive response to Yalena as they debate what to do about the canister speaks volumes. “She’s my family, just like you,” Dutch tells her, finally verbalizing an emotion that has recently begun begun to take on new meaning. At one time it seemed impossible to think that Aneela and Dutch could ever peacefully coexist let alone become friends, but now with this recent turn of events and their partnership in bringing down The Lady, anything seems possible. Of course, it’s unlikely that showrunner Adam Barken will want to ask Hannah John-Kamen to run double duty the rest of the way, but the possibilities are simply fascinating should Killjoys go that route.
It’s probably natural that we rarely stop to consider the physical and emotional toll the Aneela affair has taken on Dutch, but when Yalena asks her if she’s happy, her response is not totally unexpected. “I’m fine,” a response that is as heartbreaking as it is revelatory. For a brief moment, Dutch experiences what having a mother could be like, and when Yalena implies that Dutch should put Aneela out of her misery if she’s not able to save her from The Lady’s control, the pressure placed on Dutch is immense and patently unfair. Still, Dutch leaves with the canister intent on freeing the only family she has outside of the Jaqobis. It’s a lot to ask, but there’s no one mentally tougher than Dutch. “I may be damaged, but I’m not broken,” she tells Johnny as they prepare for the next phase of the war to stop the Hullen.
After working through Dutch’s emotional journey with Yalena, the episode reminds us that The Lady will not be giving up without a fight, and we see that this evil figure is assembling a new plasma pool by cutting and hanging upside down some of her Hullen followers. Though it begins as a drop in the bucket, it undoubtedly will give her a foothold toward keeping Dutch at bay, and the bodies piled nearby provide a grim reminder of The Lady’s ruthlessness. It seems D’avin has done the expected and taken his son to his home planet of Tellen where he has been tracked by the Hullen who are headed directly for them. It’s difficult to blame him for this act, and we can only hope that he recognizes, sooner rather than later, that his son’s importance to the Hullen dwarfs anything he’s encountered of late.
Though we receive some truly meaningful information regarding The Lady’s origins and Khlyen’s plan to save his daughter, “O Mother, Where Art Thou?” comes full circle and lays the burden to save the world at Dutch’s feet. To ignore the emotional impact of Dutch’s internal struggles because of the urgency of the external physical battles she faces on a daily basis would be a huge mistake. Whether Dutch can do what Khylen was unable to and save her “sister” may be the most compelling obstacle she’s yet faced. It’s about time Dutch completes Khlyen’s quest.
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.