This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 4 Episode 8
“What are you going to do, ground us?”
Having survived the traumas associated with an abusive father, D’avin, Uncle John, and Auntie Dutch renew their commitment to teach young Jaq what it means to be a real man, and if early returns are an accurate indication, they’re doing a wonderful job. “It Takes a Pillage” reveals everything we need to know about the Jaqobis’ reluctance to return to their home on Telen, and as they leave the past behind, Jaq takes a bold step forward.
While Dutch and hologram Zeph science the problem of the decaying spores Dutch retrieved from Yalena, Johnny tracks his brother and nephew to the Jaqobis family cabin, and the boys come face to face with the father they’ve done their best to forget. Watching D’avin interact with his father provides a perfect companion piece to the relationship he sets out to build with Jaq (Jaeden Noel). Having been raised by a man who put his own interests ahead of those of his sons, D’avin vows to do things differently, and though regaling Jaq with exaggerated tales of D’avin’s youth gives the six-day-old boy a momentary chance to expand the scope of his family, in the long run, Marris Jaqobis (Ron Lea) can only damage any relationship he might have with his grandson. Unfortunately for Jaq, the old man simply doesn’t care.
It doesn’t take long for Marris to employ the same bullying tactics with Jaq that he used with Johnny and D’av, and when the child asks his dad if he was scared when he went into the army as a teenager, it opens the door to the truth behind D’avin’s perceived abandonment of his younger brother. However, even before we get to that point, the Hullen capture Marris and want to trade him for Jaq. “Do we need to save dad?” Johnny posits. That he’s seriously considering the possibility only adds to the crisis and to the levity of the exchange.
It’s important for Jaq and the viewer to receive a crash course in Jaqobis family history, and while the brothers have, for the most part, reconciled the fact that D’avin left Johnny behind to join the army, the truth of the situation is not quite so simple. Though it’s not really something that still plagues the brothers, dropping bits of truth about D’avin’s army enlistment throughout the episode provides an understated view of a pivotal moment in the boys’ lives, one that profoundly affects Jaq’s understanding of his roots. We know how Khlyen raised Dutch, and while his methods can certainly be considered abusive, at least we know he had a targeted purpose. Marris, on the other hand, just wanted to turn his boys into men, and used a vision most likely concocted in the midst of a drunken spree.
It’s generally accepted that individuals view the same event differently, and it’s fascinating to hear how each of the Jaqobis remembers D’avin’s past. Given the option of jail or the army after beating his father to prevent the old man from taking out his rage on young Johnny, D’avin chose the military. It’s something that’s been there between the brothers, and tonight, that simple, poignant “thank you” from Johnny enables them to put that part of their past behind them. “Let’s never come home again,” D’avin declares, and we know he means it.
During the course of these reviews, I’ve referred to the family that Johnny and Dutch have assembled after surviving the dysfunctional upbringing to which both were subjected, and that’s what makes this current arc so compelling. Obviously D’avin comes on board early, and some, like Pawter Simms, burn brightly but oh so briefly. Now that Jaq has entered the picture, the value of a family that’s chosen as opposed to one you were saddled with becomes paramount. D’avin and Dutch disagree over Jaq’s self-defense training, but we know she has the child’s best interests at heart. Does she instinctively understand that D’avin and Johnny stand ready to provide a necessary balance as they all prepare Jaq for the harsh life he faces? Does she worry The Lady may have pushed her too far, secure in the fact that the boys are ready to pull her back from the abyss?
Last week D’avin questions Dutch’s methods with Jaq, but when he’s captured and restrained by the Hullen team, it’s clear he learned his aunt’s lessons well. We know exactly what he’s doing as his eyes scan the room looking for potential weapons, and when he quickly frees himself and takes out his captor, we’re not at all surprised. But what’s most fascinating are the delightful initial reactions of his father and uncle. “I did what Auntie Dutch taught me,” he tells them as he turns over the weapons he’s procured. And when D’avin proclaims “My boy brought guns,” the pride is unmistakable. That said, D’avin’s approach is understandably more measured, and he understands his role as Jaq’s father necessarily requires a different set of guidelines. It is somewhat surprising that he agrees to Johnny’s suggestion that Jaq receive a weapon of his own. Of course, Johnny’s always going to enjoy the position of the cool uncle, but D’avin makes it clear to his own father that he’ll do the best he can raising Jaq, an approach we know the Jaqobis boys did not enjoy.
Nonetheless, even stable families face their challenges, and when Johnny, D’avin, and Jaq return to Lucy, we know that D’avin will have to face and explain himself to Dutch. However, the outcome of this confrontation does come as somewhat of a surprise. It’s been clear that Dutch and D’avin enjoy what appears to be no more than a casual sexual relationship between consenting adults, but her plea to him that she needs “to know you’re not giving up on us,” seems to change the landscape from platonic to romantic. In so many ways these two are a perfect match.
Though Jaq mentions he might be safer with Delle Seyah, watching the young man grow under the vigilant eyes of his father, Uncle Johnny, and Auntie Dutch comprises a compelling storyline waiting to be told. Unfortunately, returning to his mother not only takes him out of this current chapter but changes his scope of influence to one that holds power and manipulation more dear than honor and loyalty. Admittedly, they’re both powerful possibilities, but selfishly, I’d love to see Jaq stay with his dad. And do we really believe Delle Seyah is prepared to be a real mother to Jaq, or will she do what Qreshy royalty do and assign responsibility to a servant?
Lost in the Jaqobis family shuffle is the fact that the spores in the canister are decaying, leaving Dutch and Zeph to come up with a solution in the fight to stop The Lady and rescue Aneela. Don’t worry about how it works, but Zeph and Dutch employ holographic tech to communicate with each other as they work out what to do about the canister. The effect works visually and narratively as the two quickly get over the initial weirdness of the situation. The writers don’t overuse the technique leaving open the possibility we might return to it in the future without it growing stale. Though Dutch sending Zeph the data so she can recreate the canister’s content is pretty darned cool, it’s the emotional response she exhibits that truly plays within the scope of the episode’s theme.
Like young Jaq assimilating into his new family, Zeph has gradually been doing the same, and though she’s certainly witnessed team members cope with dangerous extremes, tonight’s angst reaches a new level. That Dutch is able to step back from the urgency she undoubtedly feels with The Lady and Aneela speaks to the changes that she’s undergone since teaming with Johnny and D’avin. Zeph will have to learn that she can’t science her way out of every predicament, and that no matter the brilliance of her intellect, sometimes there’s simply nothing to do when your friends are in danger. Dutch knows this from experience but is so preoccupied with everything in front of her, that she needs to take a step back. “No matter what dark shit you’ve been through, you can let in some light without setting everything on fire,” Zeph tells her further establishing their working and personal relationships. And, hopefully, Zeph takes her own advice.
As we head into the final two episodes of season four, the center of the narrative arc seemingly hinges on Jaq and the evolutionary role he plays moving forward. We know what the Hullen want. “The heir is to be taken to The Quad. He’s not a child. He is the beginning of everything.” But now that things have changed and she sees Dutch and Khlyen in different lights, Aneela’s desires for the young man remain unclear. We know that D’avin is Jaq’s biological father and that Delle Seyah carried him to term, but at the end of the day, isn’t Aneela really his mother? The episode ends with Dutch in distress, likely a result of something taking place within the green, and we have to wonder whether this is the point at which Dutch must consider Yalena’s foreboding words.
It seems as if the season just began, and yet here we are nearing the end. Killjoys again moves intriguing characters in and out of the tale, and “It Takes a Pillage” gives a glimpse into the Jaqobis’ past that reveals just how far the brothers have traveled. And while the question of The Lady’s threat looms ominously overhead, we can’t help but worry about Jaq’s future and who will take the responsibility to raise him. It may in fact take a village to protect and nurture the young lad, but first things first. His real mother is in danger, and Auntie Dutch may be the only one who can save her.
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.