This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 4 Episode 9
“Take the RAC. Free the kids. Kick some green ass.” It seems simple enough, but the best laid plans often go awry, and now Turin and Team Awesome Force must regroup and find another approach in the fight against the Hullen. Unfortunately, the victory comes with an unexpected loss, and Killjoys says goodbye to a character who struggled to earn respect right up to the very end.
I’m not sure a perfect hour of episodic television is even possible, but “The Kids are Alright?” comes awfully darned close. After handing off their newborn son to his father, Delle Seyah Kendry (Mayko Nguyen) leaves for Qresh, presumably to bring The Nine back under her control, so it definitely comes as a surprise when we learn there’s an academic side to her, and she’s actually been hiding out and reading Khlyen’s studies on the chemical properties of plasma. Granted, her study is born of the anguish and helplessness she feels regarding Aneela and The Lady, but it may be time to accept that she is changing. That she must now care for and protect her son will be her next big test.
Though we see her only briefly, Kendry’s powerful screen presence reminds us how much we miss her when she’s absent. The image of her holding a massive cannon as Johnny, D’avin, and Dutch cut their way into her emergency ship puts on display the fearless woman now tasked with protecting a young man who’s not only her son, but also the key to a still unknown evolutionary development. Is she looking forward to this new responsibility? Nope. Is she up to the task? Hells yeah. “Just let the bitch try to take him.” And while this opening sequence sets up the first of several emotional partings, there’s still room for some light moments. D’avin labeling all of Jaq’s belongings like a father sending his son off to summer camp is priceless as is Johnny’s final admonition to Kendry. “If you use a cryopod for a babysitter, we will have words.”
Nevertheless, there’s more to this scene than Jaq ignoring his father’s extended hand and going in for a heartfelt hug as they prepare to part. Johnny and Delle Seyah still have unfinished business regarding Pawter Simms, and even though she hands over all of her plasma research to him, we understand that her fact-finding has been motivated by a desire to save Aneela. And in a precursor to a later exchange he has with Lucy, Johnny, while not forgiving Delle Seyah for her role in Pawter’s death, promises to overlook that part of their history and bring Aneela home to her. It’s an understated moment that addresses the pain both feel and the compassion Johnny musters despite residual feelings. Like it or not, Delle Seyah’s part of the family, and of late, has begun to earn her place in House Jaqobis.
There’s no denying “The Kids are Alright?” delivers a number of poignant moments, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of room for some good old Killjoys fun. With Turin (Patrick Garrow) back at the helm, Dutch and the boys return to their good natured, disruptive behavior, and when she questions his plan in front of the troops, he orders a quick trip to the principal’s office. There are the requisite jokes about Turin’s Hullen pet Weej, but Dutch truly does worry that something may go wrong if he’s involved and prevent her from saving Aneela.
Posing as hippies, Dutch and a ponytailed D’avin head to Leith to obtain a Regressor that will enable Johnny to bring down the shield the Hullen have erected around the RAC, but it’s the sight of them in pastel robes that produces the most laughs. But D’avin’s not done yet. Once the firefight on the RAC starts, Fancy and D’av’s competition to see who can take out the most Hullen highlights the operation. “You were more fun when I could shoot you,” D’avin tells him and eventually gets the last laugh when Fancy believes he’s won the contest. D’avin cheats of course, but that doesn’t make his refusal to give Fancy his prize any less funny.
Nevertheless, it’s not all fun and games on tonight’s Killjoys, and there’s no sense delaying it any longer. Losing Pip hurts. Despite that fact that his skillset fit neatly within the context of the team’s quest to bring down The Lady and the Hullen, Pip never quite feels secure in either his role or his place in the family. Even though his relationship with Zeph can be seen as a parallel to that of Dutch and D’avin, he often feels like an outsider looking in. So when we learn that the RAC self-destruct codes must be keyed in manually and that this individual will not survive the explosion, the first bombshell drops. Dutch immediately volunteers, but let’s be honest. Like the viewer, she instinctively knows that she is not about to embark on a suicide mission, and someone else will step into the breach. And that someone is Pip. “Heroes gotta hero.”
It’s easy to say that Pip’s heroic act may have something to do with his feeling the spider will kill him sooner or later anyway, so why not go down in a blaze of glory. But that’s neither fair nor accurate. Despite Zeph’s pleading to the contrary, Pip signs onto the mission to take back the RAC feeling that he can’t continually let others put their lives in danger while he hangs back in the safety of Lucy or the Armada. And while we’ll certainly miss Atticus Mitchell’s portrayal of the knavish Pippin Foster, his impact reverberates and will undoubtedly alter Zeph’s motivation moving forward.
Zeph’s future notwithstanding, Kelly McCormack takes her character to a new level with some intense, emotional character work we don’t often get to see in Killjoys. Though reticent to admit her growing feelings for Pip, it’s clear she’s concerned that he decides to join the fight for the RAC. McCormack’s Zeph has routinely displayed confidence in her intellectual abilities while at the same time exuding a certain pathos relative to the natural insecurities she does her best to obscure, but tonight we see a broken young woman, devastated at the loss of her best friend and lover. McCormack’s performance is raw and necessarily painful to watch, and when she tells Dutch that “you were supposed to bring him home,” we feel for Dutch nearly as much as for Zeph.
It’s going to take some time to recover, but there are some feel good moments that offset the dark times. Fittingly, Gared and Pree liberate the children, one of whom gleefully addresses her buddy Gared, and the two do look great in their dress whites. Albeit briefly, Fairuza (Anna Hopkins) appears to help interpret the meaning of Dutch’s scar, and with Alvis dead, there is an opening for a Scarback liaison. And though Johnny feels a bit like a third wheel now that D’av and Dutch have taken their relationship to another level, Lucy stepping in to help him cope provides a nice touch. Is it too soon to ship Johnny and Zeph?
While the team certainly makes great strides tonight, The Lady and Aneela remain in the green, both waiting to be freed from their restraints. Nevertheless, heading into the season finale, it’s Dutch’s revelation that puts the next phase of the mission into motion. She tells Johnny and D’avin that her scar is a message from Aneela and reads “send elixir to solve.” And while that initially stumps everyone but Dutch, her selfless act turns the story upside down. Drinking the plasma allows her to switch her consciousness with Aneela and take over the fight to bring down The Lady from her weakened opposite. Whether Dutch knew how this was all going to play out doesn’t matter. What matters is that The Lady will now face a fully energized, pissed off individual who has a score to settle and a life to avenge. “Hey, Lady. Miss me?” We know Pip’s death is not her fault, but saving Aneela’s life and eradicating this scourge should at least put Dutch back on a path out of the darkness that invariably follows her.
The culmination of “The Kids are Alright?” finds Team Awesome Force as ready as it’s ever going to be in the fight to rid The Quad of the Hullen. Penultimate episodes often, by necessity, function as set ups, and to a certain extent, that’s true here. But we get enough resolution and enough narrative momentum that it feels more like the first part of a multi-part episode. We’re more than ready to watch Dutch bring down The Lady, but the uncertain reaction of Aneela to her freedom is nearly as compelling.
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. ￼