This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 5 Episode 1
“Did you just try to shoot me?”
Killjoys returns for its fifth and final season, and the Michelle Lovretta penned “Run, Yala, Run” keeps viewers delightfully off balance with a continuation of the narrative paradigm shift introduced in last season’s finale. We know it won’t last, but it’s a lot of fun watching our familiars play out alternate roles in this Westerly world turned upside down as we await their eventual emergence from the psychologically induced alternate reality. Throughout the series’ run we’ve witnessed Dutch and the Jaqobis brothers battle demons from their past lives, and now it’s precisely these experiences, both good and bad, that hold the key to survival in this new world order The Lady seeks to create.
Even though Lovretta throws a lot at us in this season premiere, it’s the familiarity we see in the revamped personal connections that provide the most compelling and enjoyable story lines. Watching Yala (Hannah John-Kamen) and Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) navigate the vagaries of their marriage still provides a comfortable feeling because of the intimate, yet non-sexual nature of their traditional relationship viewers know so well. Yet, it’s precisely the nature of this closeness that opens the door for Yala to take the first step toward recovering her memories of Dutch. Johnny sees clearly that his wife feels an attraction to D’avin (Luke Macfarlane), whose missing person investigation leads him to the Royale, yet the younger Jaqobis easily brushes off any feelings of jealousy because deep down a part of him knows that he’s not in love with Yala. And as the couple kiss, Yala’s mental flashes to D’avin reminds her that a romantic relationship with Johnny just feels wrong.
Ironically, RAC agent D’avin arrives in Westerly to search for the missing Jaq Kin Rit after the young man runs away from his boarding school on Qresh. We’re treated to a brief parental confrontation after learning that Johnny and Yala are Jaq’s parents in this dimension, and the partners hold radically different beliefs about the benefits of this elite educational opportunity. Johnny sees it as a chance for his son to gain an advantage he never had, but Yala draws on her own real life experiences and tells him it’s also a chance for their son to receive some “class system indoctrination.” It’s not clear why The Lady, or rather The Little Lady (Lily Reid) implants these specific memories, but it’s fascinating to consider the “what if” possibilities regarding Dutch and the Jaqobis boys.
Needless to say, the primary storyline revolves around Dutch and Team Awesome Force recovering their lost memories, and though the possibility initially exists that these losses have become permanent, that narrative shift would be a bold move for Killjoys’ final season. It’s not surprising that Yala is the first to find her way back home after her finger lightly brushes against D’avin’s as he uses the retinal scanner to aid in recovering any repressed memories she might possess regarding Jaq’s whereabouts. And when Delle Seyah Kendry’s face appears on D’avin’s scanner, it appears that Dutch’s memories have not been completely erased, and one of my favorite characters stands ready to enter the fray.
Seeing Kendry’s face on D’av’s screen is one thing, watching Mayko Nguyen rock DSK’s new look is quite another. Love the bangs; love the black; love the whole badass package. Now, though, she has someone other than herself to worry about, and as The Lady apparently sets her sights on Jaq, the morally challenged Kendry’s decisions become more important than ever. Watching Jaq employ a computer terminal to stifle the men coming to apprehend him reminds us more of his uncle than his father. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that mother or not, this is Delle Seyah Kendry, and when she forcibly obtains D’avin’s fingerprints and a sample of Dutch’s DNA, as usual, her motives must be questioned.
Even though it’s a bit agonizing to wait for individual members of Dutch’s crew to wake up from The Lady’s influence, it’s still enjoyable watching an alternate version of Pree’s relationship with Gared (Gavin Fox). It’s true; Pree (Thom Allison) with hair is a bit disconcerting, but his presence as a tough guy RAC agent isn’t that much of a departure from the man who leaves the Royale behind to help repel the Hullen invasion. Has The Lady permitted too many emotional touchstones to remain in place as she encodes these false memories, or does she know exactly what she’s doing?
On the other hand, Zeph knows exactly what she’s doing while staying under The Lady’s Old Town radar. Kelly McCormack, as she’s done brilliantly since joining the cast during season three, presents a tantalizingly familiar side of the socially awkward Zeph who turns out to be one of the principal heroes of the forty-three day siege. Despite her quirky behaviors here, it’s particularly moving to watch her surreptitiously gather data to enable her to make sense of what’s actually taking place on Westerly. While, Yala, Johnny, D’avin and the others go about their mundane new lives, a spark inside her lets us know there is hope. And whether it’s the Old Town climate data she seeks or the incoherent anomalies she tracks, it’s Zeph who ignites the flame inside Dutch’s buried persona.
Once Dutch recognizes Zeph in the Royale, there’s no doubt that Team Awesome Force has its leader back. “Zeph, you’re the most irritatingly rational bitch I know. You’re not alone anymore,” Dutch tells her in an emotional exchange, and the fight to bring back the others commences. Brilliant as he is, Johnny remains oblivious to the truth, and it’s Zeph who unravels the mysteries of this new Old Town. The Lady is “working our mind” she tells Dutch, and explains her theories about the rain, the bracelets, and the decon showers.
Still, while certain details work themselves out, and it appears it won’t be too long before Johnny, D’avin and the others regain their memories, there are still a number of unexplained occurrences to consider. Maybe I missed it, but who places Khlyen’s red box in Yala’s room, and how is it that Zeph retains enough of her mental faculties to even piece together The Lady’s diabolical plan? The story of the green plasma and its effects continue to provide a mind-bending element to the overall arc, and while we struggle to find meaning, Khlyen sees things much more succinctly. “Never underestimate my girls,” he tells The Little Lady, and pointedly asks, “Why are you so afraid of her?” So perhaps Dutch is wrong in her assessment that “we lost.”
In an episode that raises more questions than it provides answers, “Run, Yala, Run” still manages to produce some smile inducing moments. Watching Yala and Johnny’s inept attempt to get D’avin out of the way and learn what happened to their son shows just how out of their depth they really are. “Seriously, guys, this is going to be like punching toddlers,” D’av tells them after Johnny’s epic fail with the killjoy’s gun. After their brief spat regarding Jaq’s education, Johnny tries setting a romantic mood with dozens of lighted candles hoping to rekindle the spark in their relationship. Their actions are so out of character, but even here they reveal a semblance of truth. Once she recovers Dutch and tells Johnny that “we’re not who we think we are,” he mistakenly believes she was planning to ask for a divorce and now views her actions as part of an elaborate role playing scenario designed to get their marriage back on track. Back in the real world, Johnny likely has buried concerns that Dutch and D’avin’s relationship could leave him as the odd man out.
Not many shows can successfully sustain a single Big Bad over multiple seasons, but The Lady and her connection to the Hullen and green plasma remain as fresh and confounding today as when she entered the fray in season two. Killjoys works best when it combines action and mystery with sprinkles of snappy dialogue and humorous byplay, and “Run, Yala, Run” gets the series’ final season off to a flying start. There’s a lot we still don’t understand, but that’s okay. Dutch is Dutch, so it won’t be long now.