This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 5 Episode 10
“It doesn’t matter how your story begins. It’s about who’s with you at the end.”
By their very nature, series finales present considerable challenges even when the showrunner and writers enjoy plenty of advance notice as is the case with the SyFy space drama Killjoys. Operating at a breakneck pace, “Last Dance” does its best to keep up with an abundance of moving parts in an episode that leaves the door open to resume the adventures of Team Awesome Force should the opportunity ever arise. It’s not always successful, but it’s always a lot of fun.
Appropriately enough, before fading to black, the final image depicts a gun toting Dutch flanked by Johnny and D’avin as the three head out for one last adventure before going their separate ways. “I’m going to miss this,” Dutch tells the boys and the audience in what amounts to the understatement of the series. But in an era that popularizes the exceedingly dark post-apocalyptic tale, it’s refreshing, though still disappointing, to say goodbye to a world that puts a smile on your face right up to the very end. Killjoys manages to accomplish what so few can, blending compelling characters, perilous storylines, and despicable nemeses while avoiding the oppressive tone prevalent in contemporary genre television.
The multi-faceted plan to bring down The Lady doesn’t generate the expected end result, but it’s not the change of plan that holds the episode back. With so much going on, it’s virtually impossible to give each character proper attention, and none suffer more than Zeph. In a nice nod to Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, we learn that Zeph has reworked the Ice-9 pathogen created by Pawter’s mother, and our understanding of the plan is that this will force The Lady into hibernation leaving her vulnerable to Dutch’s assault. And while it’s nice to witness Zeph’s reunion with Pip, whom we assumed died in an earlier explosion, his resurrection really does come out of nowhere. Still, we like Pip and Zeph together, and certainly their future as a couple opens all sorts of possible outcomes. But that’s it for the brains of Team Awesome Force.
With team members scattered about the universe, we’re never really able to settle in with any one group other than Dutch and the Jaqobis brothers, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to shine. Delle Seyah Kendry continues the moral transformation that follows Jaq’s birth, and when she and Aneela confront the other heads of The Nine to obtain weapons’ codes, her forceful approach to their reticence should not be misinterpreted as arrogant entitlement. Sometimes, however, doing the right thing requires extreme measures, and when she cuts Aneela’s hand to reveal her Hullen nature, the result not only gives them what they need in the war against The Lady, but paves the way for a classic line either is capable of delivering. “Bow to your queens.” Desperate times call for desperate measures.
We end the season and series with a number of couples who seem destined to explore their relationships away from the squabbles in The Quad, but none face the challenges awaiting Delle Seyah and Aneela. Strange bedfellows from the start, their relationship arguably faces the most extensive hurdles moving forward, and Aneela’s transition to a more human approach not only impacts their relationship but the final conflict with The Lady as well. After The Lady pits Yala against Khlyen, and it appears he may mortally wound her, Aneela reveals an understanding of all the principals. “If you make him hurt her, he will never forgive you.” While Aneela and Dutch may never become friends, there’s a recognition that they’re all on the same team.
Nevertheless, the most fascinating turn of events in the DSK/Aneela relationship finds its resolution in one of the episode’s final shots. In an earlier poignant exchange, Aneela informs her partner if she wishes to remain human, she will honor her at the end, but also raises the possibility that Kendry could once again become Hullen. Aneela further suggests that she may possess enough green plasma to offer Kendry a transfusion, implying that she’s willing to risk herself for the woman she loves. Clearly, a new and improved Aneela.
And in an endearingly powerful scene, Pree pleads with Delle Seyah to do something for the dispossessed of Old Town who now stand helpless after the fight. She wisely names him Lord Governor of all Westerly, an act she follows up with a perfect statement of intent. “I’m never going to be nice, Pree, but I am going to try to be good.” Both she and Aneela apparently understand the suffering the average person endures and donate land to be used to give the people of Old Town a fresh start. It’s a simple act and easy to dismiss, but it speaks to new attitudes both women now embrace.
While it didn’t seem likely the writers would kill off many of the principal characters, the fact that The Lady remains alive at the end comes not only as a surprise, but offers an intriguing plot twist. Dutch’s conversations with Khlyen provide some resolution to the overall arc but also to their troubled relationship which she encapsulates fairly succinctly. “If you didn’t want me to kill, you should have never made me your weapon.” However, after all their history together, he still manages to catch her off guard when she challenges his failure to simply kill the weakened alien. His stance that the longer The Lady takes human form, the more likely it is that she’ll change her attitude and actually champion the human race does not fly with Dutch or the audience. Whether she sees Khlyen as duplicitous or incredibly naive doesn’t really matter; she’s not buying into this idea, and neither are we.
On the one hand, Dutch’s brilliant use of Khlyen as a bargaining chip gives her a chance to turn the tables on the man who’s been manipulating her her entire life, but it also sets up the resolution of a conflict that appeared to have only one logical outcome. Once we learn she really has injected him with poison, this aspect of the narrative shifts, and we see deeper into the effects their long journey together has had on both. When he asks her how she plans to survive this fight, her reply is neither startling nor unexpected. “Who says I do.” Now, at no point do we consider the possibility that Dutch will fall in battle, but it does speak to her mindset after all she’s been through in her life with Khlyen.
Though The Lady seems to have turned her attention more toward Khlyen than Jaq, that doesn’t mean the young man’s role diminishes. Quite the contrary. Even though we don’t see him nearly enough during the season, his presence is still felt. And while it would have been nice to watch him and his father develop their relationship, the one instance we do receive here more than makes up for what we’ve missed along the way. Though it seems eventually everyone puts their own spin on the plan, and when Jaq explains that he led The Lady to the mirrored cube, we have to consider his inexperience and rash decision could impact the plan. But it’s his response to D’avin that highlights the kind of young man he’s become, and strangely enough, we may have to credit Delle Seyah in this case. “You don’t get to protect your family but risk everyone else’s,” he tells his father. And while it sometimes feels as if these poignant pieces of dialogue are being thrown at us from every direction during this finale, they give us some insight into what the future may hold for the Kin Rit/Jaqobis family dynamic.
That said, Jaq’s newly introduced psychic ability that allows him to essentially see the future, or at least aspects of it, is a bit difficult to accept. What’s not difficult to accept though is the extended resolution we get as Team Awesome Force prepares for life after The Lady. Though it’s unlikely Killjoys will return to the air, the surviving hatchling thread gives the team continued purpose and a chance to contemplate the new world they’ve helped create. We’ve got a new RAC and new oath, and while the hatchling threat is out there, no one seems all that concerned.
The tearful parting between Johnny and Dutch is delicately presented and sets a reasonable timetable for a reunion after she tells him to take Lucy. It’s been evident for a while now, but Dutch finally assuages any worries D’avin might have about their relationship with a perfectly delivered line that accurately summarizes her character. “I love you too. Don’t make a big deal about it.”
So with the primary fight over and the hatchling cleanup to be addressed, where do we stand as Killjoys concludes its run? Obviously, the biggest gamble is letting The Lady live in the hope that she’ll change her attitude toward the human race, but if the plan is to kill all the hatchlings, then why keep her alive? Yes, it’s a nice bit of irony when Khlyen sends her the familiar red box, and instead of a weapon, she finds the doll Yala always hoped Papa would give her as a child. But what does it really mean? Does Khlyen plan to psychologically torture The Lady, and does anyone really think she’ll change her ways? When I see scenes like this I can’t help but drift back to Prince Oberon’s hubris in his fight with The Mountain. These things never end well.
For any flaws it might contain, however, “Last Dance” and Killjoys does end well. Fans of the series don’t require vengeance and brutality to put a final stamp on things, and the happy ending we get should satisfy most viewers. Yes, there are some plot holes, several decisions don’t make a lot of sense, and some things just seem to appear out of nowhere. None of that matters in the larger context. And though we’ll likely never see it, Team Awesome Force lives to fight and love another day, and that’s pretty awesome if you ask me.