This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 5 Episode 4
“When you remember where you have been, you dream of where you might go.”
Any concern that Killjoys might fall prey to a capture/escape/capture narrative trap quickly dissipates as “Ship Outta Luck” returns Team Awesome Force to full on fight mode, and the season’s strongest episode brings further into focus the conflicting forces jockeying for position. Dutch, Johnny, and Zeph gather their wits and re-enter the fight to stop The Lady from overrunning Westerly, but it’s Khlyen’s role in this undertaking that provides some of the most intriguing possibilities.
Though The Lady and Khlyen appear sparingly throughout the season, that does nothing to diminish their importance. And while evil children typically rank high on the creepiness scale, the transition to an adult version of this alien being makes for an even more frightening experience. We don’t see her often, but Alanna Bale makes the most of her screen time infusing The Lady with a terrifying persona that speaks to her desperation in the endeavor to find a home for her children.
Khlyen’s discussions with The Lady typically address the human race’s shortcomings, and it seems likely that her hubris will eventually play a role in her downfall. Dutch’s 436 year sentence in Herks Supermax Prison may serve to lure Jaq into the open, but it quickly becomes clear that this inferior human woman adroitly manipulates the alien into mistakes she doesn’t even realize she’s making. And while Khlyen doesn’t know precisely how Dutch and the team will take her down, The Lady’s violent reaction to the news that 30% of her Black Root fleet has been destroyed sets him up for a concise assessment of her failings. “You still don’t understand us.”
From the delightful opening scene during which Johnny and D’avin make amusingly feeble attempts to convince the warden of the dire circumstances taking place on Westerly, to Khlyen’s final admonition, “Ship Outta Luck” moves seamlessly among the various character groups as each prepares for the approaching clash. It’s been excruciatingly painful watching Zeph carve clues into her arm, so it’s a welcome relief that here she resorts to the less invasive, yet highly effective approach of leaving herself an explanation video. She first wakes Turin whose immediate gruff response reminds us why we love him so much. “How did we let this happen?” he barks, but when she revives Pree, who rightfully acknowledges that he does make a badass RAC agent, the decision to leave Gared behind doesn’t sit well. At times his childlike innocence feels out of place, but Gared’s proved his worth over the years, and while it makes sense to stay under The Lady’s radar as much as possible, he will be missed.
On the one hand, twenty-five days to stop the terraforming of Westerly feels like an eternity, so it will be interesting to see how Killjoys moves time in the coming weeks. Pree guides Zeph’s group to The Lady’s Black Root ships, but it’s Zeph’s leadership and unflinching approach to solving this doomsday scenario that shouldn’t be overlooked. “We came here to stir shit up and blow shit up,” and that’s certainly what they do. With her squad on the move and Gared and Fancy in reserve, it seems a foregone conclusion that Zeph and Johnny will blind The Lady with science while Dutch and D’avin perform the heavy lifting. We have only to wait for the fun to begin.
While the side story inside the prison doesn’t specifically serve the main arc, it nonetheless gives our heroes a chance to get back up to speed after weeks spent in The Lady’s alternate reality. Of course, D’avin must first find a way out of the psych evaluation ward, and while the sage advice he receives from Calvert (Anastasia Phillips) makes sense, it seems unlikely that D’av will be able to avoid an electro-shock treatment. But it’s the near escape that sends the narrative into an unexpected direction. Instead of merely throwing Dutch and the boys back into their cells, the warden recognizes that these three possess skills that just might benefit her. We’ve seen the team prevent assassinations before, and stopping a hit on an inmate seems almost too easy.
However, things inside the supermax aren’t quite as simple as they first appear, and the job gets trickier once Dutch learns that an unforeseen player enters the picture complicated an otherwise pedestrian affair for the killjoys. Initially, displeased with Dutch’s progress, the warden sets Dutch up for the episode’s most prescient line, perfectly crystallizing the past five years with Team Awesome Force. “It looks like we’re failing until we don’t.” That the warden gives Dutch and the Jaqobis some rope in this endeavor is a nice touch, but perhaps it’s the brutally honest acknowledgement that assuages the prison head’s concerns. “We’re used to people wanting us dead.”
The real twist though takes place after Dutch unmasks Calvert as the assassin, and even though the warden is prepared to follow through with her end of the agreement with Dutch, Ms. Yardeen has something else in mind. Regardless, the relationship triangle necessarily receives some space, and any concerns that Johnny might want to pursue a new direction with Dutch quickly disappears when he suggests Dutch and D’avin share a cell leaving him on his own. Killjoys continues to skillfully steer its way through these difficult waters employing humor even as its characters contemplate serious personal issues. Dutch tells D’avin that Johnny blames her for the loss of “the love of his life,” and while that may or may not be true, it’s clear the two aren’t on the same wavelength.
Johnny survived the horrific loss of Pawter Simms and came to terms with the knowledge that his marriage to Dutch lacked any true conviction, but his real test rests with his new relationship with Lucy. How great is it that Lucy mishears John introducing himself and now addresses him as Shawn as the two get to know each other for the second time. On the other hand, it won’t be a surprise to learn that Lucy possesses residual memories and is merely messing with Johnny.
“Ship Outta Luck” gets the team back on track with a terrific episode that brings together all the elements that makes Killjoys great. It’s difficult not to lament the absence of so many fascinating characters for long stretches, but the narrow focus on Dutch, John, D’avin, and Zeph allows these intimate relationships to blossom even further, adding to an already rich subtext. Getting off the prison ship won’t be easy, but once D’av clears out the cobwebs and the team returns to full strength, it’s probably best if The Lady loses the condescending attitude before she finds herself just another trophy on the Team Awesome Force wall.