This Killjoys review contains spoilers.
Killjoys Season 5 Episode 8
“How exactly do you plan on turning these violent felons into freedom fighters?”
Let’s be honest; “Don’t Stop Beweaving” probably doesn’t make the list of best Killjoys’ episodes. That said, as usual, there’s still a lot to like about a chapter that flounders a bit with its prison story and then rebounds nicely with Zeph’s homecoming and D’avin’s matchmaking. Though some scenes feel as if they’ve been included merely for effect, despite this minor flaw, Killjoys succeeds because of its richly drawn and wonderfully charismatic characters.
Even though the spectre of war looms in the background, Johnny’s opening musical number underscores the importance of trust earned over time. Yes, it’s a goofy scene played brilliantly by Aaron Ashmore, but the joy Johnny derives dancing around the ship suggests that not only is the team ready for action, but is functioning at its peak. There’s a sense that, like the audience, the team members know their lives as they’ve known them will irrevocably change one way or another in the coming days. These are characters who’ve rarely had the opportunity to consider their own futures and any dreams and desires they might possess, and now understand that this final conflict may be the catalyst that propels them into entirely different lives. It’s both terrifying and exciting.
The Warden’s willingness to assess a situation and then make a decision she understands might come back to haunt her remains a strength not only of her character, but of the prison arc as well. Clearly it’s a risk putting weapons in the hands of dangerous criminals, but what choice does she really have at this point. Despite the seriousness of the situation, watching Johnny and D’avin draft their respective teams for the laser tag team-building exercise injects a bit of humor into a situation that ends up turning deadly. The writers do a solid job misdirecting viewers, but the irony of the killer psychiatrist seems a bit out of place. Still, the practice mission allows several subplots a chance to develop.
At this point there’s no longer any confusion as to the sincerity of D’avin’s relationship with Dutch, and though the signs have been apparent for some time, they do seem perfect for each other. Still, we’re a bit thrown off when it appears he’s flirting with not only Calvert but the Warden as well. It doesn’t take long to recognize that he really is “asking for a friend,” and though the Warden is clearly the more stable individual, there’s something magnetic about Calvert that makes her so intriguing. In the end, big brother D’avin’s heartfelt concern that Johnny won’t find love again dominates the touching moment that unfolds in a classic Killjoys manner. Proposing the brothers go on a double-date when all of this is over, D’avin merely suggests that Johnny choose between Calvert and the Warden. It’s a great scene, but the feeling that both won’t survive persists.
There’s no question that Zeph comes across as an odd duck from the moment we meet her in “A Skinner, Darkly,” and it’s not only appropriate that we finally learn more about her past but necessary as well. Since the farming community on Leith from which she originates houses the “most comprehensive agropedia in The J,” her reticent return home serves multiple purposes. At this point in the narrative, her insistence that this digital tapestry holds data about The Lady’s race and why it went extinct appears well founded. Of course the image of Zeph and Dutch wearing stark white outfits as they make their way to Zeph’s home offers the first clue to why she fled her family in the first place.
The cult-like atmosphere of Zeph’s village and detailed background of the farming community’s initial arrival on the planet add some interesting flavor to the mix, but it’s the appearance of her pitchfork wielding sister Zaia that ends up driving this sequence. Played by Kelly McCormack’s real life sister Hilary McCormack, Zaia exudes a sanctimonious disappointment in her sister’s life choices but also resentment at having been left behind with their domineering mother. Zeph has become such an integral part of the team that cramming her backstory into one episode seems a bit unfair. The pit, her obsessive thirst for knowledge, and the leadership succession plan feel forced, but they do serve to explain Zeph’s career path. Unfortunately, she verbalizes it through the episode’s most cringe worthy piece of dialogue. “The only god I answer to is science.” Yikes.
Khlyen’s actions continue to confound, and it becomes increasingly evident that he may be playing the double agent in a long con designed to crush the alien race The Lady is attempting to resurrect. He’s taken Turin prisoner, the terraforming seems to be working, and the hatchlings have survived for 36 hours outside their box. We could say everything is going according to plan, but the beauty of this aspect of the story is that we still don’t know what Khlyen is up to. He still believes that Yala died in the explosion, and now that The Lady suffers some serious affliction that impacts her body as well as her mind, it’s time to consider the revenge factor in this scenario. Taking Jaq’s body remains her plan, and though Khlyen continues to treat her physical form, it’s clear that time is running out for her. He has a chance to take her out, and as he’s fond of doing, tells her a story that draws out her twisted sense of human love’s intricacies. Is it not enough for him to simply kill her?
And in a well executed call back to the Last Supper allusion before the team goes into war against The Hullen, we’re treated to a smaller, more confident group ready to save their planet. Dutch understands the importance of trust, and Killjoys once again drives home the value of a strong core family. “We have this; she has no one,” Dutch reminds everyone, and before any viewer emotions can rise to the surface, we notice the tee shirts. Zeph’s adorned with the single word BRAIN; Dutch wearing BRAWN. Classic.
Throughout its nearly five full seasons, Killjoys has avoided getting bogged down in romantic relationships designed to appease the shipper contingent that seems to often lose sight of the core narrative. Now that we’ve reached the end, it appears viewers may receive the best of both worlds, and “Don’t Stop Beweaving” sets the table for what looks to be a satisfying conclusion no matter which angle you view. I still like Johnny with the Warden.