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Derek Robertson Talks Killjoys “It Takes a Pillage” [Exclusive]

Photo Credit: Space Channel

We’re closing in on the home stretch of the fourth season of Killjoys, and tonight’s hour opened up some old and recent wounds so the gang could heal and get ready to face The Lady. This week, I jumped on the phone to talk with writer Derek Robertson, who banks his first television script credit with the episode.

Photo Credit: Naryan Wong

Robertson worked his way up through the world of TV production as a PA, VFX coordinator, and then script coordinator, which is how he arrived at Killjoys, before moving into the writers room at the beginning of the fourth season. “My dream has been to write for TV since I was 10 years old. After college, I got into the industry working whatever jobs I could to try to meet writers and learn everything I could about writing. I started as a PA, and one of my first jobs was as a PA on Flashpoint. Having [Stephanie Morgenstern] direct [my episode] was pretty cool,” he shares.

“I started on Season 2 as a script coordinator and early in Season 3, I got promoted to story editor [while also working as] story coordinator, so I got to be involved in developing stories and pitching ideas. We found out [about the renewal] on the day of our Season 3 finale and Adam [Barken] told me they really wanted me back and the goal was to give me an episode to write. It was pretty amazing,”

Photo Credit: Adam Barken (Twitter)

“It Takes a Pillage” was always intended to be a meeting of the minds for the Jaqobis brothers, but it took a turn from the original concept that had the episode instead focusing on the aftermath of “Johnny Dangerously.” “Before we started the development, I knew I would end up with episode number 8 in Season 4. We were talking about the direction we wanted the season to go. We knew it would be an episode about John and D’av and thought it would be more about the fallout from when John was Hullenized, but we realized that story wrapped itself up earlier,” he says.

“Since being here in Season 2, when we had a taste of Tellen and Marris, I’d always been intrigued to learn more about him. I knew coming out of Episode 406 and the fallout of the D’av and Dutch conversation, that would be something that needed to be [resolved] in 408 because [it wouldn’t in 407].”

“[The idea came from] something my grandfather said to me once. He had an alcoholic father. He never got too deep into it but he told me once that his most important job was to be a better father to his kids than his dad was and my dad’s job was to be better than him, and if I ever had kids, I should be better than him, and then one day maybe some generation will have it all figured out.”

Photo Credit: Space Channel

“I thought it would be interesting to see D’av on that journey as a new father and with his past that’s been hanging over him. The other thing we talked about as we build for the finale and Season 5 is we want to have our characters looking forward to the future and not back toward their past. It seemed like this was the perfect time to dive into what happened on the day that D’av ran away and that was a Michelle [Lovretta] backstory she had for a long time. It was exciting to be the one to reveal that to the audience.”

“There’s so much going on with Johnny. This is the first time he’s seen his dad since he left home, and Charlie…As John heads through this season and into next, there’s this idea of what comes after this, and that’s something we want to explore with him. Where does he go, and what did he give up to go down this path? Did he miss out by not staying on Tellen and having a family and normal life, and the answer is clearly delivered to him.”

“Part of the subtext of D’av calling Dutch out is his own background, and in that moment, when he saw Dutch repeating some of the stuff Khylen did to her with Jaq, not only did it make him protective of Jaq, I think D’av carries this fear that he could repeat the cycle of his father and he’s suddenly a father to a teenager in the most rapid way possible. By facing his past and his father, it becomes clear to him that you’re not a slave to your past and doomed to repeat it, or your own mistakes.”

Photo Credit: Syfy

Robertson loved the strange trippy anti-Bechdel test nature of Dutch and Zeph’s interactions in the episode. “They were a ton of fun to write. When I first pitched the idea to Adam about basically using a sun as a giant subterfuge, he got really excited that it could be our sort of warped send up of the clichéd “girls night.” Instead of a sleepover, manicure…whatever those super tropey horrible clichés are, our characters would be doing a kickass science mission,” he laughs.

“Instead of having ‘boy trouble,’ their trouble is that one of them is dealing with a spider in the brain and the other is dealing with teaching a teenager Assassin 101. From that jumping off point, you have two characters who, in a million years, would never want to sit around talking about their feelings, but they have a lot going on and need to, [even though] they would rather be talking about anything else. All those elements created a pretty fun world to play around with.”

Robertson sat on the Killjoys writers panel at Fan Expo last Friday and loved the experience. “We’re reminded every week and every Friday of how amazing our fans are, but getting to be face-to-face with a bunch of people who love the show…afterward, we talked about how lucky we are to be part of a show that really resonates with people. It’s a pretty amazing experience,” he says. “A lot of the time, you’re writing so far ahead of when it airs, or you’re in the writers room or on the set, so it was a pretty special day getting to meet some of the people who really appreciate the show.”

Photo Credit: Writers Guild of Canada

Robertson is part of the crew that’s closing out the series, which had its last table read ever today. “I’m here until the last day of filming. The days are flying by really fast and I think I’m kind of in denial that we’re at the end,” he explains. “For four seasons, this has been my world and this writing room is the most amazing second family you could ask for. It’s going to be bittersweet over the next couple of weeks.”

Killjoys airs Friday at 10 pm/9c on Syfy and Space Channel. Tonight’s episode will be online at both sites and on the apps tomorrow. In case you missed it, all of our Season 4 coverage is here.

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