Michelle Lovretta Wraps Up Killjoys Season 3 [Exclusive Interview]
Killjoys Season 3 has been the gift that kept on giving, and it was an extraordinarily bright spot in a world that’s been a little bleak of late, and as I sat down Sunday night to screen it, not wholly certain whether the rain hammering outside would flood my home (it didn’t, praise the trees or all the Gods or whoever works for you), I was extremely grateful for the diversion, and it certainly put I different lens on a finale. If we were done [we’re not], I was completely OK with where we leave them. Provided Delle Seyah does NOT feed one of the Jaqobis to her baby. But now that we’re a go, I can’t wait to see where we go.
Earlier this week, I got on the phone with showrunner Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the finale, to talk about the season and our wonderful world of wacky, beautiful, crazytown characters that she holds even more dear than we do. Note: Killjoys was renewed for two seasons today, but Lovretta didn’t know that yet when we spoke, so that news isn’t reflected here.
The beautiful, mostly silent opener was a switch-up for Killjoys, and it was done so intentionally. “When I wrote the episode, I was trying to balance out many different things, as is the case with finales. You want to leave characters in a challenging but hopeful position. In this case, because of the way we ended 9, I wanted to start with a little bit of hope, as well,” Lovretta says.
“I wanted to, as a writer, be able to set the table literally and metaphorically for myself by starting the episode with family because that’s where Killjoys begins and ends for me. Every season we add a few people to the mix or temporarily or permanently, as the case may be, take people out of the mix.”
“The core is about our three leads and the family that is currently around them. It felt like a proper way to start and we didn’t really need words other than the ones we give Dutch that lead into her montage. I think in the script, in the action, I had said, ‘Welcome to the Killjoys last supper.'”
“Our amazing, can’t say enough good things about him, producing director Stefan Pleszcynski said he wanted to go a little bit clearer with that imagery. I found that intriguing but I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful he made that scene once it was fully alive.”
“What is wonderful about finales — we have an amazing cast and they are always giving us amazing, amazing fabulous performances. [In the story], we’re dealing with finality and war, and as creative people involved in the show we don’t how if this our actual goodbye.”
“When you put that cast, who love each other like a family, in scenes where they’re playing a family who love each other, who are heading into the breach and doing everything they can to make it out the other end alive but know it’s not entirely up to them, they have a lot to draw from in their own real world experience. I think that love and hope and even that fear comes through on the screen in a way that I personally really enjoy.”
In the cold open, we also see D’avin make sure Johnny will be OK, for himself and for Dutch. Lovretta says it’s more than that. “I don’t think he’s trying anymore. That’s what I love about the two of them, There’s something about their dynamic. We’ve given them the hot and they have had the drama and trauma,” she explains.
“What I really love about them now is this no-fuss, mature companionship. I still find it very sexy but I find it more real. They’re not asking each other for any guarantees and they’re not offering any guarantees. They’ve had a really satisfying arc for me that started a bit adversarial, then became teammates, and then became good friends. I think this is the beginning of where they can go next.”
When Aneela killed Alvis, it represented both a direct hit against Dutch, and a specific move in the war. “I think Adam Barken would probably know best in terms of the characters’ thinking in the moment. From my perspective, it was really a combination of factors, One of them was strategy,” she says.
“It wasn’t capricious or about mind fuckery. She needed to take this place. As Kendry says, it represents a bit of closure for people who have vilified her. What I find really fascinating about her and Delle Seyah’s characters and why I wanted to dig into their origins, is that I don’t think they’re simple villains or anti-heroes, or however you want to quantify them.”
“If you look at the abuse and imprisonment and invasion of bodily autonomy and the literal lobotomy, in some ways, you start seeing that their perspective of who is the good guy or bad guy might be different, up to and including the fact that Johnny literally attempted to kill Kendry. So, who they think is right and wrong and who they think is owed pain has some logic on their end. In that scope, the Scarbacks are included from Aneela’s point of view.”
“I’m always going to love Dutch and her people and be protective of them, but as the creator of these other two women who knows the pain they’ve been in, I also love them. It’s an interesting dynamic for us in the writers room. We always want to take a moment to see the contrasting points of view.”
“It’s interesting to us to dig deep and find out who they are and that makes them more real and less, ‘I’m a plastic villain who’s just coming at you. I have legitimate grievances. I may over express my vengeance. I may be a titch murder, but I was also raised that way and I’ve had myÂ humanity tampered with.'”
“My favorite thing about the finale, or one of many, is frigging Delle Seyah grabbing the boys’ hands and telling them to shut up. What I love is the awkwardness of all of it. When I’ve been speaking about things I loved about the pregnancy that complicated our relationships in intriguing ways…Johnny doesn’t know exactly what’s inside her and how he feels about. It’s complicated that it’s D’avin and that it’s Delle Seyah, whoÂ has a history that he will always hate in terms ofÂ how she robbed him of the woman he loved. It’s not simple.”
“It’s sort of like that fight we had originally with Dutch ad D’avin [in Season 1]. I’ve always loved…part of the reason I wrote that arc…was for her to be able to say, ‘I know that wasn’t you, but it was me. It’s OK for it to not be OK for me.’ I think this is something that [we’ll see] with John. ‘I don’t have to be OK with this, but I’m also forced into a situation where I can’t be not OK.’ It’s messy.”
As we see at the end of the finale, we keep both Aneela and Dutch in the picture, so Hannah John-Kamen gets to play dual roles again in Season 4. “God bless her. May all of the many Gods bless her,” says Lovretta. “She has been such an amazing team player. I’m sure it’s been a logistically and creatively challenging role for her but you wouldn’t know it.”
“I think those are the kinds of challenges, in the best of way, premium showboating character moments that not every actor gets to have. You get to see her breadth and no one has been left unamzed. She is gifted and young and hungry and talented and she has fun. She’s a really good, fun person to work with That’s on full display when she was taking on this challenge.”
As for what’s next for these two sworn enemies and literal halves of a whole working together, Lovretta says they’ll find a way. “There’s a balance you have to strike. We aim, as writers, particularly going forward…you can’t for the sake of convenience or drama have one of the characters act completely out of their nature and become forgiving,” she points out.
“We’ve set a challenge for us because of the blood that’s been spilled on each side. The reality of these characters…they aren’t the lucky of us who have lived very hidebound, earthbound, safe lives. These are assassins, soldiers, warriors, and queens. They’ve lost many people, and none of them has clean hands. Not even Johnny anymore.”
“They don’t react to things the way we would. The one thing they can do with their enemy in the heat of the moment is say, ‘I’m not doing this for you.’ Everything they do that gives Delle Seyah or Aneela the benefit or abets their position is insofar as it will help DutchÂ or themselves or the side of right in the war for humanity. Sometimes you have to get in bed with who you concede the enemy to be.”
“It’s more complicated for Dutch, and I’d love to see Dutch grapple with this…she is able say something no other clone can say. She can say, ‘All of Aneela’s sins, if I had those same traumas, damages, and stresses put on me, I know I’m capable of that.'”
“That is going to be very hard for her. It will probably make her hate Aneela even more and make her mourn the innocence of what she conceives of her self to be, and then rally. In that rally, she may find her peace with Aneela. Or she may not. That’s to be determined.”
After Turin’s betrayal, we saw him reach a detente with Fancy, who then saved him. Lovretta explains that it was important to show Turin was a fallible human being vs. a cardboard villain. “I think what was really useful to me about that arc…the only time people act out of character is when they’re truly put upon with stress,” she says.
“He’s middle management who suddenly, potentially, had the fate of humanity put on his shoulders and he knows [the Hullen and Fancy] couldn’t be biologically guaranteed [to be reliable]. He sacrifices his humanity and does the wrong thing.”
“I wanted it to have a logical argument behind it because that’s what happensÂ in the real world. It’s not people who are moustached twirling villains we can see coming. It’s people with stripes of good and bad, and some of them make Goddamned terrible choices. And sometimes the choices are such that I don’t think they can be forgiven by everybody.”
“What was interesting was to see him and his journey with Fancy. I think if Fancy didn’t have his own doubts, [Fancy wouldn’t have saved him]. I love that final position they got to. Whether they can rebuild from there or not is to be determined, but I think it gives them an interesting start position going forward.”
Some of the lighter moments in the finale came after Lovretta turned the script in. “When you don’t know if it’s your last one ever, where you’re tired, and you have about 48 hours, you can get a little fatalistic. I have to give a shout out to Letitia at Syfy who gave me the best talk,” she recalls.
“She said, ‘Some of the end positions for all of the characters are a bit dark. I said, ‘Yeah, that’s where my head was at.’ She reminded me…she said, ‘Do what you want to do, but it would be great to fill it with some of that joy that is you and your voice.'”
“IÂ gave myself permission to have the laughs in the elevator and the kisses. It was all those same arcs but ending them on danger before that last beat of Pree is safe, Fancy saves Turin, there’s a kiss We all deserve it. I want us to sit back on the couch and enjoy it.”
“I want to have hope and optimism. Even if the camera stops, they won’t stop in my head or my heart. I don’t want my lack of knowing, being assured, to end us in a place that’s dark. I hope I gaveÂ us the true darkness of war — there were losses — but we had a shit ton of fun.”
“It’s the best way to energize for the start of Season 4. To remind us purely what Killjoys is. It’s hope, it’s fear, it’s also camaraderie in the face of some shitty odds that you root for because you know they’re going to get through in the end, and I hope that it’s true for the show.”
Thankfully, we do. Thank y’all so much for spending Season 3 with us. See you next year for Season 4!
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