Julian Doucet Talks About Killjoys “The Kids Are Alright?” [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the episode.]
Take heart, Killjoys kids, for Julian Doucet, who wrote tonight’s episode, was exactly as busted up as you are right now while he was writing the thing. He’s currently knee-deep in production on the series finale, but took time this week to discuss the episode over e-mail.
Typically, the next-to-last episode of a TV season has a ton of buttoning up as the various threads are resolved in anticipation of, and to set up, the finale. Doucet had to wrangle both of those pieces and fold in a specific story. “Breaking [Episode] 409 was one part, ‘we got this’ and two parts, ‘AHHHHHH!’ We knew we had to wrap up the Quad story to clear a path for rescuing Aneela from Greenspace. Which meant we had to rescue the kids, steal the greenpool, and Pip’s sacrifice. This unholy trinity was always the spine of the episode,” he explains.
“The challenge was finding a way to tell the story that didn’t feel like we were just moving plot pieces across the board. How to keep the Killjoys freewheeling fun alive. We were also trying to keep me alive as I was breaking [this one] while producing Episodes 402 and 403. I was literally racing from set to the story room to break the episode, which probably accounts for [its] insane pace.”
“As this was our penultimate episode, it was our last chance to have the gang back together again before everything resets in [Episode] 410. We wanted to showcase all the characters doing what they do best: Dutch being badass, John dishing jokes and heart, D’av being goofy and heroic, Fancy being stoic, Lucy’s loyalty, Delle Seyah’s grand bitchery, Jaq’s naivete, Pree’s sass, Gared’s sweetness, Weej’s innocence, Turin’s grouchiness, Zeph’s dogged determination, and Pip’s Piposity. Getting to play with the entire Killjoys sandbox was the best. A privilege, honor, and the best rollercoaster I’ve ever ridden.”
One of the many things that is exquisite about this episode is its very precise balance of comedy and tragedy. Doucet says that the writers room is always a fantastic sounding board, but admits the episode was heading in the right direction from the jump. “Every script goes through the writers room before it lands on the producers’ and broadcasters’ desks. So if anything is bumping in the script, you have eight magnificent brains to steer you back to dry land,” he shares.
“That being said, this particular script (unlike many others I’ve wrestled with) had a very easy delivery. What’s on the screen is pretty close to the first draft I wrote. I think there are some stories that just want to be told and don’t care who catches them. This episode was definitely one of those. I just happened to be the one who caught it and took dictation.”
The biggest heartbreak of this episode is losing Pip, and how that will reverberate for Zeph. It broke Doucet’s heart to write him out, but that was always the master plan, as was Johnny being there for Zeph when it all went down. “This was always the plan. And I curse Adam Barken for it and bow to his showrunner wisdom. I was a wreck writing this episode,” he says.
“Pip’s death scene was the last thing I wrote. I kept putting it off until it was the only scene left. Then I sprinted to the writing room and burst into hysterical tears burbling, ‘I don’t want to kill, Pip–wahhhhhhh!!’ Michelle [Lovretta] thought this was hilarious and gave me a hug and Niko [Troubetzkoy] told me to grow a pair and get on with it. Which is pretty much the Killjoys dynamic in a nutshell.”
“Pip and Zeph’s relationship was probably my favorite thing to write, ever. I love how their feelings snuck up on them. I love that it took time. I love how they didn’t try to define what their relationship was. I love how Pip never forces Zeph to say, ‘I love you.’ I love how Zeph is blindsided by someone who wants to care for her because Zeph is always caring for everyone else. I’ll miss Pip. And I am heartbroken for Zeph.”
“[Johnny bearing the news to Zeph] was extremely important to me. I knew it could only be Johnny. Johnny cradling Zeph after Pip dies was the first image that popped into my mind when we were breaking the episode. I cried when I wrote it. I cried when I watched it on set. Iâ€™m crying as I write this. I am extremely dehydrated.”
Of course, Turin had two big losses as well–Weej and his RAC ship, and a surprisingly sweet moment with Dutch. Doucet explains that’s more of getting to the heart of of his character. “We basically turned Turin into a country song, didn’t we? He lost his job, his girl, and then his dog died. Get that poor asshole a beer and shot of whiskey,” he says.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise that Turin has a heart under that angry mane of his. But how he shows it, when he shows it, that’s a more delicate surgery. Turin is the flip side of Khlyen–shitty on the outside, decent on the inside. Turin respects and (though he’ll never admit it) loves Dutch like a daughter. But goddammit if she doesn’t irritate the feck out of him because she’s just as stubborn as he is.”
The lighter side of the episode had the undercover caper, and a warped game of tag with Fancy and D’av, who don’t ever need a reason to be frosty and snarky with each other. We were overdue for their re-pairing. “Luke [Macfarlane] and Sean [Baek] have the hilarious chemistry together. We thought long and hard over how to keep the callback goodness but make it fresh and up the stakes,” Doucet points out. “Playing for Fancy’s ponytail was the only answer.”
Doucet leaves us with this about the Aneela/Dutch body swap in the episode’s final moments. Make of it what you will. “All I can say is the Odyssey is over and it’s time to go down the rabbit hole,” he teases. “Get ready for Wonderland.”
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