[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.]
Tonight’s Killjoys was tons of fun with a dash of poignancy. In other words, I loved it. Earlier this week, I chatted with writer Andrew De Angelis, who also gave us last season’s “Oh Mother, Where Art Thou?” about putting together an episode that packed not only literal punches, but emotional ones, too.
“A Bout, A Girl” allowed De Angelis to mine a very rich five seasons of history for callbacks that would resonate with the fans–all of Team Awesome Force having fought in the ring, meeting D’av in the ring back in the pilot, and Dutch calling Johnny her gravity. He was thrilled to have that throughline.
“The opportunity was there to tie things up and bring things full circle We didn’t set out to do that, but it was nice for each writer [to have that connection]. There’s a link to the pilot in this episode, which was nice to me because I felt like even more a part of the history of the show,” he shares.
“I came in during the third season and I’m writing an episode in the last season that has a connection to where it all began, which was so cool for me to feel like, ‘I’m part of the history.’ It wasn’t a directive, but when the [callbacks] came up, it felt like a trip down memory lane and our own way of saying goodbye.”
Dutch’s heart-to-heart with D’av about Johnny was such a richly-layered scene because after their level-setting conversation last week, there was no pretense of D’av being anything but an empathetic sounding board for her grief and helping her figure out how to repeat that to Johnny. De Angelis says it’s in the Killjoys DNA.
“That’s just one of the great things about Killjoys that I love. It’s always really good at finding the gray, messy areas and not being scared to live in them as uncomfortable as it is there. It’s not about resolving things or making everything alright as fast as we can for everybody. Sometimes life is complicated and sometimes situations are messy and ugly and no one’s is going to fix it. There’s no fix for it,” he explains.
“Sometimes it’s a matter of being in that discomfort. That’s what life is. That’s part of it. We don’t have to rush to a solution and make everything okay for everybody. This is [a case of two characters saying], ‘You need your time and I need my time and let’s just be there.’ I love that. It’s about finding the other side of the argument. It’s about being okay with not being okay.”
That said, it’s no surprise that Dutch dives into something she can control. “Dutch has never been about working through feelings. That’s not her strong suit. She’s at her best when she has something to do, whether her personal life is going great or is in shambles,” De Angelis points out. “She is in her element when she’s on task and throwing herself into her work. This is the perfect time to say, ‘I’m going to forget about all this and just fight.’”
By the end of the episode, the tables have turned on Team Awesome Force and the warden, and De Angelis says they’ll have to figure out that new footing. “That’s the beauty of that situation. Here are these people who have been forced together and never trusted each other, and still don’t and now need each other,” he explains.
“They’re not thinking too far in advance. They’re thinking about what to do right now and once this problem is solved, they will worry about that [next problem]. There is no luxury of long-term [thinking].”
The other big emotional moments came from Delle Seyah and Jaq’s (very successful) vision quest. We saw more of their dynamic together, and perhaps a mix of heartbreak and pride when Jaq leveled her with his wish that she’d been the one lost to them in the Green. The scenes are a counterpoint to Khylen’s scenes with The Lady, where she’s a much less pliable student. De Angelis says Jaq benefits from his parental figure pairing where The Lady does not.
“[Delle Seyah] is arguably a better teacher. As much as she has her sociopathic side, she’s had a humanity that’s been always there and it wasn’t fostered very well. She’s rediscovered it with her love of Aneela and now Jaq,” he explains.
“With Khlyen, you never really know what side of the ledger he’s on. He can be good, bad, both or neither. And so he’s manipulative and always a few steps ahead. He’s great for teaching a lot of things, but not for teaching humanity.”
De Angelis loved writing Delle Seyah and all of her facets not just for this episode, but always. “I think [she’s] my favorite character to watch and write for. And Mayko [Nguyen] is just such a great actor. You can give her anything and she’s just going to nail it and make it great,” he praises.
“You can put Delle Seyah in any scenario. You can put her in a high-end aristocratic function or as an arrow slinger in the forest. She’s so versatile and she’ll do whatever it takes to survive, do anything to adapt. She’s also going to protect Jaq no matter what because she carried him. She loves him. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do and can’t do.”
The reveal at the end of the episode that the cube was (again) a safe house for Aneela was the biggest surprise of the night, and De Angelis says it came at mid-season because that’s where it best fit the final season’s narrative structure. “It was a constant moving target. It was a big question, ‘When do we bring out Aneela? Is it this episode or is it the next one,’” he recalls.
“It was tough. I can’t even remember how, when or exactly why we decided on this episode. It felt right that she comes out here with the story we have left to tell with her, and we’re halfway though and it’s a nice mid-point season surprise.
For me, the biggest laugh came from D’av’s Clark Kent moment of ripping open his shirt. D’Angelis says he set that joke up but Luke Macfarlane brought it home. “I’d built in that thing when they’re first looking at fighters and D’av thinks he’s going to be chosen and he’s not,” explains De Angelis.
“Luke doesn’t get enough credit for how funny he is. In that moment, that was all his idea. He said, ‘I wanted to try this.’ When he pitched the idea, I was a bit worried it could be a bit big and silly. I said, ‘Yep, give it a shot.’ He did it and we were just dying behind the monitors and he nailed it and. He did it in a way that was just perfect. We were all, ‘Of course!’”
What sweetens it even more is that Hannah John-Kamen never breaks. De Angelis credits the whole cast for the way they just lean into each other to deliver those magical moments. “Watching the three of them work, they’re like a band that’s been playing together forever,” he says. “They’re so in tune with each other They just stay in and pick up. Watching them work together is amazing.”
Tonight’s episode was the last one De Angelis wrote for the series, and he’s appreciative of the gift they were given in mapping a series finale. “It’s so rare in any show that you get to end a show, end a series [on your own terms]. You rarely get to experience that,” he says.
“It was really cool to watch it unfold. And to see the challenges, too. How do you end it/where do you end it, what’s the best ending that’s going to satisfy everyone and do right by the characters? For me to have an episode where I could tie in things [from earlier episodes] made me feel like more a part of the Killjoys experience. I couldn’t be happier or more fortunate to have done it.”
Killjoys airs Fridays at 10 pm/9c on Space Channel and Syfy. All of our Killjoys coverage is here. You can catch all four seasons and the first four Season 5 episodes on demand on the Space Go app and Syfy app and website. This episode should be available online tomorrow.
Images courtesy of Andrew De Angelis, Space Channel, and Syfy.
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