This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks.
When I spoke to Luke Macfarlane last week, he was nostalgic about the family he’d made on the show, and the symbolic completion of the final episode being broadcast. “There are always these transitions [when you’re wrapping up]…we’re done filming, we’re doing our last ADR…the airing of it is really the end. I was struck by [how that felt],” he shares.
“That’s always hard. I was thinking about the way the show actually ended. I think we’re always sort of unwilling to put things away. That’s the really difficult thing.”
“What I loved about the show so much, much like my life and the lives of my friends and everybody who worked on the show, is that we’re just off on another mission. We’re off to do something else. We’re still doing our thing and we’re connected by these threads to our past.”
When I spoke to Julian Doucet about “Don’t Stop Beweaving,” I’d already seen the finale and knew we were going to see Pip again, so I wondered if Zeph’s dream was intended to telegraph his return. Doucet says that wasn’t the case.
“We wrote them a year ago and it was such a frenzy…a sprint to the finish. Everything seemed on fire every second day. ‘Is this happening? Are we going to get there? Who was going to land the plane? Was anyone flying the plane?’ But we had such a great team,” he laughs.
“A year later, with the characters, I was really happy. There was some controversy about Pip and I am very curious what will happen with the Pip story because when I wrote the dream, I didn’t know Pip would be coming back.”
“Our love of Atticus Mitchell, and Michelle [Lovretta] saying, ‘I want all my babies to have a happy ending [made it all OK]. Zeph was a character that nobody expected to become as beloved as she did. Zeph won us all over, Kelly [McCormack] won all of us over, and she became this integral thing. Pip’s death was so devastating for all of us [so we were happy to get him back].”
During my chat with Kelly McCormack, we also talked about Pip’s resurrection. She was a bit like me in viewing it as a “bonus Pip,” because Zeph had already moved on, so he returned to her when she didn’t necessarily need him to. McCormack explains that that aside, Zeph was definitely in a much better place for herself when Pip comes back, and that’s a fantastic thing to celebrate.
“I think all of Season 5 was really about Zeph figuring how to move through the grief and just be happy with herself alone. Part of the reason she had kept such a distance from Pip was because she had so much familial baggage and needed to keep her guard up,” she says.
“This season was about her learning to love herself in a way she hadn’t allowed herself to do. When I read that Pip was coming back to life, I was surprised. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ but I also read it as ‘Zeph gets to be happy now.'”
“I didn’t read it as, ‘This is the missing piece.’ I don’t think she was missing anything. I think it was more about now she might be able to move forward into her life and accept someone else in it. And it happens to get to be Pip. And that’s really exciting.”
“And also it’s the end of the show. If he didn’t come back to life…she wold have probably been in a fine place. I think maybe it’s like Michelle wants these characters to have like a life or a future.”
“They crafted it so beautifully. Zeph’s arc [didn’t] need to end with her finding a man. She found herself. She is happy with her found family. She’s barreling towards the future with eyes wide open and with a more healthy heart. And then she gets her love back. It felt like a bonus.”
“It’s like she says to him, ‘I’m not ready to jump back into this thing.’ And he’s like, ‘Meet me in the middle.’ And then she just goes towards him. I get the feeling that what’s in the future for Pip and Zeph is similar to maybe the relationship between like Dutch and D’av.”
“It’s not,’Okay, we’re together forever and now we’re going to have babies.’ The two of them are going go on to be Killjoys and she is going to continue to put work first and Pip is going to have to struggle to figure out how he fits into that.”
“It definitely felt like the beginning of something new and it was a cherry on the top of a cake that was Zeph’s painful, weird season. But I do love how she faces her demons and gets to really name them.”
“It felt so cathartic [in ‘Don’t Stop Beweaving” for Zeph to confront her past. She did] what everyone wishes for themselves, that you could say the thing you want to say to the person [who held you back. I] feel like she really owned the words and they were true and they were meaningful. And then you can walk out the door with your head up and be like, “I did what I came here to do.” It felt very much like the end of The Labyrinth, you know. ‘You have no power over me.'”
As series creator Michelle Lovretta shared Friday, there was no alternative to a happy ending, and showrunner Adam Barken was completely on board with that path, as he shared during his chat about the penultimate episode.
“The finale is 100% Michelle and we always knew way back when that she was going to do that. Michelle came in and with the room broke the story and we knew what was coming. We gave notes on it, we worked on scenes, but when it came to writing the scenes and the dialogue, it was all her, as it should have been,” he says.
“Saying goodbye was one of those things we’d talked a lot about. We knew nobody was going to die. We knew this was not a show [like that]. It’s been interesting watching fans try to guess. We knew things like D’av saying I love you would create [a worry that D’av would die].”
That happy ending also meant a final bit of housekeeping for Dutch and Johnny to be firmly on the same page about his impending sabbatical. “We knew we wanted the show to have a happy ending and that it ended with the three of them together in some fashion. We knew this wasn’t necessarily going to be Johnny’s life. We didn’t know exactly what he’d be off doing, but we wanted to have our cake and eat it, too. We wanted to have a sense that Johnny was heading off somewhere, and we wanted the final image to be of the three of them together—that feeling of, ‘A last one for the road.'”
“We still needed to have that scene between Dutch and Johnny where they could really say to each other what each other means to them. Those two have always been very open with each other. It wasn’t an easy feed to watch on the day. A lot of those tears were very real.”
“That episode was shot as much as possible in order. The last scenes were the last scenes we shot so we could [capture] the real, true emotions. Them saying goodby to each other is everything that the show ever wanted to to write about those two.”
Barken also talked about losing Lucy and getting her back, and that it served to set up just how high the stakes were with The Lady. “When it came to a character like Lucy, we knew that we wanted to flip it. Usually we save [a death like that] for the end of the season and instead we put it at the front,” he explains.
“Get everyone shocked and give everyone a sense that anything that could happen. [But] the show can’t exist without Lucy. Again, we wanted to have our cake and eat it, too, so we have our Lucy and our baby Groot character and have mama come back. Having them talk to each other would have been a nice touch, but we just didn’t have time.”
Looking back across the show, Barken is most fond of the the friendships and found family that occurred offscreen. “[I remember] being stuck in that writer’s room, with that crew of weirdos and nutbars since Season 3, struggling with some plot point or another that we couldn’t quite crack, stuffing our faces with whatever snack we had on hand until someone made a joke, and then the joke led to an idea, and suddenly we were flying again, until the next plot point grounded us,” he shares.
“And doing it all over again. At the time, it’s a delicious misery, but all you can think of is ‘I just want to figure this out and get out of here.’ And now there is no place I’d rather be back at.”
“I think going back to Season 1 [when] we were shooting my first episode 105, ‘A Glitch in the System,’…some of my favorite memories [were offscreen]. On my episodes, after we’d do the blocking, while they were doing lighting, I’d usually wander over to the actors and ask if they had any questions or anything they wanted to talk about, any lines they were struggling with.”
“That was the first time I’d ever worked with Aaron [Ashmore] and he had some questions and we ended up chatting and I immediately had a great feeling of, ‘Not only do I love writing this and it’s a cool show, but I get to work with actors who care deeply about what they’re doing and have questions, who challenge stuff.’ That comes from a very smart and honest place as an actor.”
“Some of of my favorite moments are hanging out with the cast and crew and figuring out little moments and beats. That scene in 209 when Johnny and Dutch were opening their hearts to each other when they thought she would die. Tweaking those moments with Stefan [Plescyzynski].”
“Walking around outside with Luke [Macfarlane] talking about where D’av’s head was at and having him suggest things about what D’av might say and being able to use those. Being there on the day right before the camera goes, talking with all these wonderful people who are artists I really admire and also friends I really love working with.”
As for packing everything into a last season, Barken says there were certainly things they flirted with exploring further, but they were mindful of how much time was left. “The memory matrix stuff was so much fun we could have written a whole season, but we had to get these people back to knowing who they are,” he explains.
“The show is not, ‘The Wonderful World of Westerley.’ It’s Killjoys, so we have to get back to that. We were very lucky that were able to lay out each character and tell the story we wanted to and finish them in a place we wanted them to finish.”
“Of course, [Pip] should come back. This is a show about, ‘They all survived. They all win. They fought hard and they were good and noble and true and they won. That’s the kind of show it is.”
Images courtesy of CTV Sci-Fi and Syfy.
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