Spoilers for Killjoys Season 4, Episode 4 – “What to Expect When You’re Expecting… an Alien Parasite,” follow.
If last week’s episode was about the Jacobis brothers and their relationship, this week is about the line between Hullen and human. Killjoys has always had a pretty nuanced approach to the Hullen, with a common theme being that most humans who became Hullen were already pretty much Hullen to begin with. Though this seems a bit circular, consider people like Delle Seyah or Fancy, who showed little change between their original and transformed selves. The main arc of Killjoys seasons one and two was, in part, discovering that the R.A.C. primarily existed to find those broken enough to survive the transformation, something that also defined Dutch and Khlyen’s relationship. The birth of Delle Seyah’s child, and the need to cure Johnny, bring this line sharply into focus, examining the Hullen who showed the least and most changes following their transformation.
Dutch’s storyline this week on Killjoys is a two-parter, comprising her past struggle with the Lady in the green and the desperate need to cure Johnny in the present. Her war with the Lady primarily takes place within her own memories, and it’s an ugly one. As Khlyen said in episode one, whether or not the Lady would break Dutch was a question of when, not if. And, as she admits at the end of the episode, she broke, telling the Lady everything. As always, Killjoys’ willingness to give Dutch flaws and failings remains a shining spot of the show, especially compared to similar characters like Dark Matter’s nearly perfect Two.
The final flashbacks in this episode to the war in the green also gives a really interesting dynamic to Aneela and Dutch’s relationship. Since the last episodes of season three, Dutch has been defined by her willingness to die to stop the Hullen, with her only desire being to be recognized as someone who mattered. This bleeds over into her internal conflict over essentially being a clone of Aneela. The fact that Aneela told her that she didn’t give her life only to see Dutch throw it away is more than just a statement of a maternal bond, it’s a re-affirmation of Dutch’s personhood by the person who was previously trying to erase it. That the episode ends with Aneela placing herself in danger as the Lady’s captor in the green also shows a different side to Aneela and begs the question of who she would have been had Khlyen not erased her memories. She was clearly mentally damaged before, but maybe Dutch could have made her into something better. It’s sad to think that Alvis and others were collateral damage in the fight to keep the Lady imprisoned.
As for the Lady, she is decidedly… whelming? The Lady has been foreshadowed for nearly a year now as the big bad looming large over Hullen. While it was interesting to find out that she’s older than the Hullen, and consider them her tools, her actual personality and motives are fairly generic. The arrogant evil spirit looking to break out into the real world has been done before. The main problem is that the Lady just feels too human, too evil-arrogant-wizard, for an alien queen ruling a vast hive mind. As always, this is subject to change and development, and it’s not bad, but it’s also less creative than would be expected from a show as inventive as Killjoys.
It was important to cover the scenes in the green first, because Dutch’s tone in this episode really comes together towards the end. From the second she awakes, there’s a sense of impeding doom about her, a desperate need to get the answers to her stories out of Johnny. It’s very un-Dutch-like, but it finally clicks when she reveals that the Lady gave her a glimpse of the future, and it is not pretty. In essence, everyone dies, with a Hullenized Johnny being the primary instrument of their demise. The fact that it’s Johnny who is the instrument of doom is an interesting note, with now both Dutch and the Lady seeing him as the key to their struggle.
This also gives D’avin a chance to really shine in a fantastic confrontation with Dutch in an early scene. Until this season, D’avin’s relationship with Johnny always took a backseat to Dutch and Johnny’s own sibling relationship. But when Dutch berates him for turning Johnny Hullen, D’avin finally gets a chance to remind Dutch that she’s not the only one who loves Johnny, and that she doesn’t get to possess him (something Johnny himself stated last season). It continues the trend of D’avin taking responsibility for leadership within his adoptive family, and it’s a welcome addition to D’avin and Dutch’s dynamic. If it’s going to work, she needs to respect his decisions, even when it comes to mutual loved ones like Johnny. It’s a conversation rich with the unspoken memories of prior episodes, a further sign of Killjoys’ incredible emotional continuity.
This brings us to Johnny, poor, poor, conflicted Johnny. As noted above, this episode is about what it means to turn Hullen, and Hullen Johnny is terrifying evidence for what that does to such a loving person. The pain of constantly regaining and losing human emotions for him is so horrible that he attempts to commit suicide. If anything is evidence of how strong Johnny’s emotional core is, that’s it. While the episode gives a nice reunion moment between Johnny (back to his normal self after being cured by Zeph) and Dutch, it would have been nice to see him talk a bit with D’avin as well, considering how much they went through last episode.
All of these storylines lead to the main core of the episode, the birth of Aneela, D’avin and Delle Seyah’s child. While Zeph has definitely been growing over the course of the show, she really comes into her own here. She’s the one who not only saves Johnny’s life after his attempted suicide attempt, but cures him along the way. She also shows some interesting maturity when she allows D’avin and Dutch to make the final call as to going forward with her proposed treatment. In the past Zeph has had a lot of trouble respecting other people’s wishes, so the fact that she respects their decision is a nice touch. Plus, like D’avin, she also manages to establish herself by pushing back against Dutch, with her fantastic line of “I don’t tell you how to shoot, don’t tell me how to science.”
Zeph’s discovery becomes the crucial tool to solving Delle Seyah’s problems. The show does a fantastic job of increasing the tension in each of the scenes where she tries to give birth, from comedy to all the way to terror. The humour is well-grounded as always in the show’s established universe. Delle Seyah’s hilarious naiveté as to how hard childbirth was going to be (as Zeph points out, “it’s called labour for a reason) is a callback to the fact that the nine families never give natural birth themselves.
With an ever-growing baby, the only solution available is a C-section. The only problem is, Delle Seyah’s Hullen healing factor is being turned up to 11 with the baby, preventing an incision from being made. This causes a return to this episode’s theme of what it means to be turned Hullen. After an attempt to weaken her Hullen response fails, the only option is to cleanse her. But Delle Seyah clearly doesn’t want to be cleansed. Compared to Johnny, she was already Hullen to begin with. The parasite has only served as a straight up upgrade with no cost to her already dead conscience (as last week’s review noted: eugenic death camps).
This is nicely highlighted by a confrontation with Pree late into the episode. As noted in last week’s review, the show has taken an uncomfortable direction with Delle Seyah at times, almost forgetting her horrific past actions (at the risk of being a broken record: eugenic death camps). It was nice to finally see Pree remind her (and the audience) that she murdered a dear friend of his in his own bar, and that he was happy to return the favour. Delle Seyah at first takes this in her usual amoral way (in a later scene she knocks him out and calls him an arrogant waiter), but also seems to finally be on a path to some remorse.
When Zeph severs her spinal column, we don’t see her give birth. Instead, the scene focuses on her memories flashing before her eyes. Murdering Pawter, the bloody disaster at Prodigy, Johnny killing her, her relationship with Aneela. Between her facial expression and her memories, this might be a first step in her coming to terms with the monster she became.
Delle Seyah also gives D’avin a final opportunity to remind the audience where he stands. As noted last week, the fact that she was carrying D’avin’s child seemed to cause him to forget a lot of what Delle Seyah had done to those he loved. The fact that he was willing to shoot Delle Seyah (and risk his child) when she tried to kill Dutch (she believed that Dutch had abandoned Aneela to die in the green) is a powerful statement of the relationships he values most. It’s also fitting that it’s D’avin who comforts the child when the baby begins crying. He’s also been at his best when serving as a father/big brother figure to others, and he clearly is ready to be a dad.
In short, this week’s cleansing of both Delle Seyah and Johnny was an excellent opportunity to explore what humanity means to those characters. For Delle Seyah, it means building something she might have never had, for Johnny it’s about reclaiming who he was. But it’s about more than just that. Through Delle Seyah and Johnny’s struggles, we see D’avin solidify his role in the Killjoy family and firmly express where his loyalties are, despite the awkward position this child places him. For Dutch, it’s about coming to terms with the terror she faced in the green, and perhaps fully recognizing that Johnny, as crucial as he is to her and the galaxy, doesn’t belong to her. For Zeph, it’s about maturing into a full-blown member of the family, standing up for herself while still respecting others. In short, the fact that Killjoys is still evolving its characters four seasons in is just one of the reasons why it’s must-watch TV on Friday nights.
Schitt’s Creek to conclude after next season
The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will end at the conclusion of its sixth season, series co-creator and star Dan Levy announced March 21.
“We are so grateful to have been given the time and creative freedom to tell this story in its totality, concluding with a final chapter that we had envisioned from the very beginning,” Levy said in a statement. “It’s not lost on us what a rare privilege it is in this industry to get to decide when your show should take its final bow.”
Schitt’s Creek premiered on CBC in 2015, becoming one of the network’s most successful half-hour comedies ever. The show follows the fish-out-of-water Rose family, forced to assimilate into a small town after they lose their family fortune.
Though the show’s first season received mixed reviews, it grew in regard with both fans and critics over subsequent iterations. Schitt’s Creek’s fifth season, which premiered on January 8, 2019, scored a 100 per cent “Fresh” ranking on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.
The show is also among select company among Canadian sitcoms, drawing strong viewership in the United States and elsewhere thanks to distribution on Netflix and the American Pop network. Critics have reacted favourably to recent episodes, with TV Guide’s Megan Vick writing that each season of Schitt’s Creek has “gotten better and better.”
Read Levy’s full statement below.
To Our Dear Fans… pic.twitter.com/FIXjD3gbzA
— dan levy (@danjlevy) March 21, 2019
New episodes of Schitt’s Creek air Tuesday nights at 9/9:30 NT on CBC.
Watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short “Animal Behaviour”
To get prepped for the 91st Academy Awards, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is offering Canadians the chance to check out Animal Behaviour, nominated tonight in the Best Animated Short Film category.
Animal Behaviour is a new short from Alison Snowden and David Fine, who previously won an Oscar in 1994 for Bob’s Birthday. The short is the 75th Oscar nomination for the NFB, and the first short film for Snowden and Fine since Bob’s Birthday. The 91st Oscars air tonight at 8 Eastern on ABC and CTV.
Watch Animal Behaviour below (expires tonight).
Next up on The Mutt: Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed
Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed
All of a sudden, Wynonna Earp is in Purgatory.
Earpers were stunned Thursday night when executive producer and showrunner Emily Andras posted (and subsequently deleted) a tweet suggesting that fans of the show may soon have to fight for it. Another tweet, posted shortly later, took a decidedly more straight-forward approach.
Don’t fuck with my family. 💕
— Emily Andras (@emtothea) February 21, 2019
Andras appeared to be responding to the news that funding for the fourth season of Wynonna Earp appeared to be on shaky ground, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. According to THR, financial challenges faced by IDW Entertainment have stalled production on Season 4, despite the company being contractually obligated to deliver the show to Syfy.
In response to the news, Earpers took to Twitter with the hashtag #FightForWynonna, which at the time of publication was one of the top Twitter trends in Canada. Though Season 4 has yet to be officially cancelled, IDW has yet to commit to a start date for the new season.
“IDW is committed to continuing to tell the Wynonna Earp story,” the company said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Much like the fans, we are passionate about not only the series, but the comics, the characters and the overall message that the Wynonna Earp franchise carries. We are in the process of working out the details for how the Wynonna story will continue and will share new details very soon.”
Our resident Earper, Ghezal Amiri, was a big fan of Season 3, writing that the show’s season finale, entitled “War Paint”, was a “wildly emotional conclusion.” Read her recap here.