Killjoys: Michelle Lovretta talks “Johnny Be Good”

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Ian Watson/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited
Ian Watson/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited

*** Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Killjoys episode “Johnny Be Good” ***

Most Killjoys fans may be reading this interview through their tears this week. In a very surprising twist of events, the penultimate episode of Season 2 saw the death of Pawter Simms (Sarah Power) at the hands of Delle Seyah Kendry (Mayko Nguyen), just as the Qreshi doctor thought she was signing a peace agreement to help the Westerlyns. John (Aaron Ashmore) will now have to face the fight without his beloved, but at least he set things right between himself and Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) as she gets ready for a finale showdown with Khlyen (Rob Stewart).

What else does Delle Seyah have up her sleeve? Can the trio really trust Khlyen to help them? Will the finale answer all our questions about “Double Dutch”/Aneela that we’ve had all season long? To discuss this week’s episode, “Johnny Be Good,” written by Adam Barken and directed by Stefan Pleszczynksi, Killjoys showrunner and creator Michelle Lovretta once again joins The TV Junkies to break everything down. She’s also discussing the difficult decision regarding Pawter’s fate and what this means for the finale.

 

The TV Junkies: Delle Seyah!!! Damn her! I guess that erases any doubts we may have had about whether or not she’s pure evil then. What is she going to do now to the poor Westerlyns?

Michelle Lovretta: Ha! Well, here’s the thing about me–never assume any of my continuing characters are pure evil. Guest roles and the Final Big Bad, maybe. In between, I rarely believe in simple devils. I want to believe in redemption. I actually really love Delle Seyah, and feel intensely protective of her because I know her whole sad story, why she does what she does, and where I hope to take her. I mean, I judge the shit out of her recent actions, obviously, but she’s a bit like Yala right now, operating exactly as she was taught.

Dutch, Pawter and Delle Seyah are all victims of the same “situation”, many generations in the making… I can be clearer about this after the finale, so I’ll just say I look forward to the larger journey I have in mind for Delle Seyah Kendry, if we’re able to go there. She’s a complex character underneath the panache, and Mayko Nguyen does a fabulous job portraying her. I’d love a chance to give her more to work with. I think she’d light it up.

Syfy/Bell Media
Syfy/Bell Media

TTVJ: The evolution of Pawter’s character this season has been one of my absolute favorite things, so damn you for going and taking her away from us! Was that always the plan for her? I have to admit, I have been worried about her for weeks but was completely shocked when Delle Seyah stabbed her.

ML: Oh hell, Sarah and Pawter were so great this season. I think we gave her so many happy moments out of a sort of protectiveness and loyalty — I knew where she was heading and dammit, I wanted her to know real joy before the end. Pawter was always fated to die fighting for Old Town, although the “how” has changed a few times.

There’s a Westerlyn theme song that pops up now and then in the show, changing tempo to reflect how Old Town is changing (Episode 101 it’s a rowdy worker song; 208 it shows Pree’s joyful madness; 209 it’s a foreshadowing dirge from the kid on the street.) I wrote the lyrics for it at the start of Season 1, and the last one is about Pawter’s death and what she means to the people (“the Girl from Qresh, with hair of red; you cut her down, she is not dead; you threw her out – we took her in; she’ll always be a Westerlyn”). I liked that Westies were defiantly claiming her memory, making her a symbol. Quite a journey from spoiled rich kid, to outcast jakk addict, to People’s Princess, to martyr.

Then Sarah effed it up for me by being so awesome and fun to write for, ha. So to those wondering if we’ll ever see either Sarah and/or Pawter again, one of my favorite things about genre is that I can honestly answer “I don’t know, but never say never”…

TTVJ: How does Johnny move on from losing Pawter?

ML: With four words, two giant decisions, and one old friend.

Syfy/Bell Media
Syfy/Bell Media

TTVJ: Hannah and Sarah also had some really great moments as we saw the friction between Dutch and Pawter play out a bit. Was that all about showing Dutch wasn’t just jealous because Pawter was stealing John away from her?

ML: Adam Barken wrote such a beautiful episode, and I’m really glad he explored Dutch and Pawter. We had a lot of great talks about those scenes — it was important to me that we allow the audience the same insight into Dutch’s heart that we writers have, not because “ew, jealousy, girl power!” but because the real answer drives her series arc.

From the outside it’s understandable to see romantic possessiveness but God, it’s so much deeper and scarier than that for Dutch. It’s all about her “monster inside me” speech. I know a lot of really wonderful people with fucked up abusive pasts (it’s no accident they keep showing up as the heroes in my work) and I find one common trait is their inability to give themselves enough credit for how far they’ve come.

Dutch thinks meeting Johnny on Lucy saved her life through the influence of John’s innate goodness, totally overlooking her own — because Khlyen never let her value the good in herself. Her secret fears boil down to “Dutch – Johnny = Khlyen”. I hate that she believes her true nature is so tenuous, and that she won’t let herself own (yet!) that she’s the ultimate creator and arbiter of Dutch. That factors into 210 and where I would take her in Season 3, so we used 209 as a place to clarify.

TTVJ: Speaking of Dutch and John, that moment in the Royale between Hannah and Aaron may have just been one of the best Dutch and John moments ever. I think Hannah broke me when she said “I love you Johnny.” Are they going to be a united front heading into the finale?

ML: 100%. Actually, we aren’t just a full team again in 210, we’re a fricking expanded one: a few other noble badasses come along for the final ride. (I agree about that 209 scene, by the way! Aaron/Hannah crush it… now talk to me after you see the finale, and let me know if they top that for you in 210. They just might!)

Syfy/Bell Media
Syfy/Bell Media

TTVJ: So at least when you guys hurt us you also give us some lighter moments mixed in and Luke got to be funny this episode–like really funny. Did he have fun and enjoy getting to turn the tables a bit there?

ML: I don’t want to hurt anyone, I swear! But yeah 209/10 are probably the darkest the show will get, and even then we definitely try to inject some love and humor where we can (not always possible to do without being cheap or crass). One of my new favorite things is playing with Luke’s comic timing and adorkable side. How great is D’av this year? He’s able to be the tough talking strength Dutch needs, the teasing older brother for John and now, the self deprecating comic relief. Bless you Luke, we needed that.

TTVJ: The other light moments came from John and Julian, the computer system at Spring Hill who clearly does NOT share Lucy’s love of the younger Jaqobis brother. Is it just a general rule on Killjoys that all computer systems are snarky? Also, who voiced Julian?

ML: Fun fact: we have such a great and multitalented BTS group on Killjoys and I love putting them into the show when I can — in this case, Julian is voiced by and named after one of our writers, Julian Doucet (the crazy brain behind Episode 204)!

TTVJ: Should we even bother trying to emotionally prepare for the finale?

ML: Ha! I’m… not sure how best to answer that! But if you’ve been looking for firm answers, definitely don’t miss a second of the opening. We skip the usual “previously on” and start cold with an epic flashback, beautifully shot thanks to director Peter Stebbings and DP Michael Marshall. Expect A+ performances this episode, hilariously unlikely allies, an amazing spaceship dogfight, and hopefully a few big surprises. I really love this episode (co-written with Jeremy Boxen).

And yeah, there are parts of the finale that savage me, sure. Parts that give a big fat injection of hope. And parts, frankly, that remind me why I do this gig: because I have a deep need to explore the types of love humans can have for one another, how it can be the knife that rips us apart or the stitches that puts us together. The finale shows us both, really. Ultimately, Killjoys isn’t just about badass spaceships, or guns, or snark. It’s about how you choose your fight when you choose your family. By the end of Season 2, Dutch has officially chosen both. And her enemies better goddam run.

 

Were you shocked to lose Pawter? What will you miss most about the character and what do you want to see out of next week’s finale? Sound off and share your thoughts in the comments below!

Killjoys airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Space Channel and Syfy.

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