Killjoys: Michelle Lovretta Talks “A Skinner, Darkley”

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Syfy / Bell Media
Syfy / Bell Media

*** Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Killjoys Season 3 episode “A Skinner, Darkley” ***

Well it’s a happy day because the Killjoys team is back together again! Sure, Aneela (Hannah John-Kamen) now seems scarier than ever after we got another glimpse at her green plasma bath taking self, and she has a new and surprising ally in Delle Seyah (Mayko Nguyen), but let’s focus on the positive! John (Aaron Ashmore) left Rat City and decided it was time to return to Dutch (John-Kamen) and D’avin (Luke Macfarlane) in this week’s episode, “A Skinner, Darkley,” written by Michelle Lovretta and directed by Andy Mikita.

Before John took off though, we learned some surprising information about the Hullen from Niko (guest star Viktoria Modesta). There was also the surprising reveal that the reason Clara (Stephanie Leonidas) can’t be found is because she was in front of us all along! You see, it turned out that Ollie (Tommie-Amber Pirie) was actually Clara, but had been given a bit of a facelift and had her memory wiped. Elsewhere, it looks like the team will be getting even bigger now that they have new nerd, Zeph (Kelly McCormack) on board. Killjoys showrunner Lovretta joined us for her weekly chat to discuss that reveal and everything else that went down on this week’s episode.

 

The TV Junkies: So not only is Delle Seyah still alive, but she’s hanging out with Aneela! What can we expect from that partnership? I’m guessing it’s nothing good.

Michelle Lovretta: Nothing but awesome, I think you mean. But yes, also, probably a super high body count. Ha. I’ve always really enjoyed writing Delle Seyah’s character and seeing what fun Mayko has with her, but even more so on both fronts this season. Like, times ten. She’s not in charge anymore, she’s not in the Quad anymore, all her old supports are gone. She has to reinvent herself a bit, and does it with style. But she also softens a titch, at least when it comes to Aneela. I’ve never seen her so protective, so in awe of another person. The two of them together form a dangerous, unpredictable team, aimed straight at Dutch and hers. This Human Vs Hullen war isn’t just dirty – it’s about to get really, really personal.

Syfy / Bell Media
Syfy / Bell Media

TTVJ: I am a sucker for John/Dutch moments and I loved the one when he returned. Please tell us this means he’s back for good and home with our team. Is he done running?

ML: He’s home for good! Dutch and John do have to kick a bit of dust off their relationship and get honest with one another as fallout from his running away – her response isn’t what he expects – but team Awesomeforce is in full effect the rest of Season 3, promise. I’m in Killjoys for the threesome, Bridget. Aren’t we all?

TTVJ: A big revelation this week that took me by surprise, was that the reason John can’t find Clara is because she’s actually right in front of him as Ollie. I guess that’s why I loved her so much and am really hoping we see her again. What are the chances that we see her as some Hackmod backup? They did pinkie swear after all…

ML: Oh yay! I’m so glad you didn’t see that coming! That two ep arc was originally written for John and Clara. When Steph Leonidas couldn’t join us I had to do a really (really) fast rethink. We weren’t willing to say goodbye to Clara or recast because we all love Steph, but then once we fell in love with Tommie-Amber Pirie we also weren’t ready to say goodbye to Ollie. They’re both very different, but share this guarded, self-protective defensiveness and swagger combo I really adore. Where it stands now there’s a chance we could see either or both again in Johnny’s future. (God bless science fiction flexibility.)

Whenever we say goodbye to a cast member, I always say “…for now”, because I truly never know if our writer brains are done with them. If a new story feels organic and cool enough to excite our whole team, anyone can come back — we already have something exciting planned in that direction for hypothetical Season 4 which I’ve been pitching for a while, but the timing has to be right. My only rule: character returns are always driven by story, not stunts. You have to have something new and interesting to say.

Syfy / Bell Media
Syfy / Bell Media

TTVJ: Viktoria Modesta was really fun as Niko and had one of the coolest weapons ever in that stabby leg! How did that opportunity come about and what was it like having her on board for this episode?

ML: Kismet. Total freaking kismet. Given our cliffhanger last year, I knew I wanted to take a deeper dive into the Hackmod world. But doing it entirely with props and VFX felt fraudulent and just kind of… empty, you know? TV is a money and time eating machine, though, it moves so damn fast. Even with best intentions Showrunners don’t always have the resources they need to cast diverse parts properly… but I knew this time, we did, if I started searching months in advance.

I wanted our sexy villain to have a weaponized leg to counter Clara’s weaponized arm, and I also wanted her to be a glamorous and aspirational character, so Niko jumped to mind pretty fully formed. I immediately fell in love with her and then womp womp, got suuuper damn sad because I thought “shit, this very specific actor will never exist and I will never get to meet Niko”. Then I did some preliminary searching online and my heart stopped when I saw Viktoria’s amazing music videos. It was like the first time I saw Ksenia Solo’s audition tape for Kenzi [Lost Girl], or Aaron Ashmore do that first chemistry read with Hannah – sometimes an actor and character merge so perfectly with your vision they take your breath away.

I had no idea if Viktoria was even an actor, and I had to talk some people into letting us take the leap, but dear God did she stick the landing with grace. It was amazing watching her. That’s not based on her prosthetic, either, cool as it is – I can’t take my eyes off of her in her scenes with Johnny, and her leg isn’t even in frame. Whatever “it” is, she just has it. I hope like hell we get to see Niko again.

TTVJ: One thing that’s been nice with Johnny being gone is that we’ve seen D’avin and Dutch really have to work together, and they’ve done well. However, according to Zeph it seems like D’avin still definitely cares for Dutch. Will we see him explore those feelings this season?

ML: Yeah. Definitely. With Johnny away, Dutch and D’av have come to rely on one another more than ever. I really like this quiet, stable companionship. It’s not flashy or super emo or tempestuous, it’s adult and real and a bit more playful this year. They build a really lovely connection that’s based on deep respect as warriors, even as they start to clash over tactics and leadership.

D’avin really cares about Dutch, but his love isn’t loud or demanding or possessive. That’s a boy’s love, and he’s past it. Now it’s just there, under the surface of all his protective decisions. What happened between them in the past still haunts him, so he’d need Dutch to make the first move if they were to try anything again… and he’d need whatever she’s offering to be worth it for both of them; it’s not like she has all the cards. Whether she’s ready or not this season to do that, well, time will tell, but I wont!

Syfy / Bell Media
Syfy / Bell Media

TTVJ: Speaking of Zeph, I instantly loved her when she was asking what gun she will get. I’m hoping that even though John is back we can keep her around on Team AwesomeForce for extra nerd power. What do you say?

ML: We can keep her! Sort of. But Johnny’s not too happy about it.

TTVJ: What can you preview about what’s to come in Episode 303?

ML: The team is back! An old school mission goes awry. Johnny meets Zeph. Banyon makes a play. And D’avin’s mysterious little black root ship joy ride at the end of 301 comes to roost, with a surprising result that sets up the future Hullen showdown. Giddy up!

TTVJ: Is there anything I missed that you wanted to touch on?

ML: Yeah, actually — I’d like to give a personal shout of thanks to the consistently amazing acting talent we have in Canada – especially our actors with disabilities, a deep pool that was pretty new to me — and to our badass casting agent Jason Knight of Buchan Knight. Most of our Hackmods are new to television, some of them new to acting, and we have Jason (and our BG casting person Roisin McGilly) to thank for finding them. Prince Amponsah (Havigan), Sean Fowler (Cutter) and Michael Potter (Hav’s Enforcer) were an amazing team and really made Rat City feel like a lived in home base, full of people who had one another’s back.

When I knew I wanted to return to the Hackmod world I reached out to Jason with an email that would probably freak out other CAs… “Oh hi, I’m looking for actors with specific disabilities. Also, they need to be local to Toronto. And racially diverse. Sexy is preferred. But most importantly, they have to be talented.“ And his response was basically, “great, I’m on it – btw, do you know Prince Amponsah, because you will love him.”

Jason and his assistant Stephanie started the hunt in earnest, worked with a consultant from the community (the lovely Sarah Demers), reached out to various groups, opened casting call to non professionals. In the end, despite how crazy narrow our requirements, we still found more actors than we could use – two in particular just weren’t the right type for these specific characters but are now in my mind for other, future roles. And those people probably would never have crossed my radar if Jason hadn’t introduced them to us.

 

What did you think of this week’s Killjoys? Sound off in the comments below!

Killjoys airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Syfy and Space.

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