Killjoys: Michelle Lovretta Talks “The Wolf You Feed”

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Syfy / Bell Media
Syfy / Bell Media

*** Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Killjoys Season 3 episode “The Wolf You Feed” ***

Here’s hoping all Killjoys fans watched this week’s episode live! It was a major one for the series, as viewers finally learned the truth behind Dutch’s (Hannah John-Kamen) connection to Aneela. Many have suspected clones or some sort of other relation between the two women, but it turns out that they are actually one in the same. Dutch is Aneela if she had never been affected by the Hullen. This reveal happened thanks to Dutch experiencing Aneela’s memories that Zeph (Kelly McCormack) had unlocked in the Remnant. Dutch went on quite the journey through not only Aneela’s past, but also her own, as we saw her first meeting with Johnny (Aaron Ashmore).

Elsewhere, D’avin (Luke Macfarlane) tried to lead the army with Dutch missing and had to stand up to Turin (Patrick Garrow). Turin was eventually ousted from command, as he tried to keep Fancy (Sean Baek) and other Cleansed from helping in the war. “The Wolf You Feed,” written by Nikolijne Troubetzkoy and directed by Stefan Pleszczynski, was definitely a momentous Killjoys episode. Just as she does every week, Killjoys creator and showrunner Michelle Lovretta broke down the episode for us and previewed what’s still to come this season.

 

The TV Junkies: We finally know Dutch’s connection to Aneela and I have to say, that was quite the mind f*ck — for Dutch and for us! There’s been many guesses — everything from Aneela being Dutch’s mom, sister or a clone — but I don’t think anyone saw them being the same person. How did you come up with this and what does Dutch do now with this information?

Michelle Lovretta: Thank you, I was really happy with that turn and with no one guessing! In 208 after they escape from Aneela’s lab, Dutch asked D’avin her deepest fear: “what if I’m her?” I was really interested in exploring that dual identity conflict, but I wanted to do it through something deeper and messier emotionally than a clone or twin. Science fiction provided me the option of doing it in a fresh new (if slightly bonkers) way. Dutch isn’t a separate, cold genetic copy of Aneela – she *is* Aneela… but after being put through the blender of entirely different life experiences she’s also entirely her own person. It’s complicated and I love that: nature versus nurture writ large, I guess. There’s also something really compelling and sad and beautiful to me about looking at this person who you assumed was a simple villain, a monster, and realizing you’re looking at yourself. It definitely increases Dutch’s feelings of responsibility when it comes to protecting everyone from all things Aneela. If Dutch can’t stop her, who can?

Episode 307 was a literal mind fuck for Dutch, and the fallout will resonate with her for the rest of the season. Being Dutch, much of that angst she’ll suffer in private. Until it just may be too late…

Syfy / Bell Media
Syfy / Bell Media

TTVJ: The flashbacks also gave us huge insight into Aneela’s psyche, why she’s so damaged and why she hates Dutch so much. Dutch has the life Aneela should have had. As is usually the case in Killjoys, no one is all evil or all good, so why was it so important to show that with Aneela?

ML: Because at heart this is a story about a dysfunctional family – the push and pull between Dutch’s broken family of origin, and her family of choice. As often happens in real life, the former keeps fucking with the security of the latter.

Whether we intended it or not, in a lot of ways Aneela’s backstory is also sci-fi allegory for trauma, neglect, and abuse. The idea that her deepest wish is to go back in time to the “pure, clean” person she thinks she was before she was tainted by Hullen, and to give away that part of herself to the flawed father whose approval she still chases… it goddamn breaks my heart. Like, I can’t tell you how much I love Aneela and how angry I am on her behalf.

That doesn’t mean we’re safe with her, though. It doesn’t mean she will suddenly “behave”, stop hating Dutch, stop killing swaths of people in vengeance. And it definitely doesn’t mean she is absolved of responsibility. It just means she’s a complex adversary who is still reacting to and controlled by her past. In many ways that makes her the most dangerous adversary Dutch will ever face, emotionally and strategically. But all this messiness also makes their final show down really, really satisfying.

TTVJ: I also just have to comment on the downright exceptional work Hannah John-Kamen is doing this season. The switches she makes from Dutch to Aneela and then all the layers involved in that. It’s just fantastic work.

ML: Holy shit, right? Co-signed. Aneela is all to her credit, Hannah knew exactly how she wanted to play her and her instincts were right. One of my fondest memories of Season 3 was the read thru for the finale episode – we got to watch Hannah act out both Aneela and Dutch. There were multiple scenes of just those two characters that she hadn’t even read yet, and there she was on the fly changing her accent and inflection line to line without skipping a beat. We all applauded and I actually misted up, the scene felt so real. It was really something to see, just another level.

Syfy / Bell Media
Syfy / Bell Media

TTVJ: While most of the flashbacks were pretty heart-wrenching, one aspect that was fun was seeing John and Dutch’s first meeting, as well as when John met Lucy! Why did you guys want to work that in and did Aaron have us much fun with it as we did watching?

ML: Oh, well, this is Killjoys so we always gotta have some fun! Plus, I adore Aaron Ashmore and always want more of him when I can have it. (See also: Johnny vs Mini Zephyr, which was an inspiration of our amazing director Stefan Pleszczynski and still cracks me up.) While Niko and I were in prep on 307, our amazing wardrobe designer Trysha [Bakker] reminded us that I had written a version of this “Johnny meets Yala” scene in Season 1 but cut it. She had bought the fabric back then and held onto it ever since… I think because deep in our hearts we all knew we’d be going there again whenever story allowed. It’s an iconic scene.

This story dealt with memory and origins, so it finally felt like the right time. Like you say, 307 had the potential to be a painful episode, and we wanted to give Dutch and the audience something sweet and hopeful to hold onto as well. Tonal balance is really important to us on Killjoys, and I think together Niko (her ‘I like to knit them little sweaters” line from Gared is gold), Stefan, and cast have managed to strike a beautiful note: an episode that goes heartbreaking places but still avoids melodrama or trauma porn. Because no one needs that after a long ass week, right? I sure don’t.

TTVJ: Dutch has left D’avin in charge at the end of the episode, and his story this episode really showed how far he’s come. Does he fully embrace that leadership role and it almost seemed like Dutch may be leaving?

ML: Dutch is drowning in her new reality right now, and fighting for air. But when we see her next… she’s disturbingly bubbly. Consider it the calm before the storm. Our girl has figured out a dark course of action she doesn’t want to share, and for now all she wants is to not think about the doom ahead and for one last beautiful window just be simple Team Awesome Force again. So that’s what we give you in 308. But through it all, yeah, D’av is watching and worrying. It’s hard for him to embrace leadership when he has to wonder why Dutch would suddenly abdicate.

Syfy / Bell Media
Syfy / Bell Media

TTVJ: The cleansed storyline with Fancy was a very interesting one, the ideas of when to trust and loyalty. In the end, it’s great to have Fancy back on board and how will he factor into this fight against the Hullen?

ML: Fancy and the Cleansed (dibs on the band name) are a crucial part of the final battle. I really, really love our Fancy-D’avin-Turin arc and the amazing performances our cast bring to it. Over and over in history, entire groups of people have been maligned and presumed to be the enemy just by virtue of where they came from – so why not in this Hullen war? We wanted to tell that story through someone like Turin who we (grudgingly) like and respect, and to acknowledge the logic behind his fear. I like Turin, and I didn’t want to make him a sudden caricature. That’s too easy. Great harm is often done by arguably good people who believe they’re on the side of right.

TTVJ: Will we hear from Turin again? He doesn’t seem like someone who would just take a mutiny lightly?

ML: We aren’t done with him, and neither is Fancy. While I loved the stand Davin took in 307 to protect the cleansed as a group, I didn’t want D’avin to swoop in and solve everything for Fancy the individual. At the end of 307 we see that Fancy has his own doubts and fears about what it means to be Cleansed — way to break my heart, Sean Baek — but once he settles those inside himself he gets to decide how he wants to answer Turin’s move. You’ll see that play out in Episodes 309 and 310.

TTVJ: It was great to see John and Zeph get closer in this episode. I loved the back and forth, but he really seems like there’s a mutual appreciation happening, and they both clearly have Dutch’s back. Will Zeph continue to become more and more of an integral part of the team and continue these bonds?

ML: Zeph continues to Zephyr all over things, but she’s in a really good place with the group after this episode. Her arc with Dutch remains bittersweet and I think that’s why it’s one of my favorite new flavors this season. Some of my fave Zeph scenes are still to come, but it’s possible nothing will top her panicked delivery of “Oh god is that racist? I think I get racist when I’m bleeding out” in 307. Still. Dying.

Also, I have to say nice things about Kelly otherwise her mum will find me on Twitter.

TTVJ: Following up an episode like this seems like a tall task. What can we expect from Episode 308?

ML: Aneela and Delle Seyah are reunited and it feels so… bad for Gander. Team Awesome Force go on one last hilarious mission together with a shit ton of tension underneath; Julie Puckrin wrote one of my favorite moments of vengeance this show has ever done; and director April Mullen, from Episode 207 which pitted Dutch versus Sabine, captured another epic fight for us.

There’s only three episodes left, pirates and ruffians, and not one of them can be missed. See you Friday! And hopefully next year…

 

What did you think about the truth about Dutch’s connection to Aneela? Add your thoughts in the comments below.

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

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