Killjoys threw a serious wrench in the mix this season when a dying John Jaqobis (Aaron Ashmore) was given Green plasma to keep him alive. That same Green has thrown Johnny’s brain into overdrive, bringing out a side of him that’s smarter, snarkier, and a little more homicidal. Now he’s taking D’avin (Luke Macfarlane) for a bit of a road trip from hell in order to get more Green, while D’avin does his best to bring the old Johnny back to the surface.
We spoke with Ashmore and Macfarlane during a recent press junket to discuss how the brothers deal with Johnny becoming Hullen. We also spoke about the new dynamic between Delle Seyah (Mayko Nguyen) and D’avin, what it was like for Ashmore to film the flashback episode, and what’s coming up next in the season.
The TV Junkies: Our first big surprise of the season is that Johnny is Hullen now. What were your reactions when you got that script?
Aaron Ashmore: I was pretty excited to do something a little different and get out of character a little bit. When you see that that’s what’s happening, you just really don’t know where it’s going, so I was very excited to see where they take this whole thing. Is he going to be a bad guy or what? What’s going to happen? I think it was really, really fun to play and I think that people will enjoy seeing another side of John.
Luke Macfarlane: I loved it. I thought it was super fun. I mean, it’s always fun when you see characters behaving like they’re not supposed to. It’s part of the fun of it. You’re like, “wait, but Johnny wouldn’t do that!” But he’s doing it and it’s real. I think I when I first read the script I was like, he’s not gonna be like this forever, is he?
LM: Maybe he is!
TTVJ: The last episode ended pretty dramatically with John dragging D’av off on a road trip so, in the short term, how does this affect the brothers’ relationship?
AA: Well, you know, I think we’ve had a strained relationship at times on the show. Not majorly, but a little bit of conflict. I think that we were in a really good place and this sort of shakes things up again. I think that for John–I mean, not that he’s John–but it is an interesting flip on the dynamic where John would have been the little brother, but he’s able to completely overpower D’av. Those elements that may have defined their relationships in other ways and other times are now no longer there. And I think that John knows that, or Hullen John knows that, and he needles and picks at D’av about that stuff.
LM: It’s all the things that you don’t ever want to say, but you kind of can now. When I first read the script I thought how this is how I would deal with a drug addict. You kind of hate them and they drive you up the wall, but they’re sick and they need your help if they’re going to get any better. That, to me, was always the analogy of this. What would it be like to have a junkie as a sibling? You know, you love them, you hate them, but you know that you really need to be with them. It was about loyalty. It’s about how to be loyal to somebody in the face of their suffering, in the face of their hurt.
AA: That’s quite deep. That’s an interesting way of looking at it.
TTVJ: They were dealing with the physical turmoil when they were thinking John was going to die, and now we’re going into more psychological turmoil.
AA: I think there’s something else that adds any interesting layer too, is that D’av made the choice to do this, right? So, whatever the outcome of this, is for better for worse, saving his life, him turning bad, that responsibility in a lot of ways falls on D’avin.
LM: And that plays out later when we kind of come back into the world and Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) sees what has happened and how she chooses to react to that. How does she feel about the fact that John’s now Hullen? The thing that we’ve been fighting for so long? She’s not very happy. [laughs]
AA: And who does she blame?
TTVJ: I’m glad you brought up Dutch because obviously in this season Team Awesome Force doesn’t reunite right away. What was it like having the team split up in the beginning?
AA: I think it’s really necessary for the story, but I think that our show and our team is best when they’re together. I think the writers know that too, so we’re not apart for too long, but there’s definitely a little bit of separation. It was weird filming the first couple episodes because we were split up, so neither of us saw Hannah for episode two and maybe beyond a little bit. You sort of feel like you’re working on a different show. Then we all get back together and we’re like, “now we’re back to our regular dynamic.” It was weird to be separate for so long, but it really works well for the story.
LM: Yeah, I think they do that a lot, you know. I mean, there’s three regulars on the show so they are always splitting this up and put us back together over and over and over again. [laughs] But the desire is always to get back to each other.
TTVJ: It does open up the opportunity for new dynamics on the show and obviously a big one is with the boys and Delle Seyah. We got to see them in that really fun montage on the elevator. How was that to film?
AA: It was really, really fun. I think there were a few things that were [improvised]. The therapy session where we’re both sitting on the floor and Delle Seyah says, “well, how did that make you feel?” I think there’s a little bit of that, but then they also let us play around with what else would they do in the elevator. We certainly did goof around and I think that one of the funniest things is D’avin’s doing exercises across the thing, as he would, to stay in shape and we’re just gambling or something. It was really fun to play around and come up with these little scenarios that we probably would have if you’re stuck on an elevator with two other people for three months or two months.
LM: It’s also really fun to have Delle Seyah in the mix now. So many of our relationships with all these characters have gone through these huge ups and downs, but you know, she’s there now. She kind of has a sense of humor about the whole thing and it’s fun. It’s a really weird, interesting element to the whole thing.
TTVJ: During our set visit we spoke with [showrunner] Adam Barken and one of the things discussed is how in Killjoys the villains aren’t simply killed off, they really become part of the fabric of the show.
AA: And, you know, in life people are not simple and I think that on the show people are not simple. There’s many different motivations and sides of people and I think, particularly with our bad guys, you really get to see those things and I think that’s what makes them very, very interesting characters, and realistic too.
TTVJ: For Delle Seyah, it seems like her and D’avin have reached a sort of mutual tolerance. How does that move forward from here?
LM: It’s tough, but I think it’s something that has to be. I’m going to say this, there is a scene coming up that’s one of my favorite scenes in Season 4 and it’s watching Delle Seyah be a different kind of parent. It’s so different than the way D’av would parent, but it’s this beautiful scene where she’s teaching the child the way life should be and the way you should behave. I just love it. It makes me so happy and she’s trying to be as loving as she possibly can, but she’s just not.
TTVJ: The first episode of the season is a flashback to Dutch and Johnny’s early days when they were still figuring out their relation. So, Aaron, how did you approach not being as familiar with each other as you normally would?
AA: That was the difficult thing, trying to create that slightly different relationship and dynamic. A lot of it’s in the writing, but also just knowing somebody and having that sort of rapport. You’re trying to strip that away, which is really difficult. Hopefully people get a slightly different version and slightly different chemistry between the characters, but it was really fun to do. Like, flashback? Who doesn’t like a flashback episode, getting to go back in time? It’s an origin story and that’s really fun to see.
TTVJ: He was certainly rocking the eyeliner, which was a very different look for Johnny.
AA: I know! We don’t know why he lost the guyliner look, because I thought it was pretty cool. He was way cooler, more fashionable and glammy punk-rock than he is now. So, I don’t know, at some point along the way he decided to ditch that look. He lost his courage with his fashion sense. But I had fun playing with it.
TTVJ: So, Dutch is in the Green, and John is Hullening out and dragging poor D’avin with him. Where do we go from here?
AA: We can only go up! [laughs]
LM: Things are down.
AA: Things are going terribly and I don’t think things are going to get great right away. There’s no quick resolutions. I think things take their time to resolve and we’re in for a big fight. Things are not well so it’s gonna be tough, but it’s also fun–our show is fun and the tone of it is really fun. We get to explore a bunch of different things, different dynamics between characters, new characters, characters from the past. It’s a really fun season. Surprising, I think, in a lot of ways.
What are your thoughts on Hullen Johnny? Sound off in the comments below.
Killjoys airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space.
Associate Editor Kelly Townsend always had strong opinions on TV growing up, so it was only natural to evolve from couch musings to online journalism. She can't ever choose a favorite series, so please don't ask. Her writing has also appeared on IndieWire and Tribute.ca. You can find her on Twitter at @kellybtownsend.