*** This article contains major spoilers for the Killjoys Season 4 episode “Baby, Face Killer” ***
This week’s Killjoys delivered a fun and surprisingly emotional episode this week as multiple members of the team faced some hard truths.
Never a show to pull its punches, “Baby, Face Killer”, written by Julie Puckrin and directed by Stefan Pleszczynski, forced Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) to face a painful truth about her childhood after D’avin (Luke Macfarlane) feared she was repeating the cycle with his own son, newly named Jaqobis (Jaq, for short) Kin Rit (Jaeden Noel). After an emotional heart-to-heart, D’avin left Lucy (Tamsen McDonough) with Jaq in tow in an attempt to spare him from a life of fighting. Of course, that now leaves the team one man short as they continue to follow Khlyen’s (Rob Stewart) breadcrumbs to a way to fight the Lady.
Other members of Team Awesome Force came face-to-face with harsh reality as Zeph (Kelly McCormack) tried and failed to remove the Hullen spider from Pip’s (Atticus Mitchell) brain, and Pree (Thom Allison) discovered the horrors currently inside the Hullen-infested RAC.
We’re joined by Puckrin for our regular Killjoys postmortem to dig into the drama of this week’s episode. She discusses why now was the right time for Dutch to hear the truth about her childhood, creating dialogue for a two-day-old teenager, and the scenes she loved to write.
The TV Junkies: D’avin is trying so hard to be a good father and, honestly, it’s giving me a lot of feelings. The moment when he told Jaq that children shouldn’t carry the choices of adults really struck a chord with me in particular. He lashed out at Dutch about Khlyen, but how much of this is a reflection of his own relationship with his father?
Julie Puckrin: We talked a lot in the writing room about how parenting a child re-frames how you feel about your own parents, and how we unconsciously repeat things our parents did–and how easy it is for negative cycles to creep up on us. The Jaqobis boys have always been pretty direct about calling their father an abusive drunk. So I think as soon as D’av found out he was going to be a father, that was on his mind. D’av’s always been really at ease with kids, but with his own, it’s different–and I think that awkwardness comes from the fact that he’s terrified of repeating his father’s mistakes. Which makes him hyper-aware of all of his choices when it comes to the kid.
One of the moments I love in the episode, especially after everything they’ve been through this season, is when John (Aaron Ashmore) reassures D’avin he will be a great dad–because he was already a great dad to John. I think it’s a nice acknowledgement of what they went through together, and how you can either repeat the cycles of your past–or be aware of them and try to do better.
TTVJ: We’re four seasons in and this is the first time someone has told Dutch point blank that she was abused by Khlyen as a child. Obviously the situation is a little more complicated than that, but what was it about this moment that led the writing team to acknowledge those kernels of truth that it was a form of abuse?
JP: We’ve always said in the room that John is Dutch’s gravity, but he also protects her from the hard emotions she isn’t ready to deal with. Including tip-toeing around details of her past. But D’av is the one who will actually call Dutch on the hard truths she needs to hear. I think it was easier for Dutch to convince herself that what she experienced wasn’t abuse, that what Khlyen did to her, he did for a cause–much like she believes she’s training Jaq for a cause. I don’t think Dutch would ever go as far with Jaq as Khlyen went with her, but after what she went through in the green, and how desperate she is to stop the Lady and save Aneela, Dutch isn’t thinking clearly, and kind of needs to be hit with some cold water. Michelle [Lovretta] felt it was time for someone to finally tell Dutch point-blank that she was abused. And to protect his son, and out of his fear of repeating the cycle of abuse in his own life and hers, D’av is the one person who will actually say it.
TTVJ: While not everyone considers assassin training the best way of nurturing a child, it was very endearing to see Dutch embrace Jaq as one of the family, especially in comparison to the beginning of the series when she was so hesitant to trust D’avin. What made her want to take such an active role in training Jaq?
JP: Dutch believes she’s training the kid because he needs to be able to protect himself from the Lady, and when she realizes he’s special, she thinks he can be used as a weapon. But the truth is that the more she spends time with the kid, the more she starts to fall in love with him. He has so much of D’avin and John in him, and so obviously worships Dutch, that I think it brings out a nurturing side of her she didn’t realize she had–in her own Dutch way. And even though we never make a big deal of it, Jaq is a combination of D’avin and Aneela. Which means Dutch is essentially looking at the child that she and D’avin might have had together, in a different life. And I think that’s in the back of her mind. She could be looking at the face of her own kid.
TTVJ: Plenty of the humor in the episode revolved around the unique experience of explaining things to a fully articulate two-day-old teenager. What were some of the challenges in writing that dialogue?
JP: It’s tricky! Because of his weird Hullen growth process, he knows how to eat, walk, talk, and understand language, but he has no real context for anything he’s seeing or hearing. So it’s like he has all the base programs, and he’s got to catch up on everything else. Which was really fun to play with. It was also important to me that Jaq was someone we could really care about. Because he’s Hullen, and because of his special powers, the character could have potentially been very creepy or aloof, but I wanted him to be just as loveable as the other Jaqobis boys. He’s actually wearing Johnny’s clothes in this episode. And that’s no accident–when I was writing him, I tried to imagine a precocious-but-weirdly-naïve teenage Johnny.
TTVJ: Warlord Pree was out in full force this week to try to save his Gare-Bear and it was somehow simultaneously adorable and terrifying. How do you tap into Pree’s scarier side?
JP: I love writing for Pree. In the room we loved the idea of Pree going full Taken to get his man back. We may know him as a loveable bartender, but Pree was a legit warlord and badass in his own right before that. And nothing will bring out that ferocity like his need to protect the man he loves. So emotionally, his motivations were very easy to tap into. and it was fun to see a scarier–but still very sassy–side of him!
TTVJ: Pree and Fancy’s investigation led to some gruesome displays at the Hullen-infested RAC. What can you tell us about what’s happening there?
JP: I don’t want to give anything away! But it is definitely gruesome.
TTVJ: The unstoppable force that is Zeph has met her unmovable object in the form of Pip’s brain spider. We’ve seen in past episodes how much pressure she puts on herself to save the day, and the fact that she might really have feelings for Pip certainly complicates things. How will she cope with the possibility that she might not be able to save him?
JP: One of the things I like about Zeph is that she isn’t just a giant brain–she also has a giant heart. She cares deeply about her people. We’ve seen her evolve a lot over the last two seasons, partly because of the huge challenges that have been thrown at her. It’s amazing how often Team Awesome Force rely on Zeph to literally save the day with her science-ing. And she always rises to the occasion. So this, in some ways, is a much smaller challenge–the challenge of saving one person’s life–and I think that’s a huge part of her frustration. She feels like she should be able to solve this, but it truly is the first time she is unable to science her way out of something. But in typical Zeph fashion, she won’t stop trying. And we’ll see how that wears on her, and how it affects her relationship with Pip.
TTVJ: Because I can no longer go a single episode without mentioning how great Mayko Nguyen is, we need to talk about that Qreshi etiquette scene between Delle Seyah and Jaq. How did that scenario come together and when can we have more of them?
JP: I had so much fun writing that scene. I think Andrew de Angelis originally pitched the idea of wanting to see Delle Seyah as a nervous mom, putting her kid on the school bus for the first time. We talked a lot in the room about how Delle Seyah feels about this child–he’s the baby she carried, and the son of the woman she loves, but as leader of the Nine and a former Hullen, Delle Seyah could never be a typical mom. So she’s nurturing the kid in her own weird Qreshi way. And now that she’s human, it’s fun to see her fight to keep her armour in place, struggling to stop the bits of soft gooey emotion that keep slipping out.
TTVJ: This week’s episode made it clear that the Hullen aren’t the only part of the Lady’s plan. How close are we to discovering her endgame?
JP: Tune in next week for more Lady reveals!
What did you think of tonight’s episode? 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.