Killjoys: Adam Barken Talks “Johnny Dangerously”

Ian Watson/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY
Ian Watson/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY

*** This article contains major spoilers for the Killjoys Season 4 episode “Johnny Dangerously” ***

Say it ain’t so, Johnny! Killjoys threw an insane curve ball this week by turning sweet John Jaqobis (Aaron Ashmore) Hullen in “Johnny Dangerously”. While it gave Ashmore the opportunity to deliver a fantastic performance, it left viewers terrified for Johnny in the episodes to come.

This week’s episode, written by creator Michelle Lovretta and directed by Samir Rehem, brought us back to harsh reality after last week’s sweet retreat into memory lane–but not without the show’s signature quips, which were out in glorious full force. With a punctured lung and no alternatives, Delle Seyah (Mayko Nyugen) and D’avin (Luke Macfarlane) injected John with the remainder of her Green plasma. The little amount of plasma led to some interesting side effects, which is why Johnny and D’avin are now on a mad road trip for more Green.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the RAC reunited on Aneela’s ship to try to find the remnants of Team Awesome Force, with Zeph (Kelly McCormack) leading the charge. Her, Pip and an ex-Scarback played by guest star Anna Hopkins (Shadowhunters) journeyed to the Necropolis to get some answers, but poor Pip (Atticus Mitchell) bit off more than he could chew.

In this week’s postmortem we are joined by showrunner and executive producer Adam Barken. He explains the reason behind Johnny’s Hullening, shares some insight on what to expect for burgeoning leader Zeph and newlyweds Pree (Thom Allison) and Gared (Gavin Fox), and doesn’t make us feel any better about those terrifying spiders.

 

The TV Junkies: First, the question on everyone’s mind: What!? How could you turn poor John Jaqobis Hullen?

Adam Barken: Because it was just too delish not to! If memory serves, writer Andrew DeAngelis was the one who first suggested it back at the end of Season 3. And the image of a chained, crazed Johnny snapping at people stuck with all of us until we got back for Season 4. When that many people like an idea, you just have to go with it. Michelle did an amazing job–as always–of finding the humour and the heart to go with it.

Bell Media / SYFY
Bell Media / SYFY

TTVJ: We’ve seen Hannah John-Kamen with two very different personas in Dutch and Aneela, and now Aaron Ashmore is getting a chance to try something new with Hullen Johnny. How did you approach going that route for John?

AB: The key was to find the recognizable parts of Johnny that could naturally “go bad”: his humour, his brains, and his deep-seated brother issues. But we also knew we had the ultimate ace–Aaron frickin’ Ashmore. No matter what we threw at him, we were confident he’d smash it back at us. And he did. It was a treat to come up with the storyline, but it was truly amazing to see what Aaron did with it. Especially when you see where it’s going in the next couple of episodes. Hullen Johnny is funny, sexy, scary–but also heartbreaking.

TTVJ: There was a moment where John hallucinated Dutch speaking to him. Since he’s connected to the Green now, does he have a connection to Dutch while she’s inside it?

AB: The idea is more that she is his own conscience, trying to get through to him. Of course it would be Dutch — the one person he could never lie to for long, and who knows him better than anyone else.

TTVJ: Delle Seyah admit she’s become a bit of a family with the Jaqobis brothers. What changed for her in that space elevator?

AB: Proximity makes the Hullen heart grow… well, if not kinder, at least less murderous? Delle Seyah is a pragmatist, always. She needs the Jaqobis as protection–she is carrying “the Hullen Heir” after all. If she has to accept these two barbarians as in-laws, for now, so be it. But never assume anything is forever. That being said, the journey of Delle Seyah Kendra from the Worst Person Ever to something even more interesting has been as much of a joy for us to play with as any character on the show.

Bell Media / SYFY
Bell Media / SYFY

TTVJ: Zeph came into her own a bit more in this episode by taking on a leadership role in the absence of Dutch, John, and D’avin. However, she’s also putting a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, and we’re already seeing the toll that’s taking on her. What can we expect to see from Zeph in the next couple of episodes?

AB: More of exactly that. Zeph has gone from the Smartest Person in the Room Who Can’t Help But Let Everybody Know That She Knows That to someone actually capable of being on a team, and maybe even leading it. And with Pippin along for the ride, we also get to explore what it’s like for her to balance even more aspects of her personality. But what she and Pippin might want from each other isn’t necessarily the same thing. The question will be: how do they both deal with that?

TTVJ: Where did the idea for Anna Hopkin’s ex-Scarback and dominatrix character come from? She was a lot of fun to watch.

AB: We loved the idea of a new kind of Scarback. After the revelations about the truth behind the faith, we wanted to explore someone who did walk away as Alvis threatened to. But hey, without the temple and brethren to care for you, a girl’s gotta eat, and Scarbacks do have marketable skills.

Bell Media / SYFY
Bell Media / SYFY

TTVJ: We had a chance to see more of Pree and Gared in their post-wedding bliss, and Gared surprisingly stepped up to help in this episode. Where are these two at in terms of finding a balance between making their marriage work and helping to save the galaxy?

AB: One of my favourite aspects of this season is the Pree/Gared dynamic. A married couple getting used to their new life while saving the universe? Awesome. It’s been such a joy to watch their relationship grow, all thanks to Michelle noticing a little glint in Pree’s eye when he stabbed poor Gared in the hand way back in Season 2. This season, we get to indulge our sweeping, epic romantic vibe with those two. I won’t spoil, but I will drop a little hint: a storyline we called “Last of the Preehicans.”

TTVJ: Now we have to address the weird, creepy spider in the room. What on earth has happened to Pip?

AB: Everything’s fine. Promise! It totally won’t become a thing that completely messes everything up at the absolute worst possible moment. Relax.

Seriously though, our FX team lead by Mike Gibson just nailed that stuff, didn’t they? So gross. So good.

TTVJ: This episode set up three disparate storylines that are just beginning to intercede, though John’s road trip for more Green could put a wrench in all that. Where do we go from here?

AB: Well, without saying too much, Delle Seyah meets someone even more terrible than she is, the boys go on the world’s worst road trip, Dutch has a very nasty tea party, and that baby is still growing at an awfully rapid rate.

 

Did you see that Hullen twist coming? Sound off in the comments below.

Killjoys airs Fridays at 10:00 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space.