Why Killjoys’ Kelly Mccormack Is so Fond of “Stinky” Zeph

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

One positive to take away from the memory wipe on Killjoys fifth and final season is that we’ve been rediscovering the things we love most about each character. The loss of memory has not stripped away those innate qualities of each character that make them fundamentally who they are as a person. The main problem now for Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) in Friday’s “Blame it on the Rain,” airing at 10 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space, is that she’s remembered who she truly is and must now go about getting the rest of her team back to stop The Lady before it’s too late.

Thankfully, despite not having John (Aaron Ashmore) and D’avin (Luke Macfarlane) with her, Dutch has been able to count on Zeph (Kelly McCormack). While Zeph may not be “our Zeph” and instead a “stinky raincoat” version of the science nerd we all know and love, she’s still 100% on Team Dutch and ready to help out. We here at The TV Junkies have been lucky to see Friday’s episode, and it just confirms our thoughts that McCormack’s Zeph is leading the MVP race so far here in Season 5. We were also lucky enough to catch up with McCormack, who is busy working on an upcoming movie that she’s writing and starring in, to bond over our shared love for everything about “stinky raincoat” Zeph. McCormack also shared what it was like to say goodbye to the series and how Zeph may fare if she eventually gets her memory restored.

 

The TV Junkie: Killjoys had the luxury of knowing it was ending, something that many series don’t get to know. What was it like shooting the final season then having that knowledge with you all?

Kelly McCormack: The last season was a wild fever dream of untapped glory, heartache and awesomeness. The writers went for broke and squeezed every last drop of juice out of the fantastic world they spent five seasons building. I think we all came out of it thinking, “whoa… what the hell just happened?”. I couldn’t be more happy for the creatives getting the ending they dreamed of. We’re all so lucky. But having the knowledge of how it all ends this past year has been bittersweet. We haven’t had to truly say goodbye yet. Not until the fans do.

TTVJ: We must talk about “stinky raincoat Zeph!” When we visited the set you couldn’t hide your enthusiasm for her, and now that we’ve seen her on screen we can see why. What was it like getting to play that different version of her and what was your favorite thing about that experience?

KM: Stinky has my heart let me tell yah. Zeph was already a dream role to play, but a dirtier, scrappier, more strung out Zeph with a cool backpack? COME ON. Yet Stinky is Zeph — she’s whip smart, abundantly curious to her own detriment, believes in nature’s answers and the noble pursuit of it, and has no censor whatsoever. But she doesn’t have the arrogance, confidence or self assurance that Zeph found in Season 3 with the help of Team Awesome Force. Stinky is what Zeph has always feared — that people wouldn’t recognize the qualities she most liked about herself and think she was crazy, until she ultimately thought that about herself as well. Something I’m sure Zeph heard a lot growing up before she met Dutch.

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

TTVJ: Were there any big challenges in making it innately the same character, but with some obvious differences?

KM: The challenge, and quite frankly the joy, of playing Stinky Zeph is that the only thing that really changed was how she viewed herself. A nice lesson on how powerful someone believing in you can be. But also, side note HAVE YOU SEEN MY LAIR!?!?! I have to give a shoutout to the art department. They made a playpen of wonder that I got to call my own and I was in HEAVEN. Plus the hair/make-up team had so much fun making me look disgusting. It was the best.

Costumes also nailed it. At one point I asked if Stinky could have a weird collectible pouch of nicknacks and found treasures like Hoggle from the Labyrinth and the next day I had the most insane bundle of junk hanging from my belt which included a greasy rabbits foot, a pocket lazer, a ruler and a toothbrush. Again, heaven.

TTVJ: Some of the best moments in the Season 5 premiere were between Dutch and Zeph and Zeph’s continued love for Dutch. How fun are those moments for you and what do you love most about their relationship?

KM: Falling in love/girl crushing on Dutch required zero acting. Being enamoured and stupefied by her galactic badassery was just so fun to do all over again. Where Zeph wanted to prove herself to Dutch and join Team Awesome Force, Stinky has a more …teenage pursuit. I thought it was so funny that she’s just going about her daily life, eating bread, chillin’ in her stinky lair, then BAM! The most BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE UNIVERSE drops by out of nowhere and is like “yo b, you’re my failsafe”. It’s right of Weird Science (please get this reference). But Stinky/Zeph stands to relearn so much from Dutch, which will solidify their friendship and bond even more. Dutch is seeing Zeph at her worst and knows how to pull her out of that.

TTVJ: Zeph being Zeph has figured out, along with Dutch, what The Lady is up to as far as erasing memories and using the rain. What can you preview about what the next steps for Dutch and Zeph are in this week’s episode, “Blame it on the Rain”?

KM: Well, I GOT SHOT. I think I’m the only character on the show who hasn’t lay on the operating table yet so maybe it was just my turn? Or maybe Stinky dies before she ever takes a shower. I can’t tell yah.

TTVJ: At the end of last season, Zeph experienced a huge loss in Pip. Will we eventually see her still dealing with that in Season 5?

KM: Oh man. I gotta say, it was really nice not jumping right back into that whole thing emotionally. The end of last season was so heavy for Zeph, so it was nice to step away from that for a hot second and have a little fun. Zeph carries the whole world on her shoulders at all times, but as Stinky, the stakes are waaaaaay lower. She’s not tuned into the big picture, the Lady, the threat against all of humanity, or mourning the loss of her love. She’s just chilling in her lair with her new science project from her hot new bestie.

But of course…when she wakes up, she’ll have to relive it all over again. Hence the brilliance of the writers on this show. They know how to give you all the juice and all the goddamn feels.

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

TTVJ: You’ve spoken about how the writers brought a lot of who you are as a person to Zeph. What did that mean to you and how do you say goodbye to such a special character like that?

KM: It simply meant the world and I will be forever grateful. I related deeply to Zeph’s undercurrents and I think the writers knew that. Her ambition, her need to find an answer, her chase, her choice to compartmentalize, her childlike wonder and belief in something so intangible and magical as science, the way she negotiated her own feelings and trauma, and spoke truth to her boundaries with a ruthless dedication to how she wanted to live her life despite how she’s “supposed” to behave. I felt seen in a way because Zeph had qualities that I liked in myself but haven’t historically been allowed to like. Saying goodbye was really hard.

TTVJ: What’s life post-Killjoys been like for you? Where can we find you next?

KM: Ummm…I feel like I never left the Stinky’s sweaty dungeon lair to be honest. After we wrapped Killjoys I went straight into prep for my feature film which was some sweaty sweaty indie filmmaking magic. (Note: Killjoys‘ Aaron Ashmore is also in this feature).

 

What do you think of Zeph’s Season 5 journey thus far? Sound off below!

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