Killjoys: Michelle Lovretta talks “Heart-Shaped Box”

Ian Watson/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited
Ian Watson/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited

*** Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Killjoys episode “Heart-Shaped Box” ***

Killjoys’ creator and showrunner Michelle Lovretta has promised that fans will get answers to all the mysteries at play in Season 2 and this week we started to see the beginnings of that play out. After sleeping with D’avin (Luke Macfarlane), Royale bartender Sabine (Tori Anderson) was exposed as an undercover Level 6 agent sent to protect the elder Jaqobis by Khlyen (Rob Stewart). Not only did she cause tension between D’avin and Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), but she led Dutch to a safehouse of Khlyen’s where she learned of a new target, one that looks identical to herself. Meanwhile, Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) tried to learn more about the wall surrounding Old Town and found himself in deep trouble by episode’s end, trapped by Liam Jelco (Pascal Langdale).

What will happen to him next and what will he tell Dutch when she finds out about his extracurricular activities? Will she be too busy going after the mysterious Aneela to care for now? These are just some of the questions raised during “Heart-Shaped Box,” written by Lovretta and directed by April Mullen. As she does every week, Lovretta joins The TV Junkies to break it all down, answer our burning questions and look ahead at what’s still to come this season.

The TV Junkies: So that ending seemed to confirm that there is another Dutch running around out there somewhere. Is that who our team will be looking for now?

Michelle Lovretta: By the end of Episode 207 Dutch certainly believes there is this person called Aneela who looks like her. That’s all she has to go on and the fact that this person is a target of Khlyen’s. So yes, the next part of Dutch’s journey, one of her main goals is to track this person down and get to the root of whatever answers she has.

TTVJ: Like D’avin, I found myself having mixed feelings about Sabine, and like all of the guest stars you guys have had this season, Tori was a great addition. Any chance we see her again?
ML: I’m a huge, huge fan of Tori after our experience with her this season. I think you’re right, and god willing this streak will continue, but we’ve really lucked out with our casting. That’s a huge credit to our casting agent Jason Knight, but also credit goes to each of the individual actors who are just bringing their A game.

What’s fabulous about Tori is that in Episode 207 we asked a lot. We asked her to maintain some mystery and the possibility that she was a danger to D’avin and an underhanded villain. Then we asked her to be somebody who could be vulnerable and lovable and credible and somebody that we would want to protect. Then we asked her to be somebody who was deeply pained and ashamed and wanted to choose her method of exit. Along with that we put her with Luke, we put her with Hannah and she had different people to bounce off against. I think she did a really beautiful job with a complex role that we didn’t have a lot of time to explore.

The reason that I left it open at the end of the episode–whether or not Sabine is gone–is that if I were to be allowed to have her back I certainly would pursue that. I think Tori is fabulous. Now, as often happens in the world of television, after we had our time with Tori she went and had the great good fortune of getting the lead role in a new CW show coming this fall (No Tomorrow). So would we be able to see her soon? Maybe not, but schedules are flexible things so I would never say never.

Ian Watson/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited
Ian Watson/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited

TTVJ: Every single episode it seems I find myself saying ‘I would not mind seeing them again,’ in regards to the guest stars.

ML: That’s one of the things I love about genre, and something that started in Lost Girl and I’ve pursued very heavily in Killjoys as well, is having interesting guest roles because I’m always on the lookout for who bounces off our characters in really interesting ways and allows us to bring them back and further their story rather than starting fresh each time. This year there’s been a whole bunch of them–there’s been Clara (Stephanie Leonidas), there’s been Sabine, there’s been San (Keon Alexander), there’s been a bunch–who allow us the possibility of expanding their position in our universe, but we’re not bound to them so if we can’t get them back we haven’t built such an intractable story around them that we can’t continue to tell it without them. That’s a hard balance because you want to invest in these guest stars and give them stuff to do, but you also need to allow them to be able to come and go. I think we’ve been able to strike that balance this season.

TTVJ: Dutch had a pretty rough episode–not only did Sabine lay some pretty hard truths on her, saying “most of you is already dead,” but she once again was forced to see how much Khlyen truly cares for her. How will she process all that information and move forward?
ML: One of my favorite things about this episode is Hannah John-Kamen and her work. I think what was wonderful about being able to see Episode 206 where we’ve got a lighter, frothier, breather of an episode, is that in the middle of that we had that intentional jarring cut to what it was really like for her to be Yala the killer. It was important for us to remind ourselves of that touchstone partly because of what happens in Episode 207, partly because we needed to see that Dutch, as much as she is a strong hero, is a wounded warrior and has this baggage that she’s been carrying.

In 207 what’s great about her confrontations with Sabine–obviously it’s all tied up with her second guessing herself and wondering if any of her suspicion and jealousy is anything as simple and human as that and it’s not. What I love about that final scene with Sabine is Sabine telling her ‘You know I see you. You know I see these damaged parts in you and you see them in me and it makes you uncomfortable.’ I think that was an important dynamic between those two women.

So a lot of what Dutch will do–not just the rest of the season, but the rest of her life–is finding that balance of ‘how do I keep that part of me in the box and protect the people around me and myself from these things I’m capable of?’ Ultimately she decided in this episode it was to put down Sabine to protect herself and her crew.

Syfy/Bell Media
Syfy/Bell Media

TTVJ: OK but now we must talk about Dutch’s amazing wardrobe this episode and that awesome undercover look!
ML: [laughs] I’m so glad you love that! I love that so hard that I sent stills to Hannah and was like ‘oh my God I just love this look!’ It was so fun and she just seemed young, playful and coquettish and we don’t often get that side of her. But man it was a great look! Hannah got to have fun in this episode as well because she got to put on different hats. She got to be trash talking, fighting, serious, vulnerable and ultimately, just that one scene of her at the end where she does take the shot is really heartbreaking to me, but ultimately at core the most Dutch scene that we’ve done in a really long time. It’s basically the essence of Dutch right there. There’s a very hard decision to make that she has to make for her team and she does it and she wears it and then she moves on.

I like to have those serious character moments, but whenever I do them I like to intersperse them with dress up and fun. [laughs] That’s basically Killjoys and the episodes that I write there’s always a damn undercover because I just think I secretly want her wardrobe.

TTVJ: It’s been so good all season, but that look was my favorite and ‘Nice stick. I’ve had bigger.’ It was just all so good!
ML: [laughs] That scene cracked me up so hard! She was so good in that scene and just so badass, but also kind of cocky and slick. We normally do her more pained and serious when she’s doing that stuff, but cocky Dutch is maybe my new favorite Dutch. Cocky retro 70s Dutch!

Syfy/Bell Media
Syfy/Bell Media

TTVJ: How worried should I be about my beloved Johnny Jaqobis and what Jelco has planned for him?
ML: Oh Johnny, Johnny, Johnny what have you done? Johnny is one of our leads so he’s going to make it out of the season in one piece I’ll tell you that. He’s a bit of a changed man by the end of it and this is a continuation of that trajectory. He has some very lovely, powerful and quiet character growth this season that I think is very honest and Aaron does an incredible job portraying. Johnny grows up and in order to grow up there’s a point where you have to choose who you are, what you believe in and who you’ll fight for.

He’s kind of put those pieces together and figured out the path that he wants and that path is obviously being a do-gooder. He’s using the powers of being a killjoy, the skills that he has, to make an actual difference–not warrant by warrant, not within the constraints of the rules or what the RAC approves, but what Johnny Jaqobis believes in, which is the freeing of Old Town and being by Pawter’s side while he does it. That we’re seeing in Episode 7 and it’s going to have some tangible downside for him and some pain, but right now it’s only affirming for him how much he hates Jelco and how much he wants the powers that be to pay for how they are shitting all over the people in Old Town. It’s become personal for him now in a deeper way and I think they need to watch out.

TTVJ: That was another great Sabine line when she was talking about how the Jaqobis brothers just care “so damn much.”
ML: Yes! It’s true. It’s true. They are just adorable balls of love the two of them. One of the things I have to say when I read people’s perceptions of things–and the audience is always fully free to interpret things as they choose–is that a lot of people are seeing a deep romance between Alvis (Morgan Kelly) and Dutch or wondering if it’s fully over between D’avin and Dutch. I like the idea that Dutch is so focused on the larger things in her life that what she needs is comfort, companionship and chemistry, but she doesn’t need commitment. I don’t believe that anything she’s in the middle of right now, and as we see in the beginning of 207, she’s with somebody that she has chemistry with and they have a history, but Alvis is not particularly monogamous and right now neither is Dutch.

I sense in her that she needs just a bit of a quiet space away from Lucy in some ways. She can tell that Johnny is pulling away and I think she’s trying to not overly deal with that. It’s impacting how she’s looking at Sabine and D’avin and all of these things lead back to this discomfort she has and feeling that there’s this absence with Johnny and not knowing how to handle it. I think that’s part of why she is spending her time with Alvis. It’s also just healthy for us to see that Dutch is allowed to do that. If that’s how Dutch gets her comfort and wants to spend her time then I’m good with that.

TTVJ: What should we expect in Episode 208?
ML: Episode 208 is written by Sean Reycraft who wrote Episode 202. It’s got some really twisted stuff in it that we’re pretty proud of in terms of tone. There’s some really interesting tonal stuff with Pawter, Johnny and Jelco as we continue along in that storyline. There’s creepiness and some answers in terms of where we’re headed with this wall and what it all means. Obviously, we’re heading into the last three episodes of the season so you’re going to get increasing stakes, more and more fallout and more and more answers as we head into our conclusion.


What did you like most about this episode? What will Dutch do with this new information? Add your predictions for the rest of Season 2 in the comments below!

Killjoys airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Space Channel and Syfy.