*** This article contains major spoilers for the Killjoys Season 4 episode “O Mother, Where Art Thou” ***
Killjoys introduced another member of Dutch’s (Hannah John-Kamen) family, thanks to Khlyen’s (Rob Stewart) story. His breadcrumbs led Dutch and Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) to a pulsar hidden behind a black hole, where none other than Aneela’s mother, Yalena (Karen Glave), was waiting with a game-changing secret.
The revealing “O Mother, Where Are Thou”, written by Andrew De Angelis and directed by Killjoys‘ director of photography Michael Marshall, gave Dutch a Hullen kill switch, created by Khlyen, that could end the lady for good, but not without killing Aneela and everyone else connected to the Green.
For this week’s Killjoys postmortem we are joined by De Angelis, who discusses the writing room’s daunting task of creating Yalena, how this Hullen kill switch isn’t the end of Khlyen’s plan, and shares his pitch for a Pree (Thom Allison) and Gared (Gavin Fox) spin-off.
The TV Junkies: Aneela’s mother was as fiery and fantastic to watch as I’d hoped she’d be, and I couldn’t help but see some of Dutch in her. Were there any “nature vs. nurture” talks in the writers room about how similar or different they would be?
Andrew De Angelis: We definitely talked a lot about who Yalena would be, and it was daunting. She’s not only Aneela’s mother, but she’s also Dutch’s mother… kinda, sorta. We wanted to create a character who had elements of both Dutch and Aneela, but also had her own unique brand of badassery. She is, after all, head of the 10th Family and the only person capable of putting Khlyen in his place. Whether it’s nature or nurture, we all agreed this character had to be epic. A big hats off to Karen Glave for knocking it out of the park with her portrayal of Yalena.
TTVJ: Killjoys has always held a strong emphasis on found families–something we still see in this episode with those heartfelt moments between Dutch and Johnny–but we’re now seeing Dutch embrace her biological family. How does this shape Dutch’s personal journey moving forward?
ADA: I think Dutch has always tried to find the path less complicated, which is one of the reasons she became a Killjoy: take no bribes, take no sides. Simple. But family, as we all know, is complicated. Dutch’s family, in particular, is a real mind-bender–Khlyen only speaks in stories, for crying out loud! So I think Dutch’s embrace of the complicated nature of her biological family will make her more understanding of all the chaos that will inevitably befall her found family. And it will befall them, hard.
TTVJ: In the immediate fallout of D’avin’s (Luke Macfarlane) argument with Dutch, she opted to let him go and focus on tracking the pulsar. Those two had finally come to a comfortable place with one another this season, but that feels more tenuous than ever. How is she feeling about D’avin at this point?
ADA: She’s not. Dutch is really good a lot of things, but she’s particularly good at compartmentalizing her emotions, especially when there is a task at hand. Right now Dutch is focused on solving Khlyen’s mystery and saving Aneela. She’ll deal with D’av when she’s damn good and ready.
TTVJ: We now know the reason Khlyen gave Dutch that story was to not only find Yalena, but the only known way to destroy the Lady and everything else connected to the Green. Is Khlyen really prepared for Dutch to pull the kill switch after all this time?
ADA: Never! Khlyen is like the Black Knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, “‘Tis but a scratch!” He will never give up. He is a master manipulator, so if he’s sending Dutch on this journey, it’s for a larger purpose. Dutch might not be aware of it yet, but eventually, all will be revealed. Khlyen is always at least three steps ahead. He plays 3-D chess, blindfolded and upside down, while spinning plates on melting icicles.
TTVJ: I’m not sure I’ve ever loved Pree and Gared more than in this episode, which is both a credit to the writing and Thom and Gavin’s performance. They’re so effortless with each other. How do you tap into that when writing their scenes?
You know, the word “genius” is thrown around a lot these days, but in this case, I think it’s entirely appropriate.
No, honestly, all credit goes to Thom and Gavin for creating such a lovely dynamic between these two characters. It’s funny, it’s charming, it’s beautiful and I love it. They are so fun and easy to write for. I think I could write an entire episode of Pree and Gared just playing checkers. In fact, I have. I pitched it to Adam as a potential series finale, but he was worried that “… It might be too good.” And he’s not wrong. Anyway, I’m going to start pitching it around as a Killjoys spin-off called Pree-Nuptials. It’s a working title, but I think we can all agree that it’s working really well.
TTVJ: Will we learn about Gared’s lost days on the RAC? On second thought, do we want to know?
ADA: We’re going to find out a lot more about what is going on on the RAC, so prepare yourselves for that. Maybe not everything, though. We have to save something for a very special episode of Pree-Nuptials where Pree takes Gared to a hypnotist to help him with restless leg syndrome, which is making it impossible for Pree to sleep, and he’s turning into a real grump.
TTVJ: It was absolutely fantastic to see a hard-ass like Turin (Patrick Garrow) be forced to explain concepts like friendship and love to the adorable Weej (Ishan Morris). How did you approach writing that scene?
ADA: I love being able to show a completely different side to a character, and with Turin, it was such a fun switch. He’s such a hard-ass but you know he has a soft side. He may not like it, in fact he probably hates it, but it’s in there. I think Weej gives him the chance to let his soft side show because anyone else would make fun of him. It’s always fun to make your tougher characters a little more vulnerable, even if it’s just for a little while.
TTVJ: Dutch and Johnny are off on a rescue mission to save D’avin and Jaq (Jaeden Noel) from the Hullen. What can you preview about next week’s episode?
ADA: I’m under strict orders not to reveal spoilers, so all I can say is that it’s a very family-centric episode with some nice surprises. But I can tell you that in episode two of Pree-Nuptials, someone forgets Pree’s birthday (it’s Gared!).
What did you think about Dutch’s meeting with Yalena? 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.