Killjoys: Adam Barken Talks “Terraformance Anxiety”

SYFY/Bell Media
SYFY/Bell Media

*** Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Killjoys episode “Terraformance Anxiety” ***

And just like, only one episode of Killjoys remains! It’s hard to believe it, but it’s almost time to say one last goodbye to Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), John (Aaron Ashmore), D’av (Luke Macfarlane) and the rest of Team Awesome Force. Before that happens though, Killjoys went and delivered a huge penultimate episode with this week’s “Terraformance Anxiety” written by showrunner Adam Barken and directed by Stefan Pleszczynski. While things seemed to be going according to Dutch’s plan, as TAF foiled Khlyen (Rob Stewart), The Lady (Alanna Bale) now is in possession of Jaq (Jaeden Noel) and that can’t be good.

Though it may feel on the surface that we’ve escaped a penultimate Killjoys episode without a huge death, as has often been the case in previous seasons, The Royale and all of Old Town was destroyed. Thankfully, Pree was able to get people out of there and to safety in time. Between kickass action sequences and big declarations of love, this episode had it all. Everything has now led up to next week’s series finale, and showrunner Barken joined The TV Junkies one last time to break it all down for us.

 

The TV Junkies: This is the penultimate episode of Killjoys, and while you’re no stranger to writing penultimate episodes, having done it in Season 2 and 3, what were some of the unique challenges you faced here? 

Adam Barken: Oh, nothing too big. Just setting up all the necessary elements for the end of everything we’ve ever done on the show…

Which is to say, it was extremely daunting. Michelle [Lovretta] and I, along with our incredible writers, had been talking about this for months now, imagining the big moments and those final images that would give us a guide. Still, we had to find satisfying ends not only to Team Awesomeforce, but also all the other amazing characters – Pree, Gared, Fancy Lee, Zeph, Turin, Jaq, not to mention our Green Queens themselves, Aneela and Delle Seyah. That’s a lot of story to wrap up, even in a two parter like this season’s 9 and 10 essentially are. So it definitely took a few swings before we found ALL the right connections. But I think (hopefully) it worked out.

TTVJ: It really felt full circle to again be fighting Khlyen and felt so good to see Dutch foil his plan. But we know The Silver Fox is never out for good. How important was that moment in Dutch’s journey and what kind of tricks might he still have up his sleeve? Also, bless you for having Khlyen make a dick joke. That was just perfect! *chef’s kiss*

AB: It was incredibly important for Dutch to be heading into the finale in as much control of the situation (and Khlyen) as we’ve ever seen. She is no longer his student or his quarry or his target. She is running the show now. Whether she can actually achieve her goal… that’s another story. But it’s her plan, dammit – and Khlyen is along for the final ride.

As for the dick joke, that was a request from one of the awesome podcasters who came to our big press day during our last season shoot. As soon as he said “It’d be cool to hear a dick joke from Khlyen” I realized he was absolutely right – and I had just the place for one.

SYFY/Bell Media
SYFY/Bell Media

TTVJ: We saw Aneela and Dutch reunited, but then disagreeing what to do in regards to Khylen. Can we expect a united front from those two in the finale?

AB: Once Dutch realizes what Aneela is saying – that The Lady needs Khlyen – and the plan is formed, I think it’s fair to say they’re operating together. Just what the plan is, and what might go wrong, is all for the finale to reveal. But grabbing Khlyen was the first move, and Dutch sure did her part there. Let’s hope Aneela can keep it together long enough to do hers…

TTVJ: Speaking of united fronts, although his timing may be horrible, D’av telling Dutch that he loves her was really powerful. Props to both Luke and Hannah for that scene. Are these two now ready to head off into the sunset together? 

AB: Are there sunsets in space? Moonsets? I’ll have to check with Derek…

It was really important to me to hear D’av say those words to Dutch. Not because he needed to hear her response, but because he needed her to know – especially since they might not have another chance, if the plan went south – that he loved her, that he was fighting for her, and that whatever happened, she was the one person he would always want to do that for. D’av has been hit from so many sides, and dealt with so many curveballs and confusions, to have the opportunity to be sure of something was really a blessing for him. It’s one of the most unambiguous moments he’s had on the show, and it felt right to mark it.

But when we talked about that scene, Michelle’s idea that it should be expressed in the perfectly wrong moment was also totally right. Of course this is something D’av would say right before they’re about to shoot a bunch of shit. Both because it’s an illustration of exactly what he’s saying (and what we ALL love about them as a couple) but also because there’s no time to get too sappy. That’s not their vibe either.

As for their future… that all depends on the finale, of course. Hopefully we showed, over five seasons, why these two were actually perfect for each other, without making it a show about “Will They/Won’t They?” What can I say? I’m a big romantic suck. And I still melt a bit when I watch that scene…

SYFY/Bell Media
SYFY/Bell Media

TTVJ: D’av confronted how he truly feels about Dutch after a chat with, of all people, Delle Seyah. Why did you want her to be the one to make him come to this realization?

AB: I think because we found D’av and Delle Seyah had a really interesting new relationship thanks to Jaq – and also, they were both in love with…if not the same woman, then two unique aspects or outgrowths of an original source. (God that sounds clinical. Maybe I’m not such a romantic after all…). In any case, D’av’s earnestness, his lingering doubts and sense of guilt, mix perfectly with Delle Seyah’s acid tongue and confidence. Yet both have changed as well, because of being co-parents, but also because of, yes, love (I’m back, baby!). So it felt like a good time to show all that. Who knows if they’ll ever see each other again, after all…

TTVJ: The Lady now has the cube with Jaq and that can’t be good. What will Team Awesome Force’s next step be in their fight to stop her?

AB: Well first Aneela and Delle Seyah have to make sure they can – WAITAMINUTE… I see what you’re doing there, Liszewski. Nice try. All will be revealed in time. But no. The Lady having Jaq ain’t good. I can definitely confirm that.

TTVJ: Another thing that “just felt right” was seeing Pree back behind the bar at The Royale and singing with a bar full of patrons. Can you discuss that scene and its importance beyond of course just getting to bless us all again with more of Thom Allison’s amazing singing?

AB: At some point the theme of this episode made itself clear as “Know What You’re Fighting For.” For Dutch, it’s that sense of family and community she always ran from, yet deeply craved. For Pree, who had that community, it was about reaffirming it to the people who gave it to him, and who needed him. And when I was writing that scene, it just made sense to have them sing a song, to ward off the fear, and to remember who they are in their souls. Plus, when you’ve got Thom Allison in your cast, not having him sing would be a crime. The song itself was one Michelle had written way back in Season 1, I believe – in anticipation of Pawter’s sacrificial death for Old Town. So it all just kind of fell together, and gives me goosebumps when I watch it now.

SYFY/Bell Media
SYFY/Bell Media

TTVJ: The action sequences in this episode were some of the best we’ve seen on the show. What all goes into planning those out and making them look so great? Was there a sense you really wanted to “save everything up to go out on top”? 

AB: Absolutely. Our amazing Producer Claire Welland, Keeper of the Gold, was on top of that from day one of production, making sure we had some extra Joy stashed away for the big finale. This was a season of more contained action, and it really felt right go out with all the bangs. The takedown of the guards in the Computer Room by Dutch and Johnny was some of the coolest action I’ve ever been a part of. All props to director Stefan Pleszczynski, Stunt Genius Alicia Turner, and our incredible actors and stunt performers. All I had to do was write: “Dutch and Johnny take down the Guards in a super badass way.” They did all the actual work…

TTVJ: Did we really make it out of a penultimate Killjoys episode without a huge death? 

AB: I know a lot of very astute watchers have been anticipating a Very Big Death this episode, since we had been doing that for Episode 9 since at least Season 2. And we thought a lot about it too. In the end, we realized that the biggest “death” we could imagine was the destruction of the one thing they always fought for – Old Town. Their home. And nothing said “home” to us more than the dear, dirty old Royal Bar. Watching those doors blow off, and knowing the place was gone for good… it may not be as shocking or painful as seeing Pawter die. But it felt final in a way no other single death would. It’s not just the end of one life, but the end of an era. Truly.

However, if that doesn’t fully satisfy the blood lusters out there we did kill poor Carl too. I hope you’re all happy. Monsters.

TTVJ: One episode to go! Adam, I am completely not ready to say goodbye to you and your entire crew. How can we prepare for the finale? Without spoilers, what can you preview?

AB: Well… if I were to let you peak behind the curtain you might see:

A Very Scary Dinner Party…

The Worst Dance-Off Ever…

A Good Ole Fashioned Jaqobis Boy Shootenany…

Terror. Love. Loss.

But also Hope. Always Hope.

 

What did you think of this week’s episode? Predictions for the finale? Add your thoughts below!

Killjoys Season 5 airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.