Killjoys is back in action with a surprising premiere that dived even deeper into the origins of Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) and Johnny’s (Aaron Ashmore) beloved partnership.
“The Warrior Princess Bride”, written by series creator Michelle Lovretta and directed by Stefan Pleszczynski, was framed as a modern fairy tale, told by Khylen (Rob Stewart) to an injured Dutch, about a princess (who also happens to be an assassin) and the thief (who’s really a kindhearted tech nerd) who saved her. Along the way we found out what brought Dutch and John to Westerley, how they met Old Town’s favorite bartender Pree (Thom Allison), and how they went from criminals to Killjoys. While we don’t know the full extent of the importance of that story, it did set up the foundation for a fun and emotional season.
The TV Junkies will be breaking down each Season 4 episode with Killjoys writers in our returning postmortem series. This season we’re kicking things off with Lovretta, who spoke with us about the unexpected and fun premiere, why Dutch and Johnny’s relationship goes beyond friendship, and hints at what’s in store for the upcoming season.
The TV Junkies: How did the writers come up with the idea to begin the season with a flashback to Johnny and Dutch’s early days? What was it like to try to capture the early stages of their relationship?
Michelle Lovretta: One of the privileges of knowing you have a final season (or two, in our case–bless our nets!) is that you start thinking over all the little story “nuggets” that you’d love to tell before you’re through: origin stories that have lived in your head for years, fights you’ve wanted certain characters to have, truths you’ve wanted them to tell.
This story had all of that for me. But what really sealed the deal was that there’s also a rock-solid, organic reason why this story needs to be told to Dutch now, even though that’s not clear to her or the audience quite yet. So instead of a stunt or a gag, it’s the beginning of a vital thread we’ll be following. I love that. Also, we left on a helluva cliffhanger last season, and I didn’t want this opener to just feel like “part two” of that finale, you know? When fans wait a year for another ten episodes, you want to give them something special. I loved that this structure allowed me to pay off where we left our story, while still giving me a way to break that mould and tell something unexpected and new. That’s exciting to me.
As far as capturing John and Dutch’s early days? Well, that’s like breathing to me. But more fun.
TTVJ: I found it very interesting to see Khlyen be the one to tell Dutch her own story. This iteration of him certainly knows more about the Lady than even Aneela. What can you reveal about the importance of Khlyen’s story, and why Johnny and Dutch’s relationship is so important for Dutch’s survival?
ML: The greater significance of that story is something you’ll come to better understand as the season evolves, as will Dutch. In some ways, Khlyen knows Dutch better than even John does, because he knew her as a child. He uses that emotional and psychological connection to his advantage here, as a way to get through to her.
TTVJ: It struck me how, even in the early days, Dutch and Johnny were willing to sacrifice themselves for one another. How were they able to build such a strong bond so quickly?
ML: They’ve been on the run together at least a few months by the time we see them in 401. But when Johnny met Dutch, she was covered in her murdered husband’s blood and running from the only home she’d ever known. You don’t make romantic moves on a traumatized widow unless you’re a predator, which John obviously isn’t. Once the pressure of any socially-expected sexual element was totally taken out of play, it allowed them to get to know one another without any bullshit, to bond in a different way those first crucial days. More like kids do, I guess. Sweet, goofy, innocent. Dutch was in a shell and John was doing his best to coax her out. If they’d met under more typical circumstances their relationship may have had a more typical course. I’m glad it didn’t.
Still, there’s fast friends, and then there’s family, the way John and Dutch are. So here’s a thing I’ve often wondered – along the way, deep down, was there anything about Dutch’s personality that reminded John of D’av? An instant comfort level. They’re both tough-but-busted warriors ashamed of their pasts and overprotective of John, and John’s always said Dutch is like a sister to him. I often wonder if that’s what he really meant, and whether that unconscious association with D’av is part of why he trusted her so quickly and loved her so instinctively? He wasn’t just finding a best friend: he was filling the missing big brother sized hole in his heart. I like that.
TTVJ: As much as it was an origin story for Dutch and Johnny in becoming Killjoys, it was also the beginning of Johnny’s relationship with Lucy. What is it about Johnny that makes Lucy switch gears about him?
ML: Even those first days, I love those two together. I love the snarkiness of early Lucy, and the sense that she made John work for her loyalty. Lucy clearly already had some programming that allowed her a personality and a version of free will within certain parameters–including distrusting the man that tried to steal her. But Lucy was a wedding gift to Yalena, and the ship was already programmed to prioritize Dutch’s safety when possible. I think that seeing John do that same thing–protect Dutch–is the beginning of Lucy starting to rely on his judgment.
TTVJ: Just out of curiosity’s sake, when did Johnny decide to give up on the eyeliner look?
ML: I bet he arrested one two many perps in Old Town who had that same look and he got tired of Dutch teasing him for it. Joke’s on him, she thought it looked hot.
TTVJ: It looked like the Lady was attacking Dutch’s mind by the end of the episode. What can you reveal about what’s happening to her?
ML: The world’s worst headache. And also a deeply emotional journey for Dutch that you will learn more about over the season, starting in 404. The story Dutch was told is a thread through the season, and once Dutch pulls it all sorts of truths begin to unravel.
TTVJ: What can we expect for 402 when we catch up with the present-day Jaqobis boys, Delle Seyah, and the RAC?
ML: Oh my god, so much bonkers fun. We switch gears in 402 and bring us back to the real world and present day, catching up with all our other favorite characters. For now, everyone is scattered in different but amazing little oddball groups, trying to find their way back together. Pregnant Delle Seyah and the Jaqobis bros surviving together in a hostile new place is the highlight for me. They’re the goddamn weirdest of forced families, yet they work, and I am totally in love with them. But don’t get too comfortable. Some big turns happen in this story that will alter the course of a couple of our characters. And at least one of them may not come back from it unchanged.
What did you think of the Killjoys Season 4 premiere? 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.