Anytime you do a fun little riff on “The Princess Bride,” you know you’re traipsing into rarified air. But that’s what the season 4 opener of Killjoys did, delivering a long-awaited and certainly satisfying little twist with the episode titled “The Warrior Princess Bride.”
Things have moved along nicely for our intrepid gaggle of characters since last we saw them blunt the Hullen incursion while Dutch and Aneela went on “walk-about” in The Green. I, for one, was delighted to see Dutch, D’Avin, Johnny, Pree, and the rest of the Quad on my TV screen again. It seems like such a long time since all hell broke loose and we found out about this sinister presence known as “The Lady.” But now they’re back at last and we drop in on the first episode to find Khlyen carrying Dutch in his arms in a stark, snowy and lifeless forest.
Turns out, our little trio of Green travelers have had some run-ins with The Lady and Dutch seems to have taken the brunt of it. This won’t be a long review given the format of the episode and if you’re reading this, you’ve likely seen the opener. But that opener was a little disheartening, but set the stage of what was to come very nicely.
That’s where it gets pretty creative as Khlyen takes on the role of Peter Falk in telling the fading Dutch a “story.” It’s a fun little storytelling device as we get a little pop culture reference and, in the telling, Khlyen takes Dutch (and us) back to when Johnny and Dutch were just getting started in their remarkable friendship.
I, for one, am a lover of a good backstory and in episode 401 we get a ton of it regarding the Johnny-Dutch relationship. It’s rich and inviting and does an effective job of snapping us into the Killjoys realm. Yes, The Lady is the reason for the season, but her injuring of Dutch allows for a chance to let the show fill in some of the holes that we’ve longed to have filled. it was a rich and robust look back at how Johnny and Dutch (yes, even how ‘Dutch’ came to be) forged their unique reliance on each other.
It was interesting to see Dutch trying to push John away, but he’d have none of it. As the story unfolded, they discovered that within each other there was something that touched a part of themselves, a better part. Oh yeah, the good-natured ribbing and riffs on death-defying situations was all there. The humor on Killjoys is both effective and well-done. If there’s an art to delivering an irreverent and funny quip, then this show is a masterpiece. Still, EP. 401 was about the path of discovery that each journeyed as they found their way to the RAC. I thought it was well-done and delightfully interesting.
God bless “The Princess Bride,” which continues to give unto us even 31 years later. I loved the whole vibe of Khlyen voicing over the action in that storyteller way as we see Johnny and Dutch careen their way to what would ultimately become a career as Killjoys. We also get a glimpse into their first meeting with Pree (Thom Allison shines and glows as usual) in the bar, as well as a bar fight and the ultimate mission that lead them to a career in RAC. Well, we know where that leads us, don’t we?
I thought this was a heck of an interesting episode and answered some fun questions we’ve probably (at least I) wondered about. Some might be bothered by this single thread of a story arc that dealt specifically with John and Dutch, but I found it satisfying on many levels. So often, shows of this nature don’t really get a chance to drill down deep and focus in on one or two characters for a full 60 minutes. But this story did that and did it entertainingly and plausibly. I thought it was unique and good fun through and through.
I thought it interesting that Khlyen was so intent on having Dutch remember the small details of the story and then, as The Lady found them, asked her what the lesson of the story was. I’d guessed that it was Johnny serving as her sort of “talisman,” which was partially correct. But it appears much more than that given Khlyen’s final words as Dutch is once again in the forest and apparently at the mercy of her foe.
“This is the story of lovely, lonely warrior and the thief who was about to save us all,” Khlyen says in a voice-over. A very interesting sentence with interesting implications. We shall see, won’t we?
In the end, we see Dutch in the snow, apparently at the mercy of The Lady as green tendrils slowly move through the snow, like blood through veins, reaching toward Dutch. Khlyen seems to know more about what’s going to happen than he lets on, but then again he was always a guy with a little extra something in his pocket. He played it close to the vest and in this situation it appears that’s still the case. It would seem that he understands that Dutch will have to suffer a bit under The Lady’s tender touch, and that in the end, John Jaqobis will be a key component if this Hullen menace is to be stopped.
From shakedowns, to poison, to dancing, to a good-old fashioned bar fight, the first episode of the new season of Killjoys brought the early struggles of some of our heroes into sharper focus. It also left us feeling a little uncertain about just who might be able to defeat The Lady, and how that could be accomplished. Obviously, this was a unique episode to kick off Season 4, so don’t fret — Pree, Fancy Lee, D’Avin, Delle Seyah and the rest of this wonderful world are certainly coming to the screen in short order. With only 19 more episodes of this unique show left, it’s a good time to reflect on how we’ve enjoyed it so far and to savor what’s still to come. Episode 401 kicked us off in a solid way. Onward!
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