I can tell I’m going to like this – a lot. This whole D’Avin, Dutch and Johnny in the supermax prison gambit just seems to offer so much potential, some of which we got a look this week in episode 504 of Killjoys, “Ship Outta Luck.”
Oh, Team Awesome Force was in its full glory early on, giving us a look at what makes them special, what makes them so formidable, and then the plan, as it usually does, goes in the toilet. Be careful what is outside the warden’s office window, it can be demoralizing as hell. Fortunately, Episode 504 once again reminds us that when good plans go bad, our heroes simply create another plan – the old lemonade out of lemons philosophy.
But before we get into the episode, Gandalf stopped by and wanted me to remind everyone that “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” because of SPOILERS. That’s right, staff thrust in the ground, Gandalf wants you to know that SPOILERS are coming and you should take the bridge back to whence you came if you don’t want to be SPOILED. If you’re good with that, continue on to Mordor – or the Herks Supermax Prison.
Like I said, I knew that this whole “put them in prison to lure Jaq out of hiding” play of The Lady and Khlyen had plenty of potential. We got a good look at that right out of the gate as an attempted prison break just after they arrived was foiled easily. And in its aftermath, Dutch was thrown in solitary, D’Avin ended up in the psych ward, and Johnny was put on laundry duty (How does he get the soft touch?). Apparently, he seems less dangerous than the other two, except to dirty whites.
Fortunately, D’Avin had one of my favorite bits of dialog from this episode when he’s talking to the warden, trying to explain what’s going on with Westerley, and by extension the whole J. “The Lady controls the Hullen, this super strong undying not alien, but kind of alien ’cause they’re infect with goo, people.” Sheer poetry from D’Avin. Just, a moment of vocal gold.
What’s great about the prison stuff is all the little tales that are going on around their incarceration. Johnny, for all the sadness of last episode, is really in his element in this one as he steals a computerized wrist item that allows him to hack into the prison’s systems, and eventually provides him the circuitry to insert the “lucy card” into it. Lucy isn’t back, but it’s her base program and he affectionately names her “New Lucy” or “Newcy.” Note: There’s a debate about how this is spelled. Conjecture commence.
See, there is hope for the Lucy-Johnny reunion we all know must happen. From sad to optimistic in the span of one episode. I’m energized. No, Tamsen McDonough, you will not leave us so quickly, will you. Nay, I say. And for that, I (and the fandom as a whole, are grateful).
Johnny not only gets that going, he finds a way to get some help to Dutch in solitary (Spoon, fingerprint, escape…who knew?), then together they go get D’Avin. I’ll be honest, as plans go for this threesome, this one seemed to be going a bit too easily. And, as we saw, that was the case. In the warden’s office, they get a full-on look at what they’re really involved in. It’s not an underground facility, as Johnny deduced, it is a spaceship. Cons in space, it is. The gang is lost in space with a bunch of killers and a warden who only needs to keep one of them alive.
It’s here that the fun really gets going as favors are negotiated for on both sides. I’m going to say it right now, I love Warden Rennika. She kind of has this jaded, cynical, seen-it-all but I’m still wicked cool kind of vibe going. Rachel Ancheril has already, to my mind, imbued Rennika with a vibe that I find very enjoyable. She’s in charge, but she also has some issues and it’s with those issues that we get her more involved with Team Awesome Force. I think I’m developing a crush on her. Oh, those in-charge women.
My guess is that the warden and our trio are going to become uncomfortable partners in a dance that has many different songs. There will be ups, downs and some raised eyebrows (does that count as a trope?), but I really like this character and think, given her obvious intelligence and experience, she will be a formidable antagonist/ally as this thing moves along. I hope she sticks around. I’d hate to see her gone quickly via shiv in the prison lunch line. (RIP Weej).
In fact, we meet a whole slew of new characters in this episode. The prison is fertile ground, as I said, not just for storytelling, but for new faces to emerge. Our heroes are asked to find out who is trying to put a hit on prison boss Sparlo, which they do when they get a full view of a woman named Calvert and her talents. D’Avin met her in the psych ward, then we see her again dishing up the slop for the meals. Turns out, she’s a hired hitter that’s got considerable skills, as were demonstrated in the weight room brawl. Took all of Team Awesome Force to subdue her. And yes, I found her wildly intriguing as she beat up our heroes. There, I admit it.
We also see a face from season 1 in Coren Jeers, who upon release from the hole, recognizes Dutch, D’Avin and Johnny as Killjoys and rejoices in the potential mayhem the prison population is likely to unleash on them. Seems they put him in jail and the rest of the population doesn’t exactly love the bounty hunters, either. So that’s a problem. Fortunately, it’s one that is solved temporarily when our heroes save Sparlo from assassination. Calvert, you were so close. The choking him on the barbell gambit just takes too long.
But it’s clear that Jeers is going to be a problem. He’s the one who put the hit out on Sparlo and is intent on snagging the current boss’s territory and many business pursuits inside. So, we’ve got a potential prison war on our hands. That’s when things get really interesting. Dutch makes another deal with the warden (Rennika, you are my muse!) to put she and boys right back in the same violent wing of the prison…with Sparlo’s protection.
Her plan? To physically take over the prison ship. My guess is that she’s going to do some recruiting of prisoners to help with this and they run it, maybe even fight on their side when that time comes. But for right now, it’s Sparlo vs. Jeers in a prison showdown that should offer some fun. Double-crosses? Oh, I think we can easily see some zigging when others expect zagging. I’m delighted and excited about this storyline. And Calvert? Oh, she’s not done, I bet. Too much energy and skill there to stay silent for long. Wait for it….
But the prison action was only part of the fun in episode 504. Was it me or was this episode really filled with interesting stuff going on? I really liked it and one of the things I really liked was the re-awakening of Zeph, followed by her awakening of Turin and Pree. Honestly, these three together are a veritable feast of good lines, fun attitudes and good old-fashioned fun.
Zeph finally figured out those carved symbols on her arm and makes her way to her lair where, to the astonishment of no one, she has left herself a vid message. Once watched and the antidote to the mind-washing applied, she goes after Turin and then Pree. Her attempt to lure Turin with temptation of drugs is comical as he says “I”m sure there’s a market out there for stinky raincoat sex, but it ain’t me. Hard pass.”
So wonderfully crusty and to the point, which is such a Turin thing to say. Loved it. Patrick Garrow does such a wonderful job with Turin. Just the crustiness of a cowboy boot run through the mud and left to bake in the sun for a month. But with a heart and soul buried in there.
Later, with Pree awakened and the planning beginning, Turin offers another nugget with “Seriously, people with brains believed you were head of the RAC.” To which Pree, without missing a beat, delivers a golden nugget himself, “Oh Chipmunk, I hate how good I was at it.” Should I wax eloquent about Thom Allison again? Here it is – marvelous wrapped in a velvet coat of exquisite. There, I said it.
There’s so much interaction within this show that is so spot-on, so entertaining and enjoyable that picking out favorite moments or lines from an episode is a filling buffet of entertainment. But the Turin-Pree-Zeph troika is a really fun and smart group that play off each other so well. There’s sass there, but there’s also affection and appreciation. Kelly McCormack, Garrow and Allison are a really good trio together. Always fun, always lively and always uniquely them.
So, figuring out where Dutch and the boys are becomes priority No. 1 for the second group of three, but instead of discovering the prison (in space), they find a blind spot on Westerley, which reveals a fleet of Black-root ships. Turin and Zeph investigate and the connection with the rain is made. The Lady is seeding the clouds with a compound that helps her control Old Town’s residents. I also enjoy how discoveries like these are followed by explosions. Turin and Zeph damage 30 percent of The Lady’s ships, causing some consternation from The Lady.
It’s interesting to watch The Lady deal with the emotions of the human body she wears. Obviously, she wears the skin, but doesn’t erase all the humanity within those skins and we’re starting to see that play out a bit. Emotional outbreaks (sorry dude, out the airlock with you), and the overall unnerving of The Lady after the ships are destroyed. She senses rebellion in Old Town, but also has to deal with emotions that are confusing and confounding for her.
Once again, the relationship between The Lady and Khlyen is so very interesting. Each is pursuing their own interests while trying to get a read on the other. There’s subtle manipulation going on, particularly on Khlyen’s part – but both are playing the game. I sense that The Lady is intrigued by Khlyen and has, somewhere in that stolen body, found him an interesting ally/antagonist.
Rob Stewart and Allana Bale have a real fun chemistry as they do their little Lady-Khlyen dance. I’m curious to see where this ends up. Does she start to find the struggles of emotion and humanity a bit much to handle as time goes on? There’s already a little difference in her. Let’s see.
And are we, at some point, going to have some resolution to the Johnny-D’Avin-Dutch tension over Johnny’s feelings for Dutch? Once again, we had a few moments that were tense as the subject was broached (often awkwardly, I grant you) a couple of times in this episode. Johnny is obviously dealing with some very interesting emotions, something that should be interesting to see resolved down the road.
So, we’ve got more folks awake and that should make for some interesting action, both in the prison and on Westerley. Let’s see where this thing goes and how it gets there.
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