Killjoys: Zeph Goes Home, Finds Hope & Family – Review, EP. 508

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As a lover of backstory, and a good pitchfork vs. knife fight, Episode 508 of Killjoys brought me a particular kind of joy. Zeph heads home in search of answers and while she eventually got them, what we got as viewers was the weaving of many threads of Zeph’s life into an interesting and, eventually, life-affirming tapestry. And within that, we get a declaration from Zeph that seemed to have been a lifetime in the making. It was deep, it was rich and I loved the Zeph-goes-home story arc. Backstory, thy purpose has been fufilled.

But before we delve into this episode, titled “Don’t Stop Beweaving,” you should know that SPOILERS lurk below. So, if you haven’t seen the episode or have an aversion to SPOILERS, go no further.

But first, the title of this episode, “Don’t Stop Beweaving.” Full marks for whoever brought that one to light. As someone who came of age in the late ’70s and early ’80s, any passing reference to a Journey song makes my heart beat a bit faster. Well done and 10 Points for the Killjoys Writers Room & Michelle Lovretta. I’m Stone in Love with this episode’s title.

We’ve got a few things in play this week, but let’s focus on Zeph first and foremost. Last episode we got a little hint about her youth and why she eventually ran, but this week it’s a full-blown family visit. The “Mandalenes (Sp.?)” have an agro-tapestry that contains a ton of information on what has gone on for centuries in that part of the galaxy.

Zeph, who was evidently a rambunctious and rebellious youth (go figure, huh?), had broken into the old space ship (they built the community right over the top of it) that contained the tapestry and caught a glimpse of The Lady’s true form and how her species was broken in the past. Big information, folks. Could be the key.

So it’s simple. Zeph and Dutch head to the settlement, will get into the buried ship and steal info from the tapestry. Easy peasy, right? No, you could see the capture coming and there was something very odd about all these women clad in white with pitchforks and shovels at the ready. As Zeph said, everyday is laundry day at the settlement.

It’s here we meet the Great Mother, who runs the settlement. She’s happy to see Zeph has returned, but immediately drugs Zeph and Dutch and tosses them in the Pit. Now, as far as “pits” go, this one was pretty well-appointed, but it gave Dutch and Zeph a chance to have a sisterly chat about some things. I don’t know about you, but it seemed that Dutch has a slight bemused smile several times during the episode. She probably recognized that if she put the full weight of her “Dutchness” to the situation, that pitchfork ladies really had no chance. I was impressed by her restraint, to be honest.

One interesting moment occurred when Zeph was still unconscious. She had a dream about Pip. They were at the settlement, Zeph was pregnant and things were white and wonderful. Zeph eventually comes out of the dream, but it’s interesting that was in there and makes me wonder if, perhaps, we haven’t seen the last of Pip? I mean, there’s no way, right? Couldn’t have survived right? Mmmm, I admit to some doubts suddenly.

It was interesting to watch Zeph step back into this Spartan and anti-science/tech/thinking realm that seemed to be the lot of the women there. They were to do the menial tasks and provide children for the colony, so it’s not hard to understand, knowing what we know about Zeph, that she rebelled. But she was definitely feeling some things in this episode, a mixture of emotions, some of which I suspect she wished she wasn’t feeling. It was a great bit of acting that allowed us to see inside her a bit more. I enjoyed that.

But in the end, Zeph has to be Zeph and thanks to a fun little nerve pinch, she incapacitates the Great Mother, steals the amulet around her neck (it’s the key, man), and gets to the tapestry where she downloads the data. “I won’t miss this place, but I will miss your baking,” she says to the Great Mother as she leaves her unconscious in her chair. Magical line right there.

Dutch, who has been expelled from the colony’s borders, is looking for the weapons she’d hidden when she comes face-to-face with Zaia, one of Zeph’s “sisters” from the colony. Let’s be honest, for all the meek and mild outward signs of this colony, Zaia has a definite edge to her. Maybe it’s the return of Zeph, whom she felt overshadowed her, or perhaps she’s just got a bit of the wild side in her, too.

Whatever the case, Zaia faces off with Dutch in a pitchfork-knife battle in the woods. There’s swinging, stabbing, taunting and general mayhem going on. Two women, dressed in flowing all-white outfits, throwing down with a pitchfork and a knife in the greenwood just outside this peaceful and serene settlement. Loved it. Fortunately, Zeph ended things with a stun gun blast to Zaia’s back.

An interesting note here, Zaia and Zeph really did share a sisterly relationship. Kelly McCormack, who plays Zeph, confirmed for me that Zaia was played by her sister, Hilary McCormack. She also told me their mom was really excited about them being in the episode together. So, there you have it, a little extra tidbit to chew on. “Sisters, Sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.” Sorry, getting in Christmas mode at the moment.

Been a good last two episodes for Zeph as she’s really gotten some affirmation from her friends. Last week Turin, this week Dutch let her know how valuable she is and that they share a sisterly bond. I feel happy for Zeph, a character that’s obviously spent a great deal of time looking for her place among the stars, as well as family she can count on and love.

Now, it appears she has both. And she has science, which she adores. In the aftermath of stunning Zaia, Zaia turns to Zeph and tells her the “gods will curse you.” To that, Zeph declares, “The gods can suck it. The only higher power I answer to is science.” Hell yaa, Zeph. You rock that science passion, lady.

Also, shout out to the T-shirt action during dinner at the end of the episode. Zeph had made a comment about “me brains, you brawn” to Dutch, who quickly noted that needed to be on a T-shirt. And at the end of the episode, there it was. It’s those little touches, those moments that pay tribute to earlier comments or ideas, that help make this show so formidable. Makes me smile, those little attentions to details.

“Don’t Stop Beweaving” was a delightfully interesting episode and gave us a ton of backstory on Zeph, which I appreciated and enjoyed. But that wasn’t the only wonderfully interesting thing going on in this episode. And one of those things were some really fun tidbits about Fancy Lee. Turns out, Fancy isn’t just an acerbic wit with a bit of a bad attitude, he’s a devoted reader who enjoys  history and appears to be a skilled chef. In short, Fancy Lee is this show’s Renaissance Man.

I love how he just kind of came rolling through the room, dispensing his brand of knowledge and wit, then blows out the other door leaving everyone stunned and impressed. Talk about delivering a lot with just a little time on screen. Magical moments, all.

While Zeph is reliving her painful youth and Fancy is putting the “fanciful” in Fancy, Johnny and D’avin are working on their own plan aboard the Herk Supermax. Hold it, let’s not go there yet. Let’s go to the opening of this episode. It begins with a fun, light tune playing that is straight out of a 1950’s sitcom. I expected Ward Cleaver to pop out of a doorway at some point. Johnny jumps out of bed wearing a pair of spritely pajamas and big old smile.

He then dances through the decks, light as a feather, expressing his love and affection for Lucy (That tickles, Johnny). I mean, it’s a very weird opening scene given what’s going on in the Killjoys realm, but that’s what makes it so delightful. In short, I found it brilliantly irreverent and that made it work so well. Whoever came up with that, I give you kudos, congrats, and a hearty “you rock.”

Johnny and Lucy are reunited and his love knows no bounds, his joy is uncontainable, and he expresses it in a fun and silly way. Yeah, everyone else looks at him like his lost a thruster, but it is a scene that hammers home just how emotionally attached he is to Lucy. Just a great and unexpected opening sequence. “Ward, have you seen the Beaver this morning?”

So that’s the opener. Here’s the plan. While Dutch is away with Zeph, Johnny and D’Avin hold their own mock draft. They are going to create a couple strike teams from selected inmates about the supermax. Do a little training, drop into Westerley and try to get this terraforming operation stopped – an operation that is apparently way ahead of schedule. What could go wrong, right? Serious prison inmates trying to work together – with Mace and Calvert as team captains in a game of capture the flag. Naaaah, that’s going to be fun, right?

What I didn’t anticipate was the evil Herk Supermax doctor who just figured it would be better if he euthanized everyone. I mean, he wasn’t really a fan of rehabilitation and decided that he’d had enough of all this “let’s help these people feel better about themselves” crap. No, the capture the flag simulation was just the opening he needed to start his plan to gas everyone into unconsciousness and then start — you know — dispatching them.

I mean, I didn’t like the guy originally and you could tell he had some thoughts that really didn’t run in line with Warden Rennika, D’Avin and Johnny. But gassing everyone and then killing them? That was one I didn’t see coming.The good doctor was a cold one, that’s for sure.

Fortunately, Calvert was apparently a javelin thrower on the track team, and had developed a nice tolerance for the substance venting into the prison from her time in the psych ward. As the rest of the crew succumbed to the gasses, she rose up, snagged the flag pole and delivered a strike right through the doctor’s innards. It was a marvel to behold and would have certainly got her the victory in the Herk Supermax track and field championships. So that’s finished.

Some very interesting things going on with Khlyen and The Lady, who struggled in this episode with the deterioration of her human body host. There’s a strange dynamic working here with these two, one that you could kind of see working earlier, but now you got a full view of it. The Lady is another in search of family and belonging and has apparently decided that Khlyen is the person that she wants to help her with that. Curse this human body and the residue of humanity she’s dealing with.

The telling of the story by Khlyen, the frightened girl look, the frenzy of uncertainty, all kind of led through Khlyen in a strange way. It would appear that he steadies her and that, wrapped in a human form, the human imprint is growing stronger. In short, The Lady is looking for a daddy figure and Khlyen fits that bill well. Now, how that will play out should be interesting. He cupped her hand in his, but I’m curious to know if that’s simply a ruse.

As always, Khlyen keeps his cards close to the vest, so it’s hard to get a read on him. The Lady offered him the galaxy, so we’ll see if that was an offer that interests him.

Episode 508 has one of those wonderful Killjoys scenes toward the end when Calvert, Mace, Rennika, Johnny, D’Avin, Zeph, Dutch and Fancy are enjoying a meal together. Fancy displays his considerable cooking skills and the feeling of family, odd and unique as it might be, permeates the supper table. It’s a moment of laughter and joy, a moment of hope in a situation that still has a large element of hopelessness permeating it. It’s a moment that is so Killjoys that you can’t help but enjoy the hell out of it. There’s something about a meal together that brings family together. I thought it was a nice touch.

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John Baker