Three episodes in, and Killjoys has decided to take a breath. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely adventure and peril in Shaft but it doesn’t match the whip quick pace and plot cornucopia of the past two weeks. More threads of the broader tapestry are revealed; we get some intriguing character moments; and by the end Dutch has really come into her own. Meanwhile, Alvis and D’avin get some answers — albeit with more questions riding on their backs.
Previously On Killjoys: The team saved Alvis’s life. The Company plunked the Spring Hill bio-dome outside of Old Town and walled everyone in. Pawter and Hills went to Spring Hill only to have Hills snuffed out by the commander, Liam Jelco. Outcast Pawter was maneuvered into staying in the bio-dome as his guest-hostage. Johnny planted a kiss and a comm on Pawter’s face. Khlyen is Level6. Dav rejected his own Level6ening. Turin wants to use Team Awesome (TA) to figure out what’s really going on with the RAC.
We start off at the end of the story. Dutch is defiantly telling Khlyen she will never be like him; she will never be a Level6. Khlyen takes relish in letting her know that she already is a Level6 and slices her belly open to show her the torrents of green goo. Oh no!
12 Hours Before: Turin gives TA an ‘unofficial warrant’ to go investigate what should have been an easy Level2 salvage operation. Unfortunately, that killjoy team got sidelined by Black Rain, and sent a distress call that Khlyen intercepted.
When TA gets there, they discover the first team’s abandoned ship overrun by moss and humidity, an oddity in a barren wasteland. They follow coordinates to the first team’s last position. En route, they are met by one of the three, Tania, who is slow to trust, fast to shoot.
Dutch convinces her they’re here to help and are also recipients of the RAC’s treachery. Tania leads them down a shaft to an underground crystal mine worth millions of joy but inexplicably abandoned. The original warrant was to retrieval a monk. She says her husband, Paulo went nuts and started attacking her and her sister. After many mishaps and cave ins, we learn that the “Paulo” she’s chasing down is a figment of her imagination and the real Paulo is probably dead.
Soon they find out why: the cave is infested with giant, indestructible, moss-covered centipedes with psychotropic venom. Oh joy! Tania meets a sad end when the bugs lure her to a weakened part of the floor. When she falls, they swarm. Suddenly the piles of bones, which have been picked clean, that litter the mine make sense. Dutch is bitten by one while trying to save Tania so she gets the venom in her system as well.
It doesn’t take long before Dutch starts conjuring Khlyen. She also falls through some weakened floor, and the first scene is played out. She even conjures a double of herself to add insult to her own injuries. Dav, Johnny, and Alvis catch up with Dutch as she is cutting herself open and blood is coming out, not green goo. Whew! We get to see Dutch bearing her guilt nakedly instead of burying it under insane risk-taking and badassing. “We hurt everyone that we love… He’ll make me kill you!” Alvis sweetly, but adamantly motivates Dutch to snap out of her trance.
Crushing one of the bugs reveals that they’re comprised of green goo. Dav insists that they take a specimen because he’s pretty sure this is the same stuff that is used to make Level6es. Also it’s the same goo he’s immune to. As if to underscore this, the creatures show an aversion to him, which they use to get free of the caves.
Back on the ship Dutch is patched up, and Alvis reveals what he found in the mine: the remains of a Scarback who left a message etched onto a strip of his skin. Alvis wants to investigate what it all means at a Leithian monastery. They almost get pelvic, but Lucy interrupts them.
Dav marvels and silently freaks out over Johnny’s caged mossipede’s “NOPE!” feelings about him while Johnny looks on having his own little freak out.
Dutch is tired of being other people’s attack dog so she visits Turin while he’s sleeping and tells him that she’s flipping their arrangement on its head. He needs her, and she will no longer be his errand girl. He will provide intel and warrants and whatever else she requires at her discretion.
In the B-Story, Pawter is steadily trying to reach her parents on Qresh. She finally gets to her dad who is not inclined to help and assures her, her mum isn’t either. Jelco sees kinship as they’re both disgraced children of Qresh pushed off to the outskirts. Interesting. Pawter thinks he wants to seduce her and considering he’s trapped her with a proximity-sensitive, explosive ankle bracelet (that she really should have told dad about) his advances are far more sinister than his cheerful tone would indicate.
Fortunately, he doesn’t want her in a sexual way. He wants her medical services because Qreshi inbreeding has left him with a congenital heart condition, which requires daily drainage. He has other doctors, but he gets a kick out of making a daughter of The Nine his personal surgeon.
While Jelco is under anesthesia, Pawter goes through his files and sees plans for walls to be erected around other Westerley settlements. Dang, we thought the punishment of Old Town he outlined last week was effed up!
His gleeful pettiness is rewarded by her relocating the kaboom bracelet around his heart. Woohoo Pawter! She saunters out of Spring Hill only to be clobbered by somebody 5 seconds later. Oh no Pawter!
The best way to describe this episode is claustrophobic. It takes place almost entirely in a mine with narrow corridors and frequent cave-ins. It reminds me of a Star Trek cave cross pollinated with the Ajanti Dagger cave in The Golden Child. Speaking of Star Trek, the grossdorable ‘mossipedes’ look exactly like something TNG would have cooked up for an episode.
A mine with all Khlyen’s secrets laid bare? It seems like an awfully large loose end from the guy who killed all of his people and blew up Red17 after it had been breached by Team Awesome. Was Dutch supposed to find it? Hmm.
I appreciate the lack of filler. Short seasons make for dense storytelling at least. We get forward movement on all major plot threads. I want to know more about the theology of the Scarbacks and the place they hold in Quad society. I’m confident the Arkyn/Alvis/Scarback plot will pay off with dividends soon. Just need to be patient.
There is a direct Buffy references when Dav calls one of the pits a “hellmouth,” but the whole conversation with Turin hearkens back to Buffy’s Season 5 episode Checkpoint. The Watchers attempt to gain control over Buffy but she realizes she’s the one with the power. Dutch even casually throws a blade at Turin’s head just as Buffy did with her own blustering yet toothless authority figures. “No jumps. No hoops.”
Verdict: 3.5/5 Joy
Dutch: “First time seeing you out of your robes… well not the first time. Laundry day finally come?
Alvis: “Found it in D’avin’s room when I was going through his stuff.” >:) OT3….
Dutch: “Johnny, do an analysis.”
Johnny: “An analysis of what?!”
Dutch: “I. Don’t. Know. That’s just something we say, and you make it all better. Tell me what we’re dealing with.” :’D
Johnny: “Well to start with, they look like angry vaginas.” (LOL also relevant to point out that many sci-fi monsters look like angry vaginas. Oh nerds…)
Mind Khlyen: “Could I really have convinced you to kill all those people if you were a normal child with normal feelings?” 🙁
Alvis: “Dutch, you’re not like him. You cut yourself and you bleed, just like we do. … You said you don’t know what you believe in, believe that I am not leaving here without you, which means we die together. So, if you want to save me, you’re gonna stand up, get your shit together and get us out of here. Right now.” :’)