Welcome back Killjoys!
Not stopping to breathe, episode three of this superb sophomore season of Killjoys jumps right in with new questions!
The series delivers all the suspense that we have all come to expect from the genius’ of Michelle Lovretta’s terrific team!Thank you!
This week’s episode, simply titled “Shaft” is not simple at all. There are several different and distinctive definitions of the word shaft, and ALL can and do apply at some point during this episode.
Right away we are asking ourselves, IS Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) a 6?? An exchange between Dutch and the calm and cocky Khlyen (Rob Stewart) has us shaking our heads – can Khlyen be right? Our beloved Dutch a 6? Slicing her gut open to prove to her, and us, that Dutch is a 6, her abdomen spews and spills green goo.
Before we can wrap our heads around that exchange, we are tossed back in time. A hallmark of Killjoys is its editing. This episode is no different; pieced together beautifully, keeping us on the edge of seats, the credit this week goes to Teresa Hannigan. Picking us up from the bottom of a shaft we are placed on Westerley in the company of Turin (Patrick Garrow), with Johnny Jaqobis (Aaron Ashmore), D’’Avin Jaqobis (Luke Macfarlane), and Dutch discussing the particulars of a mission.
Like our previous episode, our cast and crew are operating under the direction of Martin Wood. At the same time, our cast would be nothing if they did not have words put in their mouths, and one of the co-executive producers of “Shaft” also wrote this episode – one Jon Cooksey. Mr. Cooksey has quite the résumé to his credit, something that creator Michelle Lovretta seems to look for and appreciate in her cast and crew, from the top down, quality through and through. Writing credits for Mr. Cooksey include Arctic Air, Primeval: New World, and The Collector to name a few; for which he has numerous producer credits as well.
After apparently summoning our heroic trio to a desolate locale, Turin explains to them that their next mission is a search and rescue of sorts. Roughly a week earlier another trio had been dispatched to the Northern Badlands on a level 2 salvage warrant. The threesome, Paulo (Zach Apostoleris), Tania (Lina Roessler), and her sister Deena, went missing. Straightforward enough, eh? Nope. There were no other details available for Turin to provide. The warrant was sealed; their call for an evac was intercepted by Khlyen and subsequently covered up. No rescue team was sent, Turin wants to know if they are still alive; if so, bring them home and find out what and why Khlyen covered up.
In a rapid succession of scenes, we see Pawter Simms (Sarah Power) rifling through Jelco’s desk (Pascal Langdale) and being startled by Johnny coming across the communicator. She finds footage of Jelco shooting Hills Oonan (Frank Moore), and is denied access to a biometric stowage area on the desk. From that pair, we go to our next pair, Alvis (Morgan Kelly) and Dutch, back on Lucy (voiced by Tamsen McDonough). It seems to Dutch that Alvis may be questioning his beliefs and faith, but she quickly counters with her possibly not being the best person to entertain this conversation with.
After search failed to turn up any survivors, finding only the abandoned ship of Tania, Paulo, and Deena, Johnny, Dutch, and D’Avin go back out and try again. This time they hit the jackpot, only it’s Tania that finds them, firing warning shots across the “bow” of their rambler. Tania leads them to a mine, sharing that the salvage of their warrant was monk. At this point Tania is on a singular mission, to find and rescue her sister Deena. Explaining that when the black rain came she and Deena sought shelter from it AND Paulo in the mine. Continuing that when the lights went out, when batteries finally died, Paulo snapped, and that he is still around…in the mine.
Back at Spring Hill, Pawter is using an “acquired” holophone to speak to her father about getting out of Spring Hill when they are interrupted. Jelco hears her father tell Pawter that she is safe in Spring Hill, and he agrees with her father, pointing out a nifty piece of jewelry on her ankle. He warns Pawter that if she “strays too close to the perimeter, the pretty princess goes boom.” But never one to dwell on negatives, Jelco is quick to tell Pawter that he needs her. He needs her to drain a “chronic pericardial effusion” and that though he could have any doctor do it, he tells Pawter “you’re here, you have to what I say.” But, he makes it seem like it is a two-way street, declaring that if she helps him he will help her.
Upon hearing that the salvage was a monk, Alvis is brought to the mine to help with the search as well. While Johnny is preaching safety to all – “whatever’s down here, Khlyen was willing to sacrifice three Killjoys for it” – D’Avin find the hole from hell, never-ending darkness, and Tania hears Paulo and takes off. She finds Paulo and before the others can catch up to her, he does his best to convince her that these people are trying to kill her. Tania tells him to shut up and that he’s not making any sense, and then shoots him.
Hearing the gunshots and catching up to Tania, Dutch commands Johnny to take her back to Lucy, insisting that she is a liability and cannot question Paulo if Tania kills him first. While being led out by Johnny, it seems as if Tania has now gone completely off the rails, insisting that Paulo is following them. As they turn a corner, Tania ends up behind Johnny and shoots an unstable juncture of the mine causing the mine to collapse in, around, and on Tania – separating Johnny and Tania from the others.
Johnny tells everyone that he has to go back to Lucy to get equipment to get them out and that they need to stay where they are and keep an eye out for Tania. Right, you see them “sheltering in place”? Nah, I didn’t think so either. Alvis questions going on the move, and we hear D’Avin saying, “there are three of us, I think we can handle one hostile.” As they go by, the camera pans to ground level, to a creepy, gooey, moss covered creature with a stinger from hell.
In a brighter and cleaner environment, Pawter is now draining the fluid from around Jelco’s heart. He questions what kind of sedative she gave him, telling her that she would be dead before she leaves the clinic if she kills him. “Something for the pain” Pawter tells Jelco. Playing in the background is a song called Adam Agin. As she is working, she nicks an artery causing blood to spurt everywhere out of his chest. Directing the guard to apply pressure to Jelco’s chest, Pawter turns to her instruments and then suddenly stabs the guard in the back with a syringe. The guard suddenly wraps his hands around Pawter’s neck and we are left to watch a waiting game of who passes out first – Pawter or the guard. Luckily for us and Johnny, things went dark for the guard.
The darkness of Lucy’s interior is where we find Johnny packing his gear to go back to the mine when Lucy informs him that Turin was telling him the truth, that the Red 17 Base was destroyed, but only after a large transfer of data. He tries to communicate with Pawter in his haste, but her commlink is still down. Asking if Lucy can still scan her vital signs, Lucy reveals to Johnny that less than a minute earlier there was a spike in stress levels triggering instant and extra angst in Johnny as he tends to Dutch, D’Avin, and Alvis. He “leaves a message” for Pawter, provided that Lucy regains communication with her; he directs Lucy to tell Pawter that he is coming for her.
In the mine, D’Avin and Alvis come across a tree and two piles of skeletons, picked clean of any flesh. With runes on the ground, Alvis seems to have seem them before and starts to recite Scarback scripture, “twelve went away to fight the devil, and none came back…” D’Avin looks at Alvis quizzically, like he knows, like he wants to know, but Alvis quickly dismisses D’Avin. Fueling further more questions, Alvis divulges to Dutch that there are more than enough crystals in this mine to power at least half of the Quad, that it wasn’t stripped clean, that it instead was shut down. Dutch starts to question why, but then she hears Tania calling out for Deena and takes off after the sound. Not being able to get to them, Johnny tells D’Avin and Alvis that they have to go after Dutch and Tania. Alvis takes one more hard and long look at the tree, like he knows something more.
Tania tries to explain to Deena that RAC sent help, yet now only hears Paulo and only shoots wildly in the direction of his voice. Paulo tells Tania that she failed Deena, that “she’s gone”. Not wanting to hear this, Tania backs away from Paulo and falls into a hollow. But wait, who’s crazy now? Tania or Paulo? As Dutch arrives, there is NO Paulo! Instead, Dutch tries to pull Tania to safety, losing her glasses in the meantime. As D’Avin and Alvis arrive, they quickly shed light on the subject and show Dutch that Tania is being consumed by mossy, gooey worms with stingers and teeth! If I didn’t know any better, these creatures reminded me of the Trill symbionts from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, just not so peaceful!
In a moment of comedy, for the viewers at least, there is this exchange between Dutch and Johnny, “Johnny do an analysis!” “Analysis of what?!” “I don’t know! It’s just something we say and it makes it all better!” Dutch again questions how this is all linked to Khlyen. She sees that there are two skeletons with Tania, Paulo and Deena. Tania must have been led there, lured to this spot by these creatures somehow, hallucinated seeing her sister and her husband.
Using chainmail gloves, Johnny grabs one of the organisms, and immediately snaps out his first observation and analysis, calling it an “angry vagina”. Johnny proclaims that these creatures are moss covered centipedes, using the moss as camouflage, the same moss that they originally found on and in Tania’s ship on their first search of the area. Johnny concludes that they move about using some kind of hive mentality, and they’re smart about it too. Now I have to take issue with this conclusion of Johnny’s; by merely looking at this centipede and poking it with a finger he says that they must have some sort of psychotropic venom.
Huh? I don’t recall seeing any bites on Tania, or hear her screaming from being bit before her hallucinations – which I know I would do if one of those centipedes bit me, what with all their teeth and those jaws/stingers! Personally, my explanation would have been along the lines of an inhaled hallucinogen from the moss, or perhaps an inhaled pain blocker for when the unsuspecting individual eventually gets bit. Neither here nor there, onward we go! Dutch tells Johnny to continue to figure out the mossipedes as she and the boys find their way back to Johnny. Dutch, D’Avin, and Alvis reach another branching juncture as Johnny has cut a centipede in half and proclaims that both side remain alive.
Having now split up along three branches, D’Avin asks his brother if he tried stomping on one and then takes a moment to pry one off the walls and stomps on it. Now oozing green goo and amazed at his finding, D’Avin suggests that this green goo is the same green goo from Arkyn used for 6’s and that this is why Khlyen is being so secretive of this mine. At the same time that D’Avin is making this discovery, Alvis is making his own. He finds the missing monk. He takes his glasses off, and then proceeds to examine the monk and take something from the monk too.
Dutch, Dutch, Dutch…she is without her glasses, so no one can see where she is or where she is going. As she is “hailed” by D’Avin, she yields no immediate response. Hearing something, she shines her light on Khlyen. Alvis and D’Avin get back together and then go after Dutch as she is not responding. Finally replying to the boys, Dutch proclaims to have seen Khlyen and that he is perhaps down here to make sure that Tania did not get back to the surface and tell all what she had seen. She says that he is now stuck in the mine, that he will not escape her. Completing that sentence, Dutch missteps and falls down her own rabbit hole – the shaft that we saw at the beginning of the episode, knocking herself out in the process.
Dutch wakes up, immediately turns over, finds Khlyen and demands to know why he is there. Denying Dutch left and right – until she questions him about Red 17 and being turned into a 6. Now, remember this… ”Right away we are asking ourselves, IS Dutch a 6?? An exchange between Dutch and the calm and cocky Khlyen has us shaking our heads – can Khlyen be right? Our beloved Dutch a 6? Slicing her gut open to prove to her, and us, that Dutch is a 6, her abdomen spews and spills green goo.” We still can’t say for certain…or can we?
Yes, we can. Alvis figures out where Dutch is, we pan back to her and Dutch is now talking to herself. She has now officially lost it, much in the same fashion as Tania. Dutch is found by herself, slicing her own abdomen. Not a level 6, and almost a gutted fish. It takes a leap of faith from Alvis to bring Dutch back from the brink. Reminder Dutch that she told him she didn’t know what she believed in and tells her to believe that he is not leaving the mine without her, even if “it means they die together”.
To get Dutch moving, he declares that if she believes she can save him she needs to get up and “get them out of there right now!”Facing moving walls and floors, D’Avin raises his hands as if to tell the centipedes to “go away” – AND THEY DO!! As the group heads out, Dutch looks over her shoulder behind her, only to see herself smirking back at her.
Lion-S Band is playing as the group is back aboard Lucy and Johnny is “sonic stitching” Dutch’s abdomen. It turns out that Dutch was bitten, what with the infection in her hand, and though they are more or less convinced the hallucinogen has run its course, Dutch states that she would feel much better being checked out by a qualified physician, Pawter…Pawter!
While our heroes were in the mine, Pawter managed to get into the biometric drawer in Jelco’s desk using a surgical glove with his blood, his DNA on it. Within that drawer was a flash drive of sorts that showed the plans for walls around each and every city on Westerley. In a sweet twist of fate, it turns out that Pawter did not kill Jelco. Instead she used the bloodied, DNA covered surgical glove to also remove her lovely bit of ankle jewelry. Here’s the sweet part, Pawter instead put it in Jelco’s chest, around his heart! Wicked cool!!
More brilliant writing can be heard in the next few exchanges… “I don’t want to kill you Jelco, you’re just a symptom and I have to treat the disease”, Pawter declares as she walks toward the door to leave. Jelco starts after her, but with a flash of a glowing smile and the wave to and fro of a finger, Pawter cautions him, “Uh uh, I wouldn’t push that too far or the little prick goes boom.” And see walks out the door, LOVE IT!! Pawter walks out, toward the wall and establishes contact with Johnny. The signal starts to fade and it becomes static-y and Pawter suddenly gets clubbed across the back of the head.
Back aboard ship, Alvis and D’Avin have an exchange in the hallway –Alvis thanks D’Avin for “dekilling” him while under Spring Hill. As these two finish their chat, Alvis heads to his quarters and Dutch already in there. A heart to heart starts with Dutch declaring that she believes she is a weapon and should start to conduct herself as such. Alvis goes to his bag and expresses that he knows why Dutch brought him along on this mission. He shows her that he had found the monk, shows her a strip of what looks like leather, but turns out to be a strip of the monk’s skin – with a message on it, “one came back”.
Alvis takes off his shirt, revealing to Dutch the scripture that was also on the floor in the mine, “twelve went to fight the devil,” and one came back. Playing in the background now is Wolf Saga. This song ties this episode up neatly, especially with Dutch’s conclusions about D’Avin’s recollection about the monks on Arkyn in battle, Alvis’s monks, the green liquid, Khlyen – like she asks, “what’s the connection?” Someone or something has to be “calling” to them.
The song continues to play as D’avin “tests” Johnny’s new pet (with Johnny looking on quizzically). Alvis tells Dutch that he is getting off at Leith to visit a monastery there, searching their original scriptures for answers.They are about to share a tender moment when Lucy interrupts with a simple “Dutch” in a tone not too different from a parent telling a child to think twice about their next move – funny, but not funny; these two are grown-ups and can do as they wish. After a brief pause, Lucy proceeds to tell Dutch that she had analyzed the microwave transmissions from Arkyn.
The final song of “Shaft” is Unlike Pluto and featuring Joanna Jones. It leads the closing scenes for us viewers. Back in the Westerley Badlands, we find Dutch sitting at the foot of Turin’s bed, spinning a knife on its point. Turin startles awake and in one action takes the pistol from under his pillow and sits up, pointing it at Dutch. She immediately questions him about the transmission from Arkyn. Turin claims the piece was encrypted, “uncrackable” and therefore it was pointless to mention it. Dutch know something because she pries about where it went, to which Turin claims that he doesn’t know and then gets defensive about the conversation and Dutch’s tone.
Dutch demands to know where it went and a warrant be issued to follow up on it. As Turin completely disagrees with her, she flings her knife across the front of his face, barely missing it. Dutch tells Turin about the new order. If he wants her help with what’s going on, she is in charge, Dutch “calls the shots”. She grabs her knife from the wall, tells Turin she’ll be in touch, and walks away leaving him flabbergasted.
I can’t wait to see what happens next – a new direction for Dutch having laid down the law with Turin and how willing is he to go along with her? Where is Pawter, is she ok, what happened? What’s up with D’Avin, what makes him different? Will Alvis find the answers he seeks? What about those we didn’t see this week – Fancy Lee (Sean Baek), Pree (Thom Allison), Bellus (Nora McLellan)? Killjoys is getting good, really good.
Thanks to Kenn for final audio, video embedding , and additional image staging, and many thanks to you for reading and visiting WormholeRiders News Agency.
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