Killjoys S02E03 “Shaft” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- We open with Dutch at the bottom of what looks to be a pit full of skeletons; Khlyen is there too.
- He tells Dutch she’s always been a Level Six, and cuts her to prove it. She spills green goo for blood.
- 12 hours earlier…
- Turin has an assignment for the Killjoys: a level two salvage warrant in the Badlands has gone wrong. A rescue transmission was sent, but it was intercepted by Khlyen.
- In the Badlands, the Killjoys – with Alvis for back-up this time – find an abandoned ship, covered in a strange moss.
- Pawter is still a “guest” of the Company at the Spring Hill bunker near Old Town. She has footage of Jelco shooting Hills, and is trying to upload it somewhere. However access to the computer systems is restricted by DNA.
- Dutch, Johnny, D’avin and Alvis enter what looks to be an abandoned mine, and find one of the missing Killjoys: Tania. She and her sister Dina have been hiding from their other team-mate Paulo; they claim he turned on them.
- There’s a connection between the Scarbacks and mining, so Alvis handily knows something about the layout of the mine.
- It seems Jelco has a dicky ticker, and needs a doctor to maintain it. To ensure Pawter’s compliance, Jelco has fitted her with an ankle tag, which will explode if she leaves the bunker.
- As the Killjoys venture further into the mine, they find more of the strange moss.
- Tania shoots at what she thinks is Paulo, hits a support beam in the mine, and causes a cave-in in one of the tunnels, separating herself and Johnny from the others.
- Pawter has Jelco out cold on the operating table. She nicks something in his chest sending blood spurting. Under the pretence of getting the guard to help stem the flow, she injects him with something, knocking him unconscious.
- Lucy confirms to Johnny that the Red-17 base on Arkyn was destroyed, but not before a large amount of data was transferred off the moon.
- D’avin and Alvis find what looks to be an old Scarback temple in the mine. Some of the symbols look familiar to D’avin. The mine wasn’t depleted; there are still plenty of crystal deposits there, so why was it abandoned?
- Johnny cuts his way back through to regroup with the others in the mine. Tania goes for Paulo again, but falls into a pit full of moss. It seems the moss is actually some kind of creature (a mossipede!). The mossipedes proceed to devour Tania.
- The mossipedes defence mechanism is to inject a hallucinogenic toxin; Paulo has been dead for some time – the mossipedes used his image to lure Tania to her death.
- Using blood she obtained from the incapacitated Jelco, Pawter manages to get access to the computer system. She sees not only plans for the wall around Old Town, but plans for a wall around every city in Westerley.
- Alvis finds the salvage objective of the original warrant: a Scarback monk, dead for quite some time.
- Dutch falls into a pit and finds Khlyen there. We’re back to where we came in at the top of the episode.
- After cutting Dutch to prove she’s a Level 6, Khlyen morphs into another Dutch (double Dutch!).
- The rest of the gang find Dutch, she’s alone at the bottom of a pit and has cut herself open. To make matters worse, a horde of mossipedes are advancing on all of them.
- Alvis manages to talk Dutch round, and the mossipedes don’t seem to like D’avin, so everyone manages to make it back to Lucy.
- Jelco is up and about again, but Pawter is just on her way out. We hear the ankle tag beeping as it gets closer to the bunker exit, but it’s on Jelco now, in his chest. Seems Pawter was busy while he was under the anaesthetic. As Pawter leaves the bunker and heads to Old Town to meet up with the Killjoys, someone (we can’t make out who) knocks her out from behind.
- Alvis found a message from the dead monk in the mine, written on skin. It’s an excerpt from a Scarback Prayer, the same one he has cut into his back. “Twelve went to fight the Devil on Arkyn, only one came back.”
- Dutch has decided it’s time to stop running from what she is: a weapon. She tells Turin she’s the boss from now on, and she wants to know where the data burst from Arkyn moon went.
Ah the old ‘“12 hours earlier” trope, a staple of TV dramas the world over.
This one had us wondering though: Khlyen claims Dutch is already a Level Six and as he cuts her she bleeds green goo instead of blood. But hang on, we’ve seen her injured before, bleeding normal blood, and she didn’t heal immediately like Khlyen does… Of course, turns out it’s all an hallucination brought on by being bitten by a mossipede. But still, had us going for a while.
Dutch’s vision of Khlyen morphs into another Dutch, who continues to taunt the real Dutch. This is the Dutch from the mirror, symbolising her constant struggle to suppress her upbringing and training as an assassin. She points out that Dutch and Khlyen aren’t all that different, they kill to protect what they love. Not only is Dutch now starting to realise that maybe Khlyen isn’t the enemy, but she’s starting to recognise that embracing her past might work to her advantage. There’s a nice shot as Dutch and co leave the mine of mirror Dutch watching them go.
By the end of the episode, Dutch is already starting to take back control. She tells Turin how it’s going to be from now on. We’re not sure whether he’s angry, amused or aroused by this role reversal; maybe a bit of all three?
We get to see more of Alvis this episode, and Morgan Kelly is on form as the surly monk. As is par for the course here, he has his own mysterious back story, which we still don’t know a great deal about. He also shows he can be more than just a melancholic monk, as his and D’avin’s interactions bring us most of the light-hearted moments this episode. The pair are vying for Dutch’s attention, and we think Alvis is ahead at this point… which makes D’avin snippy (which is good for us because he comes up with some great one liners this episode: “I thought it was bring a monk to work day”).
Back on Westerley and Pawter is still Jelco’s “guest”. There’s a class struggle playing out here, although both Jelco and Pawter are from Qresh – and so both part of the upper echelons of society – Pawter is from one of the Nine families. Back on Qresh, she wouldn’t give him the time of day, but in his domain he can tell her what to do. At least that’s what he thinks; it doesn’t really work out like that for him. We also get to see Pawter’s father briefly, and learn that it’s her Mother that has all the power, enforcing the idea of a matriarchal society in place on Qresh.
Links are starting to form between what before seemed disparate entities: Khlyen, the Scarbacks, Arkyn and essentially Dutch and D’avin, the green-goo-oozing mossipedes from the mine forming part of the chain between Khlyen and the Scarbacks. The Scarback prayer builds on this mythos: “Twelve went to fight the Devil on Arkyn, one came back.” Who is the Devil? (If it’s Khlyen he looks pretty good for his age.) And who’s the one that came back? D’avin is caught up somewhere in the middle of all of this, the mossipedes don’t like him, which plays out with his ability to control the green goo which intrigued Khlyen so much.
Overall the episode does a great job of telling its own story while moving the arc plots forward – something that a lot of other shows struggle with as they bounce from monster-of-the-week one episode to arc-heavy the next (The X-Files was probably the worst for this). Killjoys is settling comfortably into this second season, and with Dutch embracing her more violent side we think things are only going to get better from here on in.
- The scenes in the mine with the first person cams add a good deal of tension.
- D’avin and Alvis have some fun interactions.
- Pawter gets the better of Jelco.
- The mossipedes are cool, although unlike Johnny we don’t think they’d make very good pets.
- Green goo and mysterious prayers about the Devil.
- The link between Scarbacks and mining is a bit vague; maybe it’ll be explained better later on.
- “Twelve hours earlier” is a bit tropey.
And The Random:
- If you log onto http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1632146 you can get plans to 3D print your very own Lucy!
- When D’avin finds the first deep pit he claims he’s found the Hellmouth – is that a Buffy reference?
- Weren’t the Killjoys bothered that they couldn’t find Pawter?
- Apparently Johnny isn’t a mossologist.