[This is a review of the Killjoys season 2 premiere. There will be SPOILERS.]
Created by Michelle Lovretta, the mind behind Syfy’s Lost Girl series, Killjoys season 1 debuted to largely positive critical reviews. The series took viewers on a trip through the Quad – a futuristic feudal world run by The Company – with a crew of wise-cracking, but deadly, bounty hunters, also called Killjoys. Aboard the spaceship lovingly named Lucy, Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) and her partner Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) brought in the third part of their trio, John’s older brother D’Avin (Luke Macfarlane). However, season 1 of Killjoys ended with D’Avin captured by Dutch’s former mentor Khlyen (Rob Stewart) on a moon called Arkyn to be part of an experiment for The Company.
Season 2 of Killjoys kicks off where season 1 left off, with Dutch and Johnny searching for D’Avin’s location in order to lead a rescue mission in ‘Dutch and the Real Girl’ – written by Lovrette and directed by D.J. Carson. The season 2 premiere begins with Dutch’s heartfelt message to D’Avin assuring that she will rescue him. Then the episode moves into a scene of Dutch and Johnny saving D’Avin from Arkyn, though it quickly takes on a surreal quality with a sassy piece of bomb tech, an action sequence with an exaggerated rock music overlay, and a kiss shared between Dutch and D’Avin in front of welding sparks.
The sequence is, of course, a dream that D’Avin is experiencing, but it manages to kick the episode off on a high note, setting the fun tone and exciting pace of the season while yanking the rug out from underneath the audience with the scene’s shift to the darker sci-fi aspects of Killjoys. In fact, much of ‘Dutch and the Real Girl’ balances the witty good-natured banter of its core team with deeper and more complex issues, proving that Killjoys season 2 has already set out to top its initial outing.
Following the opening dream sequence, the main thread ‘Dutch and the Real Girl’ really kicks off with the crew locating D’Avin on the Arkyn moon, but unable to land due to a layer of defensive radiation. In order to locate a shield that will help Lucy land on the moon, Dutch, Johnny, and the newest addition to their crew, Pree (Thom Allison) – the Old Town bartender and their friend from season 1 – must go undercover in Eulogy, a place that Pree calls an “outlaw casino.” True to Pree’s simplistic description, Eulogy has all the depth expected of a sci-fi western television series depicting a casino full of outlaws, which is to say not very much. But, the banter between Johnny and Pree, especially when causing a distraction so that Lucy can co-opt the building’s computer system, carries off these scenes with the perfect balance of humor and action that Killjoys nails so well.
Still, the mission runs into a few hiccups, not the least of which being that the shield they went to Eulogy to retrieve turns out to be a woman by the name of Clara (guest star Stephanie Leonidas) – a woman who has a gun named Alice for an arm. Clara helps the team shoot their way out of Eulogy and escape to Lucy. Once safely on board, Clara explains that a group of outlaws kidnapped her and installed the shield inside her body, then cut off her arm and attached Alice in order to make sure she would protect the shield tech. As with the other dark subjects that Killjoys tackles, the show is quick to give Clara some levity in her interactions with the other crew members, particularly Dutch and Johnny, but Lucy the ship too.
The latter half of ‘Dutch and the Real Girl’ sees Dutch and Johnny head to Arkyn in order to save D’Avin, while he himself proves to be immune to the experiment that Khlyen oversaw. As a result, Khlyen works to save D’Avin from The Company so that he can reunite with his friends. The episode ends with D’Avin speculating that Khlyen isn’t Dutch’s true enemy, but someone working to protect Dutch from the true enemy – a character mentioned briefly as The Lady.
As was the case with Killjoys season 1, it’s impossible not to draw comparisons between the show and Fox’s short-lived, but beloved, sci-fi western Firefly. Beyond the shared genre inspirations, both series depend upon the dynamic of their main team to work in order for the show to flourish. Killjoys pulled off the three-person crew in season 1, but ups the ante by adding Pree and, briefly, Clara to the mix in season 2. The addition of these two characters, as well as Lucy’s personality, helps to give ‘Dutch and the Real Girl’ a wonderfully diverse mix of voices that adds a new depth to Killjoys.
Still, the episode also sets up a much larger story arc for the team in their new adversary known as The Lady, not to mention their next mission to get into and out of Old Town despite the containment surrounding the city. So, while the character dynamics between Dutch, Johnny, and D’Avin continue to anchor Killjoys in relatable and fun relationships, the season 2 premiere certainly paves the way for even more conflict within the Quad.
All in all, the Killjoys season 2 premiere is a nearly perfect return to form for the show, bridging the entertaining character banter with a deeper and more compelling sci-fi narrative while still staying true to the series’ bounty hunter premise. The chemistry of the cast elevates the show’s genre mashup of western and science fiction beyond the point where it seems fair to continue comparing Killjoys to Firefly – especially since Killjoys has continued into a second season, right at home on Syfy.
Certainly, ‘Dutch and the Real Girl’ sets up a more complex web of the feudal society in the Quad – and does little to aid viewers in remembering where exactly season 1 left Dutch and her partners in this complicated world. But, Killjoys earned the attention of critics and fans by offering a fun space romp with characters as charming as they are deadly, and the season 2 premiere not only delivered on expectations, but managed to exceed them with ‘Dutch and the Real Girl’.
Killjoys continues Friday, July 8 with ‘Wild, Wild Westerley’ at 9pm on Syfy.