Killjoys: S03E10 “Wargasm”

Grade: A-

First, the really great news: Killjoys has been renewed for another two seasons! http://tvline.com/2017/09/0…

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Killjoys‘ great strength this season has been its mastery of tone. Michelle Lovretta & co know that this show is, at heart, a bunch of people pretending to talk to spaceships and be controlled by a green goo monster. But it aspires to more. Killjoys has spent this season flexing its tonal muscles, seeing how far it can push its boundaries without altering its fundamental formula of a wisecracking space clone and her harem of haplessly devoted white guys. If there was any doubt about just how delicate this balance is, or just how well the writers can pull it off, this episode should put it to rest. Killjoys went there.

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Look familiar?

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In any other show, this would be an instant shark-jumping moment. I mean. BSG tried this and fell flat on its face. Despite its cultural dominance, I can’t even imagine the MCU pulling off something this blatant. But Killjoys has the courage of its convictions — not just in Dutch being Space Jesus (WHICH SHE DEFINITELY IS YOU GUYS) but in its own tonal strength.

This comes across in the shot itself. Normally Last Supper homages are as solemn as da Vinci imagined Jesus and the apostles must have been. Killjoys doesn’t care. It knows it can’t get away with seriously drawing this parallel, so it lampshades it with mockery. You get the sense that the characters themselves know what they’re doing, and are laughing at themselves about it. That’s because the successful conveyance of this tone is absolutely crucial for Killjoys. The only thing that keeps it from disappearing up its own ass, BSG-style, is its willingness to ground itself with banter and characters that are just this side of groan-worthy. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the tension between these two sides — for the sake of argument, let’s call them the human and the divine — is the central, driving force of the show. Every character here has experienced hardships that no human should have to experience, and every character has had to find a way to rise above those hardships while staying, well, human. It’s the ultimate expression of the mirror images motif that’s recurred throughout this season. It also plays very well. Killjoys delights so much in its humanity that the Jesus parts grate far less than they have any right to.

Even after all that, the lampshading alone wouldn’t make this homage work, which is why there are deeper layers. Killjoys has always enjoyed the idea of laughing in the face of death, and it does the work to make this shot feel like a natural extension of that. Everyone at that table knows complete destruction is headed their way, and rather than argue amongst themselves or feel bad about it, they’ve chosen to embrace it and feel joy in their connection to each other. We know that they’ve each chosen this path because we’ve watched them choose it, again and again, for three seasons. We know enough about each of those characters to actually believe in, if not the homage itself, the way it came about and the way it’s used in the show.

Fun sidenote: I looked up all the apostles on Wikipedia and identified them with the characters, and while I don’t see much in the specific parallels, two did jump out at me. Johnny is in the position of Thomas, who famously needed proof on Jesus’s bodily resurrection. That makes perfect sense — I absolutely believe it’ll be Johnny who asks the awkward questions once Dutch gets out of the Green. And D’avin is in the position of James the Greater, who was apparently the first apostle to be martyred. Sounds like our boys!

There’s one more interesting layer here. I was initially confused that the table was filled out by a group of three soldiers on one side and three Scarbacks on the other. Like, we’ve barely seen any of these people, what are they doing posing as Dutch Space Jesus apostles? But then I realized this is actually a clever in-universe way of showing Dutch’s Space Jesus-ness. From left to right, the characters are arranged roughly from more military to more religious, with both extremes represented equally. Dutch, exactly in the middle, is the uniter. She’s the only one who can, through sheer personality and force of will, get these two extremes to sit down and work together for the good of all. She is Space Jesus.

Still not convinced? Here’s what we’ve learned about Dutch recently:
– She was, ahem, virgin-born.
– Aneela tells her she was born to defeat Satan The Lady.
– Khlyen, Aneela, and Dutch are clearly the Trinity. Aneela is the Mother, Dutch is the Daughter, and Khlyen is the Holy Ghost of Weirdly Spelled Names.
– Most obviously, Dutch knows she’s going to her death, and has not only accepted this, but has made it completely clear that she’s willing to die for humanity.
– Finally, there’s her ace in the hole, a move so obvious yet so inspired that only Space Jesus could think of it: getting the story of her life into the Green. No one else in this show is stupid or foolhardy enough to die for their message. But when Dutch does it, it actually feels right. It works as a metaphor for spiritual immortality and her eventual “resurrection” and, not to put too fine a point on it, the Bible. It’s the Gospel of Dutch. She is Space Jesus.

The Jesus theme isn’t restricted to Dutch. Look at Turin and Fancy’s ongoing “War crimes? What war crimes?” plot. I’ve said this before, but in any non-2017 year, this plot would simply be Space Geneva Conventions-affirming fluff. That’s clearly how the writers intend it to come across. In this episode, they tie it to the main theme with self-sacrifice (Turin’s) and overwhelming, one might even say divine, forgiveness (Fancy’s). They even mostly successfully ground it through smart use of banter and reaction shots. (This show is amazing at taking dialogue that sounds like it was written by trolls on Reddit and investing it with depth and meaning.) If it weren’t for the current political climate, I would be totally on board. As it is, it felt a little too pat, given the magnitude of Turin’s earlier terribleness.

The rest of the episode was the usual high-stakes, high-banter, almost-careening-off-the-highway Killjoys we all know and love. The sonic agitator worked, although given that it shoots a giant glowing beam into space, I don’t know why they didn’t anticipate the Hullen tracking it. Zeph’s arc got a nice wrap that addressed the chemistry she’s had with both Jaqobis this season. (She deserves someone way better than Pippin, though. Use him and lose him, honey.) Johnny successfully bluffed Delle Seyah Kendry — no small feat! — and even proved that he knows the word “ultimatum.” Mayko Nguyen continued to find the exact right way to turn her head to sell the hell out of every plot twist — which resulted in Kendry standing down the Hullen! Yay, our heroes saved the day! But now Lucy is surrounded, Dutch and Aneela are Lady-hunting in the Green, and the Jaqobis and a very pregnant Kendry are floating around in a capsule in space. I have no idea what’s going to happen next season, but goddamn, I can’t wait.

Stray observations:
– “Take those tacky jackets off, you look like waiters.” How on earth did Mayko Nguyen make this line work? I’ve watched it twice and I’m still amazed.
– “Testosterone isn’t just for beards, is it?”
– As much fun as Killjoys is, the fighter pilot scene with Fancy and his team was pretty flat. Usually that’s the fun part! I guess it didn’t relate enough to Space Jesus.
– “Lucy, you’ve got to sever the shaft from both ends…ugh.” NEVER LEAVE ME, KILLJOYS.
– “If I get there before you, I’m going to shave your head in your sleep.” Pree has indeed identified Turin’s one redeeming quality.
– Killjoys, I love you, but we have to talk about that blonde wig Dutch is wearing in the green space. Just…no.
– “Oh man, I hope there’s a bathroom in here.” Killjoys, making the case for building to code! I hope Elon Musk is watching!
– Oh Johnny Jaqobis, you beautiful idiot: The right thing to do when Aneela shows up is not to immediately point a gun at her head. Also, Lucy, why couldn’t you have unleashed the decibels BEFORE Johnny got perforated??
– This week on D’avin’s dad-blog: “What about names — how do you feel about apostrophes?”
– The Lady’s spider army was terrifying as fuck.
– Johnny and D’avin may be armed, and Kendry may be pregnant, but I have zero doubt that she could and would eat them for sport. Without even breaking a sweat.
– So basically, Killjoys is making a statement that modern-day Jesus’s apostles would be Captain America, Dan Savage, a Redditor, and a bunch of nerds. SIGN ME UP.