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TV Review: Killjoys (Series 3, Episode 6)


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‘Necropolis Now’ is a bracing chapter as Killjoys hurtles inescapably towards a climactic struggle between good and evil; human and Hullen.

As previously foreshadowed, this episode sees Dutch grappling with something she cannot indulge: feelings of uncertainty. Banyon’s death at her hand weighs heavily on her conscience, and expresses her crippling doubts as to how it will all end and if it will have been worth the toll of losses they have, and will, suffer along the way.

Unusually vulnerable and in need of comfort, she seeks a kiss, but D’avin backs away. Her pride and heart wounded, Dutch spends the rest of the episode evading his requests to talk about that moment. Questions as to the evolving nature of their relationship are, for now, left unanswered.

The Nine return to attend the funeral proceedings for the lost lives of the RAC captains who had attempted the reclamation of their stations from Hullen plants, as does Alvis, who is charged with officiating the ceremony.

D’avin shines in this episode. His place in the team has been intrinsically cemented, as we witness him aiding Dutch to surmount her doubts, and later takes over the eulogy from her when she becomes too disturbed with memories of Banyon’s death to continue. It’s good to see that his use will not be restricted to his ability over the green plasma, but that his emotional contribution will be equally meaningful, particularly as Dutch and Johnny have their own demons to battle this season.

The next step to our Killjoys’ strategy is obtaining financial funding to sponsor their war. They use the funerial occasion to address the Nine and request their help; whilst clearly a mutually beneficial arrangement, the Nine deny their demand. Whilst most sci-fi television rarely bothers with demonstrating the logistics behind organising a revolution or war - since it can lack the action-driven pace most space science fictions follow - ‘Necropolis Now’ takes that leap to ensure the audience fully appreciates the scope of what’s to come.

This week’s episode’s format borrows from Agatha Christie’s locked-room mysteries, as members of the Nine are being killed one by one in the presence of Dutch, D’avin and Alvis whilst trapped in an elevator. Because of similarities in narrative style to Christie’s novels - the likes of ‘Ten Little Indians’ - the outcome of the scenario was mildly disappointing. It’s discovered that the pins they all ingested as part of the ceremonial service contained seeds for micro-robots that killed them from the inside, and that they weren’t in fact planted by anyone within the elevator, but by Pawter’s sister and head of the Simms House, Louella, to avenge the deaths of her family.

The situation serves as a vehicle for Johnny and Louella to address their grief at Pawter’s loss last season - a process which has been implied but lacked demonstration. We obtain an overdue insight into Johnny’s psyche and emotional state, as he divulges the strength and power he’d initially felt killing for retribution, but how then the act had corrupted the memories he held of Pawter, and left him feeling empty. Pawter finally gets the remembrance she deserves, and Johnny gets a moment of respite from pretending he’s okay.

However, Kendry and Aneela are decisively the ones to steal the show this week. Their fierce romance and power-fuelled chemistry eclipses all other performances. Whilst we might have been guiltily rooting for their team because of their unabashed queendom and electric dynamic, this time our perspective is forcefully shifted as it becomes clear Aneela is not the ‘big bad’ she’d been set up to be.

It is revealed, first to Kendry, that Aneela is not the one in control. Gander, her second, is and he and the Hullen had been observing her, and learning from her; The ship is not her home, it’s her prison. Since her abilities with the green plasma are so unique, they had been patient with her, indulged her power fantasies and let her believe she was in charge of the Armada.

Aneela is now in possession of a sample from one of the Jaqobi brothers, and confided to Kendry that she wanted to attempt a recreation of the Red17 experiment. As Gander studies her on surveillance screens, like a lab animal herself, she makes a breakthrough in her experiment and produces what looks like a foam-version of the plasma.

Voicing his satisfaction, Gander subsequently orders for Kendry to be taken away and attempts to entrap Aneela within her own mind using a constructed memory of Khlyen. It’s here we witness the first of two great reveals of humanity on Aneela’s part. She expresses sorrow at the loss of her father and a strange superposition of childhood memories create new dimension to her character, as one who experienced love and had it taken away from her for reasons she could not understand. “I did it papa, I found the way to save everyone”, she tells Khlyen. Those aren’t the words of a heartless monster.

When she hears screams for help beyond the green and tries to leave, this fabricated version of Khlyen urges her to stay because there is nothing out there for her anymore. But there is, and Aneela lets him know that she has someone now, in reference to Kendry, providing a second sparkling glimpse of humanity. When she emerges from the plasma and learns harm has come to Kendry, she goes on a murderous rampage, letting her rage slaughter all Hullen that dare to cross her path.

The final scene we see of Aneela is her collapsed on the floor, distraught at the thought that she may have lost the only woman she could love. Unbeknownst to her, Kendry is seen being moved among machinery and biotech, seemingly five months pregnant. The idea that Gander may have used her body as a vessel to birth something to aid the Hullen cause echoes to an established plot device in science fiction of women’s bodies being appropriated without consent for the purposes of others, often of men. The inferences of rape have always been obvious, and it saddens me that Killjoys would choose to employ such a device, particularly when it had been so good at portraying a complex sexual and romantic relationship between two powerful women free from the male gaze.

As for the Nine, Dutch learns from Alvis that they intended to run from the Quad and start fresh in some corner of the J, away from the Hullen. This was why they weren’t willing to fund their war, because they didn’t care if the Quad lost. Dutch, having regained her faith in their crusade against the Hullen, makes the Nine a promise: if they don’t help them, she will ensure they die. This finds the Killjoys with an army, and donors to fund the war effort, which puts them in a far stronger position than last episode, after three RAC stations were blown up and the lives of those aboard were lost.

One last weapon in their arsenal might well be Zeph’s discovery of micro slices of a neocortex being kept in the Remnant, after doubts were raised as to Zeph’s loyalties when she did not inform her team straight away of her success. She tells Dutch that they hold memories that Khlyen was hiding - memories that are sure to come to the fold in next week's episode.

Killjoys airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on Syfy.

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