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TV Review: Killjoys (Series 3, Episode 7)

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This week’s episode - ‘The Wolf You Feed’ - answered the biggest question since Aneela’s introduction seasons ago, and it’s more unexpected than even the wildest theories could have predicted.

As we near season 3’s end, other storylines are also brought to a meeting point in preparation for the final fight between human and Hullen. 

Killjoys has always resisted the tendency of recent science fiction shows to allow themselves to be driven by action alone. This episode is a prime example of how character development can control and direct the narrative whilst still making it as stimulating and intriguing as any amount of sci-fi action could, with the added advantage of enticing the audience’s emotional investment. Characters’ relationships with each other and themselves have been the show’s essence since its commencement, and continues to be what makes it stand out in its genre.

Dutch and Aneela’s arcs, thus far presented as parallels, now reach a crossroads. This season has been about laying the groundwork for the upcoming confrontation, but the revelation as to Dutch’s origins brings a new, unexpected dimension to this otherwise straightforward plot.

Aneela’s special abilities with the green plasma - the extent of which have already been explored - go much farther. With Zeph’s help, Dutch enters Aneela’s removed memories, which had been kept in Khlyen’s Remnant. She witnesses Aneela pull a young Dutch out of the green, out of her own childhood memory. Dutch is in fact Aneela herself, raised differently, but nonetheless still the same person in the beginning despite diverging paths.

Khlyen’s story of the two wolves, which lends its name to the episode title, serves as the central allegory for understanding Aneela and Dutch’s relationship to one another. We start with the same girl, but where one feeds the dark wolf, the other feeds the white wolf, and thus emerge Aneela and Dutch.

More than a battle between the ‘good’ humans and ‘evil’ Hullen, this revelation transforms a basic plot into a patent confrontation of the divided self, extending into a literal battle between manifestations of the same person. If the conflict continues the way it is, our hero and villain may be faced with the opportunity to eliminate the opposite facet of their psyche, potentially devolving this season into a psychological study.

The life-changing revelation does not come at the most opportune time for Dutch, as it shakes her to the point that she relinquishes leadership of her army, forces it into D’avin’s hands, and walks away. The reality that leaders are fallible, and that others may emerge through a baptism of fire, is brought front and centre in ‘The Wolf You Feed’. D'avin is thrust first from the role of soldier, to which he has adhered for over 15 years, to diplomat, then leader.

Circumstances bring D’av and Fancy together to resolve the problem surrounding the piloting of the Hullen ships, for it is revealed only the ‘cleansed’, ex-Hullen, can control them. This scene in particular brings out some of the best acting we’ve seen from Luke Macfarlane and Sean Baek, as they bare their souls to one another in shared experiences of war; of being soldiers in other men’s fights. Hopefully with the remainder of the season, we can witness them evolving from soldiers into leaders, together.

Another powerful moment of development for D’avin occurs in his arrest of Turin for sedition. In an inspiring and beautifully shot scene, he displays a force that had not been manifested before, and earns the loyalties of all different clans that Dutch had rallied. The coalition, after several episodes of difficult work in building up their army, came so perilously close to disintegration that to see D’av rescue it from the edge of the precipice was incredibly satisfying.

This season’s seventh episode was an important one for Zeph, and handed her another opportunity to assert herself as a true member of the team - and of the core cast. For once, she sets aside her obnoxious pride and shows genuine, albeit awkwardly-manifested, care for Dutch and the team. Her contributions were invaluable and she showed true concern for Dutch’s wellbeing, as well as looking out for her, despite orders not to warn Johnny of what they were doing.

Another character this episode was crucial for was Aneela. It gave us much of her origin story, allowing us to witness her descent into madness and thereby understand her motivations as being more complex than sheer psychopathy. Her actions as she drains her brain of green in order to escape into the plasma is a powerfully disturbing display of how far she will go to ease her loneliness and emotional instability, and helps the audience understand the extent of her desperation. In this context, we can feel some sympathy for who she used to be, and how she got to where she is now. This again serves to nuance the battle between her and Dutch, and will undoubtedly make even an outcome of victory for the humans bittersweet.

‘The Wolf You Feed’ was a fantastic interweaving of revelations and character growth. Killjoys’ primary and secondary characters all have their stories told and their motives and fears developed, without the episode feeling weighed down in exposition. Every character in this episode has a new side to them revealed, as desperation and loyalty are skilfully interwoven across all relationships.

There are no two-dimensional characters in Killjoys, and their growth and challenges remain the heart of the show - they are what makes it shine in the science fiction genre, and what makes this episode a stand out thus far this season.  

Killjoys airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on Syfy.




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