We didn’t really get much development of our core characters this week on Killjoys. Instead, “Vessel” felt as though it was exploring more of the world and its politics, with some hints about Dutch’s backstory. And sadly, the episode relied on one of TV’s most annoying habits.
Last week, D’avin ‘passed’ his psych eval, and he’s been put to work by John and Dutch with his first test: a runner who apparently butchered his boss. D’avin isn’t great at this yet—he mutters that it’s easier to catch people after they’re dead, all the while yelling at his brother when he mishears the directions he’s piping into his ear. Their target tries to escape by climbing a pole, only to get fried once he reaches the top. John tells him to clean up.
Once they’ve cleaned up, they’re told that they’re being assigned a warrant—one that comes straight from the top. We learn about a new group: The Nine, who Dutch describes as an inbred group of fascists. What she doesn’t know is that one of them is standing behind the door, waiting to talk with her. “I require your assistance,” Delle Seyah Kendry tells her. “For what?” Dutch asks. “To prevent a war.” No pressure.
After the credits, we’re given a little more information: the Nine are a group of nine families who pass down power through birth. In this instance, one of the families have lost an heir, and transporting a surrogate has become paramount. The risk that they run, if one of the families dies out, is an all out war between the families, one which will impact the entire Quad. Some of the families want the unborn child alive, others want it dead. Another complication? They don’t know where the surrogate, Constance, is. As she leaves, Kendry asks Dutch why she has a particularly valuable instrument hanging on a wall. “It came with the ship,” which undoubtedly there’s a bit more to the puzzle that is Dutch.
Back in the cockpit, John catches D’avin trying to search for someone—an army doctor that he’s been looking for. This likely ties into the bit of story we got last week: D’avin’s been given some drugs for something. Dutch comes by and lets them know about their mission: find a missing baby. “I’ve met babies. They’re very slow.” The situation is complicated: the surrogate mother was held in a monastery where no men could get in - a week before, the place went dark, and the team sent in to investigate found the place wrecked and the surrogate gone.
On Westerly, they find Alvis (the scarback that helped them in an earlier episode). He knows where the child is, and directs them to a safe house. The place is far out in the Badlands, and the team goes on a bit of a road trip. They go out to the location, which they can’t fly in: it’s a toxic waste dump that the Company leaves behind after stripping the land bare. They do some looking and find that the safe house is protected with a projection that screens the place. They go in with guns drawn. They discover a group of women from the monastery, and a group of nuns with guns.
The nuns believe that they’re there to kill the women. Dutch grabs a gun and tells them that they’re there to evacuate Constance. While they’re there, a bunch of men with guns follow their tracks. The nuns are reluctant to evacuate, and tell them that they’re perfectly safe inside the place’s defenses. No sooner does she say that then the system shuts down.
While John and Jenny go off to fix the power grid, Dutch tells D’avin to protect the others. He’s a “big, muscley distraction.” Dutch tells him that she grew up in a place like this - a royal harem.
Jenny outlines a bit about what they do: they’re daughters of farmers, and being surrogates is their way to serve the royal families, even as she has aspirations to do other things, like Engineering. The royal family pays well for their bodies. They then find that the system was sabotaged.
Constance tells Dutch that she needs to see the pregnancy through. She hears something strange, and finds one of the men has come into the building - a fight ensues, and she kills the man. The invaders tap into their screens and find that one of the sisters has been kidnapped. On the screen, they execute her on screen, and tell them that they’re coming for Constance. John and Dutch look at their dead intruder, and realize that he’s not a regular mercenary.
They go to get Constance, and find that Mother Sal is ready to turn her over to the intruders. Dutch confronts her and when she’s grabbed, Constance stabs her in the neck. Dutch asks Constance what she wants, and she doubles down: she’s going to finish what she started.
They get ready to confront the intruders - it turns out that the sisters have a small arsenal. “Is that a flame thrower?” They can shoot, too. They’re going to come with everyone to protect their sister from harm. Dutch picks up the flame thrower. They come across another intruder, and they realize that they’re trying to capture Constance alive.
The group bursts out of the tunnels with guns blazing and takes out the members of the enemy team one by one. They pile into the rambler and find that it’s been disabled. Jenny grabs a grenade, kisses John and walks up to the remaining intruders. She takes them all out and lets everyone escape.
Their plight isn’t over yet. Constance is having her baby and she needs to be off world and at Qresh to have the baby: otherwise, the birthright won’t transfer. As they’re escaping, they find that they’ve been shut out of Qresh’s airspace. They call up Kendry, who tells them they’re on their own—internal politics are at play. Dutch tells them that they’re just going to land. The Company ships tell them that they’ll shoot them down. John stalls them as they work on landing. They touch down on the planet, right as the baby is born: everyone completed their mission: Constance, for seeing the birth through, and Dutch, for delivering her warrant.
This episode plays with some cloisters sisters and the various tropes that go along with that. There’s lot that they could have done with this that could have gone wrong: but the show runners did a decent job sidestepping some of the more problematic elements - with the exception of Jenny dying to save everyone. I wish that they’d found a way to let her live, but it’s a situation that could have been much worse.
It also felt like it had no impact on the team, especially John, who seems to have shrugged it off by the end of the episode. It’s annoying that this happens frequently in television and in science fiction in general, and hopefully, the show will approach this in a bit better fashion at some point.