Last week’s episode of Killjoys featured a pregnant vessel, aka a farm girl from Leith who needed transporting. This week in A Glitch in the System the trio are on what should be a pretty straightforward salvage operation that suddenly gets very strange. Seems there is nothing quite as unsettling as a cargo ship that has gone all Mary Celeste in space unless it is one with a ghost in the machine. Still appearances can be deceiving as the killjoys find out when they board the ship in A Glitch in the System.
As this episode starts Dutch is accusing the ship’s computer system of playing favorites, John is the fave crew member apparently, and as D’Av is having flashback’s while exercising, a 10 year-old beacon is transmitting from an asteroid field. The three head to the signal and find the Aegir, a cargo ship, that is apparently deserted.
Dutch tricks John into letting her board the empty ship first and when she tries to open the airlock door, after Lucy fails to do it, alarms go off. Dutch sets a charge on the door to blow it open and the alarms shut down and the airlock opens. There are no life forms detected onboard and Lucy declares that there are no toxins in the air.
D’Av and John get mines and head over, salvage rules state that after taking anything left onboard, a deserted vessel must be blown up. When all three get on the ship, John sneaks up behind Dutch and yells, “Look out space rats!” His antics earn him a slap from Dutch who then calls him “Sugar Pants” and tells him to find the ship’s transponder, to find its point of origin.
Before heading off John reveals that the ship flew through a solar flare and this fried the ship’s engines and computer systems. He also says that the crew apparently left the ship after this happened. D’Avin has to go and plant explosives around the cargo ship. Dutch then tells the two men that she will go look for “some booty.”
John asks Lucy to provide some music as they work and it is when the “searching” soundtrack begins to break up with static that things start to go weird. Dutch enters the cargo hold as the music starts cutting out and she reports that the place is empty. Comms is down and John asks Lucy about the music. Dutch finds a barricade along with a big red 17 spray painted on a wall and a man.
The man runs off with Dutch in pursuit. D’Av finds blood on the floor where he is attaching mines and John learns that Lucy had initiated decontamination procedures. Dutch’s target enters the airlock and as she threatens hims, he bites his finger and writes 17 on the glass door. The finger biter then presses the airlock button and is jettisoned into space. D’Av has found another man and John says that Lucy has retracted the bridge and is refusing to answer his calls.
Comms is restored and D’Av and Dutch question the guy he found. The man says his name is Hogan and that he is a ship picker who was trapped on the vessel. His leg is injured and says that he is former military like D’Av. Hogan offers to show Dutch where the deep suits are, so they can escape, but his injured leg stops him. Dutch heads to get the suits and D’Av takes Hogan down to the infirmary.
John discovers that the vessel is not a cargo ship but a military one and it never had a shipment. Dutch finds the infirmary that Hogan said was in the other direction and she finds a wall with pictures of people with the words, “terminated” and “liar” written over them. John finds a younger Hogan in the ship’s video files and tells D’Av that Hogan is not what he claims to be. He tells his brother not to respond but to say something that shows he understands, D’Av asks Hogan about space rats.
D’Avin tells Hogan that they need to head to the engine room and the two head to the elevator. Dutch finds the infirmary full of dead bodies and she asks Johnny where D’Av is. In the lift, Hogan reveals that his wounded leg has healed and the two men fight. D’Av loses after discovering that his attacker’s wounds heal themselves.
D’Av wakes up in a clear cell and he is implanted by a cloud of vapor. The interrogation computer starts to question him. Starting with name, rank and serial number, D’Avin refuses to answer and is tortured. Once he responds to the question, the damage done is fixed. It is during this questioning that he admits to killing his entire squad.
Dutch and John learn that the whole crew of the ship were interrogated in this fashion. One of the “prisoners” questioned is a woman that Dutch recognizes from the pile of dead bodies she found earlier. D’Av realizes that the cargo ship is a “torture unit.” Hogan reveals what happened to the ship and that he was the first person to be interrogated. He is also the only one who survived the process. It has clearly driven the man insane.
While discussing what happened to the crew, Dutch and John find D’Av. Hogan reveals that he brought the crew down to be interrogated. All of those questioned killed themselves. The woman turns out to have been a doctor who explains about the interrogation process and how nanites that tear down and then repair the subject, never stopping.
As D’Av recalls killing his squad, he also reveals that he does not know how or why. Dutch and John watch the whole thing on a monitor and the interrogator asks about red 17, something it asks everyone. The doctor, on a video log, explains about Hogan and the machine, she reveals that there is no way to stop it. She then shoots herself, which explains all the corpses that Dutch found with “head trauma.”
Dutch and John learn that the machine is “on a loop” caused by the solar flare. Dutch goes down to save D’Av, while Hogan reveals that he survived but only because he never knew what red 17 was, in essence, it was down to a glitch in the system.
When Dutch is caught, after her first question by the machine, she explodes her cell wall and appears to kill Hogan. She grabs D’Av and they run off and meet John. As the machine sets off alarms and tells the two “prisoners” that they must return to their cells, Dutch heads to the airlock and presses the button to allow herself to be sucked into space. D’Av is convinced she is dead.
John explains that until the brain dies, which the nanites cannot fix, they will continually repair Dutch and keep her alive until she gets to Lucy and their ship. Once the nanites begin to torture D’Av, John shoots him in the leg, explaining that the robots cannot injure and heal at the same time.
Dutch gets to the ship and Lucy refuses to let her in until she explains that Johnny is in trouble, the airlock opens and Dutch mutters “Favorites my arse.” Hogan shows back up and John shoots the prison guard in the head killing him. The three escape and as Dutch and D’Av are being decontaminated.
John tells D’Av he should have told him about the squad and D’Av tells his brother he needs to work on his “moments.” D’Av goes to see Pawter and learns that not only have the injuries he had before been fixed by the nanites but he has had neuro blockers put in his head. The doctor says he seems different and the two get up close and very personal.
Dutch’s father shows up and after threatening Johnny, tells her to pack her things to leave with him. “Little Bird” seems to reluctantly comply.
Killjoys continues to entertain on a high level. This week, the story veered from the simple action formula and went into a thriller mode with the deserted ship and its broken interrogation unit. Feeling a little 2001: A Space Odyssey (Hal) with a dash of Silent Running the show dealt with a “glitch” that opened up old wounds for D’Av but ultimately healed him and the experience brought him and his brother closer together.
Kudos to guest stars Richard Clarkin who played the flawed and insane prison guard Hogan and Christine Horne who besides eerily resembling Mia Farrow, gave a pretty impressive cameo performance in the time allowed, Killjoys is part of SyFy Fridays and is cracking entertainment. This is one to watch and fans of action and adventure science fiction will love it.